By Robert Jones, VeloNews Correspondent
Steve Peat (Troy Lee-Orange) and Anne Caroline Chausson (Volvo-Cannondale) won the third round of the downhill World Cup at Mont Ste Anne, Quebec in decisive fashion on Saturday.
In the overall standings, Chausson has taken the leader’s jersey from Sabrina Jonnier, while Chris Kovarik’s lead over Peat has shrunk to 23 points.
After some truly exciting racing, third seeded Steve Peat was the victor in the men’s race with an outstanding time of 5:09.67, almost 4 seconds faster than Cedric Gracia (Volvo-Cannondale). He was extremely happy with his win.
As Gracia approached the finish and it became clear that he couldn’t beat the British rider, Peat rose to his feet from the Tissot Hot Seat and stretched his arms into the air in victory. “This is such a tough course. It is so physically demanding it just beats you up. I arrived on Wednesday night so I only did a few practice runs trying to save my energy. After two runs I had blisters on my hands. The race itself was just so long. Some of the berms were blown out which was very difficult. I really had to dig deep in the flat section after the ramp in the woods. It hurt so much. It makes the win very satisfying.”
The longest resident of the hot seat was young Nathan Rankin from New Zealand. It would take 28 riders to get him out of his throne. His fine time of 5:20.83 eventually got him 6th place, but it was the torture of waiting that made him squirm. “I just can’t sit still. This is terrible and wonderful all at the same time.” He knew the top riders were to follow.
Displacing Rankin was Oscar Saiz (Maxxis-MSC) at 5:19:03 and then Claudio Caluori (Maxxis-MSC). His time of 5:18:59 wouldn’t last for very long as Peat came through only 3 riders later. Immediately after Peat came in, Greg Minnaar (Global Racing) posted the third fastest time of the day at 5:18.27.
“I had a really shaky run. I crashed into the catch nets in the second last set of woods. I was fortunate to get up quickly.”
The lead changed repeatedly throughout the Women’s DH. Very few racers had a chance to get comfortable in the Tissot Hot Seat. Perhaps the longest stretch in the seat was Lisa Sher who was in the middle of the seed. Her time of 6:15.32 put her over 6 seconds up on the previous best. With the top riders still to come, her’s was not to be a long reign.
Sher was unseated by Marielle Saner (Global Racing). Saner was sporting a nasty swollen eye thanks to a crash in her seeding run. “I did a very safe race because I could only really see with one eye. During the semi’s I slipped on one rock and came off my bike. I landed on another rock that fit perfectly in the face opening of my helmet”.
Next to occupy the Hot Seat was Fionn Griffiths of New Zealand with a time of 6:08.93. Griffiths felt it was a difficult course. “I made a few mistakes. I clipped a tree in the woods that cost me some time. I was much better in the second half of the course.”
In short order Griffiths was replaced by Tracy Moseley (Kona) in at 6:05.51. Moseley didn’t have to wait long to be forced out – the next rider was Sabrina Jonnier, and she was the first to break the 6 minute mark, with a time of 5:56.29. Jonnier was very happy with her results.
“This has been a very good year for me. I’m pleased not only with the race but the whole season. I have a good team and a great bike and that means so much. The new section in the woods was very tricky. I’m pleased I got through it well.”
Jonnier watched anxiously as the crowd roared for World Champion Anne-Caroline Chausson to arrive. Chausson blasted through the finish for the win at 5:54.47. “I’m very surprised by my result. I made the same mistake that I did during the seeding run. Near the top of the course I had difficulty in the chicane and got off course into the ruts. From there I had to go as hard as I could to try and keep up my speed. It wasn’t a smooth run at all.”
1. Steve Peat (GBR) 5:09.67;
2. Cedric Gracia (Fra) Volvo Cannondale, 5:13.55;
3. Greg Minnaar (RSA) Global Racing, 5:18.27;
4. Claudio Caluori (Sui) Maxxis-MSC, 5:18.59;
5. Oscar Saiz (Esp) Maxxis-MSC, 5:19.03;
6. Nathan Rankin (NZL) 5:20.83;
7. Sean McCarroll (Aus) Global Racing, 5:21.00;
8. Mickael Pascal (Fra) BE ONE, 5:22.15;
9. Chris Kovarik (Aus) 5:22.75;
10. Todd Leduc (USA) 5:23.46
World Cup Standings
1. Chris Kovarik (Aus) 562 points;
2. Peat 539;
3. Gracia 497;
4. Mickael Pascal (Fra) Be-One 375;
5. Nicolas Vouilloz (Fra) Vouilloz Racing 315
1. Anne Caroline Chausson (Fra) Volvo-Cannondale 5:54.47;
2. Sabrina Jonnier (Fra) 5:56.29;
3. Tracy Mosley (GBR) 6:05.51;
4. Fionn Griffiths (GBR) 6:08.93;
5. Marielle Saner (Sui) Global Racing 6:11.85;
6. Marla Streb (USA) Luna Chix 6:12.28;
7. Lisa Sher (USA) 6:15.32;
8. April Lawyer (USA) 6:21.24;
9. Mio Suemasa (Jpn) 6:23.18;
10. Vanessa Quin (NZL) 6:23.27;