Silver for Kate Courtney at Mountain Bike Worlds
Cairns, Australia (September 9, 2017) – Kate Courtney (Kentfield, Calif./Specialized Factory Racing) raced her heart out on day four of the 2017 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships to ride off with the silver medal in the U23 women’s cross-country race.
A crash in the start loop put the 21-year-old Courtney in a difficult position from the gun. She moved up to sixth place by the end of lap one and continued gaining ground over the course of the 23-kilometer contest.
Swiss rider Sina Frei took the early lead which she never relinquished. She was joined at the front for a while by Dutch rider Anne Tauber until Tauber jammed her gears and slipped back in the field. Despite Courtney’s incredible effort to bridge the gap, Frei’s strong legs kept her in the lead all the way to the finish line where she claimed the rainbow jersey. Courtney crossed the line 49 seconds back for the silver while Alessandra Keller earned bronze.
Team USA got a second top-ten finish from Haley Batten (Park City, Utah/Clif Pro Team). Batten rode in third place until lap three and ended up completing the five laps for a solid tenth-place, just over five minutes back from Frei.
Lea Davison (Jericho, Vt./Clif Pro Team) was the top elite USA rider of the day with a solid sixth-place effort over the women’s 27.4-kilometer race. Davison ended the start loop 14th position but over the course of the six laps steadily picked riders off to cross the line 1:31:08, about four minutes off the winning pace set by first-time elite world champion Jolanda Neff (SUI). Neff took the lead from the start and grew her gap to over two minutes by the time she took the win ahead of silver and bronze medalists Annie Last (GBR) and Pauline Ferrand Prevot (FRA).
Also racing the elite women’s contest for Team USA on Saturday were Erin Huck (Boulder, Colo./Cannondale-3Rox Racing) in 15th, Chloe Woodruff (Prescott Ariz./ Stan’s-Pivot Pro Team) in 29th, Rose Grant (Columbia Falls, Mont./Stan’s-Pivot Pro Team) in 33rd, and Alexis Skarda (Grand Junction, CO/Stan’s-Kenda) in 46th.
In the elite men’s 31.7-kilometer affair, Howard Grotts (Durango, Colo./Specialized Racing) was the first to cross the finish line for the United States in 39th place. He was followed by Payson McElveen (Durango, Colo./Team RideBiker) in 58th.
The men’s event was won by Nino Schurter (SUI) who gave his country a third cross-country victory on Saturday. Schurter set the pace at the front and completed the seven laps in 1:27:44 to claim the rainbow jersey ahead of Jaroslav Kulhavy (CZE) and Thomas Litscher (SUI).
Mountain Bike Worlds will conclude on Sunday with the elite and junior downhill competitions. You can follow the action LIVE here.
See a photo gallery of Team USA in action here.