Courtney's victory snaps a 17-year drought for the United States at mountain biking's biggest annual event.

American Kate Courtney won the cross-country mountain bike world title on Saturday in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, defeating Danish rider Annika Langvad and Canadian Emily Batty. Courtney’s victory snaps a 17-year drought for the United States at mountain biking’s biggest annual event.

The last American to win a cross-country world title was Alison Dunlap, who took the rainbow stripes in 2001 in Vail, Colorado.

“Today was an incredibly special day,” said Courtney. “I knew I was coming into this race in good form and focused on just executing my plan. To come away with a gold medal and the rainbow stripes for Team USA and Specialized was beyond my wildest dreams.”

Langvad sprung to a commanding lead on the root-covered, technical track, riding alone at the front of the women’s field for much of the race. Courtney spent much of the day in second place, riding 20 seconds behind the Danish rider, who won the world title in 2016.

Courtney whittled away at the Danish rider’s advantage on the final two laps. When Langvad suffered an untimely bobble on the final lap, Courtney sped past her, holding her victorious margin until the finish line.

The Lenzerheide race marked Courtney’s first world championships in the elite division. The 22-year-old Californian finished second in the U23 division in 2017.

VeloNews profiled Courtney earlier this year.

Preliminary results

  1. Kate Courtney (USA), 29.4km in 1:34:55
  2. Annika Langvad (DEN), at 47.
  3. Emily Batty (CAN), at 1:58.
  4. Jolanda Neff (SWI), at 2:13.
  5. Maja Wloszczowska (POL), at 3:15.

Stay tuned to velonews.com for more information from the UCI World Mountain Bike Championships in Lenzerheide, Switzerland.