UCI MTB WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS 2019: MONT SAINT-ANNE


UCI MTB World Championships is one of the most prestigious race in the world of MTB racing, some call it as “Olympics of mountain bike”. There is one race – one opportunity to endure, conquer and perfectly execute race run to become a World champion and earn rainbow stripes. And that’s one of the reason this race is so special. World championships is celebrating this year 30th anniversary of crowning champions and to do it on historic venue in Mont Saint-Anne (Canada) seems like a perfect match-up. Mont Saint-Anne has great history of organizing MTB events on the highest level – they’ve organized first World cup race back in 1991, and until now, they’ve already hosted 27 world class level events. Out of that they’ve hosted World Championships two times before: in year 1998 and 2010.

Žak represented Slovenia in Mont Sainte-Anne for annual 30th UCI MTB World Championships (Photo: Grega Stopar)

Sinter Brakes Team was proud to have a rider representing Slovenian national colours in Canada this year. Žak Gomilšček will be racing in Downhill Junior men category. To commemorate Žak’s selection into national team for world championships, Žak was riding on his trustworthy colour customized Devinci Wilson 29 with white, blue and red colour accents.

Which one – blue or white? (Photo: Grega Stopar)

After a first dry-ish day of practice, Friday’s qualifying race was held on a rainy and muddy track. Even though the race was called “qualifying race”, everyone who started the race practically qualified for Sunday’s finals. With “nothing to gain and a lot more to lose” situation on the table, some of the racers played it safe and took it easy. Žak have chosen similar laid-back tactic and finished qualifying race on  16th place.

Towards the finish in rainy qualyfying run (Photo: Keith Valentine)

“As I knew that all the riders are qualified for finals and with sunny weather forecast in the next few days, I decided to play it safe and rode it easy and steady, where I just tried minimize mistakes. I still managed to make a big mistake and went off-line in one section where I lost some time. Otherwise I was happy with my run. I like the track and I’m hyped to give it all I have on Sunday!”

On Sunday, the track dried out and was running much faster than on Fridays qualification race. Dry track conditions indicated that another nail biting and tight racing was ahead of us.

With every run towards the Sundays finals, track was running faster and faster (Photo: Keith Valentine)

“Right from the start gate I was confident to give it all I had in me that day. I was trying to push hard on top section of the track, but literally I just tried it too hard and started making stupid mistakes all over the place. To make things even more diverse I had some problems with my back brake fading in the lower part of the track which didn’t helped me at all to regroup after a hectic top part… Still, towards the end I was able to totally focus on race run and finished the race with good pace at the end.”

MSA track with countless rocks is treacherous to ride it on the limits (Photo: Keith Valentine)

Žak crossed the line in 5th place, with 10 riders to go. At the end, his run was good enough for 12th PLACE IN JUNIOR MEN category which is new best Slovenian result on downhill Junior men World Championship. In Junior category, gold medal went to Australia (Kye A’hern), silver to France (Antoine Vidal) and bronze to New Zealand (Tuhoto-Ariki Pene).

“Pretty disappointed how the final’s went yesterday!😤😤 P12 is not where I wanted to be but still happy to set the new best Slovenian result in juniors.🤛🙌🔥 This weekend West Virginia!🤠💯”

Shaving off hair fractions of seconds with scrubbing the jump into finish area (Photo: Keith Valentine)

Despite “bad” race run, Žak again confirmed his solid consistency over vastly different tracks around the world. His overseas trip isn’t over yet as he’s going to World cup final race in Snowshoe, USA in the upcoming weekend.

Photo gallery by Grega Stopar

Photo gallery by Keith Valentine (phunkt.com)