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MacDonald wins his first ever downhill World Cup in Val d'Isere

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Brook Macdonald (MS Mondraker Team) on his way to winning his first World Cup

Brook Macdonald (MS Mondraker Team) on his way to winning his first World Cup (Image credit: Marius Maasewerd)
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Duncan Riffle (Dirt Norco Race Team)

Duncan Riffle (Dirt Norco Race Team) (Image credit: Canadian Cyclist)
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Steve Smith (Devinci Global Racing)

Steve Smith (Devinci Global Racing) (Image credit: Canadian Cyclist)
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Brook Macdonald (MS Mondraker Team)

Brook Macdonald (MS Mondraker Team) (Image credit: Canadian Cyclist)
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Top Junior Loic Bruni (Lapierre International)

Top Junior Loic Bruni (Lapierre International) (Image credit: Canadian Cyclist)
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World Cup leader, Aaron Gwin (Trek World Racing)

World Cup leader, Aaron Gwin (Trek World Racing) (Image credit: Canadian Cyclist)
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Elite men's downhill World Cup podium in Val d'Isere: Greg Minnaar, Gee Atherton, Brook MacDonald, Josh Bryceland, Aaron Gwin

Elite men's downhill World Cup podium in Val d'Isere: Greg Minnaar, Gee Atherton, Brook MacDonald, Josh Bryceland, Aaron Gwin (Image credit: Marius Maasewerd)

Round six of the downhill at the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Val d'Isere, France turned out to be a much more difficult course than anyone anticipated, with many top riders crashing and performing below expectations. New Zealand's Brook MacDonald (MS Mondraker) took his first ever World Cup win in the men's race. Aaron Gwin (Trek World Racing), despite finishing fifth, locked up the men's overall World Cup title with one round remaining.

The rocky, open, alpine run was very different from most that the racers face on the World Cup circuit, and more than a few riders crashed in both training and qualifying.

The men's competition for the last two seasons has been completely dominated by World Cup leader Aaron Gwin and his usual rival, Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate). Between the two of them, they have won every single World Cup in last season and this season, until Val d'Isere. Every rider struggled on the fast, rough and rocky terrain, which was completely unforgiving of mistakes. Gwin crashed in qualifying, injuring his hand and finishing well back.

In the final, Thibaut Ruffin (Commencal / Riding Addiction) set the early best time, which stood for 16 riders until Matt Simmonds (Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof) bumped him by an infinitesimal six-thousandths of a second. Simmonds in turn was displaced by Andrew Neethling (Giant Factory), who barely finished before Mick Hannah (Hutchinson United Ride) took the lead. Gwin took the lead next by half a second, but Minnaar surpassed his rival by that same amount. Gee Atherton (GT Factory) then recorded the first sub-2:20 time, but it wasn't quite enough, as MacDonald knocked a final half second off the lead to record his first victory.

"I can't even explain how I feel," said MacDonald. "I had a solid run, no mistakes , it was one of those runs I was just pumped for. I am over the moon about this one. My early season has been a big struggle. I was at a point where I was hating riding. So I changed a few things on my bike, and it has all paid off.

"This track was hard. With the altitude, and being only two and a half minutes, you are just pushing the whole way. If you make a mistake you lose time and you can't really lose time on this kind of track. I put together a good run and I'm happy. I think I'm going party for a week."

Despite having his consecutive World Cup win streak stopped at four, Gwin wasn't too upset. "I have no excuses, I had a pretty good run. For how I felt I am happy. To win the overall again, it is so amazing, especially after this weekend. I came in feeling good, and kinda had a bonehead moment in qualifying, hurt myself a little bit. It [his hand] was better than I thought it was going to be in the finals; it didn't hurt too bad. I just got a little tired at the bottom. So I had to back it down at the bottom to make sure I stayed on and I kinda backed it down too much, but it worked out. Everyone loses some and wins some. I have lost many more in my career. I am just stoked to be up here."

Gwin raced with fresh stitches in his had following a crash earlier in the weekend.

Gwin now has 1260 points with one World Cup race remaining, an insurmountable 260-point lead over Minnaar. The fight for second overall is far from over, with Atherton only 19 points out of second.

Full Results

Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Brook Macdonald (NZl) MS Mondraker Team0:02:19.48
2Gee Atherton (GBr) GT Factory Racing0:00:00.50
3Josh Bryceland (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate0:00:00.68
4Greg Minnaar (RSA) Santa Cruz Syndicate0:00:00.87
5Aaron Gwin (USA) Trek World Racing0:00:01.37
6Michael Hannah (Aus) Hutchinson United Ride0:00:01.89
7Marc Beaumont (GBr) GT Factory Racing0:00:02.11
8Cameron Cole (NZl) Lapierre International0:00:02.30
9Rémi Thirion (Fra) Labyrinth Shimano Racing Team0:00:02.45
10Andrew Neethling (RSA) Giant Factory Off-Road Team0:00:02.64
11Steve Smith (Can) Devinci Global Racing0:00:02.74
12Steve Peat (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate0:00:03.62
13Mitch Ropelato (USA) Monster Energy-Specialized0:00:03.78
14Matthew Simmonds (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof0:00:04.09
15Thibaut Ruffin (Fra) Commencal / Riding Addiction0:00:04.09
16Florent Payet (Fra) SC-Intense0:00:04.13
17Lorenzo Suding (Ita) Pila-BlaCK Arrows-MTB Herin School Asd0:00:04.14
18Samuel Blenkinsop (NZl) Lapierre International0:00:04.57
19Markus Pekoll (Aut) MS Mondraker Team0:00:05.09
20George Brannigan (NZl) Devinci Global Racing0:00:05.15
21Ruaridh Cunningham (GBr)0:00:05.29
22Connor Fearon° (Aus) Kona0:00:05.48
23Filip Polc (Svk)0:00:05.73
24Aurélien Giordanengo (Fra) Topcycle By Trek0:00:05.90
25Mickael Pascal (Fra) CK Racing Santacruz0:00:06.13
26Joseph Smith (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof0:00:06.35
27Samuel Hill (Aus) Monster Energy-Specialized0:00:06.49
28Jared Graves (Aus) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team0:00:06.68
29Bernat Guardia Pascual (Spa)0:00:06.96
30Harry Heath (GBr) Unior Tools Team0:00:07.07
31Cyrille Kurtz (Fra) CK Racing Santacruz0:00:07.15
32Robin Wallner (Swe) Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing0:00:07.23
33Johannes Fischbach (Ger) Ghost Factory Racing Team0:00:07.39
34Phil Atwill° (GBr) Madison Saracen Downhill Team0:00:07.41
35Pierre Charles Georges (Fra) Team Lac Blanc / Solid / Batibois Alsace0:00:07.43
36Ivan Oulego Moreno (Spa)0:00:07.58
37Luke Strobel (USA)0:00:07.59
38Sam Dale (GBr)0:00:07.65
39Matthew Beer (Can)0:00:07.71
40Matej Charvat (Cze)0:00:07.83
41Ben Reid (Irl) Dirt Norco Race Team0:00:07.89
42Benny Strasser (Ger)0:00:07.92
43Francisco Pardal (Por)0:00:08.25
44Jono Jones° (GBr)0:00:08.25
45Mitchell Delfs (Aus) Kona0:00:08.41
46Justin Leov (NZl) Trek World Racing0:00:08.53
47Oscar Harnstrom (Swe) Pila-BlaCK Arrows-MTB Herin School Asd0:00:08.62
48Lewis Buchanan (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof0:00:08.85
49Patrick Thome (Fra) Lapierre International0:00:08.97
50Richard Thomas (GBr)0:00:09.03
51Johann Potgieter (RSA)0:00:09.25
52Alexis Pujol (Fra)0:00:10.09
53Florian Arthus (Fra) XCYTT Racing0:00:10.26
54Joe Connell° (GBr)0:00:10.36
55Fraser Mcglone° (GBr)0:00:10.42
56Kyle Sangers (Can)0:00:10.44
57Benjamin Verrier (Fra)0:00:11.06
58Ludovic May (Swi)0:00:11.19
59Oliver Burton (GBr)0:00:11.24
60Rudy Cabirou° (Fra)0:00:11.45
61Richard Rude Jr° (USA) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team0:00:11.92
62Ziga Pandur (Slo) Unior Tools Team0:00:12.06
63Duncan Riffle (USA) Dirt Norco Race Team0:00:12.12
64Alex Bond (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof0:00:12.31
65Jérôme Crocombette (Fra) Passion Velo.Fr0:00:12.36
66David Trummer° (Aut)0:00:12.69
68Ville Ormo° (Fin)0:00:14.11
69Alexandre Fayolle° (Fra)0:00:14.23
70Damien Spagnolo (Fra) MS Mondraker Team0:00:14.83
71Romain Payet° (Fra)0:00:17.04
72Benoit Coulanges° (Fra)0:00:18.29
73Joao Gois° (Por)0:00:22.60
74Harry Molloy (GBr) Madison Saracen Downhill Team0:00:25.60
75Bryn Atkinson (Aus) Team Norco International0:00:28.46
76Marco Milivinti (Ita) Torpado Surfing Shop0:00:28.93
77Nico Vink (Bel) Rose Vaujany Gravity MTB Team0:00:40.58
78Nick Beer (Swi) Devinci Global Racing0:00:47.15
79Marcelo Gutierrez Villegas (Col) CG Racing Brigade0:01:35.58
80Miran Vauh (Slo)0:02:32.27
DNFNejc Rutar (Slo) Unior Tools Team
DNFIsak Leivsson (Nor)

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1GT Factory Racing99pts
2MS Mondraker Team87
3Santa Cruz Syndicate81
5Commencal / Riding Addiction42
6Labyrinth Shimano Racing Team38
7Lapierre International36
8Devinci Global Racing31
9Trek World Racing28
10Hutchinson United Ride26
11Monster Energy-Specialized22
12Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof22
13Madison Saracen Downhill Team22
14Giant Factory Off-Road Team21
15Alpine Commencal Austria18
17Pila-BlaCK Arrows-MTB Herin School Asd14
18Passion Velo.Fr12
19Dagg - Racing9
21Team Morzine - Avoriaz / Haute - Savoie8
22Topcycle By Trek7
23CK Racing Santacruz6
24Team Lac Blanc / Solid / Batibois Alsace4
25Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team3
26Unior Tools Team1

Elite men individual downhill World Cup standings after six rounds
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Aaron Gwin (USA) Trek World Racing1260pts
2Greg Minnaar (RSA) Santa Cruz Syndicate1000
3Gee Atherton (GBr) GT Factory Racing981
4Steve Smith (Can) Devinci Global Racing680
5Danny Hart (GBr) Giant Factory Off-Road Team650
6Samuel Hill (Aus) Monster Energy-Specialized627
7Josh Bryceland (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate589
8Brook Macdonald (NZl) MS Mondraker Team583
9Michael Hannah (Aus) Hutchinson United Ride546
10Marc Beaumont (GBr) GT Factory Racing501
11Andrew Neethling (RSA) Giant Factory Off-Road Team480
12Cameron Cole (NZl) Lapierre International477
13Samuel Blenkinsop (NZl) Lapierre International442
14Rémi Thirion (Fra) Labyrinth Shimano Racing Team420
15George Brannigan (NZl) Devinci Global Racing414
16Matthew Simmonds (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof391
17Nick Beer (Swi) Devinci Global Racing358
18Justin Leov (NZl) Trek World Racing358
19Loic Bruni° (Fra) Lapierre International355
20Joseph Smith (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof337
21Aurélien Giordanengo (Fra) Topcycle By Trek333
22Richard Rude Jr° (USA) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team324
23Damien Spagnolo (Fra) MS Mondraker Team320
24Luke Strobel (USA)312
25Patrick Thome (Fra) Lapierre International311
26Pierre Charles Georges (Fra) Team Lac Blanc / Solid / Batibois Alsace299
27Mickael Pascal (Fra) CK Racing Santacruz296
28Thibaut Ruffin (Fra) Commencal / Riding Addiction274
29Mitchell Delfs (Aus) Kona271
30Steve Peat (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate255
31Connor Fearon° (Aus) Kona253
32Markus Pekoll (Aut) MS Mondraker Team250
33Sam Dale (GBr)247
34Jared Graves (Aus) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team246
35Brendan Fairclough (GBr) Scott11245
36Bryn Atkinson (Aus) Team Norco International235
37Lorenzo Suding (Ita) Pila-BlaCK Arrows-MTB Herin School Asd232
38Mitch Ropelato (USA) Monster Energy-Specialized210
39Lewis Buchanan (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof201
40Marcelo Gutierrez Villegas (Col) CG Racing Brigade197
41Florent Payet (Fra) SC-Intense196
42Johannes Fischbach (Ger) Ghost Factory Racing Team192
43Greg Williamson (GBr)189
44Matthew Beer (Can)187
45Bernard Kerr (GBr)179
46Robin Wallner (Swe) Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing174
47Eliot Jackson (USA) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team172
48Joshua Button (Aus) SC-Intense170
49Julien Camellini (Fra)167
50Ben Reid (Irl) Dirt Norco Race Team165
51Oscar Harnstrom (Swe) Pila-BlaCK Arrows-MTB Herin School Asd163
52Harry Heath (GBr) Unior Tools Team157
53Richard Thomas (GBr)151
54Cyrille Kurtz (Fra) CK Racing Santacruz150
55Duncan Riffle (USA) Dirt Norco Race Team150
56Harry Molloy (GBr) Madison Saracen Downhill Team145
57Oliver Burton (GBr)138
58Kyle Sangers (Can)125
59Ruaridh Cunningham (GBr)122
60Ziga Pandur (Slo) Unior Tools Team122
61Neko Mulally (USA) Trek World Racing120
62Nejc Rutar (Slo) Unior Tools Team120
63Jack Reading (GBr)114
64Filip Polc (Svk)113
65Troy Brosnan (Aus) Monster Energy-Specialized107
66Jono Jones° (GBr)104
67Fraser Mcglone° (GBr)99
68Fabien Cousinie (Fra) Hutchinson United Ride95
69Francisco Pardal (Por)94
70Cédric Gracia (Fra) CG Racing Brigade93
71Bernat Guardia Pascual (Spa)93
72Adam Brayton (GBr)90
73Benny Strasser (Ger)89
74Marcus Klausmann (Ger) Ghost Factory Racing Team88
75Austin Warren° (USA)84
76Johann Potgieter (RSA)83
77Ivan Oulego Moreno (Spa)82
78Alexander Kangas (Swe)78
79Isak Leivsson (Nor)78
80Phil Atwill° (GBr) Madison Saracen Downhill Team73
81Matti Lehikoinen (Fin) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof67
82Boris Tetzlaff (Aut) Alpine Commencal Austria64
83Alex Bond (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof60
84Mark Scott (GBr)60
85Dan Stanbridge (GBr) Dirt Norco Race Team57
86Thomas Braithwaite (GBr)57
87Joe Connell° (GBr)56
88Jack Moir° (Aus)55
89Marco Milivinti (Ita) Torpado Surfing Shop53
90Ludovic May (Swi)53
91Dean Lucas° (Aus)48
92Dan Atherton (GBr) GT Factory Racing45
93Faustin Figaret (Fra) SC-Intense45
94Logan Binggeli (USA)44
95George Gannicott° (GBr)43
96Fabien Pedemanaud (Fra)42
97Yoann Barelli (Fra)42
98Nico Vink (Bel) Rose Vaujany Gravity MTB Team42
99Matej Charvat (Cze)41
100Curtis Keene (USA) Specialized Racing - Usa Gravity38
101Gaetan Ruffin (Fra) Commencal / Riding Addiction38
102Benjamin Verrier (Fra)36
103Lars Vatnebryn Sandviken (Nor)35
104Guillaume Cauvin° (Fra) Hutchinson United Ride35
105Mathieu Gallean (Fra) Dagg - Racing35
106Miran Vauh (Slo)34
107Manuel Gruber (Aut) Alpine Commencal Austria34
108Cody Warren (USA)33
109Timothy Bentley (RSA) Hutchinson United Ride33
110Jonty Neethling (RSA)32
111Kevin Aiello (USA)32
112Niklas Wallner (Swe) Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing31
113Gianluca Vernassa° (Ita) Devinci Global Racing30
114Ralph Jones (GBr)30
115Rob Fraser (Can)30
116Alexis Pujol (Fra)29
117Joe Barnes (GBr)29
118Dennis Dertell (Swe) Team 23 Degrees28
119Florian Arthus (Fra) XCYTT Racing28
120Emanuel Pombo (Por)28
121Stefan Garlicki (RSA)27
122Kieran Bennett (NZl)26
123Charly Di Pasquale (Fra) XCYTT Racing23
124Lars Peyer (Swi) SC-Intense22
125Remi Gauvin (Can)22
126Scott Mears (GBr)22
127Rudy Cabirou° (Fra)21
128Thomas Jeandin (Swi)18
129Carlo Caire° (Ita) Argentina Bike Gravity Team17
130Fergus Lamb (GBr)16
131Jérôme Crocombette (Fra) Passion Velo.Fr16
132David Trummer° (Aut)15
133Kazuki Shimizu (Jpn)14
134Arthur Parret (Fra) Passion Velo.Fr14
135Ville Ormo° (Fin)13
136Emyr Davies (GBr)12
137Alexandre Fayolle° (Fra)12
138Junya Nagata (Jpn)11
139Edgar Carballo Gonzalez (Spa)11
140Tommy Herrmann (Ger)11
141Matthias Stonig (Aut)10
142Romain Payet° (Fra)10
143Mark Wallace° (Can)9
144Benoit Coulanges° (Fra)9
145Lutz Weber (Swi)8
146Joao Gois° (Por)8
147Mathias Haas (Aut) Alpine Commencal Austria7
148Tiaan Odendaal° (RSA)7
149Benjamin Torrano (Fra)7
150Yuki Kushima (Jpn)4
151Dan Sheridan° (Irl)3
152Hans Lambert (Can)3
153Kristoffer Haugland (Nor)2

Teams World Cup standings after six rounds
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1GT Factory Racing463pts
2Santa Cruz Syndicate347
3MS Mondraker Team346
4Trek World Racing289
5Lapierre International280
6Devinci Global Racing276
7Hutchinson United Ride255
9Giant Factory Off-Road Team231
10Commencal / Riding Addiction201
11Monster Energy-Specialized179
12Labyrinth Shimano Racing Team133
13Chain Reaction Cycles.Com / Nukeproof127
15Madison Saracen Downhill Team83
16Team Norco International82
17Alpine Commencal Austria78
18Passion Velo.Fr74
19Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team67
21Cg Racing Brigade37
22Team Morzine - Avoriaz / Haute - Savoie35
23Topcycle By Trek32
24Team Lac Blanc / Solid / Batibois Alsace28
25Pila-Black Arrows-Mtb Herin School Asd20
26CK Racing Santacruz17
27Unior Tools Team11
28Torpado Surfing Shop10
29Dagg - Racing9
30Team Are Bikepark By W-Racing9
31Dirt Norco Race Team4
32Ghost Factory Racing Team3


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