Throwback Thursday: The First MTB World Championships in Durango, Colorado in 1990

Aug 26, 2021
by Sarah Moore  


Mountain biking is a relatively new sport, with the first mountain bike world championships organised by the Union Cycliste Internationale held just 31 years ago in Durango, Colorado. The event had been held since 1986, but without the sanction of the UCI until 1990. The UCI decided to host the world championships in the United States since it was the birthplace of mountain biking. Americans Ned Overend and Juli Furtado took the cross-country titles for Specialized and Yeti, with Greg Herbold and Cindy Devine winning the first-ever rainbow stripes awarded in the downhill category.


Cross-country
Men:
1. Ned Overend (USA)
2. Thomas Frischknecht (SUI)
3. Tim Gould (GBR)
Women:
1. Juli Furtado (USA)
2. Sara Ballantyne (USA)
3. Ruthie Matthes (USA)

Downhill
Men:
1. Greg Herbold (USA)
2. Mike Kloser (USA)
3. Paul Thomasberg (USA)
Women:
1. Cindy Devine (CAN)
2. Elladee Brown (CAN)
3. Penny Davidson (USA)


John Tomac raced in both the cross-country and downhill events in 1990 on a Yeti C-26 with a first generation Manitou mountain bike fork, drop handlebars, bar-end shifters, and a solid disc rear wheel. He finished 4th in the DH event after puncturing out of the lead group in the XC race. At the time, he was also racing road bike and so he rode the drop bars in order to keep his road and mountain-bike setups similar. The following year, he won gold in XC and silver in DH when the World Championships were held in Ciocco, Italy.




Previous XC World Champions


1990 Ned Overend + Juli Furtado // United States (Durango)
1991 John Tomac + Ruthie Matthes // Italy (Barga)
1992 Henrik Djernis + Silvia Furst // Canada (Bromont)
1993 Henrik Djernis + Paola Pezzo // France (Métabief)
1994 Henrik Djernis + Alison Sydor // United States (Vail)
1995 Bart Brentjens + Alison Sydor // Germany (Kirchzarten)
1996 Thomas Frischknecht + Alison Sydor // Australia (Cairns)
1997 Hubert Pallhuber + Paola Pezzo // Switzerland (Château-d'Œx)
1998 Christophe Dupouey + Laurence Leboucher // Canada (Mont-Sainte-Anne)
1999 Michael Rasmussen + Margarita Fullana // Sweden (Åre)
2000 Migue Martinez + Margarita Fullana // Spain (Sierra Nevada)
2001 Roland Green + Alison Dunlap // United States (Vail)
2002 Roland Green + Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesja // Austria (Kaprun)
2003 Filip Meirhaeghe + Sabine Spitz // Switzerland (Lugano)
2004 Julien Absalon + Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesja // France (Les Gets)
2005 Julien Absalon + Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesja // Italy (Livigno)
2006 Julien Absalon + Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesja // New Zealand (Rotorua)
2007 Julien Absalon + Irina Kalentieva // United Kingdom (Fort William)
2008 Christoph Sauser + Margarita Fullana // Italy (Val di Sole)
2009 Nino Schurter + Irina Kalentieva // Australia (Canberra)
2010 Jose Antonio Hermida + Maja Włoszczowska // Canada (Mont-Sainte-Anne)
2011 Jaroslav Kulhavy + Catharine Pendrel // Switzerland (Champery)
2012 Nino Schurter + Julie Bresset // Austria (Leogang-Saalfelden)
2013 Nino Schurter + Julie Bresset // South Africa (Pietermaritzburg)
2014 Julien Absalon + Catharine Pendrel // Norway (Lillehammer)
2015 Nino Schurter + Pauline Ferrand-Prevot // Andorra (Vallnord)
2016 Nino Schurter + Annika Langvad // Czech Republic (Nové Město)
2017 Nino Schurter + Jolanda Neff // Australia (Cairns)
2018 Nino Schurter + Kate Courtney // Switzerland (Lenzerheide)
2019 Nino Schurter + Pauline Ferrand Prevot // Canada (Mont-Sainte-Anne)
2020 Jordan Sarrou + Pauline Ferrand Prevot // Austria (Leogang)


Previous DH World Champions

2020 // Leogang, Austria // Camille BALANCHE // SUI + Reece WILSON // GBR
2019 // Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada // Myriam NICOLE // FRA + Loic BRUNI // FRA
2018 // Lenzerheide, Switzerland // Rachel ATHERTON // GBR + Loic BRUNI // FRA
2017 // Cairns, Australia // Miranda MILLER // CAN + Loic BRUNI // FRA
2016 // Val di Sole, Italy // Rachel ATHERTON // GBR + Danny HART // GBR
2015 // Vallnord, Andorra // Rachel ATHERTON // GBR + Loic BRUNI // FRA
2014 // Hafjell, Norway // Manon CARPENTER // GBR + Gee ATHERTON // GBR
2013 // Pietermaritzburg, South Africa // Rachel ATHERTON // GBR + Greg MINNAAR // RSA
2012 // Leogang, Austria // Morgane CHARRE // FRA + Greg MINNAAR // RSA
2011 // Champery, Switzerland // Emmeline RAGOT // FRA + Danny HART // GBR
2010 // Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada // Tracy MOSELEY // GBR + Sam HILL // AUS
2009 // Canberra, Australia // Emmeline RAGOT // FRA + Steve PEAT // GBR
2008 // Val di Sole, Italy // Rachel ATHERTON // GBR + Gee ATHERTON // GBR
2007 // Fort William, United Kingdom // Sabrina JONNIER // FRA + Sam HILL // AUS
2006 // Rotorua, New Zealand // Sabrina JONNIER // FRA + Sam HILL // AUS
2005 // Livigno, Italy // Anne-Caroline CHAUSSON // FRA + Fabien BAREL // FRA
2004 // Les Gets, France // Vanessa QUIN // NZL + Fabien BAREL // FRA
2003 // Lugano, Switzerland // Anne-Caroline CHAUSSON // FRA + Greg MINNAAR // RSA
2002 // Kaprun, Austria // Anne-Caroline CHAUSSON // FRA + Nicolas VOUILLOZ // FRA
2001 // Vail, USA // Anne-Caroline CHAUSSON // FRA + Nicolas VOUILLOZ // FRA
2000 /// Sierra Nevada, Spain // Anne-Caroline CHAUSSON // FRA + Myles ROCKWELL // USA
1999 // Are, Sweden // Anne-Caroline CHAUSSON // FRA + Nicolas VOUILLOZ // FRA
1998 // Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada // Anne-Caroline CHAUSSON // FRA + Nicolas VOUILLOZ // FRA
1997 // Chateau-d’OEx, Switzerland // Anne-Caroline CHAUSSON // FRA + Nicolas VOUILLOZ // FRA
1996 // Cairns, Australia // Anne-Caroline CHAUSSON // FRA + Nicolas VOUILLOZ // FRA
1995 // Kirchzarten, Germany // Leigh DONOVAN // USA + Nicolas VOUILLOZ // FRA
1994 // Vail, USA // Missy GIOVE // USA + Francois GACHET // FRA
1993 // Metabief, France // Giovanna BONAZZI // ITA + Mike KING // USA
1992 // Bromont, Canada // Juli FURTADO // USA + Dave CULLINAN // USA
1991 // Ciocco, Italy // Giovanna BONAZZI // ITA + Albert ITEN // SUI
1990 // Durango, USA // Cindy DEVINE // CAN + Greg HERBOLD // USA


91 Comments

  • 78 1
 Proof that current-day gravel bikes are just 90's MTBs
  • 4 0
 And that's a fact!
  • 4 0
 SPOT ON!

wish I could upvote 1 million times Razz
  • 1 0
 Filmed in Gape Town, S.A.?
  • 45 0
 You are killing my OCD with the champion lists. One is ascending year list men then women and the second is desceding listing women then men. This is worst than unmatched socks. I might not be able to sleep tonight.
  • 5 0
 I am traumatized too.
  • 3 0
 Glad I’m not the only normal person in here!
  • 30 1
 I'm old ... this made me smile, remember these riders and wanting to be this good back then. So very different from today's "send it" 1990 style vs "send it" in 2021 ... can you imagine if they caught a glimpse of the future & stuff like Red Bull Rampage and Hardline? I'm nearly 60 and can't imagine not doing this sport.
  • 28 0
 HB cut the course
  • 1 0
 Was looking for this comment.
Anyone know the full story,or was it just a rumour?
  • 1 0
 Dont understand. Please elaborate
  • 5 0
 Damn straight he did. But the crazier thing is that Ned is still riding around Durango crushing folks over 30 years later!
  • 1 0
 What ever happened to that site?
  • 1 0
 @bikebasher: Ran into him over at Star Wars one time, crazy how fast he still is.
  • 4 0
 @donpinpon29: There was this rumor that Greg Herbold ("HB") somehow cut the course in the DH, and that's how he won the first-ever DH world championship. Who tf knows if it was true, but he's innocent until proven guilty, IMO.

Anyway, some anonymous maniac in the bike industry created this insane blog about 5-10 years ago called hbcutthecoursein1990.com, and it dished a lot of hilarious hate on various MTB people, including HB. One of my favorite recurring features was this series of posts busting Brian Lopes's balls with pictures of him double-parking and being shirtless with staggering frequency. Hahaha.. I'm cracking up just thinking of it.
  • 1 0
 @heyjohnp: maybe it's still in the internet wayback machine archive
  • 1 0
 @heyjohnp: that's one example from 2010 you can use the way back machine to pull site snapshots from other years too
  • 1 0
 ...first of all, his nickname was H-ball dammit--never 'HB', and get off my lawn you damn kidz!
  • 3 0
 He sure did my boy Jon Mutone saw it!!
  • 1 0
 @5622moto: Johnny Mutone, wow. That's a name I haven't heard in a few decades.
  • 2 0
 Herbold was a lot of talk/cheesy either way. After that DH championship, the BMX guys came in and he was really competitive in DH or slalom afterwards. I am sure I will get some downvotes on this, but I was in BMX and getting into MTB early 90s'
  • 1 0
 @heyjohnp: thanks hilarious indeed
  • 11 0
 Herbold cut the tape.
  • 2 0
 It took this long for someone to comment on Herbold cut the tape Lol!
  • 7 0
 @blum585: Nope, @xc4pot called him out 38 minutes ago. As should be the case any time Herbold or the 1990 worlds are mentioned.
  • 9 0
 Hey, I was in that race! Such a great memory. Mountain bikes are always fun no matter what the latest tech brings
  • 8 0
 Am I the only one with the first thought watching this: why are those grown up men racing on kids bikes?
  • 1 0
 it really does look like that! crazy to think that those bikes were top of the line back then.
  • 3 0
 @ConMan05: For sure. Newer people into the sport don't realize how good they have it with new bikes.
  • 1 1
 @edummann: I'm still relatively new, I started riding last year, but even in that period the innovation and chage has been crazy.
  • 9 1
 Back when a "water-bar" was the gnarliest feature on the track!
  • 2 0
 haha, another 30 years and we'll all be riding a rampage course for breakfast
  • 4 1
 Pretty much Durango's only claim to fame that they keep bringing up over and over. Meanwhile Purg didn't actually have a worthy DH trail until this year. Some of the new wooden features on it are questionable. Hoping the building continues near and around Durango cuz we need more purpose built trails.
  • 3 0
 That list of mid-90s to early aughts men's XC winners is like a who's who of dopers. Roland Green, the Chicken, Ryder, Dupouey... not to mention the others who had some eyebrow-raising performances. Brentjens had as a coach one of the most notorious, unrepentant dopers (Gert-Jan Theunisse) from road racing, and that's saying something given the era. That gold in the '96 Olympics sure was sweet, though. I remember Brentjens walking away from the field in an early 90s World Cup XC race at altitude, and in hindsight it was a huge red flag. His team even got out in front of it to talk about the weeks he'd spent at altitude training. Wild west, indeed.

Friscknecht got robbed more than anyone year after year if you presume he was clean. Always a shame that he didn't get to celebrate that '96 win the day of the race, and who knows what he lost in earnings by not wearing rainbow in '97. At least he didn't have to fight to get the jersey and his name in the books.
  • 5 0
 my wrists hurt just from watching this...that, and I was expecting a PitViper ad to pop up randomly.
  • 1 0
 crazy dude, I was watching it and all of a sudden I was transported into a world where everyone was wearing jorts and pit vipers. weirdest thing.
  • 3 0
 I rode this course as a teenager on a rented 1996 Spesh Ground Control. Can confirm it was a painful experience. The visit to the og Yeti factory right down the road was amazing though.
  • 4 0
 Damn, I had a Made in the USA SC Heckler that year in Kawasaki green and a first-gen Hope front disc brake that looked like it came from a piece of farm equipment. Chris King installed the headset I bought from him at his tent at Mammoth.
  • 3 0
 @suspended-flesh: I wasn’t that cool. My daily was a SB Bontrager with 1” 130mm quill stem. Did have the sweet gold Judy with an eibach spring kit. Dude who owned the bike shop in the alamosa post office was also a machinist and made me a custom threaded alloy cap to keep the damper cartridges from exploding. Just got my first full suspension bike a few weeks ago. All I can say is holy shit
  • 2 0
 Ha! I also rode the course around 1996....and went to the Yeti factory. A lot of people were out to lunch, and I got a tour of the factory. It was rad!
  • 5 0
 Remember, Ned Overend is already 35yrs old in 1990. And he's now still racing at age 66. I thought him old back then. lol
  • 2 0
 They are some hardcore seniors! Henrik Djernis is still fast as hell too,I've heard
  • 1 0
 @lenniDK: It's weird to think of Ned as a Senior ... but it's true. He's a great inspiration for me to keep riding into the later years.

I haven't heard of Henrik ... he's now 53 so that's good to still be quick.
  • 5 0
 Imagine if the DH'ers just lowered their seat a little, mind blowing set up!!!
  • 1 0
 ha! My moment of zen for today.
  • 5 0
 John Tomac had some contacts with the future. A gravel bike and those shades...
  • 3 0
 Why are all of the DH riders using sky high seats? I slapped my BMx seat at 8 realizing it was in the way. All these riders lost a ton of their potential “suspension” via a seat punch to their fart box. :/
  • 1 0
 Because most of the courses were gravel road back then, pedalling efficiency was important. The biggest feature on the course would have been that waterbar they crossed in the video.
  • 1 0
 Bout time it comes back to the US....been 20 years since it was hosted here. I know I know, national series are a joke here and all that. But its not a series just a one time event that needs an awesome location which we have loads of. Snowshoe proved that the US can host a hell of a world cup.
  • 3 0
 Damn what a baller move by Juli Furtado in her post-bike career... Started the Juliana brand and called the first bike the Furtado.
  • 2 0
 she also won World Champs in both XC & DH
  • 1 0
 @scantregard: The only person ever to accomplish that feat. Man or woman. If I remember correctly.
  • 1 0
 @m1dg3t: yup. Tomac had 1st XC, 2nd DH on the same bike, Raleigh Signature. Furtado won on yeti c26 hardtail & gt rts a few years apart
  • 3 0
 @scantregard: John wasn't simply on the same bike. He accomplished it on the same weekend! Let that sink in. I doubt we'll ever see similar feats again. Male or female. The golden age of MTB IMHO
  • 1 0
 @m1dg3t: yup. I believes hes also the only rider to win a uci world cup xc on drop bars. Manosque 91. also on the same Raleigh Signature
  • 1 0
 @scantregard: What ever happened to Raleigh? They were huge, and now department store only?

My 1st real MTB was a Raleigh Tomahawk with the silver Jackson Pollock (splatter) paint job LoL. I was so stoked when I upgraded from 200gs to 400gs, plastic 4 finger to aluminum 2 finger BMX levers and Ritchey MegaBite Zmax tires LoL

Oh, can't forget the bear trap/tripple trap pedals AKA shin graters LoL
  • 2 0
 Tomac is great and all; I still have a 1999 Giant ATX-890 Tomac Signature frame, but a whole paragraph about the guy and his bike and he didn't even podium in this year... weird.
  • 1 0
 I heart my Specislized Direct Drive Titanium spindle pedals with SBC toe clips, Alfredo Binda straps and Campy buttons.
All you kids w/ your flats can go suck it.
Gotta have a neon Mt. Zefal pump as well.
Ruthie, Sara and Julie were all queens of the sport.
  • 4 0
 damn last US DH winner was in 2001
  • 1 0
 Cmon ladies and gents, bring home a WC Cup for us!
  • 2 0
 Kloser is still crushing races of all sorts around the valley, did a bunch of Eco-Challenge's and raised an Olympic skier at the same time. Legend.
  • 2 0
 Was there. 15 years old w/ Dad on one of the best trips ever. Even made slalom finals. First time in the mountains- was the best!
  • 3 0
 I didnt know Juliana and the Furtado bikes has this history in the name. Cool
  • 2 0
 Note to for anyone editing a new video, there is always time for a completely-unrelated overlay of a space shuttle launch (first vid at 3:22).
  • 2 0
 Makes me feel old! I was already riding back then and I’m still riding today. Oh man! Amazing seeing the bikes and sport’s evolution.
I’m glad to be part of it.
  • 3 0
 Anne-Caroline CHAUSSON // Nicolas VOUILLOZ

!!! A b s o l u t e L e g e n d s !!!
  • 2 0
 i don't know what the best part of that film was, the riding, the cheese factor, or the American hegemony. brilliant.
  • 1 0
 The US to host the world's? Only if f another state gets a chance, Colorado has had 3, Vail 2x and Durango, great places but there are a lot of other great places.
  • 4 2
 It's about time for the US to step up and host a World Championship
  • 4 1
 . . . . . . uhm . . . . .
  • 3 0
 @Bomadics: …go on
  • 3 1
 Cough… cough.. cyclo…
  • 6 5
 Lol. #1 we don't even have a National Championship that is worth going to. #2 the US can't even agree on how to handle a pandemic #3 profit
  • 1 0
 So 31 years later they finally realized that it's probably not a crazy idea to put a suspension fork on a drop bar bike?
  • 1 0
 Ah Tim Gould, my brother had his signature Peugeot team bike! thing weighed a tonne!
  • 3 0
 Elladee! Legend
  • 1 0
 Indeed!
  • 1 0
 PTB finishing 3rd in DH and 4th in XC. tough to imagine that happening today.
  • 1 0
 Sounds like Public Service Broadcasting. Lycra - Go! Neon - Go! Helmet covers - Go!
  • 1 0
 Reece Wallace won last year.
  • 1 0
 Everyone see that dropper post at 1:14...
  • 1 0
 Wouldn't have been surprised to see Minnaar on the list Razz
  • 1 0
 JOHN TOMAC IS THE FATHER OF THE MODERN GRAVEL BIKE
  • 4 0
 JOHN TOMAC IS THE FATHER OF THE MODERN ELI TOMAC
  • 1 0
 Drop bars on DH, kill it with fire!
  • 1 0
 Was there, done that & wore out the tee shirts!
  • 1 0
 Bikes have changed a lot since the 90's... sunglasses not so much!
  • 1 0
 Who is dis albert iten guy!?
He sounds cool!!
  • 1 0
 HB CUT THE COURSE

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