Brannigan best of Kiwi mountain bikers at world championships

By CyclingNZ High Performance

Hawkes Bay professional George Brannigan was the best of the New Zealanders on the most testing terrain at the UCI mountain bike downhill world championships in Italy.

The Commencal Vallnord professional finished 13th on a bone-jarring, dusty and root-rutted Val di Sole course in Trentino.

“That was the widest track I’ve ever raced on,” Brannigan said.

His fellow Hawkes Bay teammate Brook MacDonald, who completed a season to forget in 29th, also commented on the challenging course.

“It’s probably the worst it's ever been since I've raced here,” he commented on twitter.

Like so many other major cycling events this year, it proved a triumph for Great Britain with the in-form Danny Hart winning ahead of teenager and fellow Bit Laurie Greenland, while the peerless Rachel Atherton completed her fourth elite women’s world title.

Brannigan, the 2015 national champion, was 13 seconds down on the winner in 13th place with Taranaki’s Wyn Masters 25th ahead of his GT Factory teammate MacDonald. There was special praise for Sam Blenkinsop who was 38th after his horrendous crash the previous week at Vallnord.

National champion Alanna Columb (Queensland) was 17th in the elite women’s competition.

The highlight came in the form of Tauranga’s Shania Rawson, who placed fifth in the junior women’s competition behind winner Alessia Missiaggia (Italy).

Elite men: Danny Hart (GBR) 3:32.484, 1; Laurie Greenland (GBR) at 2.927s, 2; Florent Payet (FRA) at 5.047, 3; Troy Brosnan (AUS) at 5.877, 4; Bernard Kerr (GBR) at 6.089, 5.

Also NZers: George Brannigan at 13.648, 13; Wyn Masters at 18.377, 25; Brook MacDonald at 20.643, 29; Sam Blenkinsop at 25.814, 38; Rupert Chapman at 34.374, 56; Bryn Dickerson at 38.157, 63; Ed Masters at 47.565, 71.

Elite women: Rachel Atherton (GBR) 4:20.187, 1; Myriam Nicole (FRA) at 3.114, 2; Tracey Hannah (AUS) at 9.453, 3. Also: Alanna Columb (NZL) at 61.026, 17.

Junior men: Finnley Iles (CAN) 3:47.405, 1; Magnus Manson (CAN) at 3.796, 2; Gaetan Vige (FRA) at 4.610, 3. Also NZers: Simon Read at 26.947, 32; Lucas Cole at 31.045, 37; Billy Meaclem at 32.404, 39; Ben Karalus at 41.244, 46; Oscar Perks at 42.529, 49; Liam Bethell at 53.302, 60.

Junior Women: Alessia Missiaggia (ITA) 5:29.011, 1; Samantha Kingshill (USA) at 11.946, 2; Flora Lesoin (FRA) at 25.960, 3. Also: Shania Rawson at 41.901, 5.

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