Road To The Olympic Games

Emily Batty takes bronze at mountain bike world championships

Canadian Emily Batty raced to bronze at the mountain bike world championships on Saturday. The product of Brooklin, Ont., finished one minute, 58 seconds behind American Kate Courtney.

Canadian finishes season strong in Lenzerheide, Switzerland

Bronze medallist Emily Batty of Canada reacts after the women's elite cross-country race at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, on Saturday. (Gian Ehrenzeller/EPA-EFE)

Canadian Emily Batty raced to bronze at the mountain bike world championships on Saturday in Lenzerheide, Switzerland.

The product of Brooklin, Ont., finished one minute and 58 seconds behind American Kate Courtney.

Courtney is the first American to win the mountain bike world championships in nearly two decades, holding off Danish rider Annika Langvad to win the rainbow jersey.

"I'm so proud," Batty said. "When I was racing, I knew that there was no way I was going to walk away without a medal. I found my limit; I've never gone as hard as today. That was my goal: to turn myself inside out, and leave it all out there. \

"We [Batty and Courtney] did get a good gap from behind early in the race, and I just tried to hold that. I feel like I'm just starting to grow into my potential."

Langvad took an early lead and Courtney spent much of the day decreasing a 20-second gap. The 22-year-old from California caught Langvad, the 2016 world champion, with a few laps left.

She eventually opened a 48-second advantage.

The U.S. once dominated mountain biking, but the growth of the discipline in the late 1990s largely left the Americans behind. Alison Dunlap was the last to win a world championship in 2001.

Batty, 30, hauled in a silver medal at the World Cup stage in Val di Sole, Italy, this season and also earned bronze in Andorra and on home soil in Mont-Saint-Anne, Que., in August. 

With files from CBC Sports

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