What were you doing at 19? Working? University? We can safely say unless you were Nicolas Vouilloz you weren’t sitting in the hot seat of a downhill World Championships as rider after rider failed to match your time.
Laurie Greenland’s rise to the top has been so rapid it almost passed us by. In 12 short months he’s gone from plucky junior champ to a genuine threat at every World Cup round.
Today was his coming of age. A teenager of small stature, on a “big man’s” track, this wasn’t meant to happen, but using his “skip along” technique he put eight seconds in to the rest of the field and could only be beaten by Danny Hart, a man currently at the very top of the game.
It was a run that defied belief and, at times, physics. Much like his team-mate, Greenland rode on the ragged edge, treading the fine line that’s needed to do well at the World Champs. It’s worth noting though, that where others pushed this boundary and ended up choking on the Italian dust, Greenland was wily enough to hold it true.
What stands out is Greenland’s humility. He describes this as “the perfect result”. As much as his pained expressions on the hotseat may have suggested otherwise, he was more than content not winning this time round. He said he wants to earn the rainbow stripes after a few more years of hard graft – in other words, watch this space.
So what next for Greenland? Fast, focussed and grounded, he can’t go far wrong, and with Hart as a mentor it seems Britain may have its next downhill superstar.