Rachel Atherton (seen here at Fort William) – first place in Brazil
Balneario Camborio in Brazil played host to the fifth round of the UCI Downhill World Cup, and the short-but-spectacular rainforest course saw two first-time World Cup winners atop their respective podiums.
In the women’s race, it was UK National Downhill Champion Rachel Atherton who took top spot. After a strong semi-final run, just 1.3seconds behind fellow Brit and series leader Tracy Moseley, Atherton was full of confidence. An almost perfect run put her in the hot seat with a time of 2:38.25, 0.72 ahead of Sabrina Jonnier and with just Moseley to come in. When she did, she was almost two seconds down on Jonnier, putting her in third and an ecstatic Atherton on top of the podium.
A great ride from Helen Gaskell gave her fourth place and put three British riders on the podium. There’s no change at the head of the overall standings – Tracy Moseley is still on top with a sizable 1093 points, 113 clear of Jonnier. Rachel Atherton has consolidated her third place, Emmeline Ragot holds on to fourth while Marielle Saner has slipped to seventh place behind Celine Gros and Gaskell.
In the men’s race, defending World Cup Champion Greg Minnaar suffered a puncture in his final run, dropping him down to 23rd place. That was the bad news for the G-Cross Honda team. The good news was that Minnaar’s team-mate Matti Lehikoinen rose to the occasion and scored his first-ever World Cup win. In fact, this was the first time he’d even been on the podium.
Semi-final pacesetter Sam Hill could only manage 12th in the finals, while current series leader Steve Peat was second, 0.9 seconds behind Lehikoinen. With Minnaar not adding significantly to his score in the overall standings, Peat’s lead is now up to 178 points.
Mick Hannah was fourth on the day, and it was another three-fifths British podium with Gee Atherton fourth and Marc Beaumont fifth. That puts Atherton up to fourth overall, with Mick Hannah moving up to fifth and Nathan Rennie dropping to sixth.
And a special mention for Brazilian rider and local favourite Markolf Berchtold, who scored his first World Cup points of the season with an impressive sixth place. He just missed the podium, but we suspect that he’ll be reasonably pleased…
There’s now just one round of the World Cup to go, and it’s not for a while – most countries have their National Championships shortly, then of course there’s the World Championships at Rotorua, New Zealand. The World Cup will be concluded at Schladming, Austria on 10 September. And it’s looking pretty good for Moseley and Peat…
|1||LEHIKOINEN Matti||TEAM G-CROSS HONDA||2:19.31|
|3||HANNAH Mick||CANNONDALE/THE CUT||2:20.69|
|4||ATHERTON Gee||TEAM ANIMAL / GIANT||2:22.12|
|5||BEAUMONT Marc||TEAM MBUK SANTACRUZ||2:22.14|
|18||ATHERTON Dan||TEAM ANIMAL / GIANT||2:24.98|
|25||DONOGHUE Neil||TEAM MBUK SANTACRUZ||2:26.42|
|1||ATHERTON Rachel||TEAM ANIMAL / GIANT||2:38.25|
|3||MOSELEY Tracy||KONA LES GETS FACTORY TEAM||2:40.87|
DH standings after five rounds