The international mountain bike race season is officially over following the final round of the World Cup in Schladming, Austria. The traditional season-ending venue hosted not only the races, but also a multitude of parties into the early hours once the important business was decided.
Biggest news was in the women’s downhill, which Rachel Atherton won by over ten seconds smoking everyone in both timed runs. This means the youngest Atherton has achieved everything there is to downhilling in one season – but she assures us that there’s more to come!
The only downside to this story is that Gee could only manage third on the day and in the overall, although the fact that that sounds a bit disappointing speaks volumes for our expectations. Dan was pipped in the 4X – the boys have some catching up to do for next season!
New face Sam Blenkinsop stood atop of the downhill podium on the day, while Greg Minnaar overhauled Sam Hill for the overall World Cup champion status. The afternoon was not without its dramas as Hill had a buckaroo moment in his final costing vital time, while team mate Brendan Fairclough was in the virtual lead, before slamming hard on the final Nissan drop.
Unsurprisingly the women’s 4X overall was taken in style by Anneke Beerten, with Rafa ‘the luck’ Alvarez topping off his debut season with the World Cup to add to his rainbow jersey in the most atrocious conditions.
After the mother of all parties the XC events felt somewhat quiet (nobody made it out of bed before midday!). The overall titles had been decided before the finals weekend, but there were still races to be won. Canadian Marie Helene Premont was third on the day and first overall while the unpronounceable Maja Wloszczowska took her first World Cup win.
At the head of the men’s XC it was the turn of Christoph Sauser to win the final round to take some of the limelight from Julien Absalon. The Frenchman had his moment later on top of the podium with his series winners’ trophy.
Brits Liam Killeen and Oli Beckingsale ended their seasons on a solid, if not spectacular, note with 14th and 41st respectively before heading into winter with a little cyclocross racing on the cards. All this before next year’s series which gets underway in South Africa!