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Make it a double

Two for Hart, two for Britain

If only this were the Olympics. Britain once again proved itself to be the dominant force in downhill mountain biking as it grabbed the two biggest wins of the weekend courtesy of Hart and Atherton.

Four minutes of full-on racing to decide your fate

The forecast rain held off and we were treated to one of the fastest World Cups in recent memory, with 70kmh through the speed trap being the benchmark. After qualifying it seemed that we were in for a predictable weekend with all three series leaders topping the timing sheets,thankfully we were wrong.

We’ve crowned one champion as we head to the series finale but with the juniors and men still wide open Vallnord will provide a fitting finale to the series.

Juniors

On a track described as “one for the men”, the boys more than held their own. Canada proved it has a lot of quick young riders looking to break through as a quarter of the top 20 were local. Magnus Mason especially held the hot seat for the longest time and ended up with his first World Cup podium.

Gaetan Vige set the early pace with a 4:14.691. Elliott Heap was next down the hill, he ended the run with stigmatic palms and third place. Last out of the gate, Finn Iles looked like he may have done enough to win on home soil as he was up at the third split, but he slipped back to finish three hundredths back.

Gaetan Vige grabbed his second win of the year and kept himself in the hunt for the overall
All eyes were on 'local boy' Finn Iles
Iles was charging, up at splits two and three but he fell back towards the finish
After a tough start to the season Heap has battled his way up to third in the overall with one round to go. His palms were bleeding at the bottom of the rough Mont Sainte Anne track.

women

With 12 wins in a row and the title sewn up, you could be forgiven for thinking Atherton will take it easy in Vallnord, but that’s not Rachel. She is a true champion who lay down an astonishing run. If putting 11 seconds into the rest of the field doesn’t prove her dominance, then being faster than all but six men through the speed trap surely should.

The women head to Vallnord with a broiling three way battle for second place, Hannah has the momentum but the techy track should suit the Brits better, only time will tell.

The old guard reigned supreme yesterday
Two races, two podiums this year for Miller
Manon had a solid run and will be hoping to wrap up second in the overall next weekend
A puncture in her final practice run meant Rachel's mechanic had to run up the hill with a new wheel for her to hi the final practice jump

Men

If winning your first World Cup is hard, then winning your second is surely harder. In the current field riders such as MacDonald, Thirion and Brosnan are testament to that. With the added pressure of expectation on your shoulders the doubts can slip in and re-finding that form may never happen.

Hart proved Lenzerheide was no fluke as he stormed to a second successive victory. It’s been a long time coming for the Redcar Rocket and he’s probably miffed that the season is ending so soon.

Bruni suffered a puncture in qualifying so went down early and set the benchmark time. Only Minnaar, Brosnan and Shaw came close to his time, it looked like Vergier may challenge it but an early puncture scuppered his run before it had really begun.

Hart was the first to beat Bruni’s time. He unclipped in the gate so missed the vital first few pedal strokes but ended the run a second up on the French World Champion and below that all-important four minute mark.

Gwin was the last man down the hill and swapped sectors with Hart the whole way down. it was in vain though, he ended up 0.7 seconds back in second – one step closer to securing the overall.

It seemed like Bruni didn't realise himself how fast he was on return
Gee slipped it into the top ten for the first time since Lourdes
Minnaar looked unusually scrappy on track in the race. He still ended up sixth
George Brannigan is really starting to pick it up at the end of the season, his second seventh in a row.
Our Phil had a stint in the hot seat and ended up with a top 20
Hart's always been quick here and he had that little extra something yesterday
Brosnan matched his plate yet again, he's been so near to that win all year
Pekoll's twelfth was his best result of the year by far rounding out a great weekend for Mondraker
Fearon's quietly nosed his way into the top five overall for the last race of the year
Best result of the year and a first top ten for MacDonald
Another no-hander from Sik Mik
Brayton couldn't back up his qualifier with a big slam in the rock garden
So great to see Blenky back in the top 10
First ever podium for Luca Shaw
For sale, one wheel, slightly used
Moments from glory
2016 has been good to these two
Big things ahead for this one
Gwin stays top of the overall and should wrap it up comfortably in Vallnord

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