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Moseley tops women's downhill

Tracy Moseley (Trek World Racing) won the elite women's downhill World Cup opener in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, on Sunday afternoon.  The British racer finished ahead of compatriot Fionn Griffiths (Team GR) and Frenchwoman Emmeline Ragot (Team GR).

The course had continued to dry out through the weekend, and by the time the elite women took to the track the conditions were near perfect. While the course had technical sections, it was primarily "pedally", favouring riders that could put down power on the flatter, smoother sections through the middle of the run.

Junior Manon Carpenter (Madison Saracen) was the first rider off, after technical problems hurt her time in qualifying, and she showed that she could do better by posting a respectable sub-5:12 time. This time would hold up for nearly half the field before the Swiss rider Emilie Siegenthaler (Scott 11) knocked nine seconds off. However, Siegenthaler didn't even have time to slide into the hot seat before Griffiths obliterated her time with a 4:56.454.

Griffiths stayed in the hot seat as rider after rider came down, none able to come within a second of her time. The closest was Griffiths' own teammate Ragot, but she was still 1. 296 seconds slower. Impressively, Ragot was riding with a broken ankle.

Finally, it was the turn of Tracy Moseley (Trek World Racing) - the fastest qualifier, current world champion and winner here in 2009. Moseley picked up speed as her run progressed, and she posted the fastest time for the lower half of the course, finishing a mere 0.288 seconds ahead of Griffiths to take the victory, and don the World Cup leader's jersey.

"This is certainly the toughest track," said Moseley. "Coming back two years later, it's gotten longer. Even though it's dry today, there is still so much pedalling. I really tried to give it a lot in the pedalling, but then felt like I suffered in that last section, through the four cross course."

"I felt a bit ropey in some of the technical stuff and the big jumps, I lost some time there, but I was able to make it up on the pedalling, I was just hanging on for dear life. A tough, tough race, but such an awesome start to the season."

Moseley said she was nervous coming into the weekend.  "I spent years trying to get this [world champion's] jersey, and it is so amazing to get to ride in it. I wanted to do my best wearing the jersey. To get to ride in it to the first win of the year is pretty special. It did play on my mind a bit [the rainbow jersey]. It was my dream fulfilled, and so I thought that this year was going to be fun, and no pressure, but I still wanted to do the jersey justice, so I was pretty damned nervous this weekend, and that's probably why I went so hard... I didn't want to disgrace it."

Moseley, who raced the eight-day Cape Epic mountain bike stage race last month, said that doing that event had paid off, improving her fitness.

Frenchwomen Sabrina Jonnier (Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain) in fourth and Floriane Pugin (Scott 11) in fifth rounded out the top five to complete the podium.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Tracy Moseley (GBr) Trek World Racing0:04:56.166
2Fionn Griffiths (GBr) Team GR0:00:00.288
3Emmeline Ragot (Fra) Team GR0:00:01.584
4Sabrina Jonnier (Fra) Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain0:00:02.173
5Floriane Pugin (Fra) Scott 110:00:02.268
6Céline Gros (Fra) Team Morzine-Avoriaz/Haute-Savoie0:00:04.248
7Emilie Siegenthaler (Swi) Scott 110:00:06.344
8Manon Carpenter* (GBr) Madison Saracen0:00:15.617
9Mio Suemasa (Jpn)0:00:16.238
10Petra Bernhard (Aut) Alpine Commencal Austria0:00:16.415
11Miriam Ruchti (Swi)0:00:22.211
12Jacqueline Harmony (USA)0:00:26.370
13Anita Ager-Wick (Nor)0:00:26.737
14Fanny Lombard (Fra)0:00:42.927
15Joanne Muoser (Swi) SC-Intense0:00:48.469
16Rika Olivier (RSA)0:00:53.732
DNFMyriam Nicole (Fra) Riding Addiction Commencal
DNSLuana Maria De Souza Oliveira (Bra)

Elite women downhill World Cup standings after one round
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Tracy Moseley (GBr) Trek World Racing250pts
2Fionn Griffiths (GBr) Team GR170
3Emmeline Ragot (Fra) Team GR170
4Sabrina Jonnier (Fra) Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain150
5Floriane Pugin (Fra) Scott 11150
6Céline Gros (Fra) Team Morzine-Avoriaz/Haute-Savoie115
7Emilie Siegenthaler (Swi) Scott 1185
8Mio Suemasa (Jpn)76
9Manon Carpenter (GBr) Madison Saracen70
10Petra Bernhard (Aut) Alpine Commencal Austria67
11Miriam Ruchti (Swi)50
12Jacqueline Harmony (USA)45
13Anita Ager-Wick (Nor)40
14Fanny Lombard (Fra)35
15Joanne Muoser (Swi) SC-Intense30
16Rika Olivier (RSA)25
17Myriam Nicole (Fra) Riding Addiction Commencal14

Downhill team standings after one round

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Santa Cruz Syndicate84pts
2Trek World Racing83
3Team GR65
4Scott 1162
5Mondraker Factory Team37
7Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz31
8Lapierre International29
9Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain26
10Devinci Global Racing26
11Giant Factory Off-Road Team26
12Team Morzine-Avoriaz/Haute-Savoie20
13Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team18
14Madison Saracen16
15Chain Reaction Cycles/Nukeproof16
16CG Racing Brigade15
17Morewood Unitedride14
18Team Cingolani Trek13
19Alpine Commencal Austria12
20Team Sunn Montgenevre12
21Riding Addiction Commencal11
22MS Evil Racing10

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