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Aaron Gwin (Trek World Racing) in Val di Sole, Italy, on his way to another World Cup win
Downhillers Gwin and Moseley end 2011 World Cup on a high note
With the perfect ending to an amazing season for Trek World Racing in Val Di Sole, Italy, this weekend, Tracy Moseley clinched the World Cup title and Aaron Gwin became the only man in history to win five downhill World Cups in one season.
It was also the first time in the history of the World Cup that a team won both the men's and women's World Cup overalls in downhill. To top it off, Trek World Racing ended up the number one ranked team.
The conditions for the World Cup finals on Sunday were difficult. The heat had dried out the steep course and holes were filling with fine powder. The lack of let up in the track made for a challenging final quarter of racing as riders became fatigued with arm pump, and the race was rife with spectacular crashes and saves.
Moseley had the unenviable task of riding fast enough to get enough points, but not pushing too hard on this difficult track and throwing away the World Cup title. With a lead of 125 points going into the final over Frenchwoman Floriane Pugin, Moseley needed to finish seventh or better to win.
She was not aware of this as she preferred to race without knowing the mathematical situation. In the end a solid, yet slightly nerve wracking run was good enough for fifth, a perfect record of podiums for 2011, and the title safely in her hands.
"That is such an amazing relief. I'm so glad I didn't know what position I had to come, that would have played on my mind," said Moseley. "As it was, it was super hard to race this course. I wanted to let it go many times and just go for it, but in my mind I knew I couldn't risk it all. Not the most enjoyable race, but so cool to win the overall in front of my boyfriend James and my parents."
"It's been an incredible honor to wear the World Champ's jersey all year, and to have had my best season ever while wearing it. A huge thanks to my mechanic Sander, he has been a massive part of my success."
For Gwin, the World Cup title may have been wrapped up before the start, but that wasn't going to stop the 23-year-old American from going for another win. He has treated every race as an individual race to win, and the finals were no different.
After qualifying first, he was the last man to come down. For the team staff, it was a nervous time after seeing so many riders crash, get loose and seemingly be on the edge the whole way down. Gwin, however, seemed to tame the course, almost looking slow by comparison, but the time gap kept building until eventually he crossed the line for the win.
Not only the first to win five World Cups in a season, but now, after only one season, he is the fifth most winning man of all time in World Cup downhills, behind Steve Peat, Nicolas Vouilloz, Greg Minnaar and Sam Hill.
"That was one of the toughest tracks I've ever raced on," said Gwin. "So many holes you couldn't see and lines blown out, it was a mission to keep your hands on the bars. I had a solid run and felt like I learned a ton this weekend. I feel incredibly blessed to have had the season I've had."
"God has been great to me this year, and I'm extremely proud for all the American fans who have been so supportive trackside and on-line."
Trek World Racing Team Owner Martin Whiteley said, "This year in downhill we've had a dream season. It's hard finding the words to be honest. Firstly I am extremely indebted to Tracy and Aaron for all they have done for the program and for our sponsors; they are amazing athletes, but even better teammates. To be the number one team is especially rewarding because it's something that all the hard working staff, mechanics, soigneurs, videographers, can take immense pride in."