Rachel Atherton took a big step towards another overall World Cup title after a surging run on the iconic Mont-Sainte-Anne hill saw her hold off the challenge of fellow Brit Tahnee Seagrave.
Young sensation Seagrave had clocked three World Cup 2018 victories prior to the start of today’s proceedings, had qualified fastest of the field and won on the same track last season.
However, the seasoned Atherton tore down the long and rough course with aplomb and surged to victory in 4:51.443, five seconds ahead of her compatriot.
Australia’s Tracey Hannah took third, a full 20 seconds behind Atherton’s time.
And the two British women’s dominance on the day mirrored the season’s two-horse race for the title, Atherton’s second World Cup triumph of the campaign moving onto 1,226 points with Seagrave on 1,116. Hannah lies third on 905.
'I had to bring my AAA game'
“It’s such a good track – so much fun,” Atherton said. “On the first day, I was like ‘wicked, this is amazing’ - but it’s been a hard year. Tahnee’s been kicking ass.
“Then you throw in that rain on the first day and we’ve had about half the practice. It’s been a really hard week – the track is so tough and after that rain it was pretty much written off.
“I knew I was going to have to bring my AAA game to beat Tahnee, but I had a good run in qualifying.
“I’ve been using every tool available and I just went out there and had fun on my bike.”
Hart hits the heights as Pierron takes title
In the men’s competition, Danny Hart sealed a second top-three finish of his World Cup season by claiming a terrific third with a time of 4:14.036.
Hart, the 2011 and 2016 world champion, finished 1.323 seconds behind Frenchman Loic Bruni, whose searing effort of 4:12.713 was enough to nudge ahead of Australian Troy Brosnan and take his first World Cup win of 2018.
Fellow French rider Amaury Pierron sealed the overall title in gutsy fashion by overcoming a heavy fall in practice to secure fourth on the day and open up an unassailable lead going into the final round of racing in La Bresse.
Pierron is sitting pretty on 1088 points, 307 ahead of nearest challenger and another compatriot, Loris Vergier.
Hart is third, just five points behind Vergier in the overall standings and level on points with Brosnan as the race for second is balanced on a knife-edge.
Edwards and Kerr impress
Earlier in the day, the British pair of Kade Edwards and Henry Kerr took second and third respectively in the junior men’s competition, Thibault Daprela of France powering to victory on the day.
Austria’s Valentina Holl made it six victories from six World Cup rounds in the junior women’s competition, American pair of Samantha Soriano and Mazie Hayden filling the other podium positions.