Champéry, Switzerland (Sept. 4, 2011) – The United States wrapped up the 2011 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships without a medal following Sunday’s downhill finals. America’s best medal hope, Aaron Gwin (Temecula, Calif./Trek) suffered a crash amidst hard rains in Champéry to finish 12th in the elite men’s downhill.
The gnarly world championship downhill course was muddy at the start of the elite men’s competition, but with relatively light to no rain falling on the lower seeded riders who were first off. Logan Binggeli (Saint George, Utah/KHS Bicycles), who went 21st of the more than 100 riders down the course, spent a significant amount of time in the hot seat before being bumped as the last 20 riders began their runs. By that time the rains had turned from a light misting to a torrential downpour.
As the top-ranked rider in international standings, Gwin was the last rider down the course. At the first of two time splits Gwin had the second fastest time by less than a second. Just after that however the 2011 world cup winner crashed into course netting and was forced off of his bike, costing him valuable time. Despite the minor crash, Gwin turned in the best American result, finishing in 12th, just 20 seconds behind newly crowned world champion Danny Hart of Great Britain.
Luke Strobel (Issaquah, Wash./MS Evil) finished in a strong 22nd place while Binggeli ended up in 33nd. All American riders who took to the challenging, wet course made it down the mountain safely, including Duncan Riffle (Santa Barbara, Calif./Giant MTB Team) in 42nd, Curtis Keene (Fremont, Calif.) in 49th and Mitch Ropelato (Ogden, Utah/SPS North America) in 71st.
Jacqueline Harmony (Sedona, Ariz./All Mountain Cyclery-Vixen Racing) was the only American to finish the elite women’s contest in 14th of 20 of the world’s best. Christian Wright (Auburn, Calif.) +1:20.625 and Neko Mulally (Reading, Pa./Trek) were 38th and 47th respectively of the 52 riders to finish the junior men’s downhill.
The lone American to contest the Trials event, Ryder Okumura (Durango, Colo./Durango Devo) finished in 34th.
“Ryder rode well but struggled in the wet conditions,” said trials coach Mike Friddell. “His fitness level and skill set was on par with the world’s top riders but he is still developing his consistency.”
The United States wraps up these world championships with Todd Wells’ (Durango, Colo./Specialized) seventh-place finish in elite men’s cross-country, Howard Grotts’ (Durango, Colo./Durango Devo) eighth in junior men’s cross-country and Melissa Buhl’s (Chandler, Ariz./KHS) fourth-place mark in women’s 4X highlighting the competition.
Watch TV highlights on Universal Sports.
UCI Mountain Bike World Championships
Aug. 31 – Sept. 3, 2011
Elite Men’s Downhill
1. Danny Hart (GBR) 3:41.989
2. Damien Spagnolo (FRA) +11.699
3. Samuel Blenkinsop (NZL) +12.993
12. Aaron Gwin (Temecula, Calif./Trek) +20.422
22. Luke Strobel (Issaquah, Wash./MS Evil) +28.961
33. Logan Binggeli (Saint George, Utah/KHS Bicycles) +37.483
42. Duncan Riffle (Santa Barbara, Calif./Giant MTB Team) +44.842
49. Curtis Keene (Fremont, Calif.) +50.361
71. Mitch Ropelato (Ogden, Utah/SPS North America) +1:32.133
Elite Women’s Downhill
1. Emmeline Ragot (FRA) 4:54.012
2. Rachel Atherton (GBR) +15.291
3. Claire Buchar (CAN) +27.953
14. Jacqueline Harmony (Sedona, Ariz./All Mountain Cyclery-Vixen Racing) +1:25.422
Junior Men’s Downhill
1. Troy Brosnan (AUS) 3:51.503
2. David Turmmer (AUT) +12.188
3. Guillaume Cauvin (FRA) +19.294
38. Christian Wright (Auburn, Calif.) +1:20.625
47. Neko Mulally (Reading, Pa./Trek) +1:54.841
Elite Men’s 26” Trials
1. Kenny Belaey (BEL) 5
2. Vincent Hermance (FRA) 9
3. Gilles Coustellier (FRA) 10
34. Ryder Okumura (Durango, Colo./Durango Devo) 90
About USA Cycling
Recognized by the United States Olympic Committee and the Union Cycliste Internationale, USA Cycling is the official governing body for all disciplines of competitive cycling in the United States, including road, track, mountain bike, BMX and cyclo-cross. As a membership-based organization, USA Cycling comprises 66,500+ licensees; 2,200 clubs and teams; and 34 local associations. The national governing body sanctions 2,650 competitive and non-competitive events throughout the U.S. each year and is responsible for the identification, development, and support of American cyclists. To learn more about USA Cycling, visit www.usacycling.org .
Source: Andrea Smith, USA Cycling