Audi you do it? (Steve Peat) Forksprung Dirt-Technique. Read the Full Report here.
Round 3 brought the UCI World Cup circus to Willingen in Germany to coincide with the T Mobile Bike Festival, which in itself attracts thousands of bike people. So both this and a round of the UCI World Cup doubled up for a fantastic weekend. Willingen is a stunning part of the world with a welcoming hand to both cyclists and normal people alike. The festival provided great entertainment despite being in German (I'm sure they were laughing at me). With huge trade stands and fields of privateers the views and atmosphere were awesome (a real festival feel was in the air). Or was it all down to the ice cool beer that flowed going to my head alongside the fine German cuisine? No, this was bike fest and it rocked!
Starting with the 4 Cross course – this consisted of jumps and berms built for world class riders – these things are huge and make great viewing when the riders are battling it out. With a course that runs over a fair bit of distance there's plenty of room for some late moves and some planned attacks with fitness being a key asset. Race day brought all the spills and thrills of 4X with Jared Graves of Yeti Fox Racing taking the win, Joost Wichman 2nd, Rodger Rinderknecht 3rd and last years number 1 Michal Prokop 4th.
The women's final was taken by GT's Jill Kinter with Katrina Miller in 2nd, Tara Llanes in 3rd and British rider Joey Gouth pulling in a respectable 6th.
Now on to the downhill: with a course running at around the 2 minute mark for the top boys and 2.20 for the top ladies, this made for close racing times with a dab or a mistake putting you out of the running. The course starts off on a huge man made start ramp with a drop-off half way down it to wake you up for the nice big right hander hip jump. Onwards and downwards took you through some man made berms and jumps that were no walk in the park – bringing you into the small woods which featured some of the more knarly rocky sections and drops. A hip jump into a motorway wide rock garden made great viewing and pulled the greatest cheers, with some riders looking like a pin ball bouncing through and others showing you why they were there. Out of this section, through a few choice berms and into the light of the open field featuring another huge jump just outside the mountain-side pub – Minnaar whip and a cold beer… worked for me!! Carrying your speed from this into the bottom section brought you to a bmx style track that ran along side the 4 Cross course – great for the hordes of fans to see the riders and hear the results at the same time.
Now on to the racing and ladies first: Great Britain's Tracy Moseley (Kona Les Gets Factory Team) takes home her 3rd World Cup win this year. This woman is unstoppable (with this not being one of her favourite tracks) and looking good to take the overall this year. 2nd place was taken by France's Sabrina Jonnier (Iron Horse) only being 0.28 seconds down on Tracy. 3rd place went to Great Britain's Rachel Atherton (Team Animal/Giant), with Fionn Griffiths in 5th finishing off the womens podium. Helen Gaskell arrived just inside the top ten with a 9th. 3 out of 5 on the podium and 4 in the top 10… good work all round.
The mens final saw all the usual suspects bothering the top spots (except Sam Hill). Great Britain's Steve Peat (Santa Cruz/Royal Racing) keeping it low and smooth as always, taking 1st place both on the day and in qualifying. 2nd place went to South Africa's Greg Minnaar (Team G-Cross Honda), very much at home on this track. 3rd place went to Great Britain's Gee Atherton (Team Animal/Giant) to the delight of the Brit crowds giving us another 2 brits on the podium. (MBUK's) Marc Beaumont and Dan Atherton (Team Animal/Giant) also both finishing inside the top twenty.
Both Tracy and Steve are now at the top of the leader boards to take this years MTB World Cup, cmon guys keep it pinned!
Big respect to all who rode and helped make this a great race!
Sir David of Lane