Round 6 of the Downhill at the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup presented by Shimano, in Windham, New York, saw a tightening in the overall standings for both the Elite men and women. Emmeline Ragot (Lapierre Gravity Republic) took her second win of the season in the women’s competition, as did Josh Bryceland (Santa Cruz Syndicate) for the men. Manon Carpenter (Madison Saracen) continues to hold the lead in the women’s standings, while Bryceland has overtaken Troy Brosnan (Specialized Factory DH) in the men’s competition.
The Windham circuit was completely different from Mont Ste Anne, Canada, a week earlier – shorter and faster, dry and dusty. There was no room for mistakes on this course.
British rider Fionn Griffiths set the first sub-3 minute time, which was quickly knocked down by a succession of riders, with Carpenter, riding fourth from the end, the first to take it below 2:50. However, Carpenter had admitted that she was struggling with the course, so no on expected this to be the winning time. Tracy Hannah (Hutchinson UR) knocked a further second and a half off of Carpenter’s time, but then came Ragot, almost cracking the 2:40 barrier. the only rider left was world champion Rachel Atherton (GT Factory), the fastest qualifier, but the British rider was nearly three seconds slower than her French rival, slotting into second.
“It was a full-on run because it’s really short” said the winner, a two-time elite world champion. “I think I was fast but I was in control.”
Carpenter continues to lead the women’s standings, but the race for the overall title has tightened up going into the final round. Carpenter has 1180 points, with Ragot at 1110 and Atherton at 1060.
It’s been a breakthrough season for Bryceland, now with two wins and a second in three races – his first World Cup wins and World Cup leader’s jersey.
The final starter, his winning run came immediately after defending champion Aaron Gwin (Specialized Racing DH) set American hearts aflutter with a new leading time. Bryceland looked a little ragged, nearly losing it on the road gap jump, but setting the fastest time at the checkpoints on his road to victory.
“I did hang it out in a couple of spots, more than I like to generally. Kept it upright so obviously wasn’t too far over the edge. Honestly, it didn’t feel that much quicker than my quallie yesterday.”
Michael Jones (Chain Reaction/Nukeproof) was the first to go under 2:28, withstanding a dozen attempts until Sam Blenkinsop (Lapierre Gravity Republic) went a hair faster with a 2:27.54 run.
World Cup leader Brosnan bettered that by a second, but Gwin topped that by half a second to raise hopes of a home country hero, before Bryceland demolished his time by 1.581 seconds to take victory.
Bryceland has overtaken Brosnan in the World Cup standings, donning the leader’s jersey for the final round with 1007 points.. Brosnan sits second with 964 and Gwin is third with 925.