The rainbow jersey is the most sought-after prize in Mountain Biking and over the weekend, the 2012 World Championships took place in Leogang, Austria. After a roller-coaster season of World Cup podiums and injury, Manon Carpenter was focussed and determined coming in to her first Senior World Championships, chasing her second set of rainbow stripes after being crowned Junior World Champion last year. Joining Manon on the GB squad was Phil Atwill, who has impressed many after finding his feet on his first season riding the World Cup circuit.
Both riders had the skill and form to be in contention for the podium and it was Phil who was first up on a changeable Leogang course. Phil put in a great run that saw him in the hot seat for a number of riders. With the final riders coming down the hill, Phil was pushed back but still managed to come away with 8th place : a great result considering this is Phil’s very first year riding as a Junior, let alone his first year on the international race scene.
With multiple World Cup podiums this year, Manon was always going to be a contender for the podium, even with this being Manon’s debut year in the Women’s category. Come race day, Manon repeated the kind of race run that raised many eyebrows in Pietermaritzburg : a cool, calm and considered run that saw her once again standing on the podium with a fantastic third place result.
Both Manon and Phil were running a brand new version of the Saracen Myst complete with a carbon rear end that no doubt gave both riders an edge over their competitors. These new carbon additions bought a 400g weight saving to the bikes and can now be seen on the both the Myst Team and Myst Pro models in 2013.
All in all, this was another fantastic World Championships for the team, highlighting Madison Saracen as one of the key teams progressing young British talent on the downhill race scene.
A big thank you goes out to all our sponsors : Shimano, Gamut, Kore, Maxxis, DT Swiss, 661, One Industries, Bell, Dragon, Vans and Leatt.
Phil - "It's been a great week, the training camp before Worlds really helped, I felt at home on the track first day of practice and once the rain came I was loving it. Pretty happy with my 8th place, I guess you always aim for the win but it's my first World Champs so hopefully there will be plenty more to go at. New bike felt sweet, looking forward to Norway now and the final World Cup of the season. Bring it on!"
Manon - "It's been an up and down season with the injury at Val Di Sole, I've been slowly coming back to speed as my confidence grew and after my 5th at Val D'Isere I knew coming to World's that I was back to the form I had early in the year at South Africa. Fair play to Morgane, she put an amazing run together and it just shows that any of the top five girls have the speed to win. I felt strong on the hill and went hard from the top, it got tough to keep the speed going on the rougher sections towards the bottom but I just about held it together and I'm well happy with my bronze medal"
Will - "It seems like a long season now looking back, with some real high points and of course this is bike racing so there have been the lows as well. It's hard to stay fit and healthy through a full season of DH racing, even for the seasoned pro's, so for Phil as a junior to have such a blinding first year is a a sign of great potential for the future. The highlight and a turning point for me was his 2nd place in juniors at Val D'Isere, I think it made him realise he had the speed to challenge the best juniors in the World and that was a huge confidence boost. He took the World Champs in his stride this week and I'm well proud of him."
Manon, well what can you say, it's never easy coming back from injury but she did just that, with determination and a mature approach. It must have been hard to sit out the UK World Cup and then struggle through the two US rounds in pain but the skill was there and the fitness stayed with her, so once the strength and confidence came back the speed soon followed. A World Champs medal in her first year of senior racing is an amazing result. I'm sure the first World Cup win is just around the corner! It's been a fantastic World Champs for the team.