The race remained exciting until the very end since the ladies kept switching position on the hot seat. Particularly the last three starters each took the coveted seat and had to turn it over again after the next run. The winner of the last World Cup stop in Ft. William, Tracy Moseley, surely wasn’t happy to hand over the hot seat to Rachel Atherton, who then had to vacate the first for the last starter. Austrian World Cup hope Petra Bernhard came in on sixth place and climbed up to number nine in the overall ranking.
1st PUGIN Floriane FRA 4:29.427 2nd ATHERTON Rachel GBR 4:32.010 3rd MOSELEY Tracy GBR 4:32.119 4th NICOLE Myriam FRA 4:39.233 5th JONNIER Sabrina FRA 4:40.162 6th BERNHARD Petra AUT 4:43.384 7th SIEGENTHALER Emilie SUI 4:48.904 8th GATTO Micayla CAN 4:50.707 9th GROS Céline FRA 4:52.681 10th CHARRE Morgane FRA 4:55.535
Right after the women’s race, the men’s DH finals made the spectators hold their breath in excitement at a truly thrilling race. The Austrian spectators were more than riveted to see Austrian Markus Pekoll take the lead early in the race. He was able to hold this position for several runs until he had to give up the hot seat for Brook MacDonald (NZL/3:54.796). Pekoll came in on the 16th position. Then it looked as though Steve Peat would take the lead but he lost his line and had to be satisfied with the 12th position (3:58.984). At the first split, multiple DH World Champion Sam Hill (AUS/3:53.406) was already two seconds faster than MacDonald and forced him to vacate the seat. In the meantime, Cedric Gracia (FRA) just missed the hot seat with a very fast time and was sitting in second position next to Sam Hill for a while.
In the end, Gracia placed 6th – his best World Cup result in the past few years. However, Hill’s lead was not solid enough for him to relax on the hot seat. After the run of last year’s winner in Leogang Greg Minnaar (RSA/3:49.902), the time had come for Hill to move since an impressive lead of almost four seconds meant Minnaar moved to the top. Fabien Barel (FRA) lost valuable time when he crashed, proving once again that the course is no eas task even for the absolute superstars of the scene. After Minnaar had taken the lead with such a comfortable margin, many already saw him on top of the podium but Gee Atherton was able to beat the incredible time by another 3 seconds. The fastest in qualifying Aaron Gwin (USA/3:44.181) was good for another surprise at the very end of the contest and came in at an unbelievable two seconds faster than Atherton in a race that could not have been more exciting.
1st GWIN Aaron USA 3:44.181 2nd ATHERTON Gee GBR 3:46.294 3rd MINNAAR Greg RSA 3:49.902 4th SMITH Steve CAN 3:52.123 5th HILL Samuel AUS 3:53.406 6th HART Danny GBR 3:53.434 7th GRACIA Cédric FRA 3:53.538 8th LEOV Justin NZL 3:54.165 9th BLENKINSOP Samuel NZL 3:54.344 10th MACDONALD Brook NZL 3:54.796
The pros who had traveled from all over the world only had two official days of training to get used to the changes on the course. The track that had been constructed by Guido Tschugg (SUI) for the World Cup last year was improved and redesigned for this year’s race. The final runs on Saturday night showed some multifaceted and exciting battles. The course was filled with many tricky features, such as a steep start, doubles, triples, a step up – step down combination made of wood and a rock garden. The track stayed very rideable during the pouring rain so that there were barely any crashes.
Already during the qualifying Australian Jared Graves (AUS) was the fastest rider and in the finals nobody could touch him. Michal Prokop (CZE) also clearly dominated each of his runs. The final run was, as is to be expected in 4X, exciting until the end. Graves and Prokop were the first to leave the gate. Graves was able to take the better line, since he had the inside starting position. In the first corner, Prokop was pushed to the outside which allowed David Graf (SUI) to move from the fourth position to the inside line into the second spot. Graf was the only one who chose the pro section and was able to defend second place all the way across the finish line. Prokop still tried to attack Graf but lost his rhythm and was passed by Tomas Slavik (CZE). The Ft William winner Roger Rinderknecht (SUI) won the small final ahead of Romain Saladini (FRA). 1st Jared Graves AUS 2nd David Graf SUI 3rd Tomas Slavic CZE 4th Michal Prokop CZE 5th Roger Rinderknecht SUI 6th Romain Saladini FRA 7th Lukas Mechura CZE 8th William Evans GBR
During the ladies’ qualifying as well as final runs, Romana Labounkova clearly dominated every race. It wasn’t until the final that she met Anneke Beerten (NED) who had also won every one of her runs. Labounkova was able to use her strong BMX background to secure a start-finish victory in the final. Melissa Buhl (USA) celebrated her comeback after a longer break with a solid second place. Beerten had to settle for third place ahead of Swiss Lucia Oetjen. The best Austrian woman was Helene Frühwirth in sixth place.
1st Romana Labounkova CZE 2nd Melissa Buhl USA 3rd Anneke Beerten NED 4th Lucia Oetjen SUI 5th Céline Gros FRA 6th Valerie Frühwirth AUT 7th Fionn Griffiths GBR 8th Steffi Marth GER