Australians hoping to excel on home soil
While Australia has had exceptional athletes in all disciplines of mountain biking, it has been in the downhill (DHI) where the country has had most success at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships.
In 1999, Nathan Rennie became Australia's first downhill UCI World Champion, winning the Junior title, and was a fixture on the UCI World Cup podium in the early 2000s, winning the overall title in 2003.
Sam Hill became the most successful Australian downhiller in history in the mid to late 2000s with five UCI World Championship titles (two Junior, three Elite), 13 UCI World Cup wins and two UCI World Cup overall titles. More recently, Cairns native Tracey Hannah has had a Junior world title and four Elite UCI World Championship medals, while Troy Brosnan has once again put Australia among the top nations on the men's side, with two Junior world titles and two UCI World Cup wins. This year, Brosnan finished second overall in the UCI World Cup and Hannah third.
So, with the UCI World Championships coming to Cairns, Australia, riders like Brosnan will be hoping to put on a show for the local fans.
Brosnan, who finished second in Elite Men at the last UCI World Cup in Cairns, held in 2016, is looking forward to racing on home soil.
"It is amazing to have a World Championship race held in Australia, and I am very pleased and excited to be racing in front of my home crowd and on a track I like. Racing on home soil will be a crazy feeling and having everyone there cheering me on will push me for the win."
He also thinks it will spur on the next generation of Australian downhillers, "I believe it will have a big impact of DH in Australia. A lot of Junior riders will be there to watch and see the best in the world race right in front of them. Also, the media attention Worlds Champs get will only push all the Aussies to get excited and race harder."
However, he admits that it won't be easy: "The DH track is really good, and has really steep top corners and then a BMX-like jump section halfway down. Towards the bottom is twisty turns through the jungle and a solid 15-20 second sprint to to finish line, making it an all-round track. The rider who wins will have to be very fit and strong, and also be able to attack the top steep corners."