Team Chain Reaction Cycles PayPal rider Elliott Heap finished in fifth place at the UCI Downhill World Champs over the weekend in Val di Sole, Italy.
Team Manager Nigel Page was there to bring us this report:
The UCI Downhill World Champs took place at the iconic Val di Sole track in Italy.
The track is known for being the most brutal, roughest, steepest and wildest track in the world, famous for Sam Hill’s crazy run down it back in 2008 when it last held the World Championships when Sam was nine seconds up before crashing out on the penultimate corner losing the gold medal but still coming in for the bronze.
Unfortunately Sam, Joe and Mike missed out on selection for the World Champs, so it was down to Elliott Heap to represent Team Chain Reaction Cycles PayPal/Great Britain. Elliott was competing for the Junior category and on the hunt for a medal after his amazing third place finish last week in Andorra at the World Cup finals, securing a third place overall in the World Junior Championship.
The course was even more wild and rougher than ever after hosting the World Masters Championships last weekend on a big part of the track, so it was super blown out and rough. CRC’s Michael Cowan raced to a bronze medal in the 40 – 44 category in that event. Big congrats Mike.
Elliott was looking great all through practice, riding super smooth and calculated not taking too many risks of crashing and getting injured as many other riders did. This track can really bite you if you crash on it.
Come race day and the track was totally blown out with huge holes and deep dust everywhere. It was going to be a mission for all the riders to do a full race run with arm pump and fatigue being a massive factor here, not to mention just the speed you have to lay down going for that gold medal and rainbow stripes to be crowned World Champion.
Elliott was set and ready for his race run and I watched him fly out of the start gate and blasting down the top open part of the track. As I made my way down the mountain I could here on the loud speaker Elliott had gone into first place and onto the hot seat.
It ended up that Elliott’s great time of 3:53 was one second off the bronze medal position and he ended up fifth. This was a big disappointment for Elliott as he so wanted a World Championship medal but it was still a great result for him and the team.
Elliott has shown huge gains this year in speed and his all-round riding and racing ability and he will go into this off season confident that he can start his first elite season next year strong and able to mix it with the big boys! Massive congrats, Elliott.
Young Irish Nukeproof rider Jacob Dickson put in a solid ride as a first year elite coming 26th after a tough season where he broke his collarbone earlier in the year, well done fella.
A huge congratulations to team GB with Rachel Atherton taking the gold in the Women’s category and a perfect season and to Danny Hart (gold) and Laurie Greenland (silver) in the Elite men’s race with unbelievable edge-of-your-seat race runs.
This type of track can produce legendary race runs and both those two young lads did exactly that. Also a huge congratulations to Florent Payet for winning bronze and the UK’s Bernard Kerr and Greg Williamson for fifth and eighth, respectively.
Val di Sole definitely provided us with a spectacular World Championships!
Thanks to all the team and sponsors for their support and hard work.