Atherton wins at Fort William World Cup

Cole second, Minnaar third as course records crumble

Home favourite Gee Atherton (Commencal) blitzed his way to the win in a thrilling men's downhill final at today's UCI Mountain Bike World Cup round in Fort William, Scotland.

When Mick Hannah (GT) crossed the line in 4:37.75, setting a new course record, it looked like the chances of a British win were slim. But the dry and dusty conditions meant the track was super-fast and Hannah's record was short lived.

An astonishing four riders went on to set faster times – Aaron Gwin (Yeti - Fox Shox), Cameron Cole (Maxxis - Rocky Mountain), Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) and Atherton. Sam Hill (Monster Energy - Specialized) had chosen not to compete after a bad crash during qualifying.

When Atherton crossed the line in 4:36.18, after clocking 62km/h at the speed trap, the victory looked to be his and the partisan crowd went wild, in scenes reminscent of Steve Peat's win on the same course in 2005. But last-man-down Minnaar can never be counted out, so Atherton's fans breathed a collective sigh of relief when he finished 1.21 seconds down.

Atherton said winning at Fort William was a "dream come true" and he was "the most excited I've ever been about winning a race". Asked how he got down the hill so quickly, he said: "It was all the crowd. I could hear them as soon as I came out of the woods. They were just so noisy, so good."

Greg minnaar was the fastest qualifier but couldn't beat gee atherton's scorching time come the main event: greg minnaar was the fastest qualifier but couldn't beat gee atherton's scorching time come the main event
Greg minnaar was the fastest qualifier but couldn't beat gee atherton's scorching time come the main event: greg minnaar was the fastest qualifier but couldn't beat gee atherton's scorching time come the main event

Greg Minnaar put in a scorching time but it wasn't enough to unseat Gee Atherton

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