Last weekend Ireland had three riders competing at the UCI 2016 Mountain Bike Cross Country World Championships in the Czech Republic. The event took place from the 30th June to the 3rd July in the Vysocina Arena in Nové Mesto na Morave, with David Conroy, James Curry and Gareth McKee flying the flag for Ireland.
Conroy suffered a mechanical in the opening metres of the Junior event forcing him out of the race, while Curry finished 81st in the U23s and McKee was 94th in the Elite race on Sunday. The World Championships ran from the 30th June to the 3rd July in the Vysocina Arena, an impressive venue that also hosts world class biathlon and skiing events in the winter months.
In the Junior Men’s race there was bitter disappointment for Conroy, who had previously finished 3rd in the Forest Fields British National Points Series.
Team Manager Simon Curry said “David had prepared for the race by doing a practice lap in the morning before resting for the main event, and he was feeling confident after his result in the British NPS. But his World Championship campaign ended with a snapped chain within metres of the start line, as he put the power down. As there is no technical assistance allowed outside the pits, it was game over for David. He’s trying to be upbeat about the event, and has a lot of positives to take out of getting to ride on a World Championship course.”
Curry, who is in his first year as an U23 rider, raced well to finish 81st: “James got off to a good start and was 30 seconds off the leader heading through the pits where Gareth and David were. At the end of the start lap he was in 86th position and over the next 3 laps he worked his way into 81st place, which is a good result considering it is his first year competing as an U23 rider.”
In the Elite Men’s race McKee was also faced with a mechanical; “Gareth got a good start, however, his seat took a knock and came loose on the start loop, but after technical assistance from myself and Graham (mechanic) he got going again, though in 104th and last position. Gareth started working his way up through the field, catching and passing riders each lap, each lap he was getting faster, setting the 83rd fastest time on the last lap. He eventually finished in a solid 94th position after a tough race.”
The weekend at the World XCO Championships was a very positive one for the Irish Team, with the young riders gaining significantly from the experience from the beginning to end; “Overall we are happy with the race; there have been a lot of positives to take away from the event that we can learn from for future races.”
UCI 2016 World Mountain Bike Cross Country Championships Results:
World Championships Cross-country Olympic – Men Juniors
Gold Thomas Bonnet (FRA)
Silver Vital Albin (SUI)
Bronze Tobias Halland Johannessen (NOR)
DNF David Conroy (IRL)
World Championships Cross-country Olympic – Men Under 23
Gold Samuel Gaze (NZL)
Silver Victor Koretzky (FRA)
Bronze Marcel Guerrini (SUI)
81st Simon Curry (IRL)
World Championships Cross-country Olympic – Men Elite
Gold Nino Schurter (SUI)
Silver Jaroslav Kulhavy (CZE)
Bronze Julien Absalon (FRA)
94th Gareth McKee (IRL)