Monday Jul 30, 2012

UCI World Cup DHI Val d'Isere - Results

Round 6 of the UCI World Cup in Val d'Isere was always going to be a tense affair; the course was short and fast on an industrial level, there was the constant threat of rock slides, practice and qualifying saw some monsterous crashes, big names under performing and Minnaar had one last glimmer of hope to contest the world cup title against the dominance of Gwin. So what happened?

Well, in the ladies Petra Bernhard (Alpine Commencal Austria) was the first to record a sub-2:50 run, but Myriam Nicole (Commencal / Riding Addiction) immediately took nearly seven seconds off the leading time, good enough to eventually finish fourth.  Floriane Pugin (Scott 11) then knocked a further second off, but the final two riders were in a class of their own.

World champion Emmeline Ragot (MS Mondraker) was 1.6 seconds faster than Pugin, but Atherton, the fastest qualifier, once again showed that her return this season is complete - finishing a second and a half ahead of Ragot and recording the only sub-2:40 time of the day.

"I am so happy," stated Atherton.  "I think this is the most nervous I have been all year. This track is very, very difficult.  One day it's dry and then it's really, really wet, so tire and suspension changes are so important, and you don't know how it's gonna be on your race run.   Everyone was just playing it like a guessing game.

"I almost crashed today [in training]; I landed on my seat.  My stomach was hurting really bad, but I thought, this is like Fort William:  I need to just switch off and then switch back on for the race.   I have learned that from racing and crashing."

Atherton now holds an 80 point lead over Ragot with one race to go, with Nicole a distant third at 892 points.

And so to the men's. Gwin won. Well, he won the world cup title but that was almost a certain before the race started. Despite crashing in qualifying and injuring his hand, the 2011 world cup winner still managed to take fifth and even though closest rival Minnaar beat him in fourth on the day, the final standings left Gwin with 1260 points with one race remaining, an insurmountable 260 point lead over Minnaar, so a huge congrats to the Trek World Racing superstar who continues to dominate the sport.

Back to the race and with the title battle out the way, the fight for top spot on the podium was where the real excitement was taking place.

Thibaut Ruffin (Commencal / Riding Addiction) set the early best time, which stood for 16 riders until Matt Simmonds (Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof) bumped him by an infinitesimal six-thousandths of a second.  Simmonds in turn was displaced by Andrew Neethling (Giant Factory), who barely finished before Mick Hannah (Hutchinson United Ride) took the lead.  Gwin took the lead next by half a second, but Minnaar surpassed his rival by that same amount.  Gee Atherton (GT Factory) then recorded the first sub-2:20 time, but it wasn't quite enough, as Brook MacDonald put in his best ever ride and knocked another half second off the lead and take the hot seat.

Next man down, Josh Bryceland rocketed out the gate and was up on the fist split on Macdonald, looking effortless on the bike, it was clear that this was going to be a tense finish. Bryceland crossed the line just 0.6 back and took third with one man left to ride.

The last man down, fastest qualifier, Cameron Cole was only 0.7 back at the first split and had it all to ride for but couldn't beat the time of fellow countryman Macdonald, securing him his first ever world cup win.

Channels: UCI MTB World Cup 2012 - Val d'Isere FRA, UCI MTB World Cup 2012, UCI MTB World Cup DHI 2012, Mountain Bike