It was going to be one of those days. The danger of holding a sport in mountains is that quite often a big storm rolls in and your race is spoiled.
Photos by Seb Schieck
Dean Lucas was in the hotseat as the Red Bull break came on and then the heavens opened. Within minutes it was as muddy as Glastonbury and the spikes came out. The Mont Sainte Anne rocks turned to ice and a lack of visibility and grip on the bars meant racers struggled, especially on the bottom section. Nobody would get close... or so we thought...
Jack Moir changed everything. Pulling back time in the final two sectors, he went through the rocks as if they were dry and placed fourth. The race ignited.
Troy Brosnan was bang on pace at splits one and two. He slipped back a couple of seconds in the latter half of the track but did enough to slot into third on the hotseat. Slowly, we were starting to believe. Could it really be done?
The Syndicate boys of Vergier and Shaw were unable to keep up the pace as the rain picked up again. Then all eyes turned to Danny Hart, would we see another dose of his Champery heroics? Ahead at split four it seemed like the fairy tale would happen, but he fell short in the end. A spectacular run from the World Champ.
Minnaar was up next, knowing he had to push to keep his overall points lead healthy. A crash saw him well back in the standings and he was later disqualified from the race - the title fight is on in Val di Sole.
Loic Bruni was up next. He's had a tough season and knew he had something to prove. Like Hart, he had green splits but he was losing time down at the bottom. In the end, 2.2 was the defecit and he slotted in behind Danny Hart.
Last on the hill, who else? Aaron Gwin. He performed a miracle - walking on water, the Californian decimated Dean Lucas' time. We're not exaggerating when we say this was one of the greatest downhill runs of all time. Gwin had a massive moment in the rock garden that must surely have drawn a collective gasp from hundreds of thousands of race fans but held it together to the bottom. One second ahead of Dean Lucas at the finish line. This man is something else...
There are now just 33 points in the race for the overall between Gwin and Minnaar. Miss Val di Sole at your peril.
Mont Sainte Anne 2017 downhill World Cup Men's results
(Full results to below)
- Aaron Gwin - 4:18.426
- Dean Lucas - 4:19.484
- Danny Hart - 4:19.846
- Loic Bruni - 4:21.684
- Mike Jones - 4:21.858