Hawke's Bay rider Brook Macdonald went in as the top qualifier but he couldn't replicate that form during the downhill finals at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championship in Switzerland today.
It turned pear-shaped for Macdonald when he took a tumble at the ski resort of Lenzerheide on day three to finish 35th.
The MS Mondraker professional, who clocked more than 60km/h on his way to the best run time of 3:03.206 for the downhill times in official qualifying on Friday, was 0.6s down on the then leader Martin Maes, of Belgium, at the second time check before he lost the back wheel.
While trying to self-correct, the 26-year-old clipped an exposed tree root with the front wheel of his bike.
Macdonald smartly slid back into the saddle of his bike but his hopes of a medal were dashed. He was left slapping his handlebars in disappointment after crossing the line.
Frenchman Loic Bruni's late run saw him claim his third world elite title in four years, winning today by only 0.2s from Maes with Great Britain's Danny Hart third 0.1s behind.
Ed Masters, of Taranaki, led the Kiwi charge in a career-best 12th placing.
Masters spent much of the day in third place on the hot seat after an excellent run on the 2.2km course until the final group of elite men powered down the course to push the New Zealander back.
He was thrilled with his effort to lead the Altherm New Zealand team performances.
"I am over the moon. It is so good to end the season on a high. I am stoked," he said.
"At the sharp end it was pretty gnarly with just a few 10ths of a second between those last few. But I managed to get some face time on the hot seat for a while which was fun," Masters said.
The drying track, he felt, had made for a challenging run in contrast to the soft conditions in qualifying.
"The course had dried out a lot which made it quite tricky and slippery in places where the track had dusted up on top. I had a few moments but managed to right the ship."
Masters heads to New Zealand this week but won't be seen on the slopes much this summer as he goes in for surgery on an injured knee that has hindered his racing for the past few years.
Of the Kiwis, Sam Blenkinsop was 26th, Wyn Masters 41st and Keegan Wright 51st.
Tauranga's Shania Rawson, a medallist in the junior elite last year, finished 21st in her first venture into the elite ranks, with Virginia Armstrong 26th in the race dominated by Great Britain's Rachel Atherton who won her fifth elite rainbow jersey.
A strong contingent of junior elite riders including a group from the Subway National Performance Hub, were prominent.
Former BMX rider Tuhoto-Ariki Pene from Maketu was the best of the Kiwi riders in his first year at elite junior level, finishing seventh, with Queenstown's Sam Robbie 12th, Charles Makea 16th and Hamish McLeod 19th.