17 Sep 2012

Brannigan breaks through in mountain bike World Cup finale

6:01 am on 17 September 2012

Hawkes Bay rider George Brannigan has finished runner-up in the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Norway.

In a breakthrough performance for the 20-year-old, Brannigan was just 0.4 seconds behind his DeVinci Global team-mate Steve Smith from Canada as the pair dominated the final downhill world cup of the season at the alpine venue of Hafjell.

Brannigan's podium finish comes only weeks after his season seemed in jeopardy following a major crash in the USA where he cracked his ribs and had a partially punctured lung.

It is the second podium for a New Zealand rider this year following the victory by fellow Hawkes Bay rider Brook MacDonald at Val D'Isere.

The placing pushed Brannigan into the top-10 overall on the World Cup standings with four New Zealanders finishing in the top 15 in the world.