Aaron Gwin has notched up his second World Cup DH victory by winning in Leogang, Austria, with a storming ride to claim some big scalps, and reclaim the World Cup lead.
His winning time of 3:44.181 was a full two seconds faster than Gee Atherton. Winner in Fort William Greg Minnaar filled out the podium in third spot. Gwin, with 628 points, lies just 46 points in front of Minnaar, with two rounds remaining.
The leading time steadily decreased as the field of 81 riders worked its way down to the fastest qualifiers. Minnaar, the winner of round two, set the first sub-3:50 time with seven riders to go, and no one could match his time until the final two riders, the top two qualifiers, showed that they were a notch above everyone else on this day. Atherton came through the first split three seconds up on Minnaar and finished 3.608 seconds faster than the South African.
Atherton’s time wouldn’t prove to be enough for the win, unfortunately for the Brit, as Gwin, possibly still smarting from losing a week earlier after crashing while well in the lead, blew through every section of the course well ahead of his competition to score his second win in three races and recover the lead in the standings.
“It feels great to get that monkey off my back after last week’s crash,” commented Gwin. “I knew I had it in me, I just had to put it together. My run went good until it almost fell apart at the bottom … I blew my feet out of the pedals and rode the last minute of the track without being clipped in, but managed to hold it together. The bike was working awesome, everything just sort of clicked. I’m just happy it all came together.”
Danny Hart didn’t manage to repeat his stunning ride that put him in second place at Fort Bill but still rode impressively to finish 6th, behind Sam Hill and Steve Smith in 5th and 4th respectively.
Brits Josh Bryceland and Steve Peat finished just outside the top ten placed 11th and 12th, and Marc Beaumont rode well to finish 13th.