Posted by Editoress on 06/10/18
One week after Round 2 in the Downhill series for the 2018 UCI Mercedes-Benz Mountain Bike World Cup, the Series moved to Leogang, Austria, for the third round of Downhill, which completes the first half of the World Cup season. Rachel Atherton (Trek Factory) finally got back to the top step of the podium after an absence of over a year, while Amaury Pierron (Commencal/Vallnord) showed that his win last weekend was no fluke.
Mark Wallace (Canyon Factory) had a strong showing, finishing tenth in the Elite men, while Lucas Cruz was ninth in Junior men. Finn Iles (Specialized) crashed in the first corner of his run, but recovered from in the 60s at the first split to 40th at the finish. World champion Miranda Miller (Specialized) did not qualify for the final.
Leogang has been on the World Cup circuit since 2010, missing only 2012, when it hosted the world championships instead. After Fort William, Scotland, last week, the longest course in the series, racers in Leogang faced a shorter, steeper and more technical run.
Rachel Atherton finally took the 35th World Cup win of her career. The British rider crashed in qualifying, but came back to record a time of 3:41.141 for the win. Myriam Nicole (Commencal/Vallnord), the winner of Round 1 and the World Cup leader, finished second, with Australian champion Tracey Hannah (Polygon UR) third. Tahnee Seagrave (Transition/MUC-Off), the fastest qualifier and defending Leogang champion was disqualified after going off-course on her run. The overall standings are unchanged, with Nicole at 610 points, Atherton now only 10 back and Seagrave at 436 points, followed by Hannah with 410. Miranda Miller drops to 14th from 13th in the standings.
"It means a lot," admitted Atherton, "it's been over a year and I just thought maybe I'd forgotten how to do it. It's been a hard weekend with big crashes, and just really struggling. I just happy to do it, because I didn't think I could do it after my qualifying crash."
In Fort William, Amaury Pierron won the first World cup of his career, and he followed it up with a second win in Leogang, beating three time defending champion Aaron Gwin (The YT Mob) by half a second. Gwin was riding with a dislocated thumb after a crash in Round 2, but came within half a second of taking a record fourth consecutive win at Leogang. Laurie Greenland (MS Mondraker) took third, with Troy Brosnan (Canyon Factory) less than two-tenths of a second behind him. With his second victory, Pierron moves into the overall lead in the standings, with 503 points. Gwin drops to second at 451 points, and Troy Brosnan moves up from fourth to third, at 413 points. Wallace moves from 24th to 16th, while Iles stays a 32nd.
"This is awesome, a totally different track from Fort William," said Pierron. "In Fort William you have to be conservative with your energy, and here you have to be flat out. Winning two in a row is more than awesome! I can't believe that I will have the World Cup [lead]; it is crazy and just a dream."
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