Sheffield Steel Steve Peat is World Downhill Mountain Bike Champion! After sixteen years and four silver medals it is the result everyone wanted and the result we talked about in our exclusive interview with the man himself pre-race. We've got the full report, results and will have the video replay and photography just as soon as we stop jumping around the room.
*Legal warning bit: These replays contain Rob Warner at his loosest ever and that means strong language. If that offends you, then scroll on by and read the words.
STEVE PEAT THE INTERVIEW
STEVE PEAT - INTERVIEW WITH ROB JONES (safe for viewing)
In the most amazing downhill race of all time, Steve Peat has fulfilled his mountain bike career and can now be confirmed as the most successful downhill mountain biker ever. With fifty World Cup podiums and 17 World Cup wins to his name, Steve only had the World Champions' title to secure. After years of battling for that win and a total of four silver medals, today, Sheffield Steel took the most prestigeous title in all of mountain bike racing.
Putting in a run of absolute perfection, Peat would take the hotseat from Australian Mick Hannah. Hannah's time looked impossible to beat - itself faster than that World Champs specialist Fabien Barel set on a custom bike most suited to the lower pedalling section. The fact that Hannah set his time on a full downhill rig indicated a superhuman run would be needed to stop a home win. And that's exactly what Steve Peat delivered.
An astonishing 1.45 seconds up at the first split, Peat would extend his lead to 1.46 seconds over Hannah before the lower pedalling section - somewhere the Australian had excelled. But with determination Peat hammered his bike home, with an advantage of just 0.69 seconds on a track lasting over two minutes.
Described by Scott Beamont in the Freecaster commentary booth as "a run nearing perfection", Rob Warner was silenced as once more there was the nervous wait for the big three: Sam Hill, Greg Minnaar and Gee Atherton.
It felt like 2008 all over again as Sam Hill took to the course. Nobody knew how quick Sam really could be, he is no pedalling specialist. But the biggest surprise was reserved for the most technical top section as Hill would record a split over one second down on Peat. This is when everyone could sense that Steve was his closest ever to the rainbow jersey.
Greg Minnaar, winner in Canberra at the 2008 World Cup and a reknowned powerhouse was next man on track and was sure to be Peat's toughest adversary. The 2003 World Champion and with two World Cup wins to his name in 2009, Minnaar too was down in the top section by over a second and lost a further tenth in the middle sector.
However, everyone knows that Minnaar is the fittest rider in downhill - having competed with the World's best XC racers in the World Cup and Cape Epic over past years. In the sprint for the line it was impossibly close; Minnaar did what nobody else could and was like a motorbike to the tape. Only when the South African crossed the line and the livetiming turned red were we sure that Peaty's challenge still existed.
0.05 seconds was the margin!
Final man on track was Gee Atherton, the man who ruined Steve's dreams in 2008 and wanted to repeat the occasion. For Gee though this would not be his year, by the second split it was obvious only a rocket propelled grenade would help Atherton's cause and the celebrations started.
Doused with champagne on the podium, Steve somehow still remained professional for the post-race interview.
"My run was absolutely unreal. I have had such bad luck at the World Championships, over the years it has become my nemesis but today I had an awesome run. The Aussie crowd cheered me all the way down, but tonight it'll be me who's lighting up Canberra!
"As the last two guys came down I was bricking it; it was Italy 2008 all over again."
1. Steve Peat (Great Britain)
2. Greg Minnaar (South Africa) +0.00.05
3. Mick Hannah (Australia) +00.00.69