Luca Shaw Fastest American at Downhill World Championships
August 30, 2021
Shaw rode to a Top-10 with Norton also on pace before his crash
VAL DI SOLE – TRENTINO, Italy – It was all about the downhill team today on the last day of the 2021 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships. The rain was on and off all week as the riders tried to dial in their lines in practice. It rained the night before racing making the open track sections slick, with the woods sections still loose and dusty. Trying to adjust their riding for the different track conditions was a challenge, but Team USA found success. Late in the day, the rain came back out just to make things interesting for the Top-30 Elite Men waiting to drop at the top of the mountain. It was not a torrential downpour, but it was enough just to re-wet the track and make it a slicker than what the riders had practiced earlier in the day.
Elite Men Downhill
Luca Shaw (Hendersonville, N.C.; Santa Cruz Syndicate) rode smoothly and consistently, spending some time in the hot seat after finishing his run. He clocked a time of 3:33.897 putting him 10th fastest in the world at the end of the day.
The newly crowned 2021 National Champion Dakotah Norton (Oliver Springs, Tenn.; The YT Mob) was on fire today. At the time of his run, Norton was fastest at all the splits by quite a few seconds as he came down the mountain. Unfortunately, Norton hit a compression wrong after the fourth split, kicking him off the track and into the fence. He was safely back on his bike but finished 63rd. His splits before the crash would have put him in 8th.
Norton was bummed with the crash, but knew his times were there. He said, “To come to World Champs and get to represent my country is one of the greatest honors I have in our sport. This race particularly is one that only matters how fast you go. I’m really proud of the way I rode. I put my best foot forward today and swung for the fences and unfortunately came up short. I’m happy to get the honor to come over here and race my bike, but I’m looking for more next year.”
Dante Silva (Chula Vista, Calif.; Canyon) and Austin Dooley (Yucaipa, Calif.; Commencal USA) continued their streak of finishing their races on the same second. The training partners both had clean runs that they were thrilled with their first Elite World Championships. Silva was 0.1 faster than Dooley, placing them in 29th and 31st, respectively.
Last weekend was Charlie Harrison’s (Trabuco Canyon, Calif.; Trek Factory Racing) first World Cup in 23 months after suffering injuries from the past couple of seasons. As he knocked the cobwebs off in Maribor and now Val di Sole, he had splits on par with the top riders until he flatted towards the bottom of the course.
Neko Mulally (Pisgah Forest, N.C.; Intense Factory Racing) and Nikolas Nestoroff (San Diego, Calif.; KHS Factory Racing) also competed.
- Minaar (RSA) 3:25.963
- Coulanges (FRA) +0.227
- Brosnan (AUS) +0.441
- Shaw (USA) +4.934
- Silva (USA) +11.320
- Dooley (USA) +11.389
- Harrison (USA) +17.788
- Mulally (USA) +17.971
- Nestoroff (USA) +20.184
- Norton (USA) +29.640
Elite Women Downhill
Anna Newkirk (Riehen, Switzerland; Canyon) was the fastest American woman to cross the line today. Newkirk tied her best Elite World Cup result, finishing in 13th place. Abby Hogie (Heidelberg, Germany; Tillit Gravity Team) finished just a few seconds off Newkirk riding to 17th.
Mazie Hayden (Pittsfield, Vt.; Defiant Racing) was on a great run but tweaked a previous injury making her crash on a tight right-hand turn towards the bottom of the course. Kailey Skelton (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.; KHS Factory Racing) was struck with illness early in the week and was unable to make it to the line.
- Nicole (FRA) 4:06.243
- Cabirou (FRA) +4.827
- Balanche (SUI) +6.099
- Newkirk (USA) +23.553
17 Hogie (USA) +34.188
DNF. Hayden (USA)
DNS. Skelton (USA)
Junior Women Downhill
Ella Erickson (Hayden, Idaho; Commencal USA) is in her last season as a junior before she makes the jump to the Elite Women’s class. Erickson was third fastest through the speed trap, clocking a time of 4:48.546, putting her in seventh place. In Emma Artz’s (Kirkland, Wash.) first international race, she finished 13th.
- Yankova (BUL) 4:30.865
2.Haugom (NOR) +10.844
- Hemstreet (CAN) +13.245
- Erickson (USA) +17.681
- Artz (USA) +1:05.405
The Junior Men had their first season racing in Europe and their first World Championship experience. Dylan Maples (Orangevale, Calif.; Commencal) had a great ride, finishing with a time of 3:49.813, sliding into the Top-15. Andrew Driscoll (Bow, N.H.; Defiant Racing) was just off his pace riding to 21st. Dean Lindsey (Pleasanton, Calif.) had a crash, causing him to just miss out on the Top-20.
- Goldstone (CAN) 3:37.097
- Williams (GBR) +1.812
- Stevens-Mcnab (NZL) +3.560
- Maples (USA) +12.716
- Driscoll (USA) +19.317
- Lindsey (USA) +25.717
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