Gwin smokes the competition in Val di Sole

Minnaar, Atherton eight seconds slower

In the men's race at the second round of the UCI Downhill World Cup in Val di Sole, Italy, Aaron Gwin (Trek World Racing) threw down a tremendous challenge to the rest of the field by finishing over seven seconds ahead of second placed Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) in qualifying. Minnaar, the winner of round one and World Cup leader, had won the warm-up event with most of the favorites in Leogang, Austria last weekend while Gwin was coming off victory at the US Pro GRT in Plattekill, New York last weekend.

Times were dropping steadily through the 82-rider strong field until junior-aged Loic Bruni (Lapierre International) threw down the first sub-3:25 time with 30 riders to go. Bruni held the lead for ten riders before Steve Smith (Devinci Global Racing) took half a second off despite racing with a dislocated finger, and Smith lasted for 13 riders until Sam Blenkinsop (Lapierre International) bumped him out by a second. The lead continued to drop by fractions of a second until Minnaar, the second fastest qualifier, held the hot seat.

However, despite going nearly six seconds faster than he had in qualifying, Minnaar was still almost two seconds slower than Gwin's qualifying time and, barring a crash, Gwin was the odds-on favourite as he began his run. The American champion did not disappoint; fastest at both intermediate splits by huge margins, he knocked more than six seconds off his qualifying time to win by 7.85 seconds, a staggering margin when Minnaar had beaten him by a mere 6.32 tenths of a second in the first round. Gee Atherton (GT Factory) finished third, followed by teammate Marc Beaumont, with Cameron Cole (Lapierre International) in fifth.

"I've been looking for a run like that for some time now," said Gwin. "I couldn't be happier. I was pretty sure my quali time would hold, and even though the course here is super rough and dusty, I managed an almost clean run. Greg rode amazingly well on this track and is going to be tough competition for the remainder of the season."

Gwin and Minnaar are tied at 450 points in the World Cup standings, each with a win and a second, however, Gwin took over the series' lead by virtue of the more recent victory. Atherton is third with 315 points, followed by Beaumont at 228 and Smith with 215.

On a more serious note: everyone was thinking positive thoughts for the very popular Frenchman Cedric Gracia, in hospital with a broken leg and fractured hip after crashing into a tree earlier in the week.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Aaron Gwin (USA) Trek World Racing0:03:10.577 
2Greg Minnaar (RSA) Santa Cruz Syndicate0:00:07.850 
3Gee Atherton (GBr) GT Factory Racing0:00:08.393 
4Marc Beaumont (GBr) GT Factory Racing0:00:08.937 
5Cameron Cole (NZl) Lapierre International0:00:09.743 
6Danny Hart (GBr) Giant Factory Off-Road Team0:00:10.318 
7Samuel Hill (Aus) Monster Energy-Specialized0:00:10.500 
8Samuel Blenkinsop (NZl) Lapierre International0:00:11.308 
9Rémi Thirion (Fra) Labyrinth Shimano Racing Team0:00:11.319 
10Steve Smith (Can) Devinci Global Racing0:00:11.392 
11Loic Bruni* (Fra) Lapierre International0:00:11.917 
12Damien Spagnolo (Fra) Ms Mondraker Team0:00:12.404 
13Bernard Kerr (GBr)0:00:12.638 
14Steve Peat (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate0:00:12.673 
15Brook Macdonald (NZl) Ms Mondraker Team0:00:12.720 
16George Brannigan (NZl) Devinci Global Racing0:00:13.947 
17Justin Leov (NZl) Trek World Racing0:00:14.539 
18Nick Beer (Swi) Devinci Global Racing0:00:15.740 
19Matthew Simmonds (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof0:00:16.016 
20Mickael Pascal (Fra) Ck Racing Santacruz0:00:16.179 
21Richard Rude Jr* (USA) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team0:00:16.335 
22Joshua Button (Aus) Sc-Intense0:00:16.400 
23Ruaridh Cunningham (GBr)0:00:16.645 
24Brendan Fairclough (GBr) Scott110:00:16.762 
25Robin Wallner (Swe) Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing0:00:17.253 
26Florent Payet (Fra) Sc-Intense0:00:17.584 
27Matthew Beer (Can)0:00:17.884 
28Julien Camellini (Fra)0:00:17.891 
29Patrick Thome (Fra) Lapierre International0:00:18.132 
30Pierre Charles Georges (Fra) Team Lac Blanc / Solid / Batibois Alsace0:00:18.396 
31Markus Pekoll (Aut) Ms Mondraker Team0:00:18.405 
32Michael Hannah (Aus) Hutchinson United Ride0:00:18.424 
33Marco Milivinti (Ita) Torpado Surfing Shop0:00:18.540 
34Marcelo Gutierrez Villegas (Col) Cg Racing Brigade0:00:19.435 
35Joseph Smith (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof0:00:19.742 
36Sam Dale (GBr)0:00:19.983 
37Josh Bryceland (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate0:00:20.128 
38Harry Molloy (GBr) Madison Saracen Downhill Team0:00:20.787 
39Yoann Barelli (Fra)0:00:20.900 
40Marcus Klausmann (Ger) Ghost Factory Racing Team0:00:20.952 
41Connor Fearon* (Aus) Kona0:00:20.959 
42Eliot Jackson (USA) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team0:00:21.070 
43Kyle Sangers (Can)0:00:21.199 
44Francisco Pardal (Por)0:00:21.723 
45Aurélien Giordanengo (Fra) Topcycle By Trek0:00:21.729 
46Luke Strobel (USA)0:00:22.112 
47Bernat Guardia Pascual (Spa)0:00:22.178 
48Thibaut Ruffin (Fra) Commencal / Riding Addiction0:00:22.525 
49Faustin Figaret (Fra) Sc-Intense0:00:23.005 
50Benny Strasser (Ger)0:00:23.629 
51Gianluca Vernassa* (Ita) Devinci Global Racing0:00:23.786 
52Oscar Harnstrom (Swe) Pila-Black Arrows-Mtb Herin School Asd0:00:23.901 
53Alexander Kangas (Swe)0:00:24.354 
54Fraser Mcglone* (GBr)0:00:24.449 
55Jared Graves (Aus) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team0:00:24.751 
56Johannes Fischbach (Ger) Ghost Factory Racing Team0:00:24.782 
57Miran Vauh (Slo)0:00:24.878 
58Matti Lehikoinen (Fin) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof0:00:25.011 
59Mathieu Gallean (Fra) Dagg - Racing0:00:25.936 
60Richard Thomas (GBr)0:00:26.185 
61Lewis Buchanan (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof0:00:26.214 
62Andrew Neethling (RSA) Giant Factory Off-Road Team0:00:26.284 
63Ziga Pandur (Slo) Unior Tools Team0:00:26.336 
64Carlo Caire* (Ita) Argentina Bike Gravity Team0:00:26.377 
65Jack Reading (GBr)0:00:26.510 
65Charly Di Pasquale (Fra) Xcytt Racing  
67Arthur Parret (Fra) Passion Velo.Fr0:00:26.513 
68Manuel Gruber (Aut) Alpine Commencal Austria0:00:28.354 
69Emyr Davies (GBr)0:00:28.933 
70Dan Stanbridge (GBr) Dirt Norco Race Team0:00:30.540 
71Matthias Stonig (Aut)0:00:31.270 
72Lorenzo Suding (Ita) Pila-Black Arrows-Mtb Herin School Asd0:00:32.317 
73Bryn Atkinson (Aus) Team Norco International0:00:33.562 
74Mathias Haas (Aut) Alpine Commencal Austria0:00:33.949 
75Fabien Cousinie (Fra) Hutchinson United Ride0:00:36.596 
76Harry Heath (GBr) Unior Tools Team0:00:38.409 
77Emanuel Pombo (Por)0:00:38.507 
78Nejc Rutar (Slo) Unior Tools Team0:00:43.407 
79Mitchell Delfs (Aus) Kona0:01:02.334 
80Benjamin Torrano (Fra)0:01:03.694 
DNFRenaud Smaniotto (Fra) Passion Velo.Fr  
DNSOliwer Kangas (Swe)  
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1GT Factory Racing102 pts
2Lapierre International71 
3MS Mondraker Team65 
4Trek World Racing54 
6Santa Cruz Syndicate52 
7Devinci Global Racing49 
8Commencal / Riding Addiction35 
9Labyrinth Shimano Racing Team34 
10Giant Factory Off-Road Team26 
11Monster Energy-Specialized24 
12Passion Velo.Fr22 
13Alpine Commencal Austria18 
15Hutchinson United Ride14 
16Team Morzine - Avoriaz / Haute - Savoie13 
17Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof12 
18CK Racing Santacruz11 
19Torpado Surfing Shop10 
20Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team10 
21Team Norco International8 
22Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing6 
23Unior Tools Team3 
24Team Lac Blanc / Solid / Batibois Alsace3 
World Cup individual standings after round 2
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Aaron Gwin (USA) Trek World Racing450 pts
2Greg Minnaar (RSA) Santa Cruz Syndicate450 
3Gee Atherton (GBr) GT Factory Racing315 
4Marc Beaumont (GBr) GT Factory Racing228 
5Steve Smith (Can) Devinci Global Racing215 
6Michael Hannah (Aus) Hutchinson United Ride209 
7Samuel Hill (Aus) Monster Energy-Specialized191 
8Danny Hart (GBr) Giant Factory Off-Road Team165 
9Rémi Thirion (Fra) Labyrinth Shimano Racing Team161 
10Steve Peat (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate152 
11Nick Beer (Swi) Devinci Global Racing144 
12Damien Spagnolo (Fra) Ms Mondraker Team143 
13Justin Leov (NZl) Trek World Racing143 
14Brook Macdonald (NZl) Ms Mondraker Team139 
15Jared Graves (Aus) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team137 
16Julien Camellini (Fra)133 
17Josh Bryceland (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate130 
18Cameron Cole (NZl) Lapierre International126 
19Loic Bruni (Fra) Lapierre International125 
20Andrew Neethling (RSA) Giant Factory Off-Road Team124 
21Richard Rude Jr* (USA) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team124 
22Samuel Blenkinsop (NZl) Lapierre International123 
23Aurélien Giordanengo (Fra) Topcycle By Trek121 
24Brendan Fairclough (GBr) Scott11118 
25Bernard Kerr (GBr)115 
26George Brannigan (NZl) Devinci Global Racing115 
27Robin Wallner (Swe) Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing109 
28Troy Brosnan (Aus) Monster Energy-Specialized107 
29Pierre Charles Georges (Fra) Team Lac Blanc / Solid / Batibois Alsace100 
30Matthew Simmonds (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof98 
31Mickael Pascal (Fra) Ck Racing Santacruz97 
32Cédric Gracia (Fra) Cg Racing Brigade93 
33Thibaut Ruffin (Fra) Commencal / Riding Addiction91 
34Marcus Klausmann (Ger) Ghost Factory Racing Team88 
35Johannes Fischbach (Ger) Ghost Factory Racing Team86 
36Joseph Smith (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof85 
37Patrick Thome (Fra) Lapierre International78 
38Luke Strobel (USA)78 
39Harry Molloy (GBr) Madison Saracen Downhill Team74 
40Bryn Atkinson (Aus) Team Norco International72 
41Fabien Cousinie (Fra) Hutchinson United Ride71 
42Eliot Jackson (USA) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team69 
43Neko Mulally (USA) Trek World Racing67 
44Joshua Button (Aus) Sc-Intense67 
45Connor Fearon* (Aus) Kona59 
46Ruaridh Cunningham (GBr)58 
47Richard Thomas (GBr)56 
48Florent Payet (Fra) Sc-Intense55 
49Lorenzo Suding (Ita) Pila-Black Arrows-Mtb Herin School Asd55 
50Matthew Beer (Can)54 
51Oliver Burton (GBr)54 
52Mitchell Delfs (Aus) Kona53 
53Markus Pekoll (Aut) Ms Mondraker Team51 
54Oscar Harnstrom (Swe) Pila-Black Arrows-Mtb Herin School Asd50 
55Marco Milivinti (Ita) Torpado Surfing Shop48 
56Johann Potgieter (RSA)48 
57Marcelo Gutierrez Villegas (Col) Cg Racing Brigade47 
58Sam Dale (GBr)45 
59Duncan Riffle (USA) Dirt Norco Race Team45 
60Isak Leivsson (Nor)44 
61Yoann Barelli (Fra)42 
62Greg Williamson (GBr)42 
63Kyle Sangers (Can)38 
64Curtis Keene (USA) Specialized Racing - Usa Gravity38 
65Ziga Pandur (Slo) Unior Tools Team38 
66Francisco Pardal (Por)37 
67Mitch Ropelato (USA) Specialized Racing - Usa Gravity37 
68Bernat Guardia Pascual (Spa)34 
69Timothy Bentley (RSA) Hutchinson United Ride33 
70Miran Vauh (Slo)33 
71Faustin Figaret (Fra) Sc-Intense32 
72Jonty Neethling (RSA)32 
73Benny Strasser (Ger)31 
74Gianluca Vernassa* (Ita) Devinci Global Racing30 
75Alexander Kangas (Swe)28 
76Alex Bond (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof28 
77Emanuel Pombo (Por)28 
78Jack Reading (GBr)28 
79Fraser Mcglone* (GBr)27 
80Stefan Garlicki (RSA)27 
81Thomas Braithwaite (GBr)25 
82Matti Lehikoinen (Fin) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof23 
83Mathieu Gallean (Fra) Dagg - Racing22 
84Lars Peyer (Swi) Sc-Intense22 
85Lewis Buchanan (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof20 
86Harry Heath (GBr) Unior Tools Team20 
87Logan Binggeli (USA)18 
88Carlo Caire* (Ita) Argentina Bike Gravity Team17 
89Niklas Wallner (Swe) Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing17 
90Nejc Rutar (Slo) Unior Tools Team17 
91Charly Di Pasquale (Fra) Xcytt Racing16 
92Fergus Lamb (GBr)16 
93Arthur Parret (Fra) Passion Velo.Fr14 
94Manuel Gruber (Aut) Alpine Commencal Austria13 
95Ludovic May (Swi)13 
96Emyr Davies (GBr)12 
97Dan Stanbridge (GBr) Dirt Norco Race Team11 
98Tommy Herrmann (Ger)11 
99Matthias Stonig (Aut)10 
100Guillaume Cauvin* (Fra) Hutchinson United Ride10 
101Lutz Weber (Swi)8 
102Mathias Haas (Aut) Alpine Commencal Austria7 
103Tiaan Odendaal* (RSA)7 
104Benjamin Torrano (Fra)7 
105Jonathan Jones (GBr)6 
106Mark Scott (GBr)5 
107Kevin Aiello (USA)4 
108Dan Sheridan* (Irl)3 
109Kristoffer Haugland (Nor)2 
World Cup team standings after round 2
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1GT Factory Racing145 pts
2Trek World Racing120 
3Santa Cruz Syndicate118 
4MS Mondraker Team113 
5Hutchinson United Ride101 
6Devinci Global Racing96 
8Lapierre International76 
9Monster Energy-Specialized67 
10Commencal / Riding Addiction55 
11Giant Factory Off-Road Team50 
12Labyrinth Shimano Racing Team43 
13Team Norco International41 
15Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team36 
16Madison Saracen Downhill Team35 
17Alpine Commencal Austria32 
18CG Racing Brigade26 
19Passion Velo.Fr22 
20Topcycle By Trek18 
21Team Morzine - Avoriaz / Haute - Savoie13 
22Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof12 
23CK Racing Santacruz11 
24Torpado Surfing Shop10 
25Team Lac Blanc / Solid / Batibois Alsace9 
26Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing9 
27Unior Tools Team3 
28Ghost Factory Racing Team2 

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