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Smith wins first World Cup of his career in Hafjell

The final round of the 2012 UCI Downhill Mountain Bike World Cup in Hafjell, Norway, produced a first-time winner in the men's competition, with Steve Smith (Devinci Global Racing) beating out his teammate George Brannigan. While the battle for the men's overall downhill World Cup title was over after round six, with Aaron Gwin (Trek World Racing) having locked it up by virtue of his four wins, the competition for second in the final standings was far from done, with world champion Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) a mere 19 points in front of Gee Atherton (GT Factory Racing).

Markus Pekoll (MS Mondraker) was the first man to spend an appreciable time in the hot seat, eventually finishing ninth with his 3:36.712, after holding the lead time for 30 riders before Cameron Cole (Lapierre International) finally supplanted him by 0.649 seconds with 18 riders to go. Ten riders later, Atherton took the lead by nearly two seconds, but didn't have much time to enjoy it before Minnaar bumped him by a tenth of a second, ensuring his second place in the overall standings.

The four riders remaining would all have been a first-time winner of a World Cup. Josh Bryceland (Santa Cruz Syndicate) struggled in the upper half of the course, putting him out of contention. Brannigan had a poor start in the upper part of the course also, but recovered strongly to take the lead by 1.734 seconds. Second place qualifier Robin Wallner (Are Bikepark by W-Racing) seemed to succumb to the pressure, finishing well off the pace in 17th.

This left Smith, the bronze medalist at the world championships, with the only chance left to replace his teammate Brannigan on the top step. The Canadian has had multiple podium appearances over the past couple of years, but was still looking to win his first World Cup. It was clear that this course suited him, as he recorded the fastest splits both at the top and middle portions of the course, visibly faster than anyone else through the rock gardens, to come in four-tenths of a second faster that Brannigan at the bottom.

"I am so happy right now," said Smith. "I have never won a World Cup before; it has been a dream of mine. I had no idea when I was running how it was going. The wind was such a bad headwind. The track is so fast, but it didn't feel like I could go any faster, because that headwind was so hard, but everyone had the same. I am so stoked."

"It is insane. I can't believe the team is finishing the season this way. All three of us on the podium today. Three of the five! It's George's (Brannigan) first ever podium, Nick [Beer - fifth] first podium this year, so for the Devinci team we are all so stoked right now."

Gwin won the men's World Cup title with 1260 points to Minnaar's 1162, with Atherton at 1123 and Smith in fourth at 930. Australia's Sam Hill (Monster Energy-Specialized), by virtue of his seventh place and the absence of injured Danny Hart (Giant Factory) moved from sixth to fifth in the final standings.

"It's a great feeling [winning the World Cup overall]," agreed Gwin. "A little bittersweet not being able to race, but definitely a really awesome year for me, I can't complain. It has been great. Congrats to Stevie [Smith], that was cool to see."

"On the first day of practice, I had a pretty big crash in the rock section, that was a bit of a bummer. I was feeling good and looking forward to having some fun at this race, but that is the way it goes. It could be a lot worse, I guess. Yes, it is disappointing not to be in the last race of the season. You always want to end the year strong, and I kind of did this last year too. Kind of a bummer but I will have no shortage of motivation for the off season."

Race notes

- Aaron Gwin did not race due to an injury sustained to his hand during practice.  It was the same hand and injury location as that suffered in Val d'Isere at Round 6, but this time the bone was heavily bruised.

- Some racers, such as Justin Leov (Trek World Racing), were absent while others mourned the loss of a friend. Leov was attending the funeral of James Dodds, a mountain biker from New Zealand who was killed in a hunting accident.

Full Results

Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Steve Smith (Can) Devinci Global Racing0:03:31.764
2George Brannigan (NZl) Devinci Global Racing0:00:00.400
3Greg Minnaar (RSA) Santa Cruz Syndicate0:00:02.134
4Gee Atherton (GBr) GT Factory Racing0:00:02.289
5Nick Beer (Swi) Devinci Global Racing0:00:03.133
6Cameron Cole (NZl) Lapierre International0:00:04.209
7Samuel Hill (Aus) Monster Energy-Specialized0:00:04.745
8Josh Bryceland (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate0:00:04.801
9Markus Pekoll (Aut) MS Mondraker Team0:00:04.948
10Brendan Fairclough (GBr) SCott110:00:05.504
11Michael Hannah (Aus) Hutchinson United Ride0:00:05.642
12Isak Leivsson (Nor)0:00:05.686
13Andrew Neethling (RSA) Giant Factory Off-Road Team0:00:05.790
14Brook Macdonald (NZl) MS Mondraker Team0:00:05.965
15Greg Williamson (GBr)0:00:06.032
16Thibaut Ruffin (Fra) Commencal / Riding Addiction0:00:06.058
17Robin Wallner (Swe) Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing0:00:06.193
18Bernard Kerr (GBr)0:00:06.962
19Neko Mulally (USA) Trek World Racing0:00:06.989
20Bryn Atkinson (Aus) Team Norco International0:00:07.299
21Loic Bruni° (Fra) Lapierre International0:00:07.381
22Florent Payet (Fra) SC-Intense0:00:07.534
23Damien Spagnolo (Fra) MS Mondraker Team0:00:07.593
24Matthew Simmonds (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof0:00:07.599
25Luke Strobel (USA)0:00:07.693
26Ruaridh Cunningham (GBr)0:00:08.012
27Harry Molloy (GBr) Madison Saracen Downhill Team0:00:08.315
28Lorenzo Suding (Ita) Pila-Black Arrows-Mtb Herin SChool Asd0:00:08.691
29Marc Beaumont (GBr) GT Factory Racing0:00:08.961
30Eliot Jackson (USA) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team0:00:09.409
31Marcelo Gutierrez Villegas (Col) CG Racing Brigade0:00:09.818
32Ben Reid (Irl) Dirt Norco Race Team0:00:09.994
33Slawomir Lukasik (Pol)0:00:10.004
34Joseph Smith (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof0:00:10.127
35Richard Thomas (GBr)0:00:10.252
36Aurélien Giordanengo (Fra) Topcycle By Trek0:00:10.435
37Benny Strasser (Ger)0:00:10.944
38Connor Fearon° (Aus) Hutchinson United Ride0:00:11.358
39Oscar Harnstrom (Swe) Pila-Black Arrows-Mtb Herin SChool Asd0:00:11.646
40Kyle Sangers (Can)0:00:12.242
41Samuel Blenkinsop (NZl) Lapierre International0:00:12.801
42Adam Brayton (GBr)0:00:13.334
43Richard Rude Jr° (USA) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team0:00:13.372
44Zakarias Blom Johansen (Nor)0:00:13.906
45Johannes Fischbach (Ger) Ghost Factory Racing Team0:00:14.617
46Kirk Mcdowall (Can)0:00:14.698
47Mitchell Delfs (Aus) Kona0:00:14.734
48Niklas Wallner (Swe) Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing0:00:14.736
49Reece Potter° (NZl)0:00:15.129
50Thomas Braithwaite (GBr)0:00:15.302
51Sam Dale (GBr)0:00:15.339
52Ludovic Oget (Fra) Dagg - Racing0:00:15.617
53Oliver Burton (GBr)0:00:16.125
54Jakob Thunell° (Swe) Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing0:00:16.448
55Joshua Button (Aus) SC-Intense0:00:16.487
56Mark Wallace° (Can)0:00:16.561
57Quentin Chanudet (Fra)0:00:16.720
58Phil Atwill° (GBr) Madison Saracen Downhill Team0:00:16.779
59Richard Leacock (NZl)0:00:16.833
60Mark Scott (GBr)0:00:17.078
61Benjamin Verrier (Fra)0:00:17.092
62Noel Niederberger° (Swi) SCott110:00:17.327
63Espen Johnsen (Nor)0:00:17.355
64Mathew Stuttard (GBr)0:00:17.421
65Matti Lehikoinen (Fin) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof0:00:17.829
66Ziga Pandur (Slo) Unior Tools Team0:00:17.963
67Faustin Figaret (Fra) SC-Intense0:00:18.022
68Arthur Parret (Fra) Passion Velo.Fr0:00:18.866
69Will Jones (GBr)0:00:19.198
70Fabien Cousinie (Fra) Hutchinson United Ride0:00:19.212
71Steve Peat (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate0:00:21.547
72David Trummer° (Aut)0:00:22.806
73Arthur Babcock (USA)0:00:23.502
74Jack Reading (GBr)0:00:24.607
75Lars Vatnebryn Sandviken (Nor)0:00:24.899
76Dan Sheridan° (Irl)0:00:25.173
77Rémi Thirion (Fra) Labyrinth Shimano Racing Team0:00:29.390
DNFGavin Vaughan (USA)
DNSAaron Gwin (USA) Trek World Racing
DNSPierre Charles Georges (Fra) Team Lac Blanc / Solid / Batibois Alsace
DNSDennis Dertell (Swe)

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Devinci Global Racing103pts
2MS Mondraker Team74
3GT Factory Racing72
4Santa Cruz Syndicate55
5Lapierre International36
6Passion Velo.Fr30
7Monster Energy-Specialized24
9Alpine Commencal Austria20
10Hutchinson United Ride20
11Giant Factory Off-Road Team18
12Commencal / Riding Addiction15
13Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing14
14Unior Tools Team12
15Team Morzine - Avoriaz / Haute - Savoie12
16Trek World Racing12
17Madison Saracen Downhill Team11
18Team Norco International11
19Team Lac Blanc / Solid / Batibois Alsace9
21Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof7
22Pila-Black Arrows-MTB Herin School Asd3
23CG Racing Brigade1
24Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team1

Elite men individual final downhill World Cup standings
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Aaron Gwin (USA) Trek World Racing1260pts
2Greg Minnaar (RSA) Santa Cruz Syndicate1162
3Gee Atherton (GBr) GT Factory Racing1123
4Steve Smith (Can) Devinci Global Racing930
5Samuel Hill (Aus) Monster Energy-Specialized735
6Josh Bryceland (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate699
7Brook Macdonald (NZl) MS Mondraker Team650
8Danny Hart (GBr) Giant Factory Off-Road Team650
9Michael Hannah (Aus) Hutchinson United Ride632
10George Brannigan (NZl) Devinci Global Racing604
11Cameron Cole (NZl) Lapierre International579
12Andrew Neethling (RSA) Giant Factory Off-Road Team561
13Marc Beaumont (GBr) GT Factory Racing553
14Nick Beer (Swi) Devinci Global Racing488
15Samuel Blenkinsop (NZl) Lapierre International482
16Matthew Simmonds (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof448
17Rémi Thirion (Fra) Labyrinth Shimano Racing Team438
18Loic Bruni° (Fra) Lapierre International420
19Joseph Smith (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof384
20Aurélien Giordanengo (Fra) Topcycle By Trek378
21Damien Spagnolo (Fra) MS Mondraker Team378
22Luke Strobel (USA)376
23Richard Rude Jr° (USA) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team362
24Justin Leov (NZl) New-Zealand358
25Thibaut Ruffin (Fra) Commencal / Riding Addiction339
26Markus Pekoll (Aut) MS Mondraker Team330
27Brendan Fairclough (GBr) Scott11320
28Mitchell Delfs (Aus) Kona314
29Patrick Thome (Fra) Lapierre International311
30Bryn Atkinson (Aus) Team Norco International307
31Pierre Charles Georges (Fra) Team Lac Blanc / Solid / Batibois Alsace299
32Lorenzo Suding (Ita) Pila-BlaCK Arrows-Mtb Herin School Asd297
33Mickael Pascal (Fra) France296
34Connor Fearon° (Aus) Kona296
35Steve Peat (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate280
36Robin Wallner (Swe) Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing278
37Sam Dale (GBr)277
38Greg Williamson (GBr)261
39Florent Payet (Fra) SC-Intense255
40Marcelo Gutierrez Villegas (Col) CG Racing Brigade247
41Jared Graves (Aus) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team246
42Bernard Kerr (GBr)242
43Johannes Fischbach (Ger) Ghost Factory Racing Team228
44Eliot Jackson (USA) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team223
45Ben Reid (Irl) Dirt Norco Race Team214
46Mitch Ropelato* (USA) United States Of America210
47Oscar Harnstrom (Swe) Pila-BlaCK Arrows-Mtb Herin School Asd205
48Lewis Buchanan (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof201
49Harry Molloy (GBr) Madison Saracen Downhill Team199
50Richard Thomas (GBr)197
51Joshua Button (Aus) SC-Intense196
52Neko Mulally (USA) Trek World Racing192
53Matthew Beer (Can)187
54Ruaridh Cunningham (GBr)177
55Julien Camellini (Fra)167
56Oliver Burton (GBr)166
57Kyle Sangers (Can)166
58Harry Heath (GBr) Unior Tools Team157
59Cyrille Kurtz (Fra) CK Racing Santacruz150
60Duncan Riffle (USA) United States Of America150
61Isak Leivsson (Nor)147
62Ziga Pandur (Slo) Unior Tools Team137
63Benny Strasser (Ger)133
64Adam Brayton (GBr)129
65Jack Reading (GBr)121
66Nejc Rutar (Slo) Unior Tools Team120
67Filip Polc (Svk) Slovakia113
68Troy Brosnan* (Aus) Australia107
69Fabien Cousinie (Fra) Hutchinson United Ride106
70Jono Jones° (GBr) Great Britain104
71Fraser Mcglone° (GBr)99
72Phil Atwill° (GBr) Madison Saracen Downhill Team96
73Francisco Pardal* (Por) Portugal94
74Cédric Gracia (Fra) CG Racing Brigade93
75Bernat Guardia Pascual (Spa) Spain93
76Marcus Klausmann (Ger) Ghost Factory Racing Team88
77Thomas Braithwaite (GBr)88
78Austin Warren° (USA) United States Of America84
79Johann Potgieter (RSA)83
80Matti Lehikoinen (Fin) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof83
81Ivan Oulego Moreno (Spa) Spain82
82Mark Scott (GBr)81
83Alexander Kangas (Swe)78
84Niklas Wallner (Swe) Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing64
85Boris Tetzlaff* (Aut) Austria64
86Alex Bond (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof60
87Faustin Figaret (Fra) SC-Intense59
88Dan Stanbridge (GBr) Dirt Norco Race Team57
89Joe Connell° (GBr) Great Britain56
90Benjamin Verrier (Fra)56
91Jack° Moir (Aus) Australia55
92Marco Milivinti (Ita) Italy53
93Ludovic May (Swi)53
94Slawomir Lukasik (Pol)48
95Dean Lucas° (Aus) Australia48
96Dan Atherton (GBr) GT Factory Racing45
97Logan Binggeli (USA) United States Of America44
98George Gannicott° (GBr)43
99Fabien Pedemanaud (Fra)42
100Yoann Barelli (Fra)42
101Nico Vink (Bel) Rose Vaujany Gravity Mtb Team42
102Matej Charvat (Cze)41
103Lars Vatnebryn Sandviken (Nor)41
104Curtis Keene (USA) Specialized Racing - Usa Gravity38
105Gaetan Ruffin (Fra) Commencal / Riding Addiction38
106Zakarias Blom Johansen (Nor)37
107Kirk Mcdowall (Can)35
108Guillaume Cauvin° (Fra) France35
109Mathieu Gallean (Fra) Dagg - Racing35
110Mark Wallace° (Can)34
111Miran Vauh (Slo) Slovenia34
112Manuel Gruber (Aut) Alpine Commencal Austria34
113Cody Warren (USA)33
114Timothy Bentley (RSA) Hutchinson United Ride33
115Reece Potter° (NZl)32
116Jonty Neethling (RSA)32
117Kevin Aiello (USA)32
118Gianluca Vernassa° (Ita) Devinci Global Racing30
119Ralph Jones (GBr)30
120Rob Fraser (Can)30
121Ludovic Oget (Fra) Dagg - Racing29
122Alexis Pujol (Fra)29
123Joe Barnes (GBr)29
124Dennis Dertell (Swe) Team 23 Degrees28
125Florian Arthus (Fra) Xcytt Racing28
126Emanuel Pombo (Por) Portugal28
127Jakob Thunell° (Swe) Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing27
128Stefan Garlicki (RSA)27
129Arthur Parret (Fra) Passion Velo.Fr27
130Kieran Bennett (NZl)26
131Quentin Chanudet (Fra)24
132David Trummer° (Aut)24
133Charly Di Pasquale (Fra) Xcytt Racing23
134Lars Peyer (Swi) SC-Intense22
135Richard Leacock (NZl)22
136Remi Gauvin* (Can) Canada22
137Scott Mears (GBr)22
138Rudy Cabirou° (Fra) France21
139Noel Niederberger° (Swi) Scott1119
140Espen Johnsen (Nor)18
141Thomas Jeandin (Swi)18
142Carlo Caire° (Ita) Argentina Bike Gravity Team17
143Mathew Stuttard (GBr)17
144Fergus Lamb (GBr)16
145Jérôme Crocombette (Fra) Passion Velo.Fr16
146Kazuki Shimizu* (Jpn) Japan14
147Ville° Ormo (Fin) Finland13
148Emyr Davies (GBr)12
149Will Jones (GBr)12
150Alexandre Fayolle° (Fra) France12
151Junya Nagata (Jpn)11
152Edgar Carballo Gonzalez (Spa) Spain11
153Tommy Herrmann (Ger)11
154Matthias Stonig (Aut) Austria10
155Romain Payet° (Fra)10
156Benoit Coulanges° (Fra)9
157Lutz Weber* (Swi) Switzerland8
158Arthur Babcock (USA)8
159Joao Gois° (Por)8
160Dan Sheridan° (Irl)8
161Mathias Haas (Aut) Alpine Commencal Austria7
162Tiaan Odendaal° (RSA) South Africa7
163Benjamin Torrano (Fra)7
164Yuki Kushima (Jpn)4
165Hans Lambert (Can)3
166Kristoffer Haugland (Nor)2

Team final World Cup standings
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1GT Factory Racing535pts
2MS Mondraker Team420
3Santa Cruz Syndicate402
4Devinci Global Racing379
5Lapierre International316
6Trek World Racing301
7Hutchinson United Ride275
9Giant Factory Off-Road Team249
10Commencal / Riding Addiction216
11Monster Energy-Specialized203
12Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof134
13Labyrinth Shimano Racing Team133
14Passion Velo.Fr104
15Alpine Commencal Austria98
17Madison Saracen Downhill Team94
18Team Norco International93
19Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team68
20Team Morzine - Avoriaz / Haute - Savoie47
22CG Racing Brigade38
23Team Lac Blanc / Solid / Batibois Alsace37
24Topcycle By Trek32
25Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing23
26Unior Tools Team23
27Pila-Black Arrows-Mtb Herin School Asd23
28CK Racing Santacruz17
29Torpado Surfing Shop10
30Dagg - Racing9
31Dirt Norco Race Team4
32Ghost Factory Racing Team3


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