Pietermaritzburg in South Africa hosts the 2013 UCI MTB Worldchampionships. On a fast, technical an also hard 4.2 km long track riders from all over the world fighted for the win.
I took a good start into the U23 race, riding into the first hill in second position behind the Italian Kerschbaumer. In the second hill I got dropped a bit but was able to close the gap in the descent again. So after one and a half laps I found myself in the leadinggroup with two Italians. In the uphills I tried to go for my own rhythem but chasing in the downhills. At the end of lap two in the last rock garden I nearly caught up again to the leading Italians when all my medal hopes fall through: It was a bit dark in the last rock garden and I did not hit the line perfectly. So I just opend the brake a bit to bypass a crash. Thereby I somehow hit a rock and flated my front wheel. After about 2 min. I continued racing with a new wheel, trying to move forward again. But legs didn’t spin that good after the walk and stop in the techzone. Seeing the medal was gone the rest of the race was like a big fight. In the end I moved forward from 17th into 10th but that was just a really little consolation. The Italian Gerhard Kerschbaumer became new world champion ahead if Julian Schelb, showing an incredible and strong comeback. Van der Heijden took the bronze medal.
I really came to South Africa to at least try to fight for a medal, being well prepared. And then a nasty flat destroys all your medal hopes in such a promising situation. Fore sure one of my biggest frustrations which will also stay a few days.