June 3rd, 2012

Aaron Gwin Dominates World Cup Round 2, Takes Series Lead

After setting the fastest qualifying time yesterday by more than 7 seconds, Trek World Racingís Aaron Gwin displayed incredible poise and composure to once again win by a similar margin today in the finals here at Val di Sole, Italy. While the rest of the field were separated by tenths of a second, the sizes of Aaronís winning margins really were the talk of the paddock throughout the weekend. The win today puts Aaron in the leaderís jersey, but tied on points with main rival Greg Minnaar (RSA).

The course here in Val di Sole, site of the 2008 World Championships, is notoriously steep and rooted and is considered one of the toughest on both rider and machine. Training accidents claimed many riders but fortunately the sunny weather ensured the racing was largely a safe affair, but the images were dramatic nevertheless. Itís hard to appreciate the incline of this course unless youíve walked it or stood trackside.

Unfortunately Neko Mulally was unable to race as his ankle wasnít 100% ready for the demanding track. A single practice run on Friday made that abundantly clear, but he took a radio to the course and relayed a lot of valuable information back to the teamís start crew. Starting last and not knowing what time Greg Minnaar had recorded, Aaron took to the track with a chance to win his 6th World Cup. While Minnaar sat in the hotseat it was clear that barring an accident, the win was Aaronís for the taking. No rider had beaten his qualifying time of 3mins 16.693secs so he still had the fastest time on the hill for the weekend no matter what, but Aaron went on to beat his qualifying time by 6 seconds.

Aaron said: ďIíve been looking for a run like that for some time now, I couldnít be happier. I was pretty sure my quali time would hold, and even though the course here is super rough and dusty, I managed an almost clean run. Greg rode amazingly well on this track and is going to be tough competition for the remainder of the season.Ē

Teammate Justin Leov moved up in the overall rankings from 16 to 13 after his run today, but despite the improvement was disappointed with how his final run went.

Justin said: ďI overrode the first sector of the course and made an error that cost me a second. I tried to make it up in the second sector but just starting making more mistakes and had to rein it in to get down. Fort Williamís up next week and Iím keen to get back there.Ē

Next week sees Round 3 at the classic Fort William course. Greg Minnaar has won there a number of times including last year, but Aaron has a score to settle with the track after having a lead of more than 5 seconds in 2011 and crashing with 2 corners to go. With the two of them tied on points it will be an exciting showdown at the Fort.

Full results: http://www.uci.ch/templates/BUILTIN-NOFRAMES/Template1/layout.asp?MenuId=MTYzODg&LangId=1

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