September 8th, 2014

World Champs: Brook MacDonald and Neko Mulally Top 5, Laurie Greenland Takes Silver in Juniors



In a dramatic day of racing in the small ski town of Hafjell, 2 hours north of Oslo, Trek World Racing’s Neko Mulally (USA) had an incredible race after snapping his chain out of the start house, to finish 4th at the Elite Men’s World Championships. Team mate Brook MacDonald finished 5th in his best ever elite World Champs result while Laurie Greenland took the silver medal in Junior Men at his World Championship debut.

For Mulally, the long road to the 2014 World Championships seemed to be over in the first 50m when his chain snapped and fell cleanly off the bike, but the Pennsylvanian quickly adapted to the situation and focused on carrying speed everywhere he could in order to make the most of the situation. Never expecting that his run would take him to the hotseat, let alone 4th place, Neko was stunned to see the green light as he crossed the line.

Neko said: “When I saw the green light on the scoreboard coming to the line I honestly thought that it was from the rider before me. I was amazed to see I’d had the fastest run. As soon as I saw the chain was off I decided not to touch the brakes from there on in but after getting way too loose in the first rock section I decided to get back to my race lines and then focus on where I could carry speed, sometimes taking wider lines if they were faster into the next section. This year at a couple of Pro GRT races I did chainless training runs and have always found that to be a useful way to learn where the track gives you speed, and where you need to add to it with pedalling. It teaches you a lot about the track. I never thought I’d need that experience here at the Worlds. Crashing in Cairns for 3rd, breaking a chain here for 4th, people inevitably ask me what could have been, but if you told me I’d have 4th at Worlds this year, I would have been stoked, with or without a chain.”

Brook MacDonald ended the day and season with his best ever performance at an Elite World Championships, in 5th place, after attacking the bottom section of the track. An enormous scrub on the final jump to wipe off the unexpected speed he’d found, had the crowd in awe as he set the light to green at the finish.

Brook said: “I didn’t get to race here last year because of my shoulder injury and to be honest, that injury has taken a lot longer than I thought to recover from, but mid-way through this year I started to feel like my old self again, and to finish top 5 here at Worlds gives me a great feeling going into the off season. I was so proud to have been on the hotseat for such a long time with my team mate and room-mate, Neko.”

Bristol’s Laurie Greenland was coming into the World Championship after claiming his first World Cup podium in Méribel, knowing that the Worlds is whole different kind of event, one he’d never been to before. After qualifying in 6th place, despite needing to overtake a slower rider, it was clear he had the pace for a target top 5 position, but on race day he threw down a great run, free of nerves, and found himself in the silver medal position.

Laurie said: “It’s very surreal to be standing up there getting a Worlds medal. It only seems like yesterday I was a 12 year old watching all this stuff on TV, never thinking I could be up there. Probably what I’m happiest about in these last two races is that I’ve found the speed I needed without taking crazy risks and crashing. I got through both the World Cup finals and Worlds without a single crash or injury, and found the podium both times. Probably the most gruelling thing of the day was getting picked for anti-doping, it took me more than 7 hours to get that done, and I missed seeing my team mates race live!”

Huge disappointment for George Brannigan who’d recorded the 4th fastest timed run on a track he’s finished 2nd at before. His first split in the final was on track at 6th, but then a small error when his hand slipped off the handlebar brought him down. He suffered a second crash when an accredited photographer used flash photography in his face in a forest section. The team has been petitioning the UCI all year to mandate the withdrawal of privileges for photographers that use flash photography in race runs as it’s a serious safety issue. Fortunately George wasn’t badly hurt and managed to get to the line.

Greg Williamson crossed the line in 2nd place and that was good enough for 19th on the day in his first appearance in a World Championship final. He was selected for Great Britain last year but injured himself in training and never got to start. Greg felt his run here was a too conservative but was generally happy to have had a top 20 at the Worlds.

Team Owner Martin Whiteley said: “To walk away with two top 5’s in men and a silver medal in juniors is a great feeling. All five guys were fit and healthy and ready to give it their all today and that’s all you can ask for coming into race day. Laurie is ticking all the right boxes as we continue with his career plan, and Brook is back where he feels most comfortable, fast and up with the top guys. Neko’s run is the ride of the day, without question. The maturity and temperament it takes to deal with an unexpected mechanical like that and still show the World’s best how to ride those lines, amazing stuff. We’re all looking forward to doing it all again next year.”



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