Gwin gives USA first downhill win in years

The first round of the 2011 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup concluded in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa on Easter Sunday with the crowd favourite downhill. While local favourite Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) was not able to repeat his victory of two seasons ago in the men's race, the thousands of fans were treated to exciting racing, with the men's title won by less than three-tenths of a second. Aaron Gwin (Trek World Racing) brought home the first US downhill World Cup victory in years. Minnaar's ride was good enough for second ahead of Gee Atherton (Commencal) in third.

In the 82-rider men's field, it was four time cross World Cup winner Jared Graves (Yeti Fox Shox), who set the first fast time of 4:17.183. Graves stayed in the hot seat through 15 riders before the New Zealand champion Cameron Cole (Lapierre International) was able to edge him out. Cole had a much shorter time in the lead, as Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate) knocked nearly two seconds off the top time only three riders later. Peat was uncharacteristically seeded low, since he has been fighting the effects of a flu which sapped his power all week.

Peat withstood the challenges of a number of top names, as the start list counted down: Sam Blenkinsop (Lapierre International), Marc Beaumont (Team GT), Justin Leov (Trek World Racing), Steve Smith (Devinci), Andrew Neethling (Giant) and world champion Sam Hill (Monster Energy/Specialized/Mad Catz).

Peat's time in the hot seat lasted until American Aaron Gwin (Trek World Racing) knocked a staggering seven seconds off the best time.

Defending World Cup champion Gee Atherton (Commencal) could only manage a time within two seconds of Gwin, which was good enough for third, and Minnaar, with the entire crowd cheering him down the course, came oh-so-close, but was 0.241 seconds in arrears. When the fastest qualifier, Mick Hannah (Team GT) crashed hard after bolts broke in his handlebar stem, Gwin knew that he had his first World Cup victory.

With his win, Gwin became the first American man to win a World Cup since 1999 (Shaun Palmer was the last at Big Bear). Gwin revealed that he has been training with the legendary John Tomac, and it appears to have paid off.

"Honestly, coming into this weekend, I didn't think I could do it," said Gwin. "The track was just clicking, and I felt really good all weekend, and it just came down to the pedalling."

"I thought that if I could just go hard at the top and the bottom I was probably fit enough to hold onto it in the middle, and it worked out," said Gwin. "I was surprised at the gap when I came down. It was a pretty loose run, but it was everything I had. It was on the edge, I hit a tree at the top, but I just tried to keep myself calm and hold it together, but there were some sketchy moments. I'm stoked, I'm just speechless."

Fabian Barel (Mondraker Factory Team) earned the fourth podium spot ahead of Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate) in fifth.

Junior downhill world champion Troy Brosnan (Monster Energy/Specialized/Mad Catz) of Australia won the junior men's race.  He clocked the 23rd fastest time among the elites.

Full Results (* indicates junior riders)

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Aaron Gwin (USA) Trek World Racing0:04:08.634
2Greg Minnaar (RSA) Santa Cruz Syndicate0:00:00.241
3Gee Atherton (GBr) Commencal0:00:01.921
4Fabien Barel (Fra) Mondraker Factory Team0:00:04.246
5Steve Peat (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate0:00:06.809
6Steve Smith (Can) Devinci Global Racing0:00:06.934
7Marc Beaumont (GBr)0:00:07.237
8Samuel Hill (Aus) Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz0:00:07.399
9Nick Beer (Swi) Scott 110:00:07.965
10Josh Bryceland (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate0:00:08.281
11Bryn Atkinson (Aus)0:00:08.371
12Cameron Cole (NZl) Lapierre International0:00:08.502
13Jared Graves (Aus) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team0:00:08.549
14Duncan Riffle (USA) Giant Factory Off-Road Team0:00:09.022
15Matti Lehikoinen (Fin) Chain Reaction Cycles/Nukeproof0:00:09.132
16Cédric Gracia (Fra) CG Racing Brigade0:00:09.809
17Fabien Cousinie (Fra) Morewood Unitedride0:00:10.167
18Matthew Scoles (NZl) Team Cingolani Trek0:00:10.609
19Julien Camellini (Fra) Team Sunn Montgenevre0:00:10.852
20Thibaut Ruffin (Fra) Riding Addiction Commencal0:00:10.853
21Samuel Blenkinsop (NZl) Lapierre International0:00:10.995
22Danny Hart (GBr) Giant Factory Off-Road Team0:00:11.049
23Troy Brosnan* (Aus) Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz0:00:11.354
24Aurélien Giordanengo (Fra) Mondraker Factory Team0:00:11.376
25Romain Paulhan (Fra)0:00:11.420
26Markus Pekoll (Aut) MS Evil Racing0:00:11.425
27Brook Macdonald (NZl) MS Evil Racing0:00:11.806
28Justin Leov (NZl) Trek World Racing0:00:11.943
29Neko Mulally* (USA) Trek World Racing0:00:12.232
30Filip Polc (Svk) MS Evil Racing0:00:12.810
31Shaun O'Connor (Aus) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team0:00:12.916
32Pierre Charles Georges (Fra) Team Lac Blanc/Solid/Massif Des Vosges0:00:13.071
33Florent Payet (Fra) SC-Intense0:00:13.667
34Sam Dale (GBr) Team Sunn Montgenevre0:00:13.730
35Bernard Kerr (GBr) Wallner Robin0:00:14.082
36Robin Wallner (Swe) Team Are Bikepark Powered By W-Racing0:00:14.096
37Ruaridh Cunningham (GBr) Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain0:00:14.968
38Joseph Smith (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles/Nukeproof0:00:15.158
39Mitchell Delfs (Aus)0:00:15.377
40Mickael Pascal (Fra) Morewood Unitedride0:00:15.627
41Ben Cathro (GBr) Spagnolo Damien0:00:15.696
42Damien Spagnolo (Fra) Mondraker Factory Team0:00:15.839
43Richard Thomas (GBr)0:00:15.982
44Rémi Thirion (Fra) Labyrinth Shimano Racing Team0:00:16.017
45Timothy Bentley (RSA) Morewood Unitedride0:00:16.056
46Joshua Button (Aus) SC-Intense0:00:16.294
47Mitch Ropelato (USA)0:00:16.595
48Luke Strobel (USA) MS Evil Racing0:00:16.903
49Alex Bond (GBr)0:00:17.425
50Marcel Beer (Swi)0:00:17.435
51Emanuel Pombo (Por)0:00:17.934
52Dan Stanbridge (GBr) Dirt Norco Race Team0:00:18.289
53Fabien Pedemanaud (Fra) Scott 110:00:18.405
54Jonty Neethling (RSA)0:00:19.692
55Johann Potgieter (RSA)0:00:20.534
56Thomas Braithwaite (GBr)0:00:20.677
57Curtis Keene (USA)0:00:21.430
58Hayden Brown (RSA)0:00:22.359
59Patrick Thome (Fra) Mondraker Factory Team0:00:22.654
60Andrew Neethling (RSA) Giant Factory Off-Road Team0:00:22.688
61Scott Mears (GBr)0:00:23.147
62Thomas Jeandin (Swi)0:00:24.451
63Lars Peyer (Swi) SC-Intense0:00:24.831
64Fraser Mcglone* (GBr)0:00:26.043
65Daniel Pombo (Por)0:00:26.995
66Kelvin Purchase (RSA)0:00:28.688
67Chris Hutchens (GBr)0:00:28.900
68Tiaan Odendaal* (RSA)0:00:29.700
69Fergus Lamb (GBr)0:00:30.123
70Francesco Petrucci (Ita)0:00:30.558
71Roman Roschi (Swi)0:00:30.867
72Oscar Harnstrom (Swe)0:00:31.068
73Arthur Parret* (Fra) Passion Velo Thiers Stemtee0:00:32.375
74Jérôme Payet (Fra)0:00:35.547
75Charly Di Pasquale (Fra) Labyrinth Shimano Racing Team0:00:40.691
76Mathias Haas (Aut) Alpine Commencal Austria0:00:45.282
77Daniel Critchlow (GBr)0:00:45.525
78Travis Browning (RSA)0:03:06.284
DNFGeorge Brannigan (NZl) Devinci Global RacingRow 78 - Cell 2
DNFMichael Hannah (Aus)Row 79 - Cell 2
DNSBrendan Fairclough (GBr) Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad CatzRow 80 - Cell 2
DNSAlexander Kangas (Swe)Row 81 - Cell 2

World Cup standings

Swipe to scroll horizontally
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Aaron Gwin (USA) Trek World Racing218pts
2Greg Minnaar (RSA) Santa Cruz Syndicate200Row 1 - Cell 3
3Gee Atherton (GBr) Commencal162Row 2 - Cell 3
4Fabien Barel (Fra) Mondraker Factory Team145Row 3 - Cell 3
5Steve Peat (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate110Row 4 - Cell 3
6Steve Smith (Can) Devinci Global Racing104Row 5 - Cell 3
7Samuel Hill (Aus) Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz102Row 6 - Cell 3
8Nick Beer (Swi) SCott 1194Row 7 - Cell 3
9Julien Camellini (Fra) Team Sunn Montgenevre92Row 8 - Cell 3
10Marc Beaumont (GBr)90Row 9 - Cell 3
11Cédric Gracia (Fra) CG Racing Brigade90Row 10 - Cell 3
12Josh Bryceland (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate86Row 11 - Cell 3
13Duncan Riffle (USA) Giant Factory Off-Road Team83Row 12 - Cell 3
14Bryn Atkinson (Aus)80Row 13 - Cell 3
15Fabien Cousinie (Fra) Morewood Unitedride76Row 14 - Cell 3
16Aurélien Giordanengo (Fra) Mondraker Factory Team70Row 15 - Cell 3
17Cameron Cole (NZl) Lapierre International69Row 16 - Cell 3
18Thibaut Ruffin (Fra) Riding Addiction Commencal69Row 17 - Cell 3
19Jared Graves (Aus) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team68Row 18 - Cell 3
20Matti Lehikoinen (Fin) Chain Reaction Cycles/Nukeproof66Row 19 - Cell 3
21Matthew Scoles (NZl) Team Cingolani Trek63Row 20 - Cell 3
22Markus Pekoll (Aut) Ms Evil Racing62Row 21 - Cell 3
23Samuel Blenkinsop (NZl) Lapierre International60Row 22 - Cell 3
24Danny Hart (GBr) Giant Factory Off-Road Team59Row 23 - Cell 3
25Brook Macdonald (NZl) Ms Evil Racing59Row 24 - Cell 3
26Justin Leov (NZl) Trek World Racing59Row 25 - Cell 3
27Troy Brosnan* (Aus) Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz58Row 26 - Cell 3
28Romain Paulhan (Fra)56Row 27 - Cell 3
29Neko Mulally* (USA) Trek World Racing52Row 28 - Cell 3
30Filip Polc (Svk) Ms Evil Racing51Row 29 - Cell 3
31Shaun O'Connor (Aus) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team50Row 30 - Cell 3
32Michael Hannah (Aus)50Row 31 - Cell 3
33Pierre Charles Georges (Fra) Team Lac Blanc/Solid/Massif Des Vosges49Row 32 - Cell 3
34Florent Payet (Fra) SC-Intense48Row 33 - Cell 3
35Sam Dale (GBr) Team Sunn Montgenevre47Row 34 - Cell 3
36Bernard Kerr (GBr)46Row 35 - Cell 3
37Robin Wallner (Swe) Team Are Bikepark Powered By W-Racing45Row 36 - Cell 3
38Ruaridh Cunningham (GBr) Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain44Row 37 - Cell 3
39Joseph Smith (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles/Nukeproof43Row 38 - Cell 3
40Mitchell Delfs (Aus) Kona42Row 39 - Cell 3
41Mickael Pascal (Fra) Morewood Unitedride41Row 40 - Cell 3
42Ben Cathro (GBr)40Row 41 - Cell 3
43Damien Spagnolo (Fra) Mondraker Factory Team39Row 42 - Cell 3
44Richard Thomas (GBr)38Row 43 - Cell 3
45Rémi Thirion (Fra) Labyrinth Shimano Racing Team37Row 44 - Cell 3
46Timothy Bentley (RSA) Morewood Unitedride36Row 45 - Cell 3
47Andrew Neethling (RSA) Giant Factory Off-Road Team36Row 46 - Cell 3
48Joshua Button (Aus) SC-Intense35Row 47 - Cell 3
49Mitch Ropelato (USA)34Row 48 - Cell 3
50Luke Strobel (USA) Ms Evil Racing33Row 49 - Cell 3
51Alex Bond (GBr)32Row 50 - Cell 3
52Marcel Beer (Swi)31Row 51 - Cell 3
53Emanuel Pombo (Por)30Row 52 - Cell 3
54Dan Stanbridge (GBr) Dirt Norco Race Team29Row 53 - Cell 3
55Fabien Pedemanaud (Fra) SCott 1128Row 54 - Cell 3
56Jonty Neethling (RSA)27Row 55 - Cell 3
57Johann Potgieter (RSA)26Row 56 - Cell 3
58Thomas Braithwaite (GBr)25Row 57 - Cell 3
59Curtis Keene (USA)24Row 58 - Cell 3
60Hayden Brown (RSA)23Row 59 - Cell 3
61Patrick Thome (Fra) Mondraker Factory Team22Row 60 - Cell 3
62Scott Mears (GBr)20Row 61 - Cell 3
63Thomas Jeandin (Swi)19Row 62 - Cell 3
64Lars Peyer (Swi) SC-Intense18Row 63 - Cell 3
65Fraser Mcglone* (GBr)17Row 64 - Cell 3
66Daniel Pombo (Por)16Row 65 - Cell 3
67Kelvin Purchase (RSA)15Row 66 - Cell 3
68Chris Hutchens (GBr)14Row 67 - Cell 3
69Tiaan Odendaal* (RSA)13Row 68 - Cell 3
70Fergus Lamb (GBr)12Row 69 - Cell 3
71Francesco Petrucci (Ita) Team Cingolani Trek11Row 70 - Cell 3
72Roman Roschi (Swi)10Row 71 - Cell 3
73Oscar Harnstrom (Swe)9Row 72 - Cell 3
74Arthur Parret* (Fra) Passion Velo Thiers Stemtee8Row 73 - Cell 3
75Jérôme Payet (Fra)7Row 74 - Cell 3
76Charly Di Pasquale (Fra) Labyrinth Shimano Racing Team6Row 75 - Cell 3
77Mathias Haas (Aut) Alpine Commencal Austria5Row 76 - Cell 3
78Daniel Critchlow (GBr)4Row 77 - Cell 3
79Travis Browning (RSA)3Row 78 - Cell 3
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Downhill team World Cup standings after one round
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Santa Cruz Syndicate84pts
2Trek World Racing83Row 1 - Cell 3
3Team GR65Row 2 - Cell 3
4Scott 1162Row 3 - Cell 3
5Mondraker Factory Team37Row 4 - Cell 3
6Commencal32Row 5 - Cell 3
7Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz31Row 6 - Cell 3
8Lapierre International29Row 7 - Cell 3
9Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain26Row 8 - Cell 3
10Devinci Global Racing26Row 9 - Cell 3
11Giant Factory Off-Road Team26Row 10 - Cell 3
12Team Morzine-Avoriaz/Haute-Savoie20Row 11 - Cell 3
13Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team18Row 12 - Cell 3
14Madison Saracen16Row 13 - Cell 3
15Chain Reaction Cycles/Nukeproof16Row 14 - Cell 3
16Cg Racing Brigade15Row 15 - Cell 3
17Morewood Unitedride14Row 16 - Cell 3
18Team Cingolani Trek13Row 17 - Cell 3
19Alpine Commencal Austria12Row 18 - Cell 3
20Team Sunn Montgenevre12Row 19 - Cell 3
21Riding Addiction Commencal11Row 20 - Cell 3
22MS Evil Racing10Row 21 - Cell 3
23SC-Intense6Row 22 - Cell 3


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