Kye A’Hern wins junior downhill world title as Oceania riders claim four medals
Australia’s Kye A’Hern stormed downhill to claim the junior men’s downhill world title among a four-medal haul by Oceania riders at the 2019 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Mont-Saint-Anne, Canada, 28 August – 1 September.
Reigning Oceania Champion Rebecca McConnell won Australia’s first ever women’s cross-country medal with a stunning bronze. While Troy Brosnan (Australia) claimed silver in the men’s downhill having claimed a junior world title here back in 2010. Completing the medals was Tuhoto-Ariki Pene (New Zealand) who added world championship bronze in the junior men’s downhill.
Australian Champion A’Hern was unstoppable on his way to claiming the junior downhill title, the first since 2011. Having claimed silver a year ago A’Hern was unrelenting as he snared gold by over a second on Antoine Vidal. Reigning Oceania Champion Tuhoto-Ariki Pene made it two riders from Oceania in the podium in bronze.
“One was a gap in the bottom woods drop and then you gap a big hole that a lot of people would have to roll through. It’s kind of known as the Greg Minnar gap,” he said.
“I knew I just had to do that despite how tired you are at the end of the run and it paid off to give me the extra second or so I needed.”
Troy Brosnan who claimed the first of his two junior world titles in Mont-Saint-Anne in 2010 again found the podium grabbing silver, half a second behind Loic Bruni (France) and Amaury Pierron (France).
“I gave it absolutely everything. I was really on the edge as I’d been training a lot for this race,” Brosnan said.
“I’m a little upset as it’s world champs but I’m really happy with how I rode but it just wasn’t quite enough.”
In the elite women’s race World Cup leader Tracey Hannah (Australia) narrowly missed the podium in fourth, with the race taken out by Myriam Nicole (France).
Fiona Murray was the top Oceania finisher in the junior women’s in sixth, with Oceania Champion Cassie Voysey (Australia) one spot further back in seventh.
Australia’s Rebecca McConnell won bronze in the Women’s Cross-country, the first ever by an Australian woman. McConnell went into the World Championships ranked number five in the world and an outside medal contender. Having claimed the Oceania and Australia titles in April before a string of top 10 World Cup finishes.
A strong start by McConnell saw her lead for three of the six lap race before a strong charge from 2015 World Champion Pauline Ferrand Prevot (France) saw her catch and pass McConnell on lap four, before slipping to third on the final lap with a late attack from Jolanda Neff (Switzerland).
A determined McConnell pushed all the way to the finish to claim the first ever medal in the women’s cross-country for Australia and a return to form for McConnell who missed most of the 2018 season.
“When she (Pauline), went past there was absolutely nothing I could do and the last two laps I was surviving,” said a delighted McConnell.
“It was a super brutal race and I gave it everything.”
In Other cross-country races Oceania Champion Zoe Cuthbert (Australia) took fifth in the junior women’s, Anton Cooper finished 20th in the elite men’s and 2017 junior world champion Cameron Wright (Australia) in his first year under 23 snared 18th in the men’s. Australia finished ninth in the Team Relay, Megan Williams (Australia) was 33rd in the under 23 women’s and Piper Albrecht (Australia) was the top finisher in the junior men’s in 42nd.
Gold Kye A’Hern (AUS) – Junior Downhill
Silver Troy Brosnan (AUS) – Elite Downhill
Bronze Rebecca McConnell (AUS) – Elite Cross-country
Bronze Tuhoto-Ariki Pene (NZL) – Junior Downhill