The last rider, the last race and it was all down to one man. Steve Smith would battle it out with Gee Atherton for the overall title in the dying moments of the 2013 season.
Rachel Atherton wrapped up the women’s overall, she may have been beaten on the day by Emmeline Ragot but she adds the World Cup overall title for 2013 to her rainbow stripes from South Africa. Coming down to the last race but with a solid points gap and the form of her life Rachel needed a decent result to claim the title. 2nd in Leogang was enough and with Manon Carpenter taking 3rd, the Brits had done well. Jill Kintner has definitely still got World Cup speed taking 4th place with Myriam Nicole rounding off the women’s podium in 5th.
Steve Smith took the pressure like a true champion and set off from the top with one goal. He was going to get a radio message if anything had happened to Gee on his run, no message came, the Canadian had to put in the run of his life.
Before this epic climax to the World Cup overall title chase there had been some stunning runs. Josh Bryceland put in a blinder and took the hotseat, with Peaty one side and Gutierrez on the other there were six to go.
Brosnan came down with much anticipation, but after a mistake slowed him he couldn’t dent the top three times. Blenkinsop on his now familiar 650b wheels and even wearing gloves was only 0.04 back at the first then 0.432 back at the second split. Finishing 0.918 back and taking Peaty’s spot on the podium it was time for his young team mate’s run. The French thunderstorm, Loic Bruni was lightning. 1.7 up at the first split and by the second he had stretched the gap to over 2 seconds. Over the line he took Bryceland’s place in the hotseat, it looked like he could have even done enough for the win, and he’s only 19!
Now the battle was on, Gee on track and he needed to go fast enough to keep Smith away. He looked accurate, pinned to his lines, first split and he was up by 0.250. Atherton looked smooth but it wasn’t enough for split two, 0.695 back with just the last section to go. It wasn’t to be. 2nd place for Gee behind the young Frenchman.
Mick Hannah has been getting closer and closer to the top step all season. Sik Mik had the power and he was up at split one by 0.404 but then, like Gee before him, lost time on Bruni during split two and was 0.838 back. Pushing at the bottom he slotted into 2nd and in doing so moved Gee to in third, only two spots left ahead of Atherton and Smith needed one of the them.
No radio call. Gee must have had a good one. Smith sets off and the chainsaw teeth were devouring the track in Leogang. 1st split and Smith’s speed is proven in the digits, nearly two seconds up he was faster than the electric young Frenchman. Holding speed in to the next section Smith was still almost two seconds up at split 2, he nailed the bottom section crossing the line he wrote a new chapter in the downhill world cup history book. The first Canadian to win a World Cup overall title. 1.311 seconds was the gap to 2nd place, Smith had done it.
So that’s it for the 2013 World Cup season, we’d like to thank Rob and John Parkin for their superb work, late nights and the mental schedule they undertake so that you can see their edits. Also to Laurence Crossman-Emms who has produced some amazing shots this year and again worked long into the night to make sure we have the best shots online as soon as humanly possible. We know you all appreciate the work these guys put in so let them know in the comments!
We have a lot planned outside the race season and we still have the final Enduro race in a few weeks so keep an eye out for more form DirtTV soon.
Here are the overall standings: