By Luke Webber
At the World Cup downhill in Fort William, the elite women's event saw a return to form for British national champion Tracy Moseley (Kona). After an average start to the season, a return home gave Moseley the ideal opportunity to start fresh on a course that has been a favourite for many years now. In the past her victories have been on a very different course - wet, windy and damaged, but the dusty, sandy track over the weekend was different in character than anything seen before was not expected to suit Moseley so well; in fact, Sabrina Jonnier (Team Maxxis) or Rachel Atherton (Animal Commencal) were the preferred favourites for many.
But Moseley's experience on such a long and physical course was her asset and she used it to exploit big time gaps across the course. Five seconds was the deficit at the end of the race to Jonnier and a jubilant Moseley took her lap of honour in front of a home crowd that powered her to another victory at the Fort.
"It's amazing to get the season back on track, great for my confidence and good timing to get it in front of the home fans too. I'm definitely going quicker now than early on and hopefully I can keep that going through the rest of the year. I haven't yet been to the Worlds track so I'll be riding it blind, but I'm on such a high already I am confident of a good result there."
Sandwiching between Moseley and third placed Atherton was Frenchwoman Jonnier who regained her World Cup leaders' jersey, but was unhappy with her overall result. "The race went well today, but I ended up making too many mistakes in the top section, I started out too fast and ended up scaring myself! I'm pretty upset with finishing second, but Tracy did a very good ride today. The main thing was I took back the leaders jersey - that's the one good thing for today. The Worlds is going to be hard, the same battle between Tracy, Rachel and I as last year though. I like the course over in Italy, fast and technical but it needs some more pedalling!"
In the elite men's downhill, the podium was largely a Santa Cruz Syndicate affair with Greg Minnar on top, Steve Peat in second and Nathan Rennie in fourth.
After the race Minnaar was hoping the win was a sign of things to come. "I haven't won a World Cup for a while so hopefully this is the start of a new trend. When I jumped in I couldn't hear as much noise as I did in the semi finals, so I thought I was down, I thought I really needed to pedal hard to get something. But over that last jump I could see my team-mates celebrating and that was the first time I realised I had the fastest time."
Last weekend's World Cup winner Gee Atherton (Animal Commencal) finished second while World Champion Sam Hill (Monster Energy / Iron Horse) finished fifth.
Hill got to keep his World Cup overall leader's jersey and was already looking forward to the World Championships coming up. "After the semi I tried to attack a bit more in the finals but it ended up about the same," said Hill, "so I'm a bit disappointed with a fifth, but happy to head out of this round with the leader's jersey."