UCI World Championships: Charlie Hatton surprises favourites to take downhill title

British underdog tames wet conditions to take big win in front of a home crowd

Clock16:00, Saturday 5th August 2023
Charlie Hatton in action before winning the elite downhill world title

© Velo Collection (TDW) / Getty Images

Charlie Hatton in action before winning the elite downhill world title

In a result that was as wild and unpredictable as the weather, Great Britain’s Charlie Hatton mastered the wet Fort William course to win the men’s downhill World Championships, taking not only his first world title, but his first-ever top-level win.

Hatton beat trade teammate Andreas Kolb (Austria) into second to complete an impressive day for their Continental Atherton team, whilst compatriot Laurie Greenland rounded out the podium in third. With the wet conditions that saw the course becoming slicker and more challenging throughout the day, many of the big favourites were thwarted by crashes or incidents that saw them unable to challenge for the podium, leaving space for Hatton to take an impressive but surprising win.

“That was absolutely insane,” Hatton said. “I’m lost for words to be honest. I knew I was riding well this weekend but I never, ever expected the win. I’m speechless.

“I know Fort William rides really good in the wet, so I just attacked the same as yesterday. I had some people in the woods that said the mud was very thin so there was still grip, so I just hit all my lines and had a really good run.”

Setting off just as the first rain began to fall, Angel Suarez Alonso (Spain) set the early fastest time, with the times then slowing as the continuing rain made the track slippery and treacherous. The Spaniard was in the hot seat for more than two hours until Hatton dropped in, attacking the course with skill and speed to go fastest by two and a half seconds.

Despite setting an impressive time, with the top 14 riders still to go it looked likely that Hatton’s time would be beaten. However, as crashes befell the likes of Jordan Williams (Great Britain), Bernard Kerr (Great Britain) and Thibaut Daprela (France) it looked more and more possible that the Brit would at least be in line for a medal.

As the last five riders dropped in, Kolb and Greenland did enough to take second and third, but no one could touch Hatton’s time. As the fastest qualifier and defending champion, all eyes were on Loïc Bruni (France), but even an incident-free run from the Frenchman was only enough to finish fourth, and with all riders down the hill, Hatton’s win was confirmed.

Race Results

1

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HATTON Charlie

4' 26"

2

at flag

KOLB Andreas

+ 1"

3

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GREENLAND Laurie

"

4

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BRUNI Loic

+ 2"

5

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BROSNAN Troy

"

6

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VERGIER Loris

+ 3"

7

es flag

SUAREZ ALONSO Angel

"

8

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WILLIAMSON Greg

"

9

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COULANGES Benoit

"

10

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NORTON Dakotah

+ 4"

Provided by FirstCycling

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