Danny Hart was the top placed British rider at the weekend’s UCI Mountain Bike Downhill World Cup in Fort William while there was disappointment for Rachel Atherton, who was disqualified from the elite women’s race after receiving outside assitance.
Hart was third behind a pair of charging Australians, with Troy Brosnan (Specialized Racing DH) taking the win, 1.6 seconds ahead of countryman Sam Hill (Chain Reaction Cycles.com/Nukeproof), while Hart finished two seconds behind the leader.
Fourth for American Aaron Gwin (Specialized Racing DH) meant that he retained his overall lead in the UCI Mountain Bike Downhill World Cup standings, with Gee Atherton (GT Factory Racing) the next Brit home in fifth, 3.1 seconds behind the winner.
Sam Dale (Madison Saracen Factory Team) and Greg Williamson (Trek World Racing) were eighth and ninth respectively, giving Great Britain four riders in the top ten.
Frenchwomen Emmeline Ragot (Lapierre Gravity Republic) took the win the elite women’s event, which in comparison with the elite men’s event, saw the top ten separated by big time gaps.
Ragot was eight seconds clear of fellow-Frenchwoman Miriam Nicole (Commencal Riding Addiction) with Australian Tracey Hannah (Hutchinson UR) 13 seconds adrift of the winner.
Ffion Griffiths was the first Brit home in sixth, 27 seconds off Ragot’s pace. Griffiths was the only British rider to make the top ten, with Tahnee Seagrave (FMD Racing) twelfth and Manon Carpenter (Madison Saracen Factory Team) 15th after both flatting on the notorious ‘cheese grater’ section.
World cup leader Atherton also fell foul of a puncture at the same section and was disqualified for receiving outside assistance from a marshal. However after the race Atherton was philosophical about her misfortune:
“I almost felt like I was racing back to my old self so getting a puncture was gutting but on the flip side that slow ride down let me really enjoy the amazing Fort William crowd – that’s not an experience that I’ve had before and it was awesome – then I had the most fun ever, just hanging out in the afternoon meeting all these great people!”
Carpenter now tops the overall world cup standings despite her own puncture misfortunes but her lead is slender, just five points ahead of Ragot.
It was good news for British riders in the junior men’s event, with four Brits in the top ten. Drew Carters was first home in fifth, four seconds behind winner, Martin Maes of Belgium, ahead of Taylor Vernon, Laurie Greenland and Reece Wilson.
Vernon now lies fourth in the overall standings on 61 points, while Frenchman Loris Vergier leads on 140 points.