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MTB World Cup XC #4 & DH #3 - CDM
Mont Sainte Anne, Quebec, Canada, June 22-24, 2007
Race 5 - June 24: Elite Men Downhill
King of the Hill
By Mike Badyk and Rob Jones
Completing the downhill sweep for Iron Horse/Monster Energy, defending World Champion Sam Hill joined his team mate Sabrina Jonnier on top of the podium at Mont-Sainte-Anne. Greg Minnaar (G-Cross Honda) finished 1.69 seconds back to claim second place, with crowd favourite, and three time World Cup winner at Mont-Sainte-Anne, Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate) a mere .03 seconds behind Minnaar in third place.
This was a picture perfect day for racing, with sunny skies, a few white clouds and a nice wind to keep things cool. Some 81 riders qualified for the finals with Peat, Hill and Minnaar the fastest qualifiers.
The first hot run of the race was laid down by Florent Payet (Ssangyong-Fusion). Starting in 31st position, the young Payet had a very long time sitting on the hot seat staring up the hill. He was there for 29 riders before he was unseated by Mick Hannah (Cannondale The Cut). Despite losing the hot seat, Payet's run allowed him a top 20 finish in 19th place.
Hannah's run stood for a while, but once the top riders started their runs, repeat leader changes were the order of business. Nathan Rennie (Santa Cruz Syndicate) staked a claim to the hot seat, but he knew it likely wouldn't stand up. "I'm alright with the time for now, but I was hoping for a 4:32," he said. "We'll see what happens."
Champery World Cup winner Matti Lehikoinen (G-Cross Honda) was the first to unseat Rennie. "Honestly, this is one of the worst runs I've had," he explained. "At least that's what it felt like. I wasn't in my mind. I crashed once. The whole thing ... it was hard to say. I need to concentrate more."
The third-last starter was Greg Minnaar (G-Cross Honda), who had dislocated his shoulder at World Cup round #2 in Champery, Switzerland two weeks ago, an injury which came back to haunt him this weekend. "I crashed in the rock section," explained Minnaar after his run. "My shoulder popped out. I tried to fling it back in but it didn't go in. I had to fling it again and it went in the second time." The fact that he was able to have such a good run, including the crash and the reoccurrence of the shoulder injury, really says something about his abilities and his courage.
Then Hill put down his run. He didn't sit in the hot seat, instead standing by, staring up the course awaiting the arrival of Peat. The British rider charged hard, but ultimately could only take third. "I made a couple of little mistakes out there," admitted Peat. "Like carrying too much speed in a couple of sections. On a track this long, with the times so close, you can't make mistakes. I think I pushed too hard. You have to be physically strong here but you also have to be mentally strong."
Hill was jubilant and somewhat relieved at his win. "After Champery it was good to come back here for the win," said the Australian. "I'm pretty excited about it. I feel good going into the next round in Austria. I hope to get another win."
The victory hands Hill the World Cup Points lead over Peat, with 557 points to 525. Lehikoinen is in third place with 416 points.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Frank Bodenmuller/PhotoSport International www.mtbsector.com
Images by Rob Jones/www.canadiancyclist.com
1 Samuel Hill (Aus) Iron Horse / Monster Energy 4.29.6 2 Greg Minnaar (RSA) Team G-Cross Honda 0.01.7 3 Steve Peat (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate 4 Matti Lehikoinen (Fin) Team G-Cross Honda 0.03.4 5 Fabien Barel (Fra) Kona Les Gets 0.05.0 6 Nathan Rennie (Aus) Santa Cruz Syndicate 0.05.1 7 Justin Leov (NZl) 0.07.7 8 Marc Beaumont (GBr) Team Mbuk Santacruz 0.08.5 9 Mickael Pascal (Fra) Q By Saab-Salomon 0.09.7 10 Michael Hannah (Aus) Cannondale The Cut 0.09.9 11 Fabien Pedemanaud (Fra) 0.10.3 12 Julien Camellini (Fra) Mojo Orange 0.10.9 13 Brendan Fairclough (GBr) Team G-Cross Honda 0.11.3 14 Gee Atherton (GBr) Animal Commencal 15 Luke Strobel (USA) 0.11.4 16 Bernat Guardia Pascual (Spa) Msc Bikes 0.13.8 17 Jurgen Beneke (Ger) 0.14.3 18 David Vazquez Lopez (Spa) Msc Bikes 0.14.4 19 Florent Payet (Fra) Ssangyong-Fusion Pro Team 0.14.9 20 Samuel Blenkinsop (NZl) Gravity Group 0.15.5 21 Andrew Neethling (RSA) 0.15.8 22 Filip Polc (Svk) Gravity Group 0.16.2 23 Dan Stanbridge (GBr) Mojo Orange 0.16.4 24 Jared Graves (Aus) 25 Joris Bigoni (Fra) 0.16.7 26 Amiel Cavalier (Aus) Giant Mountain Bike Team 0.16.8 27 Jeff Beatty (Can) Mojo Orange 0.17.3 28 Dan Atherton (GBr) Animal Commencal 0.17.4 29 Ivan Oulego Moreno (Spa) Massi 30 Pasqual Canals Flix (Spa) Massi 0.17.7 31 Ben Cathro (GBr) 0.17.8 32 Nico Vink (Bel) Dolphin Bike Team 0.18.9 33 Matthew Simmonds (GBr) 0.19.1 34 Damien Spagnolo (Fra) Q By Saab-Salomon 35 Antoine Badouard (Fra) 0.19.2 36 Herman Olund (Swe) 0.19.5 37 Duncan Riffle (USA) 0.19.7 38 Ben Reid (Irl) 0.19.9 39 Joel Bain (Aus) 0.21.0 40 James Maltman (Aus) Ssangyong-Fusion Pro Team 0.21.1 41 Neil Donoghue (GBr) Team Mbuk Santacruz 0.21.2 42 Samuel Zbinden (Swi) 0.21.6 43 Mitchell Delfs (Aus) 0.22.1 44 Alan Beggin (Ita) 45 Hans Lambert (Can) 0.22.6 46 Will Longden (GBr) Team Mbuk Santacruz 0.23.4 47 Ruaridh Cunningham (GBr) 0.23.6 48 Luke Kitzanuk (Can) 0.23.7 49 Julius Syvanen (Fin) 50 Charles-Alexandre Dube (Can) 0.24.4 51 Chris Ball (GBr) 0.24.7 52 Robin Wallner (Swe) 0.24.9 53 Espen Johnsen (Nor) 0.25.4 54 Cole Bangert (USA) 0.25.8 55 Jonty Neethling (RSA) 0.26.6 56 Christopher Van Dine (USA) Cannondale The Cut 0.26.8 57 Dominik Gspan (Swi) 0.27.8 58 Tyler Morland (Can) 0.28.6 59 Kamil Tatarkovic (Cze) Kona Les Gets 0.28.7 60 Nicola Casadei (Smr) 0.30.0 61 Mathieu Troquier (Fra) 0.30.9 62 Elias Somvi (Ita) Playbiker - Iron Horse 0.31.5 63 Pierre Charles Georges (Fra) 0.34.9 64 Chris Hutchens (GBr) 0.35.2 65 Scott Beaumont (GBr) Rocky Mountain Uk 0.38.8 66 Dominick Menard (Can) 67 Mike Haderer (USA) 0.39.3 68 Dave Trumpore (Can) Decline 0.42.2 69 Pablo Bascunan (Chi) 0.42.5 70 Pierre Laurent Bucci (Fra) Playbiker - Iron Horse 0.43.7 71 Geritt Beytagh (USA) 0.44.8 72 Lee Trumpore (USA) Decline 0.45.5 73 Alex Morgan (USA) Decline 0.47.0 74 Yannick Wende (Bol) 0.47.1 75 Scott Papola (USA) 0.50.3 76 Logan Binggeli (USA) 0.51.3 77 Evan Turpen (USA) 0.53.1 78 Marcus Klausmann (Ger) Ghost International Racin 1.45.5 79 Louis-Philippe Leonard (Can) 2.28.2 80 Justin Brown (Can) 3.47.4 81 Sven Martin (RSA) 4.07.0