Saturday, May 31, 2003 11.00pm
It was a disappointing World Cup for British riders
There are a lot of positive things to say about the Fort William World Cup round. The course and organisation were world class, the turn out of spectators simply gave the lie to everyone who says there's no interest in MTB racing, and the weather behaved. In terms of performance, though, the British contingent had a bad trot on home dirt, given their high quality and immense potential.
The whys and wherefores will be kicked around over the next few days but the results speak for themselves.
In the Cross Country, on a course man made to suit proper mountain bikers, the first British rider home was the hugely talented Liam Killeen, but in 18th place. You then had to go back to 67th place to find Oli Beckinsale. First British woman was Jenny Copnall in 57th.
We put up a better show in the 4X with Peaty making the men's final. But it was there that he picked up the injury which effectively put him out of downhill contention. Steve's attitude is that he rides all the events. If he starts pussying around thinking about injury, he reckons, he'll never win anything and he knows his business best. But it's frustrating for the headline writer who would find the words 'Peat Wins!' slip so easily off the fingertips.
On the women's side we were all hoping for more from Ffionn Griffiths in this event although it has to be said that, despite her ballsy come back, rejection by British sponsors can not have helped her focus.She came 8th.
Which brings us to the downhill. First British rider was Gee Atherton, which is good for him, young riders and downhill in general, but Gee was 12th.Next up was Crawford Carrick-Anderson in 14th
Tracy Moseley, who has been pulverising top class opposition for months, was 4th. Not knocking it, but 1st is so much easier to write. Come to that Tracy Moseley is easier to write than the names of some of the people who beat her.Ffionn was 7th and Helen Gaskell 12th.
So that was that. The good news is that Will Longden is riding like a bastard again. He rode off the course in the final, going the wrong way around a rock, and that was it:
"I was going to give up, but I thought of all those people cheering and I went for it."
And that he did. Picked up the bike, hiked back to where he crossed the tape and put in a scary run to be third Brit at 18th. Peaty nursed himself into 19th, unable to clip out and needing to be exceeding ginger on right hand bends, he was, frankly, epic. Dave Wardell was 24th, another bright spot.
Yes, there are a lot of positive things to say about Fort Bill, but a couple of podium places would have been so much easier on the fingers.DH Top Four
1: Cedric Gracia (FRA)
2: Mickael Pascal (FRA)
3: Nathan Rennie (AUS)
4: Greg Minaar (RSA)
1: Celine Gros (FRA)
2: Sabrina Jonnier (FRA)
3: Emmeline Ragot (AUS)
4: Tracy Moseley(GBR)
For full results browser over to:http://www.uci.ch
Lead picture: A XC course for real mountain bikers
Main picture: Gee Atherton flew higher than most
Picture 1: Tracy, Up there, could do better
Picture 2: Liam Killeen, best XC Brit
Picture 3: Crawford, No 2 Brit on home Scottish dirt
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