The 2011 Mountain Bike World Cup concluded on Sunday in Val di Sole, Italy, with the crowd favourite Downhill. Myriam Nicole (Riding Addiction Commencal) took her first ever World Cup victory, while Tracy Moseley (Trek World Racing) held off a tight challenge from Floriane Pugin (Scott 11) to win the overall women's title.
The hot, dry conditions had turned the track into dust bowl, full of huge ruts and bumpy rooted sections that made it difficult for anyone to find a clean line. German champion Harriet Rucknagel set the first fast time for the women, which lasted through three riders before U.S. champion Jill Kintner knocked six and half seconds off, to take the time down to 4:17.872 .
Petra Bernhard (Alpine Commencal Austria) immediately took another six seconds off the leading time, with Junior World Cup leader Manon Carpenter (Madison Saracen) and Sabrina Jonnier (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain) shaving fractions off of her time. Emilie Siegenthaler (Scott 11) dropped the time below 4:10, with a time of 4:07.484, but Emmeline Ragot (Team GR) went down another five seconds.
Tracy Moseley was playing it safe, knowing that she only needed a top-seven to win the title, and not wanting to crash, slotted in behind Ragot. Rachel Atherton (Commencal), went third from last and took the lead below four minutes with a time of 3:54.405, however, Nicole came through right after, 2.2 seconds faster, which proved to be the winning run. Pugin, the fastest qualifier, and second in the world Cup standings, rode last, but finished eight-tenths of a second behind Nicole for second.
"I don't believe it," Nicole said after her run, "maybe I will realize tonight. I didn't have a clean run, but I was all out on this track. I did not want to crash on the top, it was real hard and my hands hurt already. Near the finish I was [saying] 'come on', and I did it."
Moseley agreed that she was nervous before her run, "I wanted to race hard for the win, but when I hit the first [technical] section, I realized that I needed to play it safe and not take any chances. This has been an incredible season, a dream season, coming towards the end of my career."
Moseley won the overall title with 1465 points and four individual victories in seven races. Pugin finished with 1390 points, one win and four seconds, followed by Atherton with 115 points, Nicole with 929 points and Jonnier with 889 points.
This article was originally published on Cyclingnews.com