Smith wins first World Cup of his career in Hafjell

Gwin celebrates overall 2012 World Cup victory

The final round of the 2012 UCI Downhill Mountain Bike World Cup in Hafjell, Norway, produced a first-time winner in the men's competition, with Steve Smith (Devinci Global Racing) beating out his teammate George Brannigan. While the battle for the men's overall downhill World Cup title was over after round six, with Aaron Gwin (Trek World Racing) having locked it up by virtue of his four wins, the competition for second in the final standings was far from done, with world champion Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) a mere 19 points in front of Gee Atherton (GT Factory Racing).

Markus Pekoll (MS Mondraker) was the first man to spend an appreciable time in the hot seat, eventually finishing ninth with his 3:36.712, after holding the lead time for 30 riders before Cameron Cole (Lapierre International) finally supplanted him by 0.649 seconds with 18 riders to go. Ten riders later, Atherton took the lead by nearly two seconds, but didn't have much time to enjoy it before Minnaar bumped him by a tenth of a second, ensuring his second place in the overall standings.

The four riders remaining would all have been a first-time winner of a World Cup. Josh Bryceland (Santa Cruz Syndicate) struggled in the upper half of the course, putting him out of contention. Brannigan had a poor start in the upper part of the course also, but recovered strongly to take the lead by 1.734 seconds. Second place qualifier Robin Wallner (Are Bikepark by W-Racing) seemed to succumb to the pressure, finishing well off the pace in 17th.

This left Smith, the bronze medalist at the world championships, with the only chance left to replace his teammate Brannigan on the top step. The Canadian has had multiple podium appearances over the past couple of years, but was still looking to win his first World Cup. It was clear that this course suited him, as he recorded the fastest splits both at the top and middle portions of the course, visibly faster than anyone else through the rock gardens, to come in four-tenths of a second faster that Brannigan at the bottom.

"I am so happy right now," said Smith. "I have never won a World Cup before; it has been a dream of mine. I had no idea when I was running how it was going. The wind was such a bad headwind. The track is so fast, but it didn't feel like I could go any faster, because that headwind was so hard, but everyone had the same. I am so stoked."

"It is insane. I can't believe the team is finishing the season this way. All three of us on the podium today. Three of the five! It's George's (Brannigan) first ever podium, Nick [Beer - fifth] first podium this year, so for the Devinci team we are all so stoked right now."

Gwin won the men's World Cup title with 1260 points to Minnaar's 1162, with Atherton at 1123 and Smith in fourth at 930. Australia's Sam Hill (Monster Energy-Specialized), by virtue of his seventh place and the absence of injured Danny Hart (Giant Factory) moved from sixth to fifth in the final standings.

"It's a great feeling [winning the World Cup overall]," agreed Gwin. "A little bittersweet not being able to race, but definitely a really awesome year for me, I can't complain. It has been great. Congrats to Stevie [Smith], that was cool to see."

"On the first day of practice, I had a pretty big crash in the rock section, that was a bit of a bummer. I was feeling good and looking forward to having some fun at this race, but that is the way it goes. It could be a lot worse, I guess. Yes, it is disappointing not to be in the last race of the season. You always want to end the year strong, and I kind of did this last year too. Kind of a bummer but I will have no shortage of motivation for the off season."

Race notes

- Aaron Gwin did not race due to an injury sustained to his hand during practice.  It was the same hand and injury location as that suffered in Val d'Isere at Round 6, but this time the bone was heavily bruised.

- Some racers, such as Justin Leov (Trek World Racing), were absent while others mourned the loss of a friend. Leov was attending the funeral of James Dodds, a mountain biker from New Zealand who was killed in a hunting accident.

Full Results

Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Steve Smith (Can) Devinci Global Racing0:03:31.764 
2George Brannigan (NZl) Devinci Global Racing0:00:00.400 
3Greg Minnaar (RSA) Santa Cruz Syndicate0:00:02.134 
4Gee Atherton (GBr) GT Factory Racing0:00:02.289 
5Nick Beer (Swi) Devinci Global Racing0:00:03.133 
6Cameron Cole (NZl) Lapierre International0:00:04.209 
7Samuel Hill (Aus) Monster Energy-Specialized0:00:04.745 
8Josh Bryceland (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate0:00:04.801 
9Markus Pekoll (Aut) MS Mondraker Team0:00:04.948 
10Brendan Fairclough (GBr) SCott110:00:05.504 
11Michael Hannah (Aus) Hutchinson United Ride0:00:05.642 
12Isak Leivsson (Nor)0:00:05.686 
13Andrew Neethling (RSA) Giant Factory Off-Road Team0:00:05.790 
14Brook Macdonald (NZl) MS Mondraker Team0:00:05.965 
15Greg Williamson (GBr)0:00:06.032 
16Thibaut Ruffin (Fra) Commencal / Riding Addiction0:00:06.058 
17Robin Wallner (Swe) Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing0:00:06.193 
18Bernard Kerr (GBr)0:00:06.962 
19Neko Mulally (USA) Trek World Racing0:00:06.989 
20Bryn Atkinson (Aus) Team Norco International0:00:07.299 
21Loic Bruni° (Fra) Lapierre International0:00:07.381 
22Florent Payet (Fra) SC-Intense0:00:07.534 
23Damien Spagnolo (Fra) MS Mondraker Team0:00:07.593 
24Matthew Simmonds (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof0:00:07.599 
25Luke Strobel (USA)0:00:07.693 
26Ruaridh Cunningham (GBr)0:00:08.012 
27Harry Molloy (GBr) Madison Saracen Downhill Team0:00:08.315 
28Lorenzo Suding (Ita) Pila-Black Arrows-Mtb Herin SChool Asd0:00:08.691 
29Marc Beaumont (GBr) GT Factory Racing0:00:08.961 
30Eliot Jackson (USA) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team0:00:09.409 
31Marcelo Gutierrez Villegas (Col) CG Racing Brigade0:00:09.818 
32Ben Reid (Irl) Dirt Norco Race Team0:00:09.994 
33Slawomir Lukasik (Pol)0:00:10.004 
34Joseph Smith (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof0:00:10.127 
35Richard Thomas (GBr)0:00:10.252 
36Aurélien Giordanengo (Fra) Topcycle By Trek0:00:10.435 
37Benny Strasser (Ger)0:00:10.944 
38Connor Fearon° (Aus) Hutchinson United Ride0:00:11.358 
39Oscar Harnstrom (Swe) Pila-Black Arrows-Mtb Herin SChool Asd0:00:11.646 
40Kyle Sangers (Can)0:00:12.242 
41Samuel Blenkinsop (NZl) Lapierre International0:00:12.801 
42Adam Brayton (GBr)0:00:13.334 
43Richard Rude Jr° (USA) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team0:00:13.372 
44Zakarias Blom Johansen (Nor)0:00:13.906 
45Johannes Fischbach (Ger) Ghost Factory Racing Team0:00:14.617 
46Kirk Mcdowall (Can)0:00:14.698 
47Mitchell Delfs (Aus) Kona0:00:14.734 
48Niklas Wallner (Swe) Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing0:00:14.736 
49Reece Potter° (NZl)0:00:15.129 
50Thomas Braithwaite (GBr)0:00:15.302 
51Sam Dale (GBr)0:00:15.339 
52Ludovic Oget (Fra) Dagg - Racing0:00:15.617 
53Oliver Burton (GBr)0:00:16.125 
54Jakob Thunell° (Swe) Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing0:00:16.448 
55Joshua Button (Aus) SC-Intense0:00:16.487 
56Mark Wallace° (Can)0:00:16.561 
57Quentin Chanudet (Fra)0:00:16.720 
58Phil Atwill° (GBr) Madison Saracen Downhill Team0:00:16.779 
59Richard Leacock (NZl)0:00:16.833 
60Mark Scott (GBr)0:00:17.078 
61Benjamin Verrier (Fra)0:00:17.092 
62Noel Niederberger° (Swi) SCott110:00:17.327 
63Espen Johnsen (Nor)0:00:17.355 
64Mathew Stuttard (GBr)0:00:17.421 
65Matti Lehikoinen (Fin) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof0:00:17.829 
66Ziga Pandur (Slo) Unior Tools Team0:00:17.963 
67Faustin Figaret (Fra) SC-Intense0:00:18.022 
68Arthur Parret (Fra) Passion Velo.Fr0:00:18.866 
69Will Jones (GBr)0:00:19.198 
70Fabien Cousinie (Fra) Hutchinson United Ride0:00:19.212 
71Steve Peat (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate0:00:21.547 
72David Trummer° (Aut)0:00:22.806 
73Arthur Babcock (USA)0:00:23.502 
74Jack Reading (GBr)0:00:24.607 
75Lars Vatnebryn Sandviken (Nor)0:00:24.899 
76Dan Sheridan° (Irl)0:00:25.173 
77Rémi Thirion (Fra) Labyrinth Shimano Racing Team0:00:29.390 
DNFGavin Vaughan (USA)  
DNSAaron Gwin (USA) Trek World Racing  
DNSPierre Charles Georges (Fra) Team Lac Blanc / Solid / Batibois Alsace  
DNSDennis Dertell (Swe)  
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Devinci Global Racing103 pts
2MS Mondraker Team74 
3GT Factory Racing72 
4Santa Cruz Syndicate55 
5Lapierre International36 
6Passion Velo.Fr30 
7Monster Energy-Specialized24 
9Alpine Commencal Austria20 
10Hutchinson United Ride20 
11Giant Factory Off-Road Team18 
12Commencal / Riding Addiction15 
13Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing14 
14Unior Tools Team12 
15Team Morzine - Avoriaz / Haute - Savoie12 
16Trek World Racing12 
17Madison Saracen Downhill Team11 
18Team Norco International11 
19Team Lac Blanc / Solid / Batibois Alsace9 
21Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof7 
22Pila-Black Arrows-MTB Herin School Asd3 
23CG Racing Brigade1 
24Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team1 
Elite men individual final downhill World Cup standings
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Aaron Gwin (USA) Trek World Racing1260 pts
2Greg Minnaar (RSA) Santa Cruz Syndicate1162 
3Gee Atherton (GBr) GT Factory Racing1123 
4Steve Smith (Can) Devinci Global Racing930 
5Samuel Hill (Aus) Monster Energy-Specialized735 
6Josh Bryceland (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate699 
7Brook Macdonald (NZl) MS Mondraker Team650 
8Danny Hart (GBr) Giant Factory Off-Road Team650 
9Michael Hannah (Aus) Hutchinson United Ride632 
10George Brannigan (NZl) Devinci Global Racing604 
11Cameron Cole (NZl) Lapierre International579 
12Andrew Neethling (RSA) Giant Factory Off-Road Team561 
13Marc Beaumont (GBr) GT Factory Racing553 
14Nick Beer (Swi) Devinci Global Racing488 
15Samuel Blenkinsop (NZl) Lapierre International482 
16Matthew Simmonds (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof448 
17Rémi Thirion (Fra) Labyrinth Shimano Racing Team438 
18Loic Bruni° (Fra) Lapierre International420 
19Joseph Smith (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof384 
20Aurélien Giordanengo (Fra) Topcycle By Trek378 
21Damien Spagnolo (Fra) MS Mondraker Team378 
22Luke Strobel (USA)376 
23Richard Rude Jr° (USA) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team362 
24Justin Leov (NZl) New-Zealand358 
25Thibaut Ruffin (Fra) Commencal / Riding Addiction339 
26Markus Pekoll (Aut) MS Mondraker Team330 
27Brendan Fairclough (GBr) Scott11320 
28Mitchell Delfs (Aus) Kona314 
29Patrick Thome (Fra) Lapierre International311 
30Bryn Atkinson (Aus) Team Norco International307 
31Pierre Charles Georges (Fra) Team Lac Blanc / Solid / Batibois Alsace299 
32Lorenzo Suding (Ita) Pila-BlaCK Arrows-Mtb Herin School Asd297 
33Mickael Pascal (Fra) France296 
34Connor Fearon° (Aus) Kona296 
35Steve Peat (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate280 
36Robin Wallner (Swe) Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing278 
37Sam Dale (GBr)277 
38Greg Williamson (GBr)261 
39Florent Payet (Fra) SC-Intense255 
40Marcelo Gutierrez Villegas (Col) CG Racing Brigade247 
41Jared Graves (Aus) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team246 
42Bernard Kerr (GBr)242 
43Johannes Fischbach (Ger) Ghost Factory Racing Team228 
44Eliot Jackson (USA) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team223 
45Ben Reid (Irl) Dirt Norco Race Team214 
46Mitch Ropelato* (USA) United States Of America210 
47Oscar Harnstrom (Swe) Pila-BlaCK Arrows-Mtb Herin School Asd205 
48Lewis Buchanan (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof201 
49Harry Molloy (GBr) Madison Saracen Downhill Team199 
50Richard Thomas (GBr)197 
51Joshua Button (Aus) SC-Intense196 
52Neko Mulally (USA) Trek World Racing192 
53Matthew Beer (Can)187 
54Ruaridh Cunningham (GBr)177 
55Julien Camellini (Fra)167 
56Oliver Burton (GBr)166 
57Kyle Sangers (Can)166 
58Harry Heath (GBr) Unior Tools Team157 
59Cyrille Kurtz (Fra) CK Racing Santacruz150 
60Duncan Riffle (USA) United States Of America150 
61Isak Leivsson (Nor)147 
62Ziga Pandur (Slo) Unior Tools Team137 
63Benny Strasser (Ger)133 
64Adam Brayton (GBr)129 
65Jack Reading (GBr)121 
66Nejc Rutar (Slo) Unior Tools Team120 
67Filip Polc (Svk) Slovakia113 
68Troy Brosnan* (Aus) Australia107 
69Fabien Cousinie (Fra) Hutchinson United Ride106 
70Jono Jones° (GBr) Great Britain104 
71Fraser Mcglone° (GBr)99 
72Phil Atwill° (GBr) Madison Saracen Downhill Team96 
73Francisco Pardal* (Por) Portugal94 
74Cédric Gracia (Fra) CG Racing Brigade93 
75Bernat Guardia Pascual (Spa) Spain93 
76Marcus Klausmann (Ger) Ghost Factory Racing Team88 
77Thomas Braithwaite (GBr)88 
78Austin Warren° (USA) United States Of America84 
79Johann Potgieter (RSA)83 
80Matti Lehikoinen (Fin) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof83 
81Ivan Oulego Moreno (Spa) Spain82 
82Mark Scott (GBr)81 
83Alexander Kangas (Swe)78 
84Niklas Wallner (Swe) Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing64 
85Boris Tetzlaff* (Aut) Austria64 
86Alex Bond (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof60 
87Faustin Figaret (Fra) SC-Intense59 
88Dan Stanbridge (GBr) Dirt Norco Race Team57 
89Joe Connell° (GBr) Great Britain56 
90Benjamin Verrier (Fra)56 
91Jack° Moir (Aus) Australia55 
92Marco Milivinti (Ita) Italy53 
93Ludovic May (Swi)53 
94Slawomir Lukasik (Pol)48 
95Dean Lucas° (Aus) Australia48 
96Dan Atherton (GBr) GT Factory Racing45 
97Logan Binggeli (USA) United States Of America44 
98George Gannicott° (GBr)43 
99Fabien Pedemanaud (Fra)42 
100Yoann Barelli (Fra)42 
101Nico Vink (Bel) Rose Vaujany Gravity Mtb Team42 
102Matej Charvat (Cze)41 
103Lars Vatnebryn Sandviken (Nor)41 
104Curtis Keene (USA) Specialized Racing - Usa Gravity38 
105Gaetan Ruffin (Fra) Commencal / Riding Addiction38 
106Zakarias Blom Johansen (Nor)37 
107Kirk Mcdowall (Can)35 
108Guillaume Cauvin° (Fra) France35 
109Mathieu Gallean (Fra) Dagg - Racing35 
110Mark Wallace° (Can)34 
111Miran Vauh (Slo) Slovenia34 
112Manuel Gruber (Aut) Alpine Commencal Austria34 
113Cody Warren (USA)33 
114Timothy Bentley (RSA) Hutchinson United Ride33 
115Reece Potter° (NZl)32 
116Jonty Neethling (RSA)32 
117Kevin Aiello (USA)32 
118Gianluca Vernassa° (Ita) Devinci Global Racing30 
119Ralph Jones (GBr)30 
120Rob Fraser (Can)30 
121Ludovic Oget (Fra) Dagg - Racing29 
122Alexis Pujol (Fra)29 
123Joe Barnes (GBr)29 
124Dennis Dertell (Swe) Team 23 Degrees28 
125Florian Arthus (Fra) Xcytt Racing28 
126Emanuel Pombo (Por) Portugal28 
127Jakob Thunell° (Swe) Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing27 
128Stefan Garlicki (RSA)27 
129Arthur Parret (Fra) Passion Velo.Fr27 
130Kieran Bennett (NZl)26 
131Quentin Chanudet (Fra)24 
132David Trummer° (Aut)24 
133Charly Di Pasquale (Fra) Xcytt Racing23 
134Lars Peyer (Swi) SC-Intense22 
135Richard Leacock (NZl)22 
136Remi Gauvin* (Can) Canada22 
137Scott Mears (GBr)22 
138Rudy Cabirou° (Fra) France21 
139Noel Niederberger° (Swi) Scott1119 
140Espen Johnsen (Nor)18 
141Thomas Jeandin (Swi)18 
142Carlo Caire° (Ita) Argentina Bike Gravity Team17 
143Mathew Stuttard (GBr)17 
144Fergus Lamb (GBr)16 
145Jérôme Crocombette (Fra) Passion Velo.Fr16 
146Kazuki Shimizu* (Jpn) Japan14 
147Ville° Ormo (Fin) Finland13 
148Emyr Davies (GBr)12 
149Will Jones (GBr)12 
150Alexandre Fayolle° (Fra) France12 
151Junya Nagata (Jpn)11 
152Edgar Carballo Gonzalez (Spa) Spain11 
153Tommy Herrmann (Ger)11 
154Matthias Stonig (Aut) Austria10 
155Romain Payet° (Fra)10 
156Benoit Coulanges° (Fra)9 
157Lutz Weber* (Swi) Switzerland8 
158Arthur Babcock (USA)8 
159Joao Gois° (Por)8 
160Dan Sheridan° (Irl)8 
161Mathias Haas (Aut) Alpine Commencal Austria7 
162Tiaan Odendaal° (RSA) South Africa7 
163Benjamin Torrano (Fra)7 
164Yuki Kushima (Jpn)4 
165Hans Lambert (Can)3 
166Kristoffer Haugland (Nor)2 
Team final World Cup standings
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1GT Factory Racing535 pts
2MS Mondraker Team420 
3Santa Cruz Syndicate402 
4Devinci Global Racing379 
5Lapierre International316 
6Trek World Racing301 
7Hutchinson United Ride275 
9Giant Factory Off-Road Team249 
10Commencal / Riding Addiction216 
11Monster Energy-Specialized203 
12Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof134 
13Labyrinth Shimano Racing Team133 
14Passion Velo.Fr104 
15Alpine Commencal Austria98 
17Madison Saracen Downhill Team94 
18Team Norco International93 
19Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team68 
20Team Morzine - Avoriaz / Haute - Savoie47 
22CG Racing Brigade38 
23Team Lac Blanc / Solid / Batibois Alsace37 
24Topcycle By Trek32 
25Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing23 
26Unior Tools Team23 
27Pila-Black Arrows-Mtb Herin School Asd23 
28CK Racing Santacruz17 
29Torpado Surfing Shop10 
30Dagg - Racing9 
31Dirt Norco Race Team4 
32Ghost Factory Racing Team3 


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