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MTB World Cup Cross Country #4 & Downhill #4 2010

Date range:
July 23-25, 2010

July 24, Elite men downhill:

Atherton takes second win of season

By:
Rob Jones
Published:
July 24, 2010, 21:59 BST,
Updated:
July 26, 2010, 16:20 BST

Briton narrows Minnaar's World Cup lead

The race for the World Cup title in the men's downhill became a two-horse race on Saturday, at round four in Champéry, Switzerland. Gee Atherton (Commencal) took his second win of the season to pull to within 13 points of Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate), who finished second.

The rain, which had turned the steep 1500 metre course into a slippery mud slide during qualifying, finally backed off for race day, but the damage had been done and, in some ways, the drying conditions made things worse. As the thick mud began to dry, it clung to bikes and turned to the consistency of peanut butter, doubling the weight of bikes and slowing forward momentum to a crawl.

"It was really tough," said Atherton. "You know, some races you really enjoy, and others it's a battle the whole time. This I was just fighting the whole way, the run was hard work; it was like a battle from top to bottom. It was a matter of just finding that line, hanging it out and having it pinned, and not pushing too hard and crashing. I guess I was right on that line and right on the limit the whole time. I was half crashing all the way down the hill, just holding on, and luckily I got it dialed."

Minnaar had similar comments: "It was like Scalelectrix [model electric cars], it was one big rut the whole way down, so you just had to balance well and ride the rut as best you could."

Only six riders occupied the Hot Seat during the race, starting with the first rider on the course, Ben Cathro, who held the lead for nearly a third of the field before being unseated by Ruaridh Cunningham (Chain Reaction/Intense). Cunningham knocked an impressive 16-plus seconds off of Cathro's time, and was in the Hot Seat for 20 riders before his teammate Chris Kovarik bumped him by mere four-hundredths of a second.

Kovarik held on for 18 riders until U.S. champion Aaron Gwin (Yetis Fox Shox) took the lead down another two seconds.

At this point there were 20 riders still to race, but when Minnaar came through the finish six riders after Gwin and nearly nine seconds faster, it started to look like the World Cup leader had shaken off a poor qualifying run and was on track for his third victory of the season.

However, the South African knew better: "My training run was terrible... getting stuck in the gate with the rain [starting], there's not much we could do about it. But a result's a result, so you just have to move on and try your best and turn it into a positive. So I'm glad to turn it around and improve on that 15th in qualifying. I knew my time was beatable, and not a race-winning run. I'd made costly mistake on an easy section, and I knew I'd lost a lot of time in there, but it was hard to make no mistakes on this track."

Minnaar was correct, as Atherton was fastest through both intermediate splits and flew into the finish nearly three seconds faster than his rival. Only top qualifier Sam Blenkinsop (Lapierre International) was left to ride, and he could not match Atherton's run, slotting into fourth behind Brendan Fairclough (Monster Energy Specialized).

"I'm pretty stoked to put that time in on that track," said Atherton. "I knew Greg had the Hot Seat, and I knew I had my work cut out, and that it was going to be hard to knock him off. It is my second win of the season and I am over the moon right now."

Minnaar continues to lead the World Cup standings with 830 points but, due to his poor qualifier and Atherton's win and second place in qualifying, the British rider is only 13 points back with two races to go.

"I'm holding onto the [World Cup] lead by the skin of my teeth at this point," commented Minnaar, "and with two to go, it's not much of a gap. Gee and I will have to fight it out right to the end."

Race Notes

Nico Vink crashed hard in the men's race, hitting his helmet on the ground. It led to a 20-minute delay while he was airlifted out.

Full results

Elite men
1 Gee Atherton (GBr) Commencal 0:04:02.19  
2 Greg Minnaar (RSA) Santa Cruz Syndicate 0:00:02.79  
3 Brendan Fairclough (GBr) Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz 0:00:04.56  
4 Samuel Blenkinsop (NZl) Lapierre International 0:00:04.81  
5 Damien Spagnolo (Fra) Mondraker Factory Team 0:00:05.32  
6 Brook MacDonald (NZl) MS Evil Racing 0:00:07.34  
7 Fabien Pedemanaud (Fra) Scott 11 0:00:10.34  
8 Aaron Gwin (USA) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team 0:00:11.56  
9 Chris Kovarik (Aus) Chain Reaction Cycles/Intense 0:00:13.71  
10 Ruaridh Cunningham (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles/Intense 0:00:13.75  
11 Mickael Pascal (Fra) 0:00:13.77  
12 Marc Beaumont (GBr) GT Bicycles 0:00:14.33  
13 Matti Lehikoinen (Fin) Chain Reaction Cycles/Intense 0:00:15.78  
14 Mitchell Delfs (Aus) 0:00:15.91  
15 Nick Beer (Swi) Scott 11 0:00:16.65  
16 Shaun O'connor (Aus) Kenda-Playbiker 0:00:16.87  
17 Sam Dale (GBr) 0:00:17.31  
18 Steve Peat (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate 0:00:17.52  
19 Pierre Charles Georges (Fra) Solid Aclass Factory Team 0:00:18.46  
20 Bryn Atkinson (Aus) World Trail/Specialized 0:00:21.23  
21 Bernard Kerr (GBr) Norco World Team 0:00:21.85  
22 Danny Hart (GBr) Giant Factory Team 0:00:22.83  
23 Cyrille Kurtz (Fra) Team Lac Blanc Massif Des Vosges 0:00:23.96  
24 Fabien Cousinie (Fra) Blackmountain Morewood United 0:00:24.28  
25 Oliver Burton (GBr) 0:00:24.30  
26 Markus Pekoll (Aut) Solid Aclass Factory Team 0:00:24.60  
27 Antonio Ferreiro Pajuelo (Spa) XMS Racing Squad 0:00:25.91  
28 Matthew Scoles (NZl) Team Cingolani - Protone 0:00:27.55  
29 Cédric Gracia (Fra) 0:00:27.88  
30 Lorenzo Suding (Ita) 0:00:27.99  
31 Richard Thomas (GBr) 0:00:28.49  
32 Troy Brosnan (Aus) Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz 0:00:29.02  
33 Wyn Masters (NZl) Kenda-Playbike 0:00:29.11  
34 Adam Brayton (GBr) 0:00:29.35  
35 Cameron Cole (NZl) Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain 0:00:29.84  
36 Bernat Guardia Pascual (Spa) Massi Team 0:00:30.07  
37 Florent Payet (Fra) Blackmountain Morewood United 0:00:30.09  
37 Ben Cathro (GBr) MTBcut.tv    
39 Thibaut Ruffin (Fra) Commencal Superiders 0:00:30.50  
40 Steve Smith (Can) MS Evil Racing 0:00:30.63  
41 Robin Wallner (Swe) Team Sunn Montgenevre 0:00:30.79  
42 Harry Heath (GBr) 0:00:31.21  
43 Joseph Smith (GBr) Kona 0:00:32.31  
44 Justin Leov (NZl) Trek World Racing 0:00:33.03  
45 Matthew Simmonds (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles/Intense 0:00:33.65  
46 Luke Strobel (USA) MS Evil Racing 0:00:34.04  
47 Martin Frei (Swi) 0:00:35.51  
48 Dennis Dertell (Swe) 0:00:35.64  
49 Harry Molloy (GBr) 661/DMR/Last Bikes 0:00:36.62  
50 Dan Stanbridge (GBr) Dirt Norco Race Team 0:00:36.86  
51 Nejc Rutar (Slo) MBKOrbea 0:00:38.25  
52 George Brannigan (NZl) Ancillotti Doganaccia Racing Team 0:00:39.47  
53 Scott Mears (GBr) 0:00:39.89  
54 Michael Hannah (Aus) GT Bicycles 0:00:40.32  
55 Billy Caroli (Swi) 0:00:40.95  
56 Faustin Figaret (Fra) Team Sport Bike 0:00:41.15  
57 Thomas Braithwaite (GBr) 0:00:41.69  
58 Ben Baker (GBr) 0:00:42.54  
59 Julien Camellini (Fra) Chain Reaction Cycles/Intense 0:00:42.57  
60 Robert Smith (GBr) 0:00:43.22  
61 Carlo Gambirasio (Ita) Surfing Shop 0:00:43.89  
62 Benny Strasser (Ger) 0:00:44.28  
63 Andrew Neethling (RSA) Trek World Racing 0:00:44.58  
64 Ralph Jones (GBr) 0:00:45.00  
65 Ben Reid (Irl) Dirt Norco Race Team 0:00:45.22  
66 Thomas Jeandin (Swi) 0:00:46.61  
67 Kyle Strait (USA) 0:00:48.03  
68 Esteban Deronzier (Fra) Morzine-Avoriaz/Haute-Savoie 0:00:49.38  
69 Kristof Lenssens (Bel) 0:00:50.15  
70 Yannick Colomb (Fra) 0:00:51.21  
71 Matej Charvat (Cze) K.T.R. Racing Team 0:00:52.06  
72 Marcelo Gutierrez Villegas (Col) 0:00:52.21  
73 Arthur Racaud (Fra) US Cagnes VTT 0:00:52.72  
74 Neko Mulally (USA) Trek World Racing 0:00:54.83  
75 Joseph Nation (NZl) 0:00:55.44  
76 Bertrand Gilles (Bel) 0:00:58.72  
77 Romain Paulhan (Fra) 0:01:07.79  
78 Duncan Riffle (USA) Giant Factory Team 0:01:08.78  
79 Jack Reading (GBr) 0:01:13.53  
80 Fergus Lamb (GBr) Perth City Cycles 0:01:14.41  
81 Olivier Nicole (Fra) 0:01:16.91  
DNF Nico Vink (Bel)    
DNF Joris Bigoni (Fra)    
Elite men's teams
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Chain Reaction Cycles/Intense 85  pts
2 Scott 11 70  
3 Santa Cruz Syndicate 48  
4 Commencal 40  
5 Suspension Center 40  
6 Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain 35  
7 Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz 32  
8 Commencal Superiders 32  
9 Norco World Team 32  
10 Lapierre International 30  
11 Mondraker Factory Team 28  
12 Trek World Racing 28  
13 MS Evil Racing 26  
14 Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team 23  
15 RC Alpine Commencal Austria 23  
16 Morzine-Avoriaz/Haute-Savoie 21  
17 GT Bicycles 19  
18 Dr-Gravity Union 18  
19 Solid Aclass Factory Team 17  
20 Kenda-Playbiker 15  
21 Giant Factory Team 9  
22 Team Lac Blanc Massif Des Vosges 8  
23 Blackmountain Morewood United 7  
24 XMS Racing Squad 4  
25 Team Cingolani - Protone 3  

World Cup Standings after four rounds

World Cup individual standings
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Greg Minnaar (RSA) Santa Cruz Syndicate 830  pts
2 Gee Atherton (GBr) Commencal 817  
3 Samuel Blenkinsop (NZl) Lapierre International 569  
4 Brendan Fairclough (GBr) Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz 510  
5 Aaron Gwin (USA) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team 495  
6 Cameron Cole (NZl) Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain 450  
7 Fabien Pedemanaud (Fra) Scott 11 360  
8 Matti Lehikoinen (Fin) Chain Reaction Cycles/Intense 333  
9 Damien Spagnolo (Fra) Mondraker Factory Team 318  
10 Justin Leov (NZl) Trek World Racing 311  
11 Steve Peat (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate 305  
12 Marc Beaumont (GBr) GT Bicycles 301  
13 Danny Hart (GBr) Giant Factory Team 295  
14 Shaun O'connor (Aus) Kenda-Playbiker 263  
15 Matthew Simmonds (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles/Intense 259  
16 Nick Beer (Swi) Scott 11 251  
17 Steve Smith (Can) MS Evil Racing 247  
18 Michael Hannah (Aus) GT Bicycles 245  
19 Bryn Atkinson (Aus) 239  
20 Luke Strobel (USA) MS Evil Racing 235  
21 Julien Camellini (Fra) Chain Reaction Cycles/Intense 218  
22 Brook Macdonald (NZl) MS Evil Racing 211  
23 Andrew Neethling (RSA) Trek World Racing 207  
24 Mickael Pascal (Fra) 205  
25 Ben Reid (Irl) Dirt Norco Race Team 203  
26 Florent Payet (Fra) Blackmountain Morewood United 201  
27 Mitchell Delfs (Aus) 199  
28 Joseph Smith (GBr) Kona 195  
29 Sam Dale (GBr) 193  
30 Ben Cathro (GBr) 192  
31 Wyn Masters (NZl) Kenda-Playbiker 185  
32 Matthew Scoles (NZl) Team Cingolani - Protone 182  
33 Chris Kovarik (Aus) Chain Reaction Cycles/Intense 181  
34 Ruaridh Cunningham (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles/Intense 165  
35 Aurélien Giordanengo (Fra) Mondraker Factory Team 165  
36 Samuel Hill (Aus) Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz 160  
37 Thomas Braithwaite (GBr) 155  
38 Nico Vink (Bel) 154  
39 Thibaut Ruffin (Fra) Commencal Superiders 153  
40 Romain Paulhan (Fra) 148  
41 Antonio Ferreiro Pajuelo (Spa) XMS Racing Squad 146  
42 Robin Wallner (Swe) Team Sunn Montgenevre 143  
43 Josh Bryceland (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate 138  
44 Filip Polc (Svk) MS Evil Racing 138  
45 Troy Brosnan° (Aus) Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz 137  
46 Markus Pekoll (Aut) Solid Aclass Factory Team 136  
47 Harry Molloy (GBr) 135  
48 Pierre Charles Georges (Fra) Solid Aclass Factory Team 133  
49 Cédric Gracia (Fra) 125  
50 Bernat Guardia Pascual (Spa) Massi Team 122  
51 Joshua Button (Aus) Kona 121  
52 George Brannigan° (NZl) Ancillotti Doganaccia Racing Team 118  
53 Kyle Strait (USA) 112  
54 Joe Barnes (GBr) 105  
55 Dennis Dertell (Swe) 99  
56 Fabien Cousinie (Fra) Blackmountain Morewood United 98  
57 Bernard Kerr (GBr) Norco World Team 94  
58 Adam Vagner (Cze) 94  
59 Richard Thomas (GBr) 92  
60 Matej Charvat (Cze) K.T.R. Racing Team 92  
61 Cyrille Kurtz (Fra) Team Lac Blanc Massif Des Vosges 88  
62 Robert Smith (GBr) 88  
63 Oliver Burton (GBr) 87  
64 Joris Bigoni (Fra) 87  
65 Emanuel Pombo (Por) 86  
66 Adam Brayton (GBr) 83  
67 Marcelo Gutierrez Villegas (Col) 83  
68 Fergus Lamb (GBr) 78  
69 Marcus Klausmann (Ger) Ghost A.T.G. Pro Team 78  
70 Marco Milivinti (Ita) Team Cingolani - Protone 78  
71 Lorenzo Suding (Ita) 77  
72 Benny Strasser (Ger) 75  
73 Duncan Riffle (USA) Giant Factory Team 69  
74 Dan Atherton (GBr) Commencal 65  
75 Nathan Rankin (NZl) Kenda-Playbiker 65  
76 Ralph Jones (GBr) 62  
77 Harry Heath (GBr) 59  
78 Scott Mears (GBr) 59  
79 Chris Hutchens (GBr) 53  
80 Pasqual Canals Flix (Spa) XMS Racing Squad 50  
81 Nejc Rutar (Slo) MBK Orbea 50  
82 Ludovic May (Swi) 47  
83 Alexander Kangas (Swe) 44  
84 Curtis Keene (USA) 40  
85 Antoine Badouard (Fra) 39  
86 Rémi Thirion (Fra) Team Sunn Montgenevre 39  
87 Emyr Davies (GBr) 35  
88 Martin Frei (Swi) 34  
89 Lars Peyer (Swi) Suspension Center 32  
90 Dan Stanbridge (GBr) Dirt Norco Race Team 31  
91 Lewis Buchanan° (GBr) MS Evil Racing 30  
92 Mathieu Gallean (Fra) Ryde-Racing 29  
93 Billy Caroli (Swi) 26  
94 Olivier Nicole (Fra) 26  
95 Aari Barrett (NZl) Scott 11 26  
96 Faustin Figaret° (Fra) Team Sport Bike 25  
97 Ben Baker (GBr) 23  
98 Jack Reading (GBr) 23  
99 Carlo Gambirasio (Ita) Surfing Shop 20  
100 Boris Tetzlaff (Aut) Ghost A.T.G. Pro Team 19  
101 Marco Bugnone (Ita) Argentina Bike Gravity Team 18  
102 Thomas Jeandin (Swi) 15  
103 Maxime Remy (Fra) Suspension Center 15  
104 Scott Laughland (Irl) 14  
105 Esteban Deronzier (Fra) Morzine-Avoriaz/Haute-Savoie 13  
106 Kristof Lenssens (Bel) 12  
107 Marcel Beer (Swi) 11  
108 Yannick Colomb (Fra) 11  
109 Ivan Oulego Moreno (Spa) Massi Team 11  
110 Sam Flockhart° (GBr) Lapierre International 10  
111 Jan Javornik (Svk) 9  
112 Florian Arthus (Fra) 8  
113 Arthur Racaud° (Fra) US Cagnes VTT 8  
114 Neko Mulally° (USA) Trek World Racing 7  
115 Mark Scott° (GBr) 7  
116 Joseph Nation (NZl) 6  
117 Bertrand Gilles (Bel) 5  
118 Kim Petersson (Swe) 4  
119 Evan Turpen (USA) 3  
World Cup team standings
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Chain Reaction Cycles/Intense 309  pts
2 Scott 11 260  
3 Commencal 240  
4 Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain 235  
5 Santa Cruz Syndicate 219  
6 Trek World Racing 196  
7 Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz 125  
8 Suspension Center 124  
9 Commencal Superiders 122  
10 MS Evil Racing 119  
11 Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team 109  
12 Lapierre International 105  
13 GT Bicycles 96  
14 RC Alpine Commencal Austria 92  
15 Morzine-Avoriaz/Haute-Savoie 89  
16 Norco World Team 71  
17 Dr-Gravity Union 60  
18 Giant Factory Team 57  
19 Mondraker Factory Team 50  
20 Kenda-Playbiker 42  
21 Kona 41  
22 Solid Aclass Factory Team 28  
23 Team Cingolani - Protone 20  
24 Team Sunn Montgenevre 20  
25 Blackmountain Morewood United 16  
26 Dirt Norco Race Team 15  
27 Massi Team 8  
28 Team Lac Blanc Massif Des Vosges 8  
29 Ancillotti Doganaccia Racing Team 6  
30 XMS Racing Squad 4