MacDonald wins his first ever downhill World Cup in Val d'Isere

Gwin locks up 2012 World Cup overall with one round remaining

Round six of the downhill at the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Val d'Isere, France turned out to be a much more difficult course than anyone anticipated, with many top riders crashing and performing below expectations. New Zealand's Brook MacDonald (MS Mondraker) took his first ever World Cup win in the men's race. Aaron Gwin (Trek World Racing), despite finishing fifth, locked up the men's overall World Cup title with one round remaining.

The rocky, open, alpine run was very different from most that the racers face on the World Cup circuit, and more than a few riders crashed in both training and qualifying.

The men's competition for the last two seasons has been completely dominated by World Cup leader Aaron Gwin and his usual rival, Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate). Between the two of them, they have won every single World Cup in last season and this season, until Val d'Isere. Every rider struggled on the fast, rough and rocky terrain, which was completely unforgiving of mistakes. Gwin crashed in qualifying, injuring his hand and finishing well back.

In the final, Thibaut Ruffin (Commencal / Riding Addiction) set the early best time, which stood for 16 riders until Matt Simmonds (Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof) bumped him by an infinitesimal six-thousandths of a second. Simmonds in turn was displaced by Andrew Neethling (Giant Factory), who barely finished before Mick Hannah (Hutchinson United Ride) took the lead. Gwin took the lead next by half a second, but Minnaar surpassed his rival by that same amount. Gee Atherton (GT Factory) then recorded the first sub-2:20 time, but it wasn't quite enough, as MacDonald knocked a final half second off the lead to record his first victory.

"I can't even explain how I feel," said MacDonald. "I had a solid run, no mistakes , it was one of those runs I was just pumped for. I am over the moon about this one. My early season has been a big struggle. I was at a point where I was hating riding. So I changed a few things on my bike, and it has all paid off.

"This track was hard. With the altitude, and being only two and a half minutes, you are just pushing the whole way. If you make a mistake you lose time and you can't really lose time on this kind of track. I put together a good run and I'm happy. I think I'm going party for a week."

Despite having his consecutive World Cup win streak stopped at four, Gwin wasn't too upset. "I have no excuses, I had a pretty good run. For how I felt I am happy. To win the overall again, it is so amazing, especially after this weekend. I came in feeling good, and kinda had a bonehead moment in qualifying, hurt myself a little bit. It [his hand] was better than I thought it was going to be in the finals; it didn't hurt too bad. I just got a little tired at the bottom. So I had to back it down at the bottom to make sure I stayed on and I kinda backed it down too much, but it worked out. Everyone loses some and wins some. I have lost many more in my career. I am just stoked to be up here."

Gwin raced with fresh stitches in his had following a crash earlier in the weekend.

Gwin now has 1260 points with one World Cup race remaining, an insurmountable 260-point lead over Minnaar. The fight for second overall is far from over, with Atherton only 19 points out of second.

Full Results

Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Brook Macdonald (NZl) MS Mondraker Team0:02:19.48 
2Gee Atherton (GBr) GT Factory Racing0:00:00.50 
3Josh Bryceland (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate0:00:00.68 
4Greg Minnaar (RSA) Santa Cruz Syndicate0:00:00.87 
5Aaron Gwin (USA) Trek World Racing0:00:01.37 
6Michael Hannah (Aus) Hutchinson United Ride0:00:01.89 
7Marc Beaumont (GBr) GT Factory Racing0:00:02.11 
8Cameron Cole (NZl) Lapierre International0:00:02.30 
9Rémi Thirion (Fra) Labyrinth Shimano Racing Team0:00:02.45 
10Andrew Neethling (RSA) Giant Factory Off-Road Team0:00:02.64 
11Steve Smith (Can) Devinci Global Racing0:00:02.74 
12Steve Peat (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate0:00:03.62 
13Mitch Ropelato (USA) Monster Energy-Specialized0:00:03.78 
14Matthew Simmonds (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof0:00:04.09 
15Thibaut Ruffin (Fra) Commencal / Riding Addiction0:00:04.09 
16Florent Payet (Fra) SC-Intense0:00:04.13 
17Lorenzo Suding (Ita) Pila-BlaCK Arrows-MTB Herin School Asd0:00:04.14 
18Samuel Blenkinsop (NZl) Lapierre International0:00:04.57 
19Markus Pekoll (Aut) MS Mondraker Team0:00:05.09 
20George Brannigan (NZl) Devinci Global Racing0:00:05.15 
21Ruaridh Cunningham (GBr)0:00:05.29 
22Connor Fearon° (Aus) Kona0:00:05.48 
23Filip Polc (Svk)0:00:05.73 
24Aurélien Giordanengo (Fra) Topcycle By Trek0:00:05.90 
25Mickael Pascal (Fra) CK Racing Santacruz0:00:06.13 
26Joseph Smith (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof0:00:06.35 
27Samuel Hill (Aus) Monster Energy-Specialized0:00:06.49 
28Jared Graves (Aus) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team0:00:06.68 
29Bernat Guardia Pascual (Spa)0:00:06.96 
30Harry Heath (GBr) Unior Tools Team0:00:07.07 
31Cyrille Kurtz (Fra) CK Racing Santacruz0:00:07.15 
32Robin Wallner (Swe) Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing0:00:07.23 
33Johannes Fischbach (Ger) Ghost Factory Racing Team0:00:07.39 
34Phil Atwill° (GBr) Madison Saracen Downhill Team0:00:07.41 
35Pierre Charles Georges (Fra) Team Lac Blanc / Solid / Batibois Alsace0:00:07.43 
36Ivan Oulego Moreno (Spa)0:00:07.58 
37Luke Strobel (USA)0:00:07.59 
38Sam Dale (GBr)0:00:07.65 
39Matthew Beer (Can)0:00:07.71 
40Matej Charvat (Cze)0:00:07.83 
41Ben Reid (Irl) Dirt Norco Race Team0:00:07.89 
42Benny Strasser (Ger)0:00:07.92 
43Francisco Pardal (Por)0:00:08.25 
44Jono Jones° (GBr)0:00:08.25 
45Mitchell Delfs (Aus) Kona0:00:08.41 
46Justin Leov (NZl) Trek World Racing0:00:08.53 
47Oscar Harnstrom (Swe) Pila-BlaCK Arrows-MTB Herin School Asd0:00:08.62 
48Lewis Buchanan (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof0:00:08.85 
49Patrick Thome (Fra) Lapierre International0:00:08.97 
50Richard Thomas (GBr)0:00:09.03 
51Johann Potgieter (RSA)0:00:09.25 
52Alexis Pujol (Fra)0:00:10.09 
53Florian Arthus (Fra) XCYTT Racing0:00:10.26 
54Joe Connell° (GBr)0:00:10.36 
55Fraser Mcglone° (GBr)0:00:10.42 
56Kyle Sangers (Can)0:00:10.44 
57Benjamin Verrier (Fra)0:00:11.06 
58Ludovic May (Swi)0:00:11.19 
59Oliver Burton (GBr)0:00:11.24 
60Rudy Cabirou° (Fra)0:00:11.45 
61Richard Rude Jr° (USA) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team0:00:11.92 
62Ziga Pandur (Slo) Unior Tools Team0:00:12.06 
63Duncan Riffle (USA) Dirt Norco Race Team0:00:12.12 
64Alex Bond (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof0:00:12.31 
65Jérôme Crocombette (Fra) Passion Velo.Fr0:00:12.36 
66David Trummer° (Aut)0:00:12.69 
68Ville Ormo° (Fin)0:00:14.11 
69Alexandre Fayolle° (Fra)0:00:14.23 
70Damien Spagnolo (Fra) MS Mondraker Team0:00:14.83 
71Romain Payet° (Fra)0:00:17.04 
72Benoit Coulanges° (Fra)0:00:18.29 
73Joao Gois° (Por)0:00:22.60 
74Harry Molloy (GBr) Madison Saracen Downhill Team0:00:25.60 
75Bryn Atkinson (Aus) Team Norco International0:00:28.46 
76Marco Milivinti (Ita) Torpado Surfing Shop0:00:28.93 
77Nico Vink (Bel) Rose Vaujany Gravity MTB Team0:00:40.58 
78Nick Beer (Swi) Devinci Global Racing0:00:47.15 
79Marcelo Gutierrez Villegas (Col) CG Racing Brigade0:01:35.58 
80Miran Vauh (Slo)0:02:32.27 
DNFNejc Rutar (Slo) Unior Tools Team  
DNFIsak Leivsson (Nor)  
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1GT Factory Racing99 pts
2MS Mondraker Team87 
3Santa Cruz Syndicate81 
5Commencal / Riding Addiction42 
6Labyrinth Shimano Racing Team38 
7Lapierre International36 
8Devinci Global Racing31 
9Trek World Racing28 
10Hutchinson United Ride26 
11Monster Energy-Specialized22 
12Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof22 
13Madison Saracen Downhill Team22 
14Giant Factory Off-Road Team21 
15Alpine Commencal Austria18 
17Pila-BlaCK Arrows-MTB Herin School Asd14 
18Passion Velo.Fr12 
19Dagg - Racing9 
21Team Morzine - Avoriaz / Haute - Savoie8 
22Topcycle By Trek7 
23CK Racing Santacruz6 
24Team Lac Blanc / Solid / Batibois Alsace4 
25Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team3 
26Unior Tools Team1 
Elite men individual downhill World Cup standings after six rounds
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Aaron Gwin (USA) Trek World Racing1260 pts
2Greg Minnaar (RSA) Santa Cruz Syndicate1000 
3Gee Atherton (GBr) GT Factory Racing981 
4Steve Smith (Can) Devinci Global Racing680 
5Danny Hart (GBr) Giant Factory Off-Road Team650 
6Samuel Hill (Aus) Monster Energy-Specialized627 
7Josh Bryceland (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate589 
8Brook Macdonald (NZl) MS Mondraker Team583 
9Michael Hannah (Aus) Hutchinson United Ride546 
10Marc Beaumont (GBr) GT Factory Racing501 
11Andrew Neethling (RSA) Giant Factory Off-Road Team480 
12Cameron Cole (NZl) Lapierre International477 
13Samuel Blenkinsop (NZl) Lapierre International442 
14Rémi Thirion (Fra) Labyrinth Shimano Racing Team420 
15George Brannigan (NZl) Devinci Global Racing414 
16Matthew Simmonds (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof391 
17Nick Beer (Swi) Devinci Global Racing358 
18Justin Leov (NZl) Trek World Racing358 
19Loic Bruni° (Fra) Lapierre International355 
20Joseph Smith (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof337 
21Aurélien Giordanengo (Fra) Topcycle By Trek333 
22Richard Rude Jr° (USA) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team324 
23Damien Spagnolo (Fra) MS Mondraker Team320 
24Luke Strobel (USA)312 
25Patrick Thome (Fra) Lapierre International311 
26Pierre Charles Georges (Fra) Team Lac Blanc / Solid / Batibois Alsace299 
27Mickael Pascal (Fra) CK Racing Santacruz296 
28Thibaut Ruffin (Fra) Commencal / Riding Addiction274 
29Mitchell Delfs (Aus) Kona271 
30Steve Peat (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate255 
31Connor Fearon° (Aus) Kona253 
32Markus Pekoll (Aut) MS Mondraker Team250 
33Sam Dale (GBr)247 
34Jared Graves (Aus) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team246 
35Brendan Fairclough (GBr) Scott11245 
36Bryn Atkinson (Aus) Team Norco International235 
37Lorenzo Suding (Ita) Pila-BlaCK Arrows-MTB Herin School Asd232 
38Mitch Ropelato (USA) Monster Energy-Specialized210 
39Lewis Buchanan (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof201 
40Marcelo Gutierrez Villegas (Col) CG Racing Brigade197 
41Florent Payet (Fra) SC-Intense196 
42Johannes Fischbach (Ger) Ghost Factory Racing Team192 
43Greg Williamson (GBr)189 
44Matthew Beer (Can)187 
45Bernard Kerr (GBr)179 
46Robin Wallner (Swe) Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing174 
47Eliot Jackson (USA) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team172 
48Joshua Button (Aus) SC-Intense170 
49Julien Camellini (Fra)167 
50Ben Reid (Irl) Dirt Norco Race Team165 
51Oscar Harnstrom (Swe) Pila-BlaCK Arrows-MTB Herin School Asd163 
52Harry Heath (GBr) Unior Tools Team157 
53Richard Thomas (GBr)151 
54Cyrille Kurtz (Fra) CK Racing Santacruz150 
55Duncan Riffle (USA) Dirt Norco Race Team150 
56Harry Molloy (GBr) Madison Saracen Downhill Team145 
57Oliver Burton (GBr)138 
58Kyle Sangers (Can)125 
59Ruaridh Cunningham (GBr)122 
60Ziga Pandur (Slo) Unior Tools Team122 
61Neko Mulally (USA) Trek World Racing120 
62Nejc Rutar (Slo) Unior Tools Team120 
63Jack Reading (GBr)114 
64Filip Polc (Svk)113 
65Troy Brosnan (Aus) Monster Energy-Specialized107 
66Jono Jones° (GBr)104 
67Fraser Mcglone° (GBr)99 
68Fabien Cousinie (Fra) Hutchinson United Ride95 
69Francisco Pardal (Por)94 
70Cédric Gracia (Fra) CG Racing Brigade93 
71Bernat Guardia Pascual (Spa)93 
72Adam Brayton (GBr)90 
73Benny Strasser (Ger)89 
74Marcus Klausmann (Ger) Ghost Factory Racing Team88 
75Austin Warren° (USA)84 
76Johann Potgieter (RSA)83 
77Ivan Oulego Moreno (Spa)82 
78Alexander Kangas (Swe)78 
79Isak Leivsson (Nor)78 
80Phil Atwill° (GBr) Madison Saracen Downhill Team73 
81Matti Lehikoinen (Fin) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof67 
82Boris Tetzlaff (Aut) Alpine Commencal Austria64 
83Alex Bond (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof60 
84Mark Scott (GBr)60 
85Dan Stanbridge (GBr) Dirt Norco Race Team57 
86Thomas Braithwaite (GBr)57 
87Joe Connell° (GBr)56 
88Jack Moir° (Aus)55 
89Marco Milivinti (Ita) Torpado Surfing Shop53 
90Ludovic May (Swi)53 
91Dean Lucas° (Aus)48 
92Dan Atherton (GBr) GT Factory Racing45 
93Faustin Figaret (Fra) SC-Intense45 
94Logan Binggeli (USA)44 
95George Gannicott° (GBr)43 
96Fabien Pedemanaud (Fra)42 
97Yoann Barelli (Fra)42 
98Nico Vink (Bel) Rose Vaujany Gravity MTB Team42 
99Matej Charvat (Cze)41 
100Curtis Keene (USA) Specialized Racing - Usa Gravity38 
101Gaetan Ruffin (Fra) Commencal / Riding Addiction38 
102Benjamin Verrier (Fra)36 
103Lars Vatnebryn Sandviken (Nor)35 
104Guillaume Cauvin° (Fra) Hutchinson United Ride35 
105Mathieu Gallean (Fra) Dagg - Racing35 
106Miran Vauh (Slo)34 
107Manuel Gruber (Aut) Alpine Commencal Austria34 
108Cody Warren (USA)33 
109Timothy Bentley (RSA) Hutchinson United Ride33 
110Jonty Neethling (RSA)32 
111Kevin Aiello (USA)32 
112Niklas Wallner (Swe) Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing31 
113Gianluca Vernassa° (Ita) Devinci Global Racing30 
114Ralph Jones (GBr)30 
115Rob Fraser (Can)30 
116Alexis Pujol (Fra)29 
117Joe Barnes (GBr)29 
118Dennis Dertell (Swe) Team 23 Degrees28 
119Florian Arthus (Fra) XCYTT Racing28 
120Emanuel Pombo (Por)28 
121Stefan Garlicki (RSA)27 
122Kieran Bennett (NZl)26 
123Charly Di Pasquale (Fra) XCYTT Racing23 
124Lars Peyer (Swi) SC-Intense22 
125Remi Gauvin (Can)22 
126Scott Mears (GBr)22 
127Rudy Cabirou° (Fra)21 
128Thomas Jeandin (Swi)18 
129Carlo Caire° (Ita) Argentina Bike Gravity Team17 
130Fergus Lamb (GBr)16 
131Jérôme Crocombette (Fra) Passion Velo.Fr16 
132David Trummer° (Aut)15 
133Kazuki Shimizu (Jpn)14 
134Arthur Parret (Fra) Passion Velo.Fr14 
135Ville Ormo° (Fin)13 
136Emyr Davies (GBr)12 
137Alexandre Fayolle° (Fra)12 
138Junya Nagata (Jpn)11 
139Edgar Carballo Gonzalez (Spa)11 
140Tommy Herrmann (Ger)11 
141Matthias Stonig (Aut)10 
142Romain Payet° (Fra)10 
143Mark Wallace° (Can)9 
144Benoit Coulanges° (Fra)9 
145Lutz Weber (Swi)8 
146Joao Gois° (Por)8 
147Mathias Haas (Aut) Alpine Commencal Austria7 
148Tiaan Odendaal° (RSA)7 
149Benjamin Torrano (Fra)7 
150Yuki Kushima (Jpn)4 
151Dan Sheridan° (Irl)3 
152Hans Lambert (Can)3 
153Kristoffer Haugland (Nor)2 
Teams World Cup standings after six rounds 
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1GT Factory Racing463 pts
2Santa Cruz Syndicate347 
3MS Mondraker Team346 
4Trek World Racing289 
5Lapierre International280 
6Devinci Global Racing276 
7Hutchinson United Ride255 
9Giant Factory Off-Road Team231 
10Commencal / Riding Addiction201 
11Monster Energy-Specialized179 
12Labyrinth Shimano Racing Team133 
13Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof127 
15Madison Saracen Downhill Team83 
16Team Norco International82 
17Alpine Commencal Austria78 
18Passion Velo.Fr74 
19Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team67 
21Cg Racing Brigade37 
22Team Morzine - Avoriaz / Haute - Savoie35 
23Topcycle By Trek32 
24Team Lac Blanc / Solid / Batibois Alsace28 
25Pila-Black Arrows-Mtb Herin School Asd20 
26CK Racing Santacruz17 
27Unior Tools Team11 
28Torpado Surfing Shop10 
29Dagg - Racing9 
30Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing9 
31Dirt Norco Race Team4 
32Ghost Factory Racing Team3 


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