UCI World Cup DH2 - Men - Bike Magic

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UCI World Cup DH2 – Men

Sam Hill: First by over a second

A Lycra-clad Gracia guns it for second place

Left: Greg Minnaar – 3rd (Pic: Alan Davis); Right: Gee Atherton – 4th

Even the support of the sizable crowd (left) couldn’t get Steve Peat (right) to the top of the podium

After Tracy Moseley’s repeat win in the women’s race, it seemed like everyone on the slopes of the Nevis Range wanted Steve Peat to achieve the same feat. But he was working with a slight disadvantage – riding with one hand strapped up thanks to a broken knuckle. He still qualified fourth fastest, though.

Defending World Cup Champion Greg Minnaar scored the fastest qualifying time, giving him the last run down the hill. First man down was Julien Camellini, who occupied the hot seat (this year a remarkable cow-shaped sofa, or perhaps cowch) for about seven minutes until David Vazquez took a healthy couple of seconds out of his time.

Vazquez had clearly been holding something back for the finals – his time was quick enough to see him still occupying the hot seat while the next 39 riders unsuccessfully chased his time. He was finally toppled by Bryn Atkinson, who again managed a fairly healthy innings until a surprisingly slow-qualifying Nathan Rennie blew his time to bits, shooting across the line five seconds clear.

With the riders now racing at two-minute intervals, there was plenty of opportunity for commentators Chris Furber and Dan Jarvis to work the crowd into a frenzy, particularly when a UK rider was due. And there were plenty of them with quick qualifying times, including a couple of names fairly new to the upper reaches of the World Cup start lists. Hopes were high for Brendan Fairclough and there was a lot of support for Dan Stanbridge (qualified ninth fastest) but it was Marc Beaumont who deposed Rennie. Chris and Dan are good, but nothing gets a Fort William crowd going like a British rider on the hot seat, and Beaumont got a rapturous reception.

Alas, it wasn’t to last. The very next rider down, Cedric Gracia, upped the ante yet again. And Gracia seems to be an honorary Brit anyway, if the crowd response is anything to go by. The next rider due down the hill was Gee Atherton. All eyes were on the jump above the Off Beat Wall, the first point at which riders were visible from the arena. Everyone knew when Gee had to appear there, and it looked like he was just in time. Gracia had been amazingly fast over the very last section of the course, though, and Atherton couldn’t quite match him.

It was the same story with Steve Peat, except that the result was even closer – quicker than Atherton, not quite as quick as Gracia. And World Champion Fabien Barel couldn’t depose his fellow Frenchman either.

That left just two riders to go. The crowd were counting down to the time at which Sam Hill had to appear over the crest, and went nuts when they’d only got as far as “3”. He crossed the line a second and a half clear of Gracia’s time, a feat that last man down Greg Minnaar just couldn’t match.


  • 1 Sam Hill 4:25.33
  • 2 Cedric Gracia 4:26.59
  • 3 Greg Minnaar (G-Cross Honda) 4:27.64
  • 4 Steve Peat 4:27.68
  • 5 Gee Atherton (Animal Giant) 4:27.77

The Brits

  • 6 Marc Beaumont
  • 16 Dan Atherton
  • 22 Brendan Fairclough
  • 23 Dan Stanbridge
  • 29 Chris Ball
  • 30 Neil Donoghue
  • 40 Tom Deacon
  • 45 Luke Marshall
  • 46 Richard Thomas
  • 48 Fergus Lamb
  • 49 Bertram Lee
  • 51 Stu Thomson
  • 52 Rowan Sorrell
  • 54 Dan Harper
  • 55 Joe Barnes
  • 57 Rob Warner
  • 58 Adam Brayton
  • 61 Ralph Jones
  • 62 James Hughes
  • 64 Iain Cookson
  • 66 Scott Beaumont
  • 67 Ed Moseley
  • 70 Will Longden
  • 71 Matthew Simmonds
  • 74 Jonny Cheetham
  • 79 Rob Breakwell


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