Mountain Bike World Cup: Peat victorious in La Bresse

Video highlights, report and results

Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate) is one victory away from taking the all-time lead in Downhill World Cup victories after an incredible ride at this year's second round in La Bresse, France yesterday.

After recording his 16th victory, Peat now matches French rider Nicolas Vouilloz in World Cup wins. He has also moved into first place in the overall standings for this year's competition.

"I'm very happy to win after such a long time, and happy to break Vouilloz's record," said Peat afterwards, referring to the fact that this is his first World Cup victory since Willingen, Germany in 2006. Referring to the fact that his team-mate Greg Minnaar won the first round in South Africa, he added: "It's good to keep the jersey in the team."

The short course required the skills of an all-round rider to perform well, with fast pedaling and jumping sections at the top, followed by steep, technical and rocky sections in the lower half. Many a rider started out fast, only to lose precious seconds in the final third of the 1.2km course.

The men's race had a potential upset in the making when heavy rain swept in shortly after American Kyle Strait (Specialized Team America) grabbed the hot seat. Strait was 29th to start, and the track had been dry and hard until that point. Favoured Chris Kovarik (Chain Reaction/Intense) crashed shortly afterwards, showing how slippery it was getting.

Strait's time of 2:12.33 held up for over 30 riders before Justin Leov (Trek World Racing) managed to displace him by a mere five-one-hundredths of a second. Leov also settled in for an extended sit in the hot seat, remaining in the top spot until the final 10 riders began their runs. Strait would finish 11th, just behind Leov.

Leov's team-mate Andrew Neethling was the first to better Leov, dropping the leading time to below 2:12 (2:11.98). However, he was replaced immediately by Mikael Pascal (MSC Bikes). Minnaar was next to take the lead, but again it was a short lived reward, as Britain's Brendan Fairclough (Monster Energy-Specialized) became the first rider to go under 2:10, with a 2:09.99 run.

Watch the video highlights of the downhill finals now:

Please install Adobe Flash player to view this content

Fairclough hung onto the lead through Sam Blenkinsop (Yeti Fox Shox) before his team-mate, and perennial favourite, Sam Hill knocked an impressive second-and-a-half off the leading time. There were only three riders to go, and the rain continued to fall.

Michael 'Mick' Hannah (GT Bicycles) was next, and he slotted in between Hill and Fairclough, and then it was world champion Gee Atherton (Animal Commencal), who came in behind Fairclough and ahead of Minnaar, guaranteeing himself a podium spot.

Watch video highlights of qualifying here:

Please install Adobe Flash player to view this content

Finally, it was 'Peaty', the legendary rider from Sheffield, Yorkshire. Only 17th fastest through the speedtrap, Peat kept getting faster as the course got harder. By the first intermediate timer he was up to second, by the second intermediate station he was more than a second in front, and at the finish line he was a full 1.27 seconds ahead of Hill to record his 16th World Cup win.

Heading into the third downhill round of the Nissan UCI Mountain Bike World Cup next week in Vallnord, Andorra, Peat holds a 25-point lead over Hannah at 415 points, with Minnaar 62 points back in third.

Women's race

Tracy moseley (trek world racing) was pushed into second place by sabrina jonnier (maxxis/rocky mountain bicycles): tracy moseley (trek world racing) was pushed into second place by sabrina jonnier (maxxis/rocky mountain bicycles)

Britain's Tracy Moseley was beaten by arch rival Sabrina Jonnier

Sabrina Jonnier (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain) gave the crowd a French win in the women's category, as she decisively beat Britain's Tracy Moseley (Trek World Racing) by over five seconds.

"I'm super happy to give Maxxis-Rocky Mountain its first World Cup win," said Jonnier. "I dedicated my race to my mum, whose dad just passed away. Thanks to Maxxis, Rocky and the team for all their support.

"Even though Tracy won the qualifying, I was still very confident, and very happy to win in France. It was a very important win for because it is my first win in a year, and I wanted to show that I am still one of the best downhillers."

American Melissa Buhl (KHS) set the first sub-2:40 time for the women at 2:38.54, and the fastest time through the speed trap of 56.89kph. However she was quickly overtaken by Britain's Fionn Griffiths (Norco World Team). Three riders later it was the veteran French rider Céline Gros taking another six-tenths of a second off the leading time.

Gros barely had time to realise she was in the lead before her compatriot Myriam Nicole obliterated her time by nearly three seconds. Former junior world champion Emmeline Ragot (Suspension Center) and Japan's Mio Suemasa both came within a second of Nicole, but the young Frenchwoman was still in the lead with two riders to go – Jonnier and Moseley, who had qualified first and would ride last.

Jonnier was perfect through her ride, setting the fastest splits at both the first and second intermediate stations, recording the only sub-2:30 time of the day in the women's race, at 2:28.57. Moseley, who had been unbeaten in competition this year up until this point, managed to knock Nicole down to third, but was clearly not at the same level as her rival Jonnier.

In the women's standings, it is Moseley still in front with 460 points, but Jonnier has moved into second, 68 points back, followed by Ragot, a distant 125 points in arrears.

For full results, visit Cyclingnews.

Rob Jones
Author: Rob Jones

Related Articles

Back to top