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Gwin dominates the downhill competition in Leogang

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A Santa Cruz Syndicate racer speeds down the track

A Santa Cruz Syndicate racer speeds down the track
(Image credit: Kathy Sessler)
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Greg Minnaar took third on the day.

Greg Minnaar took third on the day.
(Image credit: Kathy Sessler)
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Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate)

Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate)
(Image credit: Kathy Sessler)
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World Cup leader Aaron Gwin (Trek World Racing)

World Cup leader Aaron Gwin (Trek World Racing)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Josh Bryceland (Santa Cruz Syndicate) in action.

Josh Bryceland (Santa Cruz Syndicate) in action.
(Image credit: Kathy Sessler)
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Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate)

Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate)
(Image credit: Kathy Sessler)
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Aaron Gwin (Trek World Racing) speeds to a win.

Aaron Gwin (Trek World Racing) speeds to a win.
(Image credit: Trek World Racing)
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The number one plate, ready for another day of racing.

The number one plate, ready for another day of racing.
(Image credit: Kathy Sessler)
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Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) speeds to a podium finish.

Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) speeds to a podium finish.
(Image credit: Kathy Sessler)
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Josh Bryceland (Santa Cruz Syndicate)

Josh Bryceland (Santa Cruz Syndicate)
(Image credit: Kathy Sessler)
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The Santa Cruz Syndicate shows off their wheelie skills

The Santa Cruz Syndicate shows off their wheelie skills
(Image credit: Kathy Sessler)
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Elite men's podium

Elite men's podium
(Image credit: Kathy Sessler)
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Gee Atherton (Commencal)

Gee Atherton (Commencal)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Sam Hill (Monster Energy-Specialized )

Sam Hill (Monster Energy-Specialized )
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Aaron Gwin (Trek World Racing)

Aaron Gwin (Trek World Racing)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Men's podium (l to r) Steve Smith, Gee Atherton, Aaron Gwin Greg Minnaar, Sam Hill

Men's podium (l to r) Steve Smith, Gee Atherton, Aaron Gwin Greg Minnaar, Sam Hill
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Steve Smith (Devinci)

Steve Smith (Devinci)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)

Aaron Gwin (Trek World Racing) retook the World Cup lead from rival Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) with a dominating performance at round three of the downhill World Cup in Leogang, Austria. Gwin, who lost the lead after crashing in round two, qualified fastest, and finished over two seconds ahead of Gee Atherton (Commencal) in the final, with Minnaar nearly six seconds back in third place. Gwin, with 628 points, remains only 46 points in front of Minnaar after three rounds while Atherton is at third, 101 points back.

The ground continued to dry out after the women finished and the men began their runs, which was a mixed blessing, since it made dry condition tires important for the pedaling sections, but the sticky mud and slippery roots in the wooded sections led to numerous crashes. As an indication, Gwin's winning time was still three seconds slower than his qualifying time.

The lead time slowly went down as the first riders came through the finish, but it wasn't until Romain Paulhan, the French national champion, came through that it dropped below four minutes. Paulhan held the lead for nearly a quarter of the field before local Austrian favourite Markus Pekoll (MS Evil) bumped him out of the Hot Seat by half a second.

Pekoll had the longest time in the lead, holding on until the first of the top-20 qualifiers began their runs. Brook MacDonald, the young New Zealand team mate of Pekoll who finished third a week earlier in round two, proved that was no fluke by knocking 4.2 seconds off the top time, good enough for 10th place at the end of the day.

Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate), racing with a suspected broken hand, slotted in behind MacDonald. World champion Sam Hill (Monster Energy-Specialized-Mad Catz), six riders after MacDonald, had a very strong start, faded slightly at the bottom, but was still good enough to give him the lead, and an eventual fifth place. Cedric Gracia (CG Racing) and Danny Hart (Giant) both came within two-tenths of a second of Hill, but also faded at the bottom.

Hill, while happy to make the podium, admitted that Gwin is a step above everyone at the present. "Gwin is riding pretty amazing at the moment, so we're all going to have to work a little bit harder to stop him."

It was Minnaar, riding eighth from last in a surprisingly high qualifying spot for him, who finally made the next big cut to the top time, the first to go below 3:50. The next five riders all failed to better his time, with Fabien Barel (Mondraker) crashing in the slippery roots, and only Steve Smith (Devinci) able to squeeze between Minnaar and Hill.

"I didn't know what to think after [qualifying]," saidMinnaar, "because I had a good run and still got thrashed by a lot of guys. I was pretty tense at the start of the final, and I made some mistakes at the top; I wasn't making mine lines and was losing time ... that top section killed me, killed my run. Technically, I'm riding with the top guys, but Gee's [Atherton] going a bit better, and Gwinny's out-pedaling us all."

However, the final two riders, the top two qualifiers, showed that they were a notch above everyone else on this day. Atherton came through the first split three seconds up on Minnaar and finished 3.608 seconds ahead of the South African.

"It was a good result," said Atherton, "close to the win, but no cigar. Looking back, I probably should have put drys [tires] on, but that was just a bad decision on my part."

Atherton's time wouldn't prove to be enough for the win, unfortunately for the Brit, as Gwin, possibly still smarting from losing a week earlier after crashing while well in the lead, blew through every section of the course well ahead of his competition to score his second win in three races and recover the lead in the standings.

"It feels great to get that monkey off my back after last week's crash," said Gwin. "I knew I had it in me, I just had to put it together. My run went good until it almost fell apart at the bottom ... I blew my feet out of the pedals and rode the last minute of the track without being clipped in, but managed to hold it together. The bike was working awesome, everything just sort of clicked. I'm just happy it all came together."

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Aaron Gwin (USA) Trek World Racing0:03:44.200
2Gee Atherton (GBr) Commencal0:00:02.113
3Greg Minnaar (RSA) Santa Cruz Syndicate0:00:05.721
4Steve Smith (Can) Devinci Global Racing0:00:07.942
5Samuel Hill (Aus) Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz0:00:09.225
6Danny Hart (GBr) Giant Factory Off-Road Team0:00:09.253
7Cédric Gracia (Fra) CG Racing Brigade0:00:09.357
8Justin Leov (NZl) Trek World Racing0:00:09.984
9Samuel Blenkinsop (NZl) Lapierre International0:00:10.163
10Brook Macdonald (NZl) MS Evil Racing0:00:10.615
11Josh Bryceland (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate0:00:12.173
12Steve Peat (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate0:00:13.445
13Marc Beaumont (GBr)0:00:13.580
14Luke Strobel (USA) MS Evil Racing0:00:13.720
15Troy Brosnan° (Aus) Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz0:00:13.832
16Markus Pekoll (Aut) MS Evil Racing0:00:14.803
17Mickael Pascal (Fra) Morewood Unitedride0:00:15.053
18Julien Camellini (Fra) Team Sunn Montgenevre0:00:15.164
19Lorenzo Suding (Ita)0:00:15.169
20Romain Paulhan (Fra)0:00:15.284
21Pierre Charles Georges (Fra) Team Lac Blanc / Solid / Massif Des Vosges0:00:15.374
22Rémi Thirion (Fra) Labyrinth Shimano Racing Team0:00:15.589
23Bernat Guardia Pascual (Spa)0:00:16.152
24Cameron Cole (NZl) Lapierre International0:00:16.205
25Ruaridh Cunningham (GBr) Team Maxxis - Rocky Mountain0:00:16.279
26Fabien Pedemanaud (Fra) Scott 110:00:16.312
27Mitchell Delfs (Aus) Kona0:00:16.331
28Fabien Barel (Fra) Mondraker Factory Team0:00:16.339
29Matthew Scoles (NZl) Team Cingolani Trek0:00:16.401
30Nico Vink (Bel) Team Lac Blanc / Solid / Massif Des Vosges0:00:16.453
31Brendan Fairclough (GBr) Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz0:00:17.130
32Neko Mulally° (USA) Trek World Racing0:00:17.608
33Boris Tetzlaff (Aut) Alpine Commencal Austria0:00:17.916
34Marcus Klausmann (Ger) Ghost Factory Racing Team0:00:18.320
35Filip Polc (Svk) MS Evil Racing0:00:18.363
36Damien Spagnolo (Fra) Mondraker Factory Team0:00:18.515
37Ben Reid (Irl) Dirt Norco Race Team0:00:18.562
38Fabien Cousinie (Fra) Morewood Unitedride0:00:18.751
39Antonio Ferreiro Pajuelo (Spa)0:00:19.053
40Robin Wallner (Swe) Team Are Bikepark Powered By W - Racing0:00:19.069
41Marcelo Gutierrez Villegas (Col) Cg Racing Brigade0:00:20.586
42Benny Strasser (Ger)0:00:20.637
43Harry Heath (GBr) Unior Tools Team0:00:20.783
44Dan Stanbridge (GBr) Dirt Norco Race Team0:00:20.914
45Alex Bond (GBr)0:00:21.221
46Mark Scott° (GBr)0:00:21.325
47Loic Bruni° (Fra) Lapierre International0:00:21.844
48Patrick Thome (Fra) Mondraker Factory Team0:00:21.900
49Matthew Simmonds (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles / Nukeproof0:00:22.604
50Mitch Ropelato (USA)0:00:22.607
51Nejc Rutar (Slo) Unior Tools Team0:00:23.067
52Joseph Smith (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles / Nukeproof0:00:23.626
53Lewis Buchanan° (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles / Nukeproof0:00:24.053
54Johann Potgieter (RSA)0:00:24.166
55George Brannigan (NZl) Devinci Global Racing0:00:24.463
56Emanuel Pombo (Por)0:00:25.245
57Curtis Keene (USA)0:00:25.962
58Florent Payet (Fra) SC - Intense0:00:27.082
59Simon Cardon (Fra) XCYTT Racing0:00:27.161
60Dan Atherton (GBr) Commencal0:00:27.219
61Wyn Masters (NZl) MS Evil Racing0:00:27.378
62Michael Hannah (Aus)0:00:28.832
63Dean Tennant (Can)0:00:29.704
64Thomas Jeandin (Swi)0:00:30.140
65Duncan Riffle (USA) Giant Factory Off-Road Team0:00:30.151
66Sam Dale (GBr) Team Sunn Montgenevre0:00:31.925
67Joshua Button (Aus) SC - Intense0:00:32.737
68Thomas Braithwaite (GBr)0:00:32.828
69Robert Smith (GBr)0:00:34.244
70Joe Barnes (GBr)0:00:34.601
71Alexander Kangas (Swe)0:00:38.721
72Andrew Neethling (RSA) Giant Factory Off-Road Team0:00:39.333
73Marco Milivinti (Ita) Torpado Surfing Shop0:00:41.296
74Charly Di Pasquale (Fra) Labyrinth Shimano Racing Team0:00:44.108
75Dominik Gspan (Swi)0:00:47.416
76Timothy Bentley (RSA) Morewood Unitedride0:00:50.641
77Remi Gauvin (Can)0:00:58.742
78Adam Vagner (Cze)0:01:56.033
79Joris Bigoni (Fra)0:05:53.834
DNFEliot Jackson (USA) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team
DSQMatti Lehikoinen (Fin) Chain Reaction Cycles / Nukeproof

Teams
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Trek World Racing93pts
2Santa Cruz Syndicate71
3Commencal70
4Scott 1163
5MS Evil Racing53
6Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz44
7Devinci Global Racing30
8Lapierre International29
9Team Maxxis - Rocky Mountain28
10Riding Addiction Commencal26
11Giant Factory Off-Road Team26
12CG Racing Brigade24
13Alpine Commencal Austria20
14Team Morzine - Avoriaz / Haute - Savoie14
15Morewood Unitedride14
16Team Sunn Montgenevre13
17Passion Velo Thiers Stemtee12

World Cup standings after three rounds
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Aaron Gwin (USA) Trek World Racing628pts
2Greg Minnaar (RSA) Santa Cruz Syndicate582
3Gee Atherton (GBr) Commencal527
4Danny Hart (GBr) Giant Factory Off-Road Team359
5Steve Smith (Can) Devinci Global Racing352
6Samuel Hill (Aus) Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz315
7Brook Macdonald (NZl) MS Evil Racing274
8Justin Leov (NZl) Trek World Racing269
9Samuel Blenkinsop (NZl) Lapierre International268
10Steve Peat (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate267
11Cédric Gracia (Fra) Cg Racing Brigade245
12Josh Bryceland (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate241
13Marc Beaumont (GBr)240
14Fabien Barel (Fra) Mondraker Factory Team234
15Cameron Cole (NZl) Lapierre International221
16Troy Brosnan° (Aus) Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz206
17Luke Strobel (USA) MS Evil Racing188
18Matthew Scoles (NZl) Team Cingolani Trek181
19Ruaridh Cunningham (GBr) Team Maxxis - Rocky Mountain180
20Fabien Cousinie (Fra) Morewood Unitedride171
21Julien Camellini (Fra) Team Sunn Montgenevre168
22Duncan Riffle (USA) Giant Factory Off-Road Team163
23Mickael Pascal (Fra) Morewood Unitedride161
24Markus Pekoll (Aut) MS Evil Racing157
25Mitchell Delfs (Aus) Kona155
26Romain Paulhan (Fra)155
27Pierre Charles Georges (Fra) Team Lac Blanc / Solid / Massif Des Vosges153
28Matti Lehikoinen (Fin) Chain Reaction Cycles / Nukeproof148
29Damien Spagnolo (Fra) Mondraker Factory Team148
30Fabien Pedemanaud (Fra) Scott 11146
31Filip Polc (Svk) MS Evil Racing144
32Florent Payet (Fra) SC - Intense142
33Robin Wallner (Swe) Team Are Bikepark Powered By W - Racing139
34Michael Hannah (Aus)128
35Rémi Thirion (Fra) Labyrinth Shimano Racing Team127
36Joseph Smith (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles / Nukeproof126
37Bernat Guardia Pascual (Spa)113
38Thibaut Ruffin (Fra) Riding Addiction Commencal111
39Neko Mulally° (USA) Trek World Racing111
40Joshua Button (Aus) SC - Intense109
41Marcelo Gutierrez Villegas (Col) Cg Racing Brigade104
42Ben Cathro (GBr)102
43Shaun O'connor (Aus) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team99
44Mitch Ropelato (USA)99
45Nico Vink (Bel) Team Lac Blanc / Solid / Massif Des Vosges97
46Nick Beer (Swi) Scott 1194
47Patrick Thome (Fra) Mondraker Factory Team91
48Dan Stanbridge (GBr) Dirt Norco Race Team89
49Ben Reid (Irl) Dirt Norco Race Team83
50Lorenzo Suding (Ita)82
51Bryn Atkinson (Aus)80
52Thomas Braithwaite (GBr)79
53Andrew Neethling (RSA) Giant Factory Off-Road Team79
54Mark Scott° (GBr)78
55Boris Tetzlaff (Aut) Alpine Commencal Austria76
56Sam Dale (GBr) Team Sunn Montgenevre75
57Harry Heath (GBr) Unior Tools Team75
58Emanuel Pombo (Por)72
59Aurélien Giordanengo (Fra) Mondraker Factory Team70
60Jared Graves (Aus) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team68
61Alex Bond (GBr)68
62Antonio Ferreiro Pajuelo (Spa)67
63Timothy Bentley (RSA) Morewood Unitedride67
64Curtis Keene (USA)66
65Matthew Simmonds (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles / Nukeproof61
66Richard Thomas (GBr)57
67Johann Potgieter (RSA)53
68Brendan Fairclough (GBr) Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Catz50
69Lewis Buchanan° (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles / Nukeproof49
70Marcus Klausmann (Ger) Ghost Factory Racing Team47
71Wyn Masters (NZl) MS Evil Racing47
72Bernard Kerr (GBr)46
73Scott Mears (GBr)42
74Loic Bruni° (Fra) Lapierre International41
75Greg Williamson (GBr)40
76Benny Strasser (Ger)39
77Fergus Lamb (GBr)36
78Thomas Jeandin (Swi)36
79Will Rischbieth (Aus)35
80Adam Brayton (GBr)33
81Dan Atherton (GBr) Commencal33
82Jack Reading (GBr)32
83Marcel Beer (Swi)31
84Nejc Rutar (Slo) Unior Tools Team30
85George Brannigan (NZl) Devinci Global Racing29
86Jonty Neethling (RSA)27
87Alexander Kangas (Swe)26
88Hayden Brown (RSA)23
89Simon Cardon (Fra) XCYTT Racing22
90Dean Tennant (Can)18
91Lars Peyer (Swi) SC - Intense18
92Fraser Mcglone° (GBr)17
93Daniel Pombo (Por)16
94Florian Arthus (Fra)15
95Kelvin Purchase (RSA)15
96Ziga Pandur (Slo) Unior Tools Team14
97Chris Hutchens (GBr)14
98Tiaan Odendaal° (RSA)13
99Charly Di Pasquale (Fra) Labyrinth Shimano Racing Team13
100Robert Smith (GBr)12
101Joe Barnes (GBr)11
102Seanan O'riordan (Irl)11
103Francesco Danilo Petrucci (Ita) Team Cingolani Trek11
104Roman Roschi (Swi)10
105Oscar Harnstrom (Swe)9
106Ivan Oulego Moreno (Spa)9
107Marco Milivinti (Ita) Torpado Surfing Shop8
108Arthur Parret° (Fra) Passion Velo Thiers Stemtee8
109Christopher Mcglinchey° (Irl)8
110Joris Bigoni (Fra)8
111Jérôme Payet (Fra)7
112Dominik Gspan (Swi)6
113Mathias Haas (Aut) Alpine Commencal Austria5
114Mathieu Gallean (Fra) Ryde - Racing5
115Remi Gauvin (Can)4
116Daniel Critchlow (GBr)4
117Adam Vagner (Cze)3
118Travis Browning (RSA)3

 

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