Mont Sainte Anne World Cup: Hill and Jonnier win downhill

Hill takes series lead; Jonnier confirms her top place

Men: Sam Hill finally cracks it

Sam Hill (Specialized/Monster Energy) finally broke the string of bad luck which produced one of the longest winless streaks of his career when he took the sixth round of the World Cup on Saturday in Mont Sainte Anne, Quebec, Canada. Hill's win propelled him into the overall World Cup series lead, ahead of Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate).

The first fast run of the afternoon was produced by Marcel Beer at 4:59.94. Beer held the Hot Seat for 17 racers, with Cameron Cole (Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain Bicycles) the next to spend an extended time on top. Pierre Charles Georges (Solid Aclass) finally bumped him, but the final 20 riders saw frequent changes and, with 10 riders to go, the leader was Aaron Gwin (Yeti/Fox), who defended his US National Championship title just last weekend.

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Fabien Barel (Subaru) came close to Gwin, leaving the American to anxiously wait for the final four riders. Samuel Blenkinsop (Yeti/Fox) had a slow run (16th place) and left the finish area visibly unhappy. World champion Gee Atherton (Animal Commencal) came close. That left only Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate), a perennial favourite here, and Hill to come down.

To thunderous applause, Peat didn't disappoint, with a time of 4:41.48 to Gwin's 4:42.91. He took the Hot Seat, but didn't really settle in. All eyes were glued to the big screen TV and the scoreboard, which was showing the splits on the course. Hill was the fastest through every split, showing incredible control skills through the rock gardens. To huge applause he finished in 4:38.44, 3.04 seconds better than Peat.

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Hill was pleased with his win, the first of the season for him after an uncharacteristically long drought. "This is one of the most high speed, and the longest courses, on the World Cup circuit," he said. "It was a lot slicker this morning. It dried out a lot. I was conservative in the first few corners just to check it out. It was good so I went hard from there."

Peat had another stellar day with his second place, which marked an unprecedented 50th World Cup podium appearance for the British star. He also holds the record for the most World Cup career wins. "I think this course suits me," he said. "You've got to be an all-arounder to do well here. I've got another podium, which I'm pleased about."

Gwin hung on to third for his first World Cup podium appearance. On the podium, the other racers did their best to drown him in champagne. "It was pretty crazy watching Gee and those guys come through," he said. "I'm happy. It's about time!"

With his win, Hill moves from third to first in the World Cup points race with 1,039, a mere four points in front of Peat. Minnaar drops from first to third. Canada's Steve Smith (Evil Bikes) retains his ninth place standing as the top North American, after finishing seventh at Mont Sainte Anne.

Women: Jonnier heads French domination on slippery course

Sabrina Jonnier (Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain Bicycles) is proving to be unstoppable in the women's World Cup downhill, taking her fifth consecutive win of the season at Mont Sainte Anne, despite changing weather that made the track slick and slippery.

Through the first 10 racers of the 20 rider field, there was rapid and frequent turnover in the Hot Seat. The first rider to hang on for a while was Emilie Siegenthaler (Scott 11), who was eventually dislodged by Melissa Buhl (KHS).

The next rider to lay down a fast run was Tracy Moseley (Trek World Racing), who was almost immediately displaced by Emmeline Ragot (Suspension Center), with a strong time that was good enough to maintain the Hot Seat until only Jonnier remained to descend.

Jonnier was the class of the field. Her run of 5:26.50 beat Ragot by 3.79 seconds. "That run was the best of the weekend. Conditions were a lot different than this morning. It dried out a lot," Jonnier said. "I decided to be a bit cautious and then go fast when I could. I just want to win and be happy on my bike."

Moseley finished in third place, 4.77 seconds back. With her win here, Jonnier stretches her lead in the World Cup standings to 1,382 points, with Ragot a distant second with 1,115 points. Four of the top five riders are now French, with only Moseley, in third, breaking the streak.

For full results, reports and photos, visit Cyclingnews.com.

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