Aaron Gwin (Trek World Racing) made history yesterday in France by becoming the first ever American man to win the UCI Downhill Mountain Bike World Cup title, a fact that will be made official in two weeks' time when Gwin stands atop the overall World Cup podium in Val di Sole, Italy, to receive the prized crystal trophy.
The 23-year-old Gwin finished third in the La Bresse World Cup round after Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) and Gee Atherton (Commencal). One round remains in the downhill World Cup series, but Gwin has the title locked up.
Overnight rain changed conditions from those experienced in qualifying, but the rain stopped in time for the finals, and the course started to dry although it wasn't nearly as fast as in qualifying.
For Gwin, this race was as important as any other and he wanted to win, but a top eight placing would be enough the take the overall World Cup title with one race remaining, something that hasn't been done since 2000.
Gwin made an error in the top third of the course and then had some other hook ups further down the course, resulting in a growing loss of time and eventually putting him into third place. He was disappointed with his run.
"It's obviously and sincerely a huge honor to win the overall World Cup title, amazing honestly, but any racer out there will know that it always feel better when you take something like that with a run you're proud of," said Gwin.
"I made some mistakes today that cost me the win, and that's frustrating. Any one of my practice runs would have been better than that, but hats off to Greg, he rode super strong today and deserves to take the win. The overall is a huge honor and I look forward to lifting that trophy high for all the fans in two weeks!"
Gwin will race next week in Innsbruck for the Nordkette Pro Invitational then he will contest the the final round, number 7, of the World Cup in Val Di Sole, Italy, on August 20-21.