Aaron Gwin wrapped up the 2015 Downhill World Cup title at the final race of the season on Sunday with another stunning victory in Val di Sole.
The American had a clear lead in the standings going into the event, after victory at the previous stop in Windham, and when second-placed rider Greg Minnaar crashed the title was won.
However, Gwin didn’t hold back when his time came on the savage Italian track and his incredible run was enough to beat Loic Bruni and Troy Brosnan to the top spot.
Gwin adds the 2015 title to the ones he won in 2011 and 2012 and he more than deserves it after a memorable season, which saw him win four World Cup races, including one without a chain.
“Everyone is riding so well right now," said Gwin. "Every weekend is a battle and we only have so many races. I couldn’t have asked for more this season, it was amazing. Greg was amazing. He is always an incredible competitor. I’m just so pumped."
Australian rider Brosnan’s strong performance in Val di Sole moved him above Minnaar into third overall while Bruni secured second – a position he is used to after finishing as runner up at four World Cups this year.
The Frenchman has been one of the most consistent riders in the world this season, with only a crash in Windham keeping him out of the overall running, but he admitted Gwin was a true champion.
“You can see when Aaron is on a good year it’s pretty much impossible to beat him,” said Bruni. “I’m happy to be second. I’m not happy to be beaten by him but he’s a sick rider so it’s ok.”
Rachel Atherton had already sealed the Women’s Downhill World Cup title in Windham but she is showing no signs of slowing down ahead of the World Championships in Andorra after winning her sixth World Cup of the season.
“Finally the final World Cup is here and I can get the overall trophy,” said Atherton. “I didn’t expect to win the race as well so I’m pretty stoked.
“The track was savage. I think everyone was suffering a lot – even some of the guys, which was good to see!"
Myriam Nicole could be the biggest danger to the Briton’s hopes at the World Championships after her second place finish in Italy, while Manon Carpenter sealed third.
The final overall standings podium however was a British clean sweep, with Carpenter finishing second and Tahnee Seagrave in third.