By Andrew Mitchell
Whistler’s Claire Buchar wrapped up the World Cup downhill season in Austria this past weekend, placing 14 th , and missing the top-10 by just five seconds. She also picked up some more valuable UCI points to wrap up her season in 13 th place in the overall standings — the top North American female in downhill.
While that’s only one spot ahead of where she placed last year, Buchar was consistent. She started her season with a 10 th place finish in Spain, following up with back-to-back 14 th place results in Britain and Germany. She had a tough ride in the Canadian World Cup at Mont Sainte Anne to place 16 th , then injured her thumb in a serious crash that left her off the podium in fourth place at the Canadian nationals. She came back to place 15 th at the UCI World Championships in New Zealand.
Vancouver’s Danika Schroeter placed 14 th overall, but earned two top-10 and two top-15 results in international competition this year, as well as a silver medal in the nationals.
The overall title went to Tracy Moseley of Great Britain, followed by fellow Brit Rachel Atherton. French riders Sabrina Jonnier, Emmeline Ragot, and Celine Gros were third through fifth.
Sam Hill of Australia edged out Britain’s Steve Peat to take the overall men’s title, while another British rider, Marc Beaumont, placed third. Gee Atherton in fourth place gave Britain three out of five top spots, with the fifth place going to Greg Minnaar of Russia.
Cedric Gracia of France, who lives part-time in Whistler, placed eighth overall.
Victoria’s Andrew Mitchell, the national champion at 18 years old, was the top ranked Canadian rider in 45 th place. His best result in a World Cup race was 26 th at Mont Ste. Anne.