Done and Dusted: World Championships 2016
The British domination of downhill has been questioned in recent times, we even started to doubt it ourselves, but on the biggest stage and the toughest track of the year this small, green island proved itself again. Val di Sole kicked up a sandstorm of adversity but Hart, Atherton and Greenland all emerged with freshly buffed metal firmly in their grasp.
Photos: Seb Schiek
With Steve Peat on stage and God Save the Queen ringing out you couldn't help but feel proud of our nation's past, present and future in this sport. Take a look at all the best photo action here.
Life is tough for junior women racers. Under-supported and overlooked, the only real chance they have to shine is at the annual World Championships. This year it was the chance of Alessia Missiaggia, Samantha Kingshill and Flora Lesoin who caught the attention of the world.
Stevie Smith would be proud. He may be sadly departed now but he left behind a legacy. As the first Canadian to win big on the World Cup stage, he inspired a whole generation of youngsters to saddle up on their downhill rigs and go fast.
Yesterday we saw the true harvesting of that talent. Finn Iles, showing skills and maturity beyond his years all season, and Magnus Mason, an unexpected contender but fast none-the-less, finished 1 and 2. Gabe Fox, Stevie Smith's former team manager and temporary Canadian coach couldn't have looked more proud.
It was always going to be wasn't it? Rachel Atherton is at the peak of her powers and it would take something very special to have stopped her today.
Pompon came closest, the French rider comes alive on steep, techy tracks. An injury scuppered her early season, would a full season of racing under her belt have made the difference? Another rider who will be rueing her loss is Tracey Hannah. Hannah was in touch with Atherton in seeding. Atherton matched her seeding time, Hannah was nine seconds back with some costly mistakes.
Healing vibes go out to Manon Carpenter who has now flown home with a suspected broken collarbone. Get well soon Manon!
For Danny this win has come in a season where he needed to deliver. At all costs. It proved emphatically that less than a second can actually make or break a career. Having snatched Lenzerheide, Hart got on the move big style, this is now his fourth big win on the run. The Mondraker man looks unstoppable and now very much the front man of not only British downhill, but on a world level.
Behind him, little Laurie. 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 Hart, a man currently at the very top of the game. Then Payet, the giant of the scene in a physical sense, but never quite capable enough to breakthrough, muscled his way onto the box.