The UCI Downhill World Championships is the main stage for mountain biking. It’s where dreams are made, or crushed. A one-chance run to prove yourself against the best-of-the-best mountain bikers in the world. Four minutes to make it count.
The 2020 World Championships in Leogang, Austria will almost certainly go down in the history books. Feeding on the uncertainty of a pandemic year, it delivered drama and then some.
A normally subdued course was turned on its head. Axle-deep mud, tree roots, rocks, steep forestry descents, and even a little snow, challenged the world’s elite to the maximum. Fortune favoured the brave.
In treacherous, blizzard-like conditions, Johannes Fischbach laid down what he later described as the ride of his career, despite being only four weeks recovered from a broken shoulder blade.
Balancing on the knife-edge of success and failure, he kept himself up on two-wheels to grab the hot seat with over 30 riders still to go.
As competitors filtered through, Fischi’s run proved world-class - only slipping slightly down the leaderboard to an eventual ninth, a mere four seconds shy of the podium.
“Ever since I can remember, I’ve been sitting on a bike and been trying to push myself to the limits,” tells Fischi. “After all these injuries and this crazy year, I nailed it at the UCI Mountain Bike Downhill World Championships. I still can’t believe it.”
Within R Raymon, it is a result to be cherished.
“What Johannes achieved has left us speechless,” smiles Felix Puello, board member of PIERER E-Bikes GmbH. “It’s great to see what has come from our close relationship over these past years – we definitely want more.”
Photos: Sebastian Sternemann