July 13th, 2011

Aaron Gwin Takes Win In Front Of Partisan Home Crowd

All four Trek World Racing downhill riders performed strongly at Round 5 of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Windham, New York in front of a large US crowd on a short and technical track. Neko Mulally (USA) took another solid top 30 result to move up in the rankings, Justin Leov (NZL) had his best result of the year in 6th, just 1/10th of a second off the podium, and Tracy Moseley (GBR) kept her perfect record of being on the podium for every World Cup race in 2011, with a 3rd place.

But it was Aaron Gwin’s 4th win of the season that had the fans chanting U-S-A-GWIN at the podium and the city administrators changing the name of host town Windham to ‘Gwindham’ for the remainder of the day, in a flurry of red white and blue flags, that had everyone talking. Aaron’s win, after qualifying first on Friday, was the first win on US soil by an American downhiller since both Missy Giove and Shaun Palmer won in Big Bear, California, in 1999. Furthermore, Aaron joins a small group of 3 men who have won 4 Downhill World Cups in one season, the other two being Francois Gachet (FRA) and the legendary Nicolas Vouilloz (FRA).

This was the second time the World Cup has visited Windham and the course certainly had its share of technical content with three major rock garden sections, and running around two and a half minutes in length. The weather was perfect and the crowds built all morning to beat the numbers from 2010. Tracy had qualified 3rd and was hoping to move up to second, but last year’s winner Rachel Atherton (GBR) repeated for 2011, and this season’s other in-form rider Floriane Pugin (FRA) took 2nd. Tracy maintains the overall lead of the series by 100 points with 2 races to go.

In the men’s event, Neko Mulally crossed the line in an incident free run in 6th place with a 2m 32.087secs that ultimately scored him 27th, and now moves him up to 30th overall. Justin Leov qualified in 5th and was feeling great all week on the track. After a flying 1st and 2nd split that had him 4th and 5th, a small error while pushing hard in the lower sector meant he missed the podium by the smallest of margins. Aaron started last and the US crowd held their collective breath until the first split showed on the live giant screen, and when the green light shone with a gap of 2.1secs, the crowd started cheering non-stop until the Californian crossed the line with a 2.3 second win over legend Steve Peat (GBR), who ironically also took 2nd to Shaun Palmer back in 1999.

Aaron said: “The crowd here is amazing. It really means so much to me to win in front of a home crowd. The reaction was nuts. I can’t put it into words. Having my parents here was also really special, as they have been such a big part of my entire 2 wheel career. As for my run, it felt very solid. I had two training runs in the morning that felt like great race runs, so I went up to the top feeling that all was set for a good day. It’s perfect to have a win when the race run feels great.”

Justin said: “This is the best I’ve been riding in my whole career, and I really felt like I had a podium run going. I got a little ragged in the bottom and that’s where I guess I lost that tenth of a second, but it gives me so much confidence coming into the final part of the season. I’ve got to just keep working at it”.

Results for World Cup DH #5 are here:


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The next Downhill World Cup will be Round 6 in La Bresse (FRA) on August 7.

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