Aaron Gwin has won the Val di Sole World Cup and cemented himself as World Cup champion. The title race ended in disappointment as Greg Minnaar was forced to walk down the track with a puncture.
Laurie Greenland set the first hot time of the day with a 3:47.082. It was a run reminiscent of World Champs last year, spending more time sideways than forwards and he was rewarded with the hotseat and being the first rider to beat Gwin’s qualifying time.
Greenland led into the top 10 qualifiers with four Brits in the top five. Wallace and Blenkinsop both fell short before Hart took to the track he won his World Championship on 12 months ago. He was up on the first split but took a spill and ended up way back down the standings – a frustrating end to a frustrating year for the champ.
Luca Shaw also failed to match Greenland’s time but Pierron backed up his stellar qualifier with a stunning run that saw him put 2 seconds into Greenland. He’s had a quietly consistent year and this could well be a breakthrough rider for the young Frenchman.
Loris Vergier put in some solid splits but made a fair few mistakes to go second behind Pierron. Troy Brosnan knew he had to grab a win to stand any chance at taking the overall and he threw caution to the wind on his run. He was fastest out of the gate and through the first split but unable to keep it together down to the bottom. He had to settle in behind Vergier in third.
Bruni was unable to beat Pierron but slotted second to form a French 1-2-3 with Minnaar and Gwin to go. All eyes turned to the top.
Minnaar was first up, he was on pace at the second split. Disaster stuck. Minnaar punctured and flew through the tapes. The title was Gwin’s and second place slipped to Troy Brosnan.
Gwin didn’t know about Minnaar’s disaster so still put down a race winning run. He was up on Minnaar by split two and only expanded his lead over Pierron by the bottom. He finished the race as a record equalling five-time World Cup champion.
Val di Sole World Cup 2017 Men’s results
- Aaron Gwin – 3:32.905
- Amaury Pierron – 3:34.312
- Loic Bruni – 3:34.957
- Loris Vergier – 3:35.501
- Troy Brosnan – 3:36.699