Posted by Editoress on 07/26/08
Mont-Ste-Anne World Cup DH
Report by Mike Badyk
Coverage brought to you with the assistance of Velirium
Atherton and Minnaar Victorious
The season long battle between reigning World Champion Rachel Atherton (Animal Commencal) and former World Champion Sabrina Jonnier (Maxxis) continued at Mont-Ste-Anne, with Atherton winning and also taking the lead in the World Cup DH standings. The win was a narrow one, with only 1.43 seconds between the two.
Unlike most of the previous week, the rain held off and everyone enjoyed sunny skies with occasional clouds. It did, however, create a course with some extreme contrasts between sections. The open sections were extremely fast, thanks to the drying out provided by the bright sun. The forest was another story, however, with mud pits and standing water adding to the usual rocks and roots. The overall assessment from many women was that it is a very tiring course.
The women's final featured 21 racers. Top Canadian was Claire Buchar in 6th with a time of 5:39.40. "It is a really, really physical long track. You have to try to relax and hang on. There are some harder ruts now that it has dried out but most of them are avoidable. The weather has done us a favour. The course is faster and it's shorter. It's just so physically demanding. It's hard to ride your best when you're so tired. It makes you want to stop and take a nap!"
Micayla Gatto was 10th at 5:47.74. "This course is long. I had a perfect run and I made it down alive. There were some nasty holes opening up that made you wobble. I'm glad I finished."
Reigning World Champion Atherton was extremely pleased with her win. "It was a hard course. It is so difficult not to make mistakes. The course is so much faster. You were used to coming into some parts of the track based on training and this time it was like AHHHHHHH! The holes you hit were at a much higher speed and you just had to hang on. I made a few mistakes. I thought for a minute that my run was gone but I just kept on pushing."
Jonnier wasn't disappointed, but she clearly wanted to win. "I just made too many mistakes. I tried really hard all the way down. The course was so much better today. I'm from the south of France and this time of year it is so dry. It is a little strange to have so much wet here. It was hard in the forest. That's where I made most of my mistakes. Next time!"
In third place was Tracy Moseley (Kona) with a time of 5:21.86. Other Canadian finishers were Danice Uyesugi in 12th, Katrina Strand in 14th and Maire-Eve Marcotte in 19th.
With 4 of 7 World Cups now completed, Atherton has 853 points to Jonnier's 815. Moseley is a distant third at 687. Top Canadian is Buchar in 8th with 338 points.
Despite dire predictions from the weather people, we didn't get any of the expected rain. This made for the same conditions that the women experienced earlier in the afternoon. The fastest qualifier and the last man down the hill was Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) completing his domination of the mountain here today. Minnaar's time was 4:30.57, 1.73 seconds up on Samuel Hill (Monster Energy) and 2.26 up on current World Champion Gee Atherton (Animal Commencal).
Canadians had a difficult time and struggled this year at Mont-Ste-Anne. Hopes were riding high with Steve Smith (Cove), showing that he had recovered from his leg injury at Fort William, Scotland when he qualified 11th fastest today. However a flat near the top of the course meant a long slow run, which pushed him all the way down to 75th out of 80 racers. Smith was hoping to equal or better his 10th place at the Andorra World Cup. "I've never had a flat in a race before. Why now? There isn't much more to say. This sucks."
Top Canadian was Justin Brown in 55th place followed closely by Charles-Alexandre Dube in 59th place. Dube was happy with his result. "It was a pretty good run. The track is fast now but it is rough. It was really fun. I'm really happy. Last year was a bad year for me so I'm pleased with how I did today. I had a big concussion at the Worlds this year, but now I'm feeling fine with no after effects."
One of the interesting stories for a rider who filled the Hot Seat was Matti Lehikoinen (MS-Intense), who badly injured his leg at the Fort William World Cup earlier in the season, ultimately leading to his missing the World Championships. Lehikoinen laid down a good run despite starting mid-field. Although his run was ultimately only good enough for 16th place, it shows that the recovery of this top racer is well underway. "My leg is feeling as good as before, but when I stretch my leg I can feel quite a bit of tension in my knee. It's been a bit frustrating. First there was a back injury, then some mechanicals and now my knee. I'm hoping for a good result next week at Bromont."
The Men's DH story of this year has been the consistent high level of performance from the top 5 men on the World Cup circuit. It really comes down to the fact that any of these 5 are capable of winning at any of the World Cups. Fabien Barel (Subaru) laid down a fast run of 4:37.25, but wouldn't take the Hot Seat. With the other 4 top men on their way he didn't feel secure. He didn't have long to wait as 5th fastest qualifier Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate) blazed the course in 4:33.53. Peat too wouldn't take the Hot Seat. Atherton bumped Peat by a fraction of a second. Then came Hill who clearly felt that he had the hot run of the day, .53 seconds faster than Atherton. There was still one man to come down the mountain and Minnaar had been riding superbly all day. Minnaar blasted through the line 1.73 seconds faster than Hill. Minnaar was jubilant and Hill looked devastated.
Steve Peat was philosophical, but he clearly remembers his 3 consecutive wins here in the past. "I clipped a rock at speed and lost a lot of momentum. I'm a bit displeased about that. All the top boys are really close together so you just can't afford to make any errors. Everybody has upped their game and now there are 5 really fast guys. I'm just really pissed off that there's 3 in front of me! I'm glad the sun came out today and made it faster. My run was good. Except for that one mistake I had it pinned and I felt good about it. The first 2 practice days it was hard to get down, but now it's great."
Greg Minnaar was extremely pleased. "I used dry condition tires to soften things a bit. It was really hard on the hands. I've never won here before. In the past I've had seconds and thirds, so to finally win at this damn Mont-Ste-Anne was a big relief for me! I've been here so many times in the past. I was here as a Junior at the Worlds (1998) and it's never been easy to win here. Peaty normally knocks me off here, Sam before that and Kovarik (Chris) as well. It was nice to smoke the guys here at Mont-Ste-Anne!"
Sam Hill was more subdued. "I come to every race to win. Prior to the season I had a torn calf muscle so I came into the season a little out of shape, but by Andorra my form was back and I just need to put it all together. The Worlds were the first ride where I really felt that I had everything together, but then I crashed in the final corner. Here the mud has made it really hard. I haven't been able to find the proper line because it's been so sloppy and the line keeps shifting."
After this round of the World Cup (4 of 7), Minnaar leads the World Cup Points race with 792 points, followed closely by Hill with 770 and Atherton at 727.
Other Canadian finishers were Drew Paulter in 73rd and Jamie Biluk in 74th place.
|1 Rachel Atherton (GBr) Animal Commencal||5:12.36|
|2 Sabrina Jonnier (Fra) Team Maxxis||5:13.79||1.43|
|3 Tracy Moseley (GBr) Kona||5:21.86||9.5|
|4 Mio Suemasa (Jpn) MS-Intense Factory-Racing||5:35.52||23.16|
|5 Fionn Griffiths (GBr) Norco World Team||5:37.21||24.85|
|6 Claire Buchar (Can)||5:39.40||27.04|
|7 Helen Gaskell (GBr)||5:43.63||31.27|
|8 Anita Molcik (Aut) 4 Elements Yeti/Hotec/Rsp||5:47.15||34.79|
|9 Scarlett Hagen (NZl)||5:47.40||35.04|
|10 Micayla Gatto (Can)||5:47.74||35.38|
|11 Harriet Harper (NZl)||5:56.91|
|12 Danice Uyesugi (Can)||6:00.80|
|13 Emmeline Ragot (Fra) Suspension Center||6:04.10|
|14 Amy Laird (NZl)||6:05.81|
|14 Katrina Strand (Can)||6:05.81|
|16 Emilie Siegenthaler (Sui) Suspension Center||6:19.16|
|17 Helene Fruhwirth (Aut)||6:23.29|
|18 Floriane Pugin (Fra) Playbiker - Iron Horse||6:39.51|
|19 Marie-Eve Marcotte (Can)||8:22.29|
|20 Myriam Nicole (Fra)||9:17.86|
|Only 21 women made the final|
|1 Greg Minnaar||4:30.57|
|2 Samuel Hill (Aus) MS-Intense Factory-Racing||4:32.30||1.73|
|3 Gee Atherton (GBr) Animal Commencal||4:32.83||2.26|
|4 Steve Peat (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate||4:33.53||2.96|
|5 Fabien Barel (Fra) Subaru Mountain Bike Pro Team||4:37.25||6.68|
|6 Samuel Blenkinsop (NZl) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team||4:38.34||7.77|
|7 Nathan Rennie (Aus) Santa Cruz Syndicate||4:40.12||9.55|
|8 Julien Camellini (Fra) Chain Reaction Cycles/Intense||4:41.74||11.17|
|9 Justin Leov (NZl) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team||4:42.35||11.78|
|10 Aaron Holmes Gwin (USA) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team||4:42.65||12.08|
|11 Chris Kovarik (Aus) Chain Reaction Cycles/Intense||4:43.28|
|12 Brendan Fairclough (GBr) MS-Intense Factory-Racing||4:43.80|
|13 Marc Beaumont (GBr) Team Bike Radar||4:45.76|
|14 Mitchell Delfs (Aus) Kenda Tomac||4:47.18|
|15 Josh Bryceland (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate||4:48.10|
|16 Matti Lehikoinen (Fin) Ms-Intense Factory-Racing||4:48.67|
|17 Fabien Pedemanaud (Fra) Team Pyrenees Morewood||4:48.72|
|18 Nathan Rankin (NZl) Playbiker - Iron Horse||4:49.37|
|19 Nick Beer (Sui) LXS Sports Division World Cup Racing Team||4:49.38|
|20 Pasqual Canals Flix (Esp) Massi||4:49.40|
|21 Florent Payet (Fra) Subaru Mountain Bike Pro Team||4:50.21|
|22 Thibaut Ruffin (Fra)||4:51.42|
|23 Dan Atherton (GBr) Animal Commencal||4:51.49|
|24 Oscar Saiz Castane (Esp) Giant Mountain Bike Team||4:52.46|
|25 Amiel Cavalier (Aus) Giant Mountain Bike Team||4:53.11|
|26 Ben Reid (Irl)||4:53.33|
|27 Cameron Cole (NZl) Team Maxxis||4:53.38|
|28 Joris Bigoni (Fra)||4:53.53|
|29 Duncan Riffle (USA) Cannondale Factory Racing||4:53.59|
|30 Jared Rando (Aus) Giant Mountain Bike Team||4:54.06|
|31 Ben Cathro (GBr) Mojo Orange||4:54.16|
|32 Ryan Condrashoff (USA)||4:54.92|
|33 Luke Strobel (USA) Team Maxxis||4:55.02|
|34 Kieran Bennett (NZl)||4:55.31|
|35 Toni Berg (Fin)||4:55.33|
|36 Samuel Zbinden (Sui) Argentina Bike Gravity Team||4:55.64|
|37 Nico Vink (Bel) Dolphin-Trek Mountainbike Racing Team||4:55.70|
|38 Andrew Neethling (RSA) GT Mongoose / Pacific Cycle||4:55.97|
|39 Alan Beggin (Ita)||4:56.02|
|39 Cody Warren (USA)||4:56.02|
|41 Ralph Jones (GBr)||4:56.73|
|42 Danny Hart (GBr) Lapierre DH Powered By Saab Salomon||4:57.70|
|43 Markus Pekoll (Aut) Solid Aclass Factory Team||4:59.19|
|44 Dominik Gspan (Sui)||4:59.40|
|45 Claudio Caluori (Sui) Tomac Factory Racing||4:59.46|
|46 Joshua Button (Aus)||4:59.83|
|47 Lars Peyer (Sui) Suspension Center||4:59.88|
|48 Antonio Ferreiro Pajuelo (Esp) Massi||5:00.04|
|49 Chris Hutchens (GBr) Mojo Orange||5:00.24|
|50 Daniel Critchlow (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles/Intense||5:00.36|
|51 Kyle Strait (USA) Specialized Factory Racing||5:00.50|
|52 Fabien Cousinie (Fra)||5:00.68|
|53 Adam Brayton (GBr) Playbiker - Iron Horse||5:00.97|
|54 Joseph Smith (GBr) Tomac Factory Racing||5:00.99|
|55 Justin Brown (Can)||5:01.10|
|56 Markolf Berchtold (Bra)||5:01.17|
|57 Will Longden (GBr) Team Bike Radar||5:01.17|
|58 Markus Schwab (Sui)||5:01.17|
|59 Charles-Alexandre Dube (Can)||5:01.17|
|60 Thomas Braithwaite (GBr)||5:01.17|
|61 Maxime Remy (Fra) Team Sunn||5:01.17|
|62 Ruaridh Cunningham (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles/Intense||5:01.17|
|63 Tim Eaton (Aus)||5:01.17|
|64 Jason Memmelaar (USA)||5:01.17|
|65 Ben Ineson (GBr) Reverse Components||5:01.17|
|66 Mathieu Troquier (Fra) Solid Aclass Factory Team||5:01.17|
|67 Will Rischbieth (Aus)||5:01.17|
|68 Arnaud Delente (Fra)||5:01.17|
|69 Bradley Benedict (USA)||5:01.17|
|70 Boris Tetzlaff (Aut) Solid Aclass Factory Team||5:01.17|
|71 Geritt Beytagh (USA)||5:01.17|
|72 Derrick Nobman (USA)||5:01.17|
|73 Drew Pautler (Can)||5:01.17|
|74 Jamie Biluk (Can) Mojo Orange||5:01.17|
|75 Steve Smith (Can)||5:01.17|
|76 Damien Spagnolo (Fra) Subaru Mountain Bike Pro Team||5:01.17|
|77 John Swanguen (USA) Ms-Intense Factory-Racing||5:01.17|
|78 Matthew Simmonds (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles/Intense||5:01.17|
|79 Lorenzo Suding (Ita) Playbiker - Iron Horse||5:01.17|
|80 Michael Skinner (NZl) Playbiker - Iron Horse||5:01.17|
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