Neither Tahnee Seagrave nor Rachel Atherton look likely to relent in their pursuit of UCI Downhill Mountain Bike World Cup glory after pulling off a British one-two in Val di Sole.
The duo currently occupy the top two spots in the championship standings after second-placed Seagrave finished with a flourish to pip leader Atherton to victory in Italy.
Meanwhile, in the men’s race, fellow Laurie Greenland and Danny Hart almost ensured that first and second place again went to British riders but they were forced to settle for second and third respectively after some last-gasp heroics from France’s Amaury Pierron.
Seagrave makes waves
Katy Curd, who went out ninth, was the first British rider of the day to head out but struggled to keep up with the pace set by home competitor Veronika Widmann, the former Four-Cross world champion clocking in with a time of 4:59.116, finishing 13th.
She was followed by Atherton, who stormed out of the blocks confidently and had carved out an advantage of nearly nine seconds by the split three.
Atherton continued to show all of the form that has thrust her into title contention and tore home, recording the fastest time of the day (4:26.547), more than five seconds ahead of previous leader Widmann.
Despite a fine run, New Zealand’s Tracey Hannah (4:29.718) failed to trouble Atherton’s new benchmark – but Seagrave did not.
The 22-year-old was fearless and dynamic as she set out in place of a place on the rostrum, although she initially found herself behind Atherton’s pace.
But between splits three and four, Seagrave made up half a second and then she put the pedal to the metal, sprinting home to take the lead by just 0.123 seconds.
Slovakia’s Monika Hrastnik, the final rider to head out, handed the British pair a scare but finished in 4:28.029, which was only good enough for third.
Laurie pulls off another Italian job
No fewer than 16 British cyclists hit the Italian hills and Reece Wilson spent some time occupying a podium position following a fine run of 3:40.858.
Wilson remained third for some time – right up until fellow Brit Greenland headed out fifth to last.
On the same track where he claimed World Championship silver in 2016, the 21-year-old showed ferocious pace to better previous leader Thomas Estaque (3:39.254), of France, by almost two seconds, Greenland coming home in 3:37.312.
In the penultimate ride of the day, Hart set out with the top of the podium his sights and despite one of the fastest first split times of the day, his 3:37.448 proved just 0.136 seconds short of Greenland.
Only Pierron was left to head out but the Frenchman had recorded back-to-back victories in both Fort William and Leogang – and he spoiled the party in some style.
Greenland and Hart had thrown down the gauntlet but a masterful 3:36.788 from Pierron saw him nick it in 3:36.788.
Wilson finished seventh whilst the next-fastest Brit was Adam Brayton, who was 13th in 3:43.199.
In the junior men’s classification, Kade Edwards (4;45.073) and Jamie Edmonson (4:48.037) finished third and fourth respectively, with Tyrrell Morgan (4:57.139) also recording a top-ten finish as he came in seventh.