LENZERHEIDE, SWITZERLAND – Kate Courtney (Specialized Factory Racing Team) rode to a gold medal at the 2018 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships Saturday.
Her win marked the first U.S. Mountain Bike World Championship since Alison Dunlap at the 2001 World Championships in Vail, Colo.
“Today was an incredibly special day,” Courtney said. “Racing in the national team kit in front of a spectacular Swiss crowd, and most importantly in front of my friends and family, made this moment really magical.”
How the race unfolded
After having a strong start and riding in the top three for the first half of the race, Courtney, who is based in San Francisco, systematically began to shave off time lap by lap going into the final lap to battle for first with Danish rider Annika Langvad.
By the half-way point of the lap, Courtney had opened an 18-second gap between herself and Langvad. Courtney crossed the finish line 48 seconds ahead of Langvad, securing the rainbow stripes.
“I knew I was coming into this race in good form and focused on just executing my plan,” Courtney said. “To come away with a gold medal and the rainbow stripes for Team USA and Specialized was beyond my wildest dreams.”
Leading up to this moment
Courtney thanked USA Cycling and her pro team who allowed her to race consistently in Europe and gain experience as an international racer.
“All of the lessons I have learned, from my very first World Cup in Nove Mesto to my first elite season racing the World Cups with Specialized played a role in this moment,” she said.
Scott Schnitzspahn, Vice President of Elite Athletics for USA Cycling, said Courtney is a great ambassador for the sport.
“She works incredibly hard and has been building to a great performance, but a World Championship is very special,” Schnitzpahn said. “Kate has arrived and represents a new generation of American mountain bikers.”
Courtney, the reigning U.S. National Champion, got her start in racing when she joined her high school mountain bike team.
USA Cycling recognized her talent and she began racing with its development program attending World Cups as a junior rider.
In 2012, she became the first American woman to win a UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in the Junior category. While Courtney attended Stanford University, she rode for their collegiate team for the first two years before signing a professional contract with Specialized.
Content provided by USA Cycling