The elite men's downhill podium at the Mont Sainte Anne round of the World Cup this weekend featured one first-timer, one man who happily ended a winless streak and another who has visited the podium so often that he might just deserve to have his name etched on it.
Veteran Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate) of Great Britain made his 50th World Cup podium appearance on Saturday afternoon after racing to second place.
"I'm pretty happy to come out of Mont Sainte Anne with second place. My bike was working awesome all weekend and the track was its usual tough, hard old self," said Peat.
In contrast, the relatively unknown American Aaron Gwin (Yeti) was making his first podium appearance, with a third place. Gwin, who was crowned US National Downhill Champion for the second time in mid-July, has been steadily working his way up the ranks. He spent some serious time in the hot seat on Saturday and wasn't displaced until Peat, as the second-to-last starter, finished his run.
Gwin's competitors jovially welcomed him to the ranks of podium contender by attempting to drown him in the celebratory champagne awarded during the ceremony.
Sam Hill (Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz) stood on top of the podium, pleased to return there after what was his first World Cup win of the year. As the fastest qualifier and first man down the mountain, Hill had put in what was a blazing final run to take the win. Hill's win also netted him the leader's jersey in the World Cup series competition, in which he now holds a four-point advantage over Peat.
"This is one of the most high speed, and the longest courses, on the World Cup circuit," Hill said to Cyclingnews' Rob Jones right after the race. "It was a lot slicker this morning. It dried out a lot. I was conservative in the first few corners just to check it out. It was good so I went hard from there."