World Mountain Bike Championships

Sweden, 11-18 September, 1999

Sep 18 - French dominate downhill seniors, first gold to Australia

By Tomas Nillson, correspondent

Sept 18, 1999: What to do about the French and the Australians? In the seniors, France's Nicolas Vouilloz and Anne-Caroline Chausson took their eighth and seventh titles respectively, while a pair of juniors from one of the dryest continents on earth mastered the slippery conditions to take gold and bronze in their event.

On a course that could only be described as unraceable, Chausson proved that she is able to win in any conditions. The rain continued to pour down, making the "extreme" 3-kilometer course the worst conditions in World Championship history. Chausson, in claiming her 4th consecutive world title "rode safe as not to crash because that is where you lose more time." Chausson felt the effort by the finish, "my legs were gone by the end." She did have to withstand a challenge from Finland's Katja Repo, who finished only 1:61 behind for the Silver medal. Switzerland's nineteen-year-old Sari Jorgenson took the bronze medal, finishing 15:71 seconds down on Chausson.

In the men's race France's Nicolas Vouilloz added another World Championship jersey to his rainbow collection. The troublesome rain eased in the men's race for the last twenty competitors, although the mud and deep ruts between the roots and rocks still caused problems. Vouilloz came into the race having won the preliminary rounds and thus was seeded first. The French claimed three of the top five places in the race with Mickael Pascard taking the Silver Medal, and Cedric Gracia 5th.

Shaun Palmer, USA, did the day's most spectacular fall, on the tarmac metres from the finish when he was leading the race so far. He might be comforted by the fact that the later starting Vouilloz would have won anyway. Palmer didn't miss the gold, possibly a bronze.

Dutch rider Gerwin Peters still managed to finish 11th despite breaking a saddle just after the start and couldn't sit on his bike for longer than a second after the start.

Again under dark skies and sporadic rains, the Australian junior Nathan Rennie won the country's first gold medal at this MTB world championship, while Jarrod Rando claimed bronze in the slippery conditions which saw most competitors sliding, and many crashing, off the descent.

In the senior womens event, Australia's queen of the dual slalom Katrina Miller only finished in 14th place.

The downhill slope in the Swedish ski resort Åre is technically demanding in the beginning and more of a trail in the end and it's obvious that the technical skill is a French - and now Australian - speciality.

Other Race Results:

  1. September 19th - Elite Men & Womens Cross Country - the sun shines for XC
  2. September 18th - Downhill - French & Aussies take gold
  3. September 17th - U23, Junior Men & Womens Cross Country - Evans crashes on last lap, Italian Bui wins
  4. September 15th - Teams Challenge - Spain Reins