June 10th, 2012

Aaron Gwin Extends World Cup Lead After Nail Biting Finish

Fort William is a classic stop on the World Cup tour and the mixed weather and rider fortunes meant it was again a race with drama and varying luck for the top riders. Championship contenders Greg Minnaar and Trek World Racing’s Aaron Gwin had qualifying runs they weren’t completely happy with Minnaar finishing 7th, and Aaron scoring no points after having two crashes due to front wheel wash outs. Aaron felt he chose the wrong tire for the conditions on Saturday and was disappointed to concede 18 points to Greg, but the main points were up for grabs today.

Because of the qualifying result, Aaron started earlier than the main contenders and took the hotseat with a 4m 48secs. It was difficult to know if this time would hold for the next hour as the top 20 men came down the hill, or would they push towards Marc Beaumont’s (GBR) qualifier of 4m 42secs. The lead started to whittle away and was down to 3secs when Danny Hart took to the track and got the gap down to 0.6secs. With Greg Minnaar crossing the line with a drive train mechanical and eventually finishing 6th, it was up to the final two riders from Team GT to knock Aaron from the hotseat, which eventually did not happen. Aaron took his 7th World Cup win from 10 starts for Trek World Racing (and a 100% podium success rate), with hart second and Gee Atherton third. Aaron’s World Cup lead is now 85 points.

Aaron said: “I just rode a smooth run. It was hard to judge but all I knew was that it needed to be smooth. It was pretty nerve wracking watching all the big guys coming down and I started to think a podium was likely, but the win was a real surprise. I’m glad to have finally conquered this amazing track! The fans here have been incredible all week.”

For Justin Leov it was bitterly disappointing after riding at his best level all week and feeling confident of a great run in the final, when a small error in a straight forward section of track cost him valuable time.

Justin said: “It was just a simple mistake but it cost me a lot. I pretty bummed because I know from my riding and what others have said to me that I was on it this week. I just have to push forward and take the positives from my riding this week and head to North America tomorrow as determined as ever.”

Neko Mulally is back racing with Justin Leov in the Vermont round of the US National Series, at Sugarbush Resort next weekend, and the team will all be back together the following week in Mont-Sainte-Anne for next round of both the XC and DH World Cups.

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

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