Just after a week since Steve Peat equalled Nico Vouilloz’s sixteen-victory record for World Cup wins, he’s gone one better. Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate) took his second consecutive win at Vallnord, Andorra in round three of the Nissan UCI MTB DH World Cup, notching up his seventeenth podium-topping finish to make him what some Americans would probably describe as the “winningest” DH World Cup racer in history.
Mick Hannah spent a fair time in the hot seat. After a crash in qualifying his race run was 17th from last, but his time of 2:23.71 was good enough to stick at the top of the leaderboard until Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) took a quarter of a second off his time and leaving only the final three riders the chance to topple him.
Peat had qualified third fastest so was next down, and pulled ahead of Hannah on the technical lower section to finish 1.41 seconds up and take the hot seat. Gee Atherton (Animal Commencal) won at Vallnord last year and put in a great run, but was just two hundredths of a second shy of Peat’s time.
Fastest qualifier was Sam Hill (Monster Energy/Specialized), and as he came down the course it looked like he had it in the bag in characteristic Hill style – 1.6s up over the top section of the course, 2s up coming into the bottom section. But in an echo of last year’s World Championships, the storming Hill crashed out on the way to the finish. He rolled in in 31st place, giving Steve Peat his seventeenth World Cup win.
“I didn’t think my run would do it today but I got a little lucky when Sam went over his head,” said Peat (on Twitter, the 21st century idle hack’s number one choice for quick quotes). He pronounced himself “pretty happy” to have taken that record-breaking win, although we suspect that he may be understating that ever so slightly…
In the women’s race all eyes were on World Cup series leader Tracy Moseley (Trek World Racing) and last week’s winner Sabrina Jonnier (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain). Going into the final three riders, Celine Gros (Morzine Avoriaz 74) was in the hot seat but was displaced by Emmeline Ragot (Suspension Center), who took two seconds off Gros’s time.
Moseley put in a strong run but couldn’t quite displace Ragot, crossing the line just two hundredths of a second short. Even if she’d edged out Ragot, though, she wouldn’t have won – Jonnier stormed the course to finish four full seconds clear, taking the overall series lead in the process. Moseley is in second place just two points behind, though.
The next rounds of the DH and 4X World Cups at Fort William, Scotland on 6/7 June, although you’ll probably be able to hear the cheering in Torquay…