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Gwin smokes the competition in Val di Sole

In the men's race at the second round of the UCI Downhill World Cup in Val di Sole, Italy, Aaron Gwin (Trek World Racing) threw down a tremendous challenge to the rest of the field by finishing over seven seconds ahead of second placed Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) in qualifying. Minnaar, the winner of round one and World Cup leader, had won the warm-up event with most of the favorites in Leogang, Austria last weekend while Gwin was coming off victory at the US Pro GRT in Plattekill, New York last weekend.

Times were dropping steadily through the 82-rider strong field until junior-aged Loic Bruni (Lapierre International) threw down the first sub-3:25 time with 30 riders to go. Bruni held the lead for ten riders before Steve Smith (Devinci Global Racing) took half a second off despite racing with a dislocated finger, and Smith lasted for 13 riders until Sam Blenkinsop (Lapierre International) bumped him out by a second. The lead continued to drop by fractions of a second until Minnaar, the second fastest qualifier, held the hot seat.

However, despite going nearly six seconds faster than he had in qualifying, Minnaar was still almost two seconds slower than Gwin's qualifying time and, barring a crash, Gwin was the odds-on favourite as he began his run. The American champion did not disappoint; fastest at both intermediate splits by huge margins, he knocked more than six seconds off his qualifying time to win by 7.85 seconds, a staggering margin when Minnaar had beaten him by a mere 6.32 tenths of a second in the first round. Gee Atherton (GT Factory) finished third, followed by teammate Marc Beaumont, with Cameron Cole (Lapierre International) in fifth.

"I've been looking for a run like that for some time now," said Gwin. "I couldn't be happier. I was pretty sure my quali time would hold, and even though the course here is super rough and dusty, I managed an almost clean run. Greg rode amazingly well on this track and is going to be tough competition for the remainder of the season."

Gwin and Minnaar are tied at 450 points in the World Cup standings, each with a win and a second, however, Gwin took over the series' lead by virtue of the more recent victory. Atherton is third with 315 points, followed by Beaumont at 228 and Smith with 215.

On a more serious note: everyone was thinking positive thoughts for the very popular Frenchman Cedric Gracia, in hospital with a broken leg and fractured hip after crashing into a tree earlier in the week.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Aaron Gwin (USA) Trek World Racing0:03:10.577
2Greg Minnaar (RSA) Santa Cruz Syndicate0:00:07.850
3Gee Atherton (GBr) GT Factory Racing0:00:08.393
4Marc Beaumont (GBr) GT Factory Racing0:00:08.937
5Cameron Cole (NZl) Lapierre International0:00:09.743
6Danny Hart (GBr) Giant Factory Off-Road Team0:00:10.318
7Samuel Hill (Aus) Monster Energy-Specialized0:00:10.500
8Samuel Blenkinsop (NZl) Lapierre International0:00:11.308
9Rémi Thirion (Fra) Labyrinth Shimano Racing Team0:00:11.319
10Steve Smith (Can) Devinci Global Racing0:00:11.392
11Loic Bruni* (Fra) Lapierre International0:00:11.917
12Damien Spagnolo (Fra) Ms Mondraker Team0:00:12.404
13Bernard Kerr (GBr)0:00:12.638
14Steve Peat (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate0:00:12.673
15Brook Macdonald (NZl) Ms Mondraker Team0:00:12.720
16George Brannigan (NZl) Devinci Global Racing0:00:13.947
17Justin Leov (NZl) Trek World Racing0:00:14.539
18Nick Beer (Swi) Devinci Global Racing0:00:15.740
19Matthew Simmonds (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof0:00:16.016
20Mickael Pascal (Fra) Ck Racing Santacruz0:00:16.179
21Richard Rude Jr* (USA) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team0:00:16.335
22Joshua Button (Aus) Sc-Intense0:00:16.400
23Ruaridh Cunningham (GBr)0:00:16.645
24Brendan Fairclough (GBr) Scott110:00:16.762
25Robin Wallner (Swe) Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing0:00:17.253
26Florent Payet (Fra) Sc-Intense0:00:17.584
27Matthew Beer (Can)0:00:17.884
28Julien Camellini (Fra)0:00:17.891
29Patrick Thome (Fra) Lapierre International0:00:18.132
30Pierre Charles Georges (Fra) Team Lac Blanc / Solid / Batibois Alsace0:00:18.396
31Markus Pekoll (Aut) Ms Mondraker Team0:00:18.405
32Michael Hannah (Aus) Hutchinson United Ride0:00:18.424
33Marco Milivinti (Ita) Torpado Surfing Shop0:00:18.540
34Marcelo Gutierrez Villegas (Col) Cg Racing Brigade0:00:19.435
35Joseph Smith (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof0:00:19.742
36Sam Dale (GBr)0:00:19.983
37Josh Bryceland (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate0:00:20.128
38Harry Molloy (GBr) Madison Saracen Downhill Team0:00:20.787
39Yoann Barelli (Fra)0:00:20.900
40Marcus Klausmann (Ger) Ghost Factory Racing Team0:00:20.952
41Connor Fearon* (Aus) Kona0:00:20.959
42Eliot Jackson (USA) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team0:00:21.070
43Kyle Sangers (Can)0:00:21.199
44Francisco Pardal (Por)0:00:21.723
45Aurélien Giordanengo (Fra) Topcycle By Trek0:00:21.729
46Luke Strobel (USA)0:00:22.112
47Bernat Guardia Pascual (Spa)0:00:22.178
48Thibaut Ruffin (Fra) Commencal / Riding Addiction0:00:22.525
49Faustin Figaret (Fra) Sc-Intense0:00:23.005
50Benny Strasser (Ger)0:00:23.629
51Gianluca Vernassa* (Ita) Devinci Global Racing0:00:23.786
52Oscar Harnstrom (Swe) Pila-Black Arrows-Mtb Herin School Asd0:00:23.901
53Alexander Kangas (Swe)0:00:24.354
54Fraser Mcglone* (GBr)0:00:24.449
55Jared Graves (Aus) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team0:00:24.751
56Johannes Fischbach (Ger) Ghost Factory Racing Team0:00:24.782
57Miran Vauh (Slo)0:00:24.878
58Matti Lehikoinen (Fin) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof0:00:25.011
59Mathieu Gallean (Fra) Dagg - Racing0:00:25.936
60Richard Thomas (GBr)0:00:26.185
61Lewis Buchanan (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof0:00:26.214
62Andrew Neethling (RSA) Giant Factory Off-Road Team0:00:26.284
63Ziga Pandur (Slo) Unior Tools Team0:00:26.336
64Carlo Caire* (Ita) Argentina Bike Gravity Team0:00:26.377
65Jack Reading (GBr)0:00:26.510
65Charly Di Pasquale (Fra) Xcytt Racing
67Arthur Parret (Fra) Passion Velo.Fr0:00:26.513
68Manuel Gruber (Aut) Alpine Commencal Austria0:00:28.354
69Emyr Davies (GBr)0:00:28.933
70Dan Stanbridge (GBr) Dirt Norco Race Team0:00:30.540
71Matthias Stonig (Aut)0:00:31.270
72Lorenzo Suding (Ita) Pila-Black Arrows-Mtb Herin School Asd0:00:32.317
73Bryn Atkinson (Aus) Team Norco International0:00:33.562
74Mathias Haas (Aut) Alpine Commencal Austria0:00:33.949
75Fabien Cousinie (Fra) Hutchinson United Ride0:00:36.596
76Harry Heath (GBr) Unior Tools Team0:00:38.409
77Emanuel Pombo (Por)0:00:38.507
78Nejc Rutar (Slo) Unior Tools Team0:00:43.407
79Mitchell Delfs (Aus) Kona0:01:02.334
80Benjamin Torrano (Fra)0:01:03.694
DNFRenaud Smaniotto (Fra) Passion Velo.Fr
DNSOliwer Kangas (Swe)

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1GT Factory Racing102pts
2Lapierre International71
3MS Mondraker Team65
4Trek World Racing54
6Santa Cruz Syndicate52
7Devinci Global Racing49
8Commencal / Riding Addiction35
9Labyrinth Shimano Racing Team34
10Giant Factory Off-Road Team26
11Monster Energy-Specialized24
12Passion Velo.Fr22
13Alpine Commencal Austria18
15Hutchinson United Ride14
16Team Morzine - Avoriaz / Haute - Savoie13
17Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof12
18CK Racing Santacruz11
19Torpado Surfing Shop10
20Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team10
21Team Norco International8
22Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing6
23Unior Tools Team3
24Team Lac Blanc / Solid / Batibois Alsace3

World Cup individual standings after round 2
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Aaron Gwin (USA) Trek World Racing450pts
2Greg Minnaar (RSA) Santa Cruz Syndicate450
3Gee Atherton (GBr) GT Factory Racing315
4Marc Beaumont (GBr) GT Factory Racing228
5Steve Smith (Can) Devinci Global Racing215
6Michael Hannah (Aus) Hutchinson United Ride209
7Samuel Hill (Aus) Monster Energy-Specialized191
8Danny Hart (GBr) Giant Factory Off-Road Team165
9Rémi Thirion (Fra) Labyrinth Shimano Racing Team161
10Steve Peat (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate152
11Nick Beer (Swi) Devinci Global Racing144
12Damien Spagnolo (Fra) Ms Mondraker Team143
13Justin Leov (NZl) Trek World Racing143
14Brook Macdonald (NZl) Ms Mondraker Team139
15Jared Graves (Aus) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team137
16Julien Camellini (Fra)133
17Josh Bryceland (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate130
18Cameron Cole (NZl) Lapierre International126
19Loic Bruni (Fra) Lapierre International125
20Andrew Neethling (RSA) Giant Factory Off-Road Team124
21Richard Rude Jr* (USA) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team124
22Samuel Blenkinsop (NZl) Lapierre International123
23Aurélien Giordanengo (Fra) Topcycle By Trek121
24Brendan Fairclough (GBr) Scott11118
25Bernard Kerr (GBr)115
26George Brannigan (NZl) Devinci Global Racing115
27Robin Wallner (Swe) Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing109
28Troy Brosnan (Aus) Monster Energy-Specialized107
29Pierre Charles Georges (Fra) Team Lac Blanc / Solid / Batibois Alsace100
30Matthew Simmonds (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof98
31Mickael Pascal (Fra) Ck Racing Santacruz97
32Cédric Gracia (Fra) Cg Racing Brigade93
33Thibaut Ruffin (Fra) Commencal / Riding Addiction91
34Marcus Klausmann (Ger) Ghost Factory Racing Team88
35Johannes Fischbach (Ger) Ghost Factory Racing Team86
36Joseph Smith (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof85
37Patrick Thome (Fra) Lapierre International78
38Luke Strobel (USA)78
39Harry Molloy (GBr) Madison Saracen Downhill Team74
40Bryn Atkinson (Aus) Team Norco International72
41Fabien Cousinie (Fra) Hutchinson United Ride71
42Eliot Jackson (USA) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team69
43Neko Mulally (USA) Trek World Racing67
44Joshua Button (Aus) Sc-Intense67
45Connor Fearon* (Aus) Kona59
46Ruaridh Cunningham (GBr)58
47Richard Thomas (GBr)56
48Florent Payet (Fra) Sc-Intense55
49Lorenzo Suding (Ita) Pila-Black Arrows-Mtb Herin School Asd55
50Matthew Beer (Can)54
51Oliver Burton (GBr)54
52Mitchell Delfs (Aus) Kona53
53Markus Pekoll (Aut) Ms Mondraker Team51
54Oscar Harnstrom (Swe) Pila-Black Arrows-Mtb Herin School Asd50
55Marco Milivinti (Ita) Torpado Surfing Shop48
56Johann Potgieter (RSA)48
57Marcelo Gutierrez Villegas (Col) Cg Racing Brigade47
58Sam Dale (GBr)45
59Duncan Riffle (USA) Dirt Norco Race Team45
60Isak Leivsson (Nor)44
61Yoann Barelli (Fra)42
62Greg Williamson (GBr)42
63Kyle Sangers (Can)38
64Curtis Keene (USA) Specialized Racing - Usa Gravity38
65Ziga Pandur (Slo) Unior Tools Team38
66Francisco Pardal (Por)37
67Mitch Ropelato (USA) Specialized Racing - Usa Gravity37
68Bernat Guardia Pascual (Spa)34
69Timothy Bentley (RSA) Hutchinson United Ride33
70Miran Vauh (Slo)33
71Faustin Figaret (Fra) Sc-Intense32
72Jonty Neethling (RSA)32
73Benny Strasser (Ger)31
74Gianluca Vernassa* (Ita) Devinci Global Racing30
75Alexander Kangas (Swe)28
76Alex Bond (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof28
77Emanuel Pombo (Por)28
78Jack Reading (GBr)28
79Fraser Mcglone* (GBr)27
80Stefan Garlicki (RSA)27
81Thomas Braithwaite (GBr)25
82Matti Lehikoinen (Fin) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof23
83Mathieu Gallean (Fra) Dagg - Racing22
84Lars Peyer (Swi) Sc-Intense22
85Lewis Buchanan (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof20
86Harry Heath (GBr) Unior Tools Team20
87Logan Binggeli (USA)18
88Carlo Caire* (Ita) Argentina Bike Gravity Team17
89Niklas Wallner (Swe) Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing17
90Nejc Rutar (Slo) Unior Tools Team17
91Charly Di Pasquale (Fra) Xcytt Racing16
92Fergus Lamb (GBr)16
93Arthur Parret (Fra) Passion Velo.Fr14
94Manuel Gruber (Aut) Alpine Commencal Austria13
95Ludovic May (Swi)13
96Emyr Davies (GBr)12
97Dan Stanbridge (GBr) Dirt Norco Race Team11
98Tommy Herrmann (Ger)11
99Matthias Stonig (Aut)10
100Guillaume Cauvin* (Fra) Hutchinson United Ride10
101Lutz Weber (Swi)8
102Mathias Haas (Aut) Alpine Commencal Austria7
103Tiaan Odendaal* (RSA)7
104Benjamin Torrano (Fra)7
105Jonathan Jones (GBr)6
106Mark Scott (GBr)5
107Kevin Aiello (USA)4
108Dan Sheridan* (Irl)3
109Kristoffer Haugland (Nor)2

World Cup team standings after round 2
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1GT Factory Racing145pts
2Trek World Racing120
3Santa Cruz Syndicate118
4MS Mondraker Team113
5Hutchinson United Ride101
6Devinci Global Racing96
8Lapierre International76
9Monster Energy-Specialized67
10Commencal / Riding Addiction55
11Giant Factory Off-Road Team50
12Labyrinth Shimano Racing Team43
13Team Norco International41
15Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team36
16Madison Saracen Downhill Team35
17Alpine Commencal Austria32
18CG Racing Brigade26
19Passion Velo.Fr22
20Topcycle By Trek18
21Team Morzine - Avoriaz / Haute - Savoie13
22Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof12
23CK Racing Santacruz11
24Torpado Surfing Shop10
25Team Lac Blanc / Solid / Batibois Alsace9
26Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing9
27Unior Tools Team3
28Ghost Factory Racing Team2

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