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UCI Mountainbike World Champs - Day 4 Wrap

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

22 June 2008 - Blenheim professional Justin Leov has finished an outstanding sixth place in the downhill final at the UCI World Mountainbike Championships in Italy today.

Leov, who rides for the Yeti Fox Shox team in Europe, was only five seconds behind winner Gee Atherton from Great Britain in an exciting final on a treacherous course at Val di Sole.

It capped an excellent day for the New Zealand team with four top-10 placings. Queenstown's Scarlett Hagen finished ninth in the elite women's final while the Hawkes Bay pair of Aari Barrett and Brook MacDonald were fourth and fifth respectively in the junior elites.

Leov led the way in sixth place with five kiwis in the top 25 in the elite men's race from 99 starters.

The Marlborough rider, who made amends after injury kept him out of last year's world championships in Scotland, was third fastest to the intermediate mark with a top speed of over 60kph.

He negotiated his way around the many protruding tree roots for his sixth placing in 3:18.96 with an average speed of 43kph.

Behind Leov, Kieran Bennett (Nelson) was an outstanding 13th, Sam Blenkinsop (Wanganui) 17th, Cameron Cole (Christchurch) 22nd, Wyn Masters (Wanganui) 25th and Mike Skinner (Auckland) 50th.

Blenkinsop, ninth last year in Scotland, crashed in the early part of his run that cost him any chance of a second top-10 finish.

Atherton, third last year, took out the title from compatriot Steve Peat with defending champion Sam Hill (Australia) third after falling in the final 100m that cost him victory.

It proved a double celebration in the Atherton family with sister Rachel winning the women's final.

Hagen, 19th last year, showed she is in the top echelon of the sport with a strong performance to finish ninth, 13 seconds off a podium placing.

Amy Laird (Christchurch) was 16th from 26 starters.

Barrett (Napier) and MacDonald (Havelock North) were edged out of podium placings by 3/10ths and 6/10ths of a second respectively with one second covered second to fifth placings.

Great Britain's Josh Bryceland was in a class of his won in winning ahead of compatriot Same Dale with Remi Thurion (France) pipping the kiwi pair.

Cole completed a busy day following his 22nd placing in the downhill, as the only kiwi to make it through the 1/16 round of the four cross but was eliminated in the 1/8th round.

The championships conclude tomorrow with the elite men's and women's cross country featuring New Zealand's Rosara Joseph, Kaytee Boyd and Kashi Leuchs.

Results, UCI Mountainbike World Championships:

Downhill, elite men: Gee Atherton (GBR) 3:12.12, 1; Steve Peat (GBR) 3:14.74, 2; Sam Hill (AUS) 3:15.27, 3. New Zealanders: Juston Leov 3:17.96, 6; Kieran Bennett 13, Sam Blenkinsop 3:30.98, 17; Cameron Cole 3:32.20, 22; Wyn Masters 3:32.91, 25; Mike Skinner 3:44.92, 50.

Elite women: Rachel Atherton (GBR) 3:49.92, 1; Sabrina Jonnier (FRA) 4:01.91, 2; Emmeline Ragot (FRA) 4:07.03, 3. New Zealadners: Scarlett Hagen 4:20.14, 9; Amy Laird 4:44.44, 16.

Junior men: Josh Bryceland (GBR) 3:23.55, 1; Same Dale (GBR) 3:31.06, 2; Remi Thurion (FRA) 3:32.13, 3. New Zealanders: Aari Barret 3:32.47, 4; Brook MacDonald 3:32.77, 5; Richard Leacock 4:29.86, 53; Matthew Walker dnf.

Four Cross final: Rafael Alvarez de Lara (ESP) 1; Roger Rinderknecht (SUI) 2, Michael Deldycke (FRA) 3, Jared Graves (AUS) 4. New Zealanders: Cameron Cole 48.86, qualified for 1/8 final.

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