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American Richard Rude Jr. rode to a gold medal at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships on Friday in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
Rude, who hails from Redding, Conn., won the junior men’s downhill event after navigating the 3.021-kilometer course in 4:06:640. All six Americans in the field finished in the top 25, with three in the top 15 and two in the top six.
Loris Vergier (France) entered the finals as the top seed but ultimately finished second to Rude, 5.727 seconds behind. Placing third was Great Britain’s Michael Jones, who was 7.403 ticks slower than Rude.
American Luca Shaw finished sixth. Jay Fesperman was 12th, Luca Cometti was 20th, Walker Shaw was 22nd, and Cole Picchiottino placed 23rd.
Tahnee Seagrave (Great Britain) won the junior women’s downhill, finishing in 4:52:001. Australian Danielle Beecroft was 7.512 seconds behind in second, while Tegan Molloy (Australia) took third at 19.448 seconds back.
Kerschbaumer, Neff win XC titles
Italy’s Gerhard Kerschbaumer rode the six-lap, 28.2km Under-23 men’s cross-country course in 1:28:55, nearly a minute faster than runner-up Julian Schelb (Germany). Michiel Van Der Heijden (Netherlands) was 1:24 behind Kerschbaumer and placed third.
The top American in the race was Howard Grotts, who clocked a time 4:14 slower than Kerschbaumer to finish 12th. Grotts’ teammate Keegan Swenson also finished in the top 20, riding to 18th place at 5:26 back.
Jolanda Neff (Switzerland) was the women’s U23 cross-country champion, finishing the five-lap, 23.5km course in 1:25:44. Finishing a distant second at 2:26 back was Pauline Ferrand Prevot (France), while Yana Belomoyna (Ukraine) crossed the line 3:45 behind Neff to finish third.
Shayna Powless led the American contingent, as she recorded a 25th-place result at 16:33 behind Neff.
Tatiana Janickova of Slovakia won the women’s trials title, with Gemma Abant (Spain) finishing second and Janine Jungfels (Australia) placing third.
In the elite men’s 20” trials, Abel Mustieles (Spain) was victorious over Aurelien Fontenoy (France) and Benito Ros (Spain). Bernat Seuba (Spain) won the junior men’s 20” event, with Thomas Pechhacker (Austria) in second and Alex Rudeau (France) in third.
The top three squads in the team trials event were Spain, France, and Germany.