For the complete results check out the UCI website but here’s the ‘easy reading’ version.
The weekend’s racing finals started with the downhill where heavy rain storms and a technical course caused big problems for many riders. Mickael Pascal popped his Worlds win cherry in equally filthy conditions in Colorado two rounds ago and repeated his mud slide victory technique this weekend. Greg Minaar fought with the muddy conditions “I didn’t crash, but my feet were out and I was out of control for a bit!” to come in 3 seconds slower, while Cedric Gracia finished third.
Nicolas Vouilloz crashed on his run, but gained enough points to take the series lead as a leg injury meant previous leader Fabien Barel joined team mate Steve Peat on the out of action bench. Rob Warner finished as highest Brit bloke in 11th place.
In the women’s event Katja Repo restored Team GT’s pride by taking both fastest qualification and the win despite totally different weather conditions for each run. Repo beat the previously unassailable Caroline Chausson by 6.3 seconds to take her first ever victory. “It’s nice to get my first win – I knew I could do well in the mud,” she said afterward. “I wasn’t too nervous – when it’s wet you don’t have to go crazy fast, and I just wanted a clean run.”
Next event was the Dual, were Brian Lopes went for total domination right from his win in qualifying to defeating Wade Bootes, Mike King and finally Eric Carter to take victory.
British Kona rider Scott Beaumont was beaten by Carter in the semi’s, but went inside Mike King in the “runner up” round to take an excellent third place (full Kona race report below).
The Sunday XC round saw fun sized Frenchman Miguel Martinez show his return to shining form on the sunny Alpine slopes. “Today was easy for me – especially compared to my win in Sarentino,” commented a typically modest Martinez who also takes the overall lead with previous leader Roland Green not contesting the European World Cups. It did look easy too, with Martinez smiling as he rode away from Swiss home boy Cristophe Sauser on the final lap and then hoisting his bike above his head after he’d crossed the line 48 seconds clear.
Marga Fullana produced her usual race leading dominatrix style for the full four laps but with one small difference. Laurence Leboucher stayed with her and swapped the lead throughout the race until decisively attacking on a tarmac section just before the finish to take the victory. Britain’s Caroline Alexander finished 6th.
And now if you want to know what happens behind the scenes at these World Cup Circus events here’s the race report from a jubilant Team Kona Ford Focus;
Well here we are back on the road again and this time it’s Leysin, Switzerland for the 6th round of the world cup Down Hill and the 5th round of the World Cup Dual.
We arrived on Wednesday and set everything up, due to this being a triple event there were a lot of team trucks and not a lot of space to fit them in but we managed to get a good space in the pit area in the end.
Thursday was DH practice so Scott and Tracy spent the day riding the course. Friday was a very busy day, the morning was DH practice & timed runs and in the afternoon we had qualification for the DL. Scott decided not to do any timed runs for DH, but Tracy went out and managed to get the fastest women’s time, despite not being very impressed with her run. Things were looking good for Tracy. Practice generally went well on the DH course as we went into the afternoon and DL practice & qualification.
Scott was looking good, but so were Lopes, Minnaar, Carter, Bootes et al! Scott qualified with a very credible 7th – he hoped that this race would bring a change in fortune. Being 7th also meant that his early runs in the actual competition were not against the strongest guys.
Come Saturday, Tracy went out as the rain was getting much heavier & wasn’t very happy with the conditions. She qualified 5th in the semi finals but, unfortunately the slippyiness caused 4 falls – one just before the big jump on the finish straight – and she finished 10th. Not at all happy and now 7th in the overall standings.
Scott also had ‘issues’ with the course with the mud not clearing from the tyres and a brake problem. He also got caught out at a few spots & finished 66th overall. The rain had stopped in time for the DL & Scott had been looking good in the practice. The first heat saw Scott easily beating Antic, to leave him facing Gracia in the 2nd round. All the usual suspects also progressed through. Scott and Gracia had equally good starts, but as he fought to keep up. Gracia caught the triple & it was all over for him.
Scott then psyched Minnaar out as the same fate awaited him! The next round against Carter saw Scott off into the 2nd semi-final, so hopes of a win were out. The battle for 3rd place was the best race of the competition as Scott battled against King. The lead kept changing until Scott railed round the outside & due to the slippiness of the track, overtook King. From here, Scott pretty much had the race sewn up, but having seen Amour & his other rivals fall quite heavily, progressed fairly cautiously. So a podium finish at last and into 8th position in the rankings.
Not a bad weekend, but let’s hope Tracy rides well in the next round in Kaprun, last year she qualified 2nd fastest and was on for a podium position before she crashed.
Speak to you next week.
Russell Carty, Team Manager (DH & DL) Team Kona Ford Focus