By Sue George in Bromont, Quebec
On a slippery, technical downhill track at the UCI World Cup in Bromont, Quebec, Australian Sam Hill showed he was the man to beat with the best time in qualifying and finals. He backed that up in an exciting final, when as the last man down the hill, he ousted Greg Minnaar from the hot seat.
"It's been a bit of a dry spell since Maribor," said an elated Hill after his win. "Since winning there, I've been concentrating on trying to keep my points lead [in the UCI World Cup series] instead of trying to focus on winning. I feel like that's kind of why I haven't been riding as good."
Monster Energy racer Hill won the season's opening World Cup in Maribor, Slovenia, but hasn't been able to make it back to the top of the World Cup podium until Saturday evening. He came close with second place at the Andorra World Cup and finished fifth in Fort William this spring. Then at the World Championships in Italy in June, Hill was on his way to a win with a six-second margin, when he washed out and crashed spectacularly in the final turn, just before the finish. Despite hopping back on his bike to finish, the crash cost him some time and another year in the rainbow-striped jersey; he finished third.
"After last weekend [at Mont-Sainte-Anne], I came in with the mindset that I just gotta go there and win," he said.
Hill said the spectators at Bromont were inspirational, too. "The crowd here is just insane. It's huge from the first big drop all the way down. Someone lit off a big firework next to me and people were just going wild."
The Australian finished ahead of Greg Minnaar and Steve Peat (both Santa Cruz Syndicate). He is looking forward to the next round of the World Cup on home soil in Canberra, Australia, at the end of the month.
In the women's downhill race, despite several mistakes during her final run, Rachel Atherton (Animal Commencal) defeated Sabrina Jonnier (Team Maxxis) and Tracy Moseley (Kona).