UCI Mountain Bike World Championships - Gold medals for Italy & Denmark as cross-country competition begins
Heavy rain overnight left the track muddy and slippery for the women as they started their four lap race. Evie Richards (Great Britain) took the lead on the first climb, but Berta was not far behind and caught the British rider late in the first lap as she struggled with the nearly 2000 metre altitude.
Berta then steadily rode away from the rest of the field to take the rainbow jersey, an exceptional accomplishment for a first year Junior. Richards, after struggling mid-race and almost getting caught by defending champion Nicole Koller (Switzerland), recovered in the final lap and a half to hold on for the silver medal, with Koller taking bronze.
The men began in pouring rain, which backed off for a short while before returning even stronger for the final lap and a half. Andreassen was the clear favourite to take the men's title, after showing incredible speed in the Team Relay the day before, when Denmark took bronze. The Danish rider took the lead on the first lap of the five lap race, initially joined by Maximilian Brandl (Germany) and Egan Bernal (Colombia), before dropping his rivals late on the that lap.
From that point on Andreassen rode on his own a comfortable 45 seconds ahead of Brandl and Bernal, who were battling for the silver medal. Bernal held onto second until the final lap, when he began to fade as Brandl moved up, eventually dropping the Colombian to take the silver medal, while Bernal held on for bronze.
Friday action continues with cross-country Olympic Under 23 Men and Women racing.