A “hometown” athlete’s perfect script was played out at the second round of the World Cup gravity stop in Fort William, Scotland on Sunday as the United Kingdom’s Gee Atherton won the men’s downhill.
Atherton (Commencal) bested Cameron Cole (Maxxis – Rocky Mountain) and Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate by one second on an unusually — for the UK — dry, dusty and fast 1.75 mile course down Aonach Mor, the ninth highest peak in the United Kingdom, dropping 1,800 feet.
For a venue that’s famous for being wet and windy, the unusually dusty surface made the track slippery and unpredictable. Yet Atherton’s final run stopped the clock at 4 mins 35 secs and clocked nearly 40 mph through the course speed trap.
American Aaron Gwin (Yeti-Fox Shox) finished fourth and Australian Michael Hannah (GT) was fifth. Reigning World Champion and British favorite Steve Peat finished 18th.
Meanwhile, the day’s winning script nearly played to ultimate perfection, with Rachel Atherton (Commencal), Gee Atherton’s sister, missing the top spot in the women’s DH by one second behind France’s Sabrina Jonnier (Maxxis – Rocky Mountain), who stopped the clock at 5 mins 11 secs. France’s Floriane Pugin (Scott 11) rounded out the top three followed by Tracy Moseley (Trek World Racing) and Emmeline Ragot (Suspension Center). Melissa Buhl was the top-placed American at 13th.
After the second World Cup, the women’s top three overall leaders are Jonnier (425 points), Atherton (410) and Pugin (350). On the men’s side, the overall leader is Greg Minnar (420), Atherton (405) and Cole (282).
In four-cross, World Champion Jared Graves (Yeti-Fox Shox) continued to dominate the men’s field despite two flats in separate rounds. Graves managed to progress to the finals with a convincing win and securing the World Cup Series lead.
After the third stop on the four-cross circuit, Graves leads the overall with 350 points followed by Joost Wichman (225) and Tomas Slavik (200).
In the women’s race Jana Horakova took her second win of the series, and with it the overall; with Anita Molcik in second and Anneke Beerten in third. The same trio lead the World Cup four-cross overall with 220, 180 and 130 points respectively.
The next World Cup gravity stop is in Leogang, Austria on June 19-20.