We are chuffed here at Dirt to see Sam Hill back on the top of the podium and showing he still has what it takes for a World Cup win, flat pedal thunder still has it!
It’s not easy for a European team to get their team out to races in the US but these guys got it sorted. Nigel Page battled with oversize bags and got the team out and settled in Quebec. With rain before qualifying and then some mixed conditions for racing it was never going to be an easy weekend.
It’s been 4 years and 316 days (thanks Mark ‘Geek Stats‘ Shilton) since Sam Hill took a World Cup win and he took the win in style. Flat out racing all weekend and some solid results for the rest of the team with Mike Jones in 13th and Joe Smith in 20th.
Here’s the word from Chain Reaction Cycles on their win:
Sam Hill wins Mont Sainte Anne downhill World Cup
The fifth round of the 2014 UCI MTB downhill World Cup took place in Mont Sainte Anne, Canada, over the weekend where Team CRC/Nukeproof rider Sam Hill blazed the track and finished in first place. Mike Jones finished 13th and Joe Smith took 20th place.
Chain Reaction Cycles’ Team Manager Nigel Page was there, as ever, to bring us all the action from Canada.
The ‘real man’s track’, the World Cup has been coming to MSA for over 20 years now and it is still renowned for being one of the best and toughest courses on the circuit. This year the course designers made some great improvements to the track and it was one of the best to date. Ironically this is the track where Sam had his last big win at the 2010 World Championships.
Sam, Mike and Joe all came into this race with confidence from some good results and a determination that showed all week. Sam had been telling me since his run in Leogang that he was winning Mont Sainte Anne and he did it with style. The quietly confident Australian has been putting in the work since his knee surgery last October, including following a strict training program from his trainer, Lewis.
Friday’s qualifying went great with all three riders in the top 15. Joe Smith in 15th, Mike Jones in 12th and Sam sixth with a slight mechanical. Joe has been on fire at the last few races in the UK and the speed Mike has moved up the world rankings is amazing and has everyone talking about him.
Practice for the lads went well on the race morning and everyone looked pretty focussed for their race runs. Joe was off first for the team and put down a great run to finish 20th. Then it was young Mike off and as we watched him descend the mountain he looked pinned and wild. He wasn’t happy with his run but his time was good enough for 13th which is an astonishing achievement for his first year in the senior championship.
A lot of the big hitters had come down and the race was getting faster and faster. Danny Hart was sat in the hot seat with a super-quick time and then it was time for Sam to head down the mountain.
Sam powered out of the gate in his casual looking style and looked like he was just cruising down the track, but as you watched what Sam was actually doing and the lines he was hitting it was amazing to see the master on top of his game. Sam was up at the first split, and again at the second split, riding into the last section flawlessly, crossing the line in 4:10 to the huge crowd’s delight. With five more riders to go it was a nail biting 15 minutes but no-one was able to match Sam’s run!
The whole crowd erupted when the people’s champion realised he had finally won, the emotion and relief on Sam’s face is something I will never forget and it was also the first ever win for the team on the world stage.
Huge congrats to Sam we are all super proud of him and the whole team has worked so hard to get to this point. It is an amazing feeling of sweet success. The monkey is finally off Sam’s back and we are excited for the rest of the season for all three riders.
Thank you to all involved in the team who work so hard and to all our sponsors for their continued support and belief in the team.