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Champion at last

 

STeve Peat and four local riders all have cause to celebrate

 

Ever since Sierra Nevada in 2000, Steve Peat has had to settle for silver four times. Last year, in Val di Sole he was beaten by fellow Briton Gee Atherton. But, at the age of 35, Peat still hoped of clinching the illusive World Championship title. His dream became a reality in Canberra, where he won one of the most hotly contested downhills of recent years. With four athletes finishing within one second of each other after the 2.4 kilometre circuit. Greg Minnaar of South Africa came just five hundredths of a second behind the winner, with Australia’s Michael Hannah at -0.69 and Fabien Barel of France -0.84.

The gold in the women’s competition went to France’s Emmeline Ragot, who beat Great Britain’s Tracey Moseley and Kathleen Pruitt of the USA to first place.

There was also cause for celebration in the Hong Kong camp as all four riders TSUI King Man, LAU Shu Sum, YIP Kim Fung and WONG HON Chiu, all managed to qulify and race in the finals, coming in between 25 to 45 seconds behind the winner Peat. A first for Hong Kong. “This is great news for the sport, it just goes to show what potential Hong Kong has.” Said Bob smith HKMBA chairman on hearing the news.

Close to 30,000 spectators gathered in Mount Stromlo over the race weekend: proof, if any were needed, of the enormous popularity of the sport. If only Hong Kong would wake up to the full potential of the territory, who knows one day, year, decade, we may be hosting a world class event.