Pinkerton Downhill
Team USA
2023 World Championships

The First Day of the World Championships Kicked Off With the Track Events and the Downhill Qualifiers in Scotland

By: Tom Mahoney  August 03, 2023

The United States earns first gold medal of the week in the Women’s Individual Pursuit.

The 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships kicked off on Thursday with several Endurance and Sprint Track events as well as the Downhill Qualifiers for the Juniors. With Team USA being represented in the Men’s Team Pursuit, Men’s and Women’s Team Sprint, Women’s Individual Pursuit, Men’s Scratch race, and Downhill Qualifiers the United States was well represented on the World stage.


The first day at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, just outside the heart of downtown Glasgow, began with the Men’s Team Pursuit qualifying round. Gavin Hoover  (Manhattan Beach, Calif.; L39ion of Los Angeles), Anders Johnson  (Huntsville, Utah), Grant Koontz  (Nederland, Colo.; Star Track Cycling), and Colby Lange  (Edwards, Colo.; Chaney Windows and Doors), were the third team to toe the start line. The crew put down an impressive ride, stopping the clock at 3:59.295. They placed twelfth out of 14 teams and did not advance to the next round of competition.

Keely Ainslie (Fullerton, Calif.), Kayla Hankins  (Scottsdale, Ariz.), and Mandy Marquardt  (Allentown, Pa.; Team Novo Nordisk), the Women’s Team Sprint team, were focused and ready to go for their qualification round. The women worked together to achieve a 48.617, placing them eleventh in the competition.

Making her Track World Championships return after a crash at the 2020 UCI Road World Championships, Chloé Dygert  (Brownsburg, Ind.; CANYON//SRAM Racing) rode the Women’s Individual Pursuit event, which she won in 2019, simultaneously setting the world record. Dygert made it to the gold medal round where she went head-to-head with German rider Fran Brausse (Germany). Stopping the clock at 3:17.542, Dygert overcame a near career ending injury several years ago to earn the United States their first gold medal of the week.

The evening session concluded with the Elite Men’s Scratch race where American rider Grant Koontz  (Nederland, Colo.; Star Track Cycling) attempted to take an early flyer but was reeled back by the group. Koontz was later pulled.

Downhill Mountain Bike Qualifying

The Juniors were the first to take on the brutal track in Fort William for qualifying. Ryan Pinkerton  (Aliso Viejo, Calif.; GT Factory Racing) qualified first out of 52 racers, flying down the track with a 4:31.582. Richie Rude was the first American man to ever win the Junior Downhill World Championships in 2013. Pinkerton has been having an incredible season running times comparable with the elite racers and landing on World Cup podiums. Evan Medcalf  (Albuquerque, N.M.; Commencal USA) finished 19th just 15-seconds off of Pinkerton. Gavin Tomlinson  (Burbank, Calif.; Specialized | DVO | Fox Racing) finished 28th and Nate Kitchen  (Bakersfield, Calif.; KHS Factory Team) was in 40th.

On the women’s side, Abby Ronca  (Bethlehem, Pa.; The Gravity Academy) was the fastest American for the day riding to seventh, finishing 15.9-seconds off the leader. Riley Miller  (East Burke, Vt.; Killington Mountain School) was only a couple of seconds off Ronca’s time, taking ninth. Taylor Ostgaard  (Selah, Wash.; Transition Factory Racing)  and Kale Cushman  (Old Town, Maine, Slipping Gears Cycling) both finished inside the top-15 to round out qualifying.

Up Next

Day two of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships picks up back in Fort William, with the finals for the Juniors on the downhill track. The Elite Men and Women will also go through their qualifying runs. At the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, the Women’s Team Pursuit squad will take on their qualifying round, the Men’s Team Pursuit move into Round 1, and the Elite Women will compete in the Scratch Race.