Men’s Downhill World Cup: Sam Hill Comes Through, Peaty’s Luck Runs Out

The 2009 Mountain Bike World Cup concluded on Sunday in Schladming Austria, with the Downhill, where the best gravity riders in the world had one final chance this season to claim victory.  Both of the World Cup leaders going into the race – Sabrina Jonnier (Maxxis-Rocky mountain) and Sam Hill (Monster Energy-Specialized) – held onto their jerseys, with Hill winning the final round and Jonnier having to settle for fourth on the day behind Tracy Moseley (Trek World Racing).

Sam Hill. Rob Jones photo
Jonnier had already won the women’s title, with six wins in the first seven races, but she was still hoping to close out the season with a seventh victory.  Unfortunately for her, Moseley, who won the opening round in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, back in April was on fire after a relatively poor qualifying run on Friday.


Sam Blenkinsop.  Rob Jones photo
“I’ve never done well here before,” commented Moseley.  “I always struggle with the length and the steepness, and it was like that all week in training, so i was thinking that the best I would be able to manage was top-3.  So, this was a real surprise for me.  The course had dried up a lot from earlier in the week, but the top sections were still greasy, and there were huge holes in the track from practice; this was the roughest, toughest Schladming I’ve ever done.”


Steve Peat. Rob Jones photo
Moseley took the lead from Canadian champion Claire Buchar (Chain Reaction/Intense) with a time of 4:54.73 .  Neither the world champion, Emmeline Ragot (Suspension Centre), nor Jonnier could come within five seconds of Moseley’s time.  The fastest qualifier, Floriane Pugin (Iron Horse-Kenda-Playbiker) came closest, 0.84 seconds back, followed by the French national champion, Cecile Gros (Morzine-Avoriaz 74).

Sam Hill, World Cup overall winner.  Rob Jones photo

Moseley’s win was enough to move her into second overall behind Jonnier, bumping Ragot down to third in the final standings.

Jonnier’s knowledge that she had already won the World Cup title certainly helped with her mental state.  “I was definitely more relaxed, knowing that it was all decided, but I still wanted to win today.  Unfortunately, I just couldn’t put it together.  I had too many mistakes, a lot of little mistakes.”


Brendan Fairclough. Rob Jones photo

While the women’s title had already been decided, the men’s was completely open.  Hill was leading, but by the slimmest of margins:  only 16 points in front of Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate), with new world champion Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate) is also still in the race, 69 points back of Hill, as was Gee Atherton (Animal Commencal) at 141 points.

Hill’s lead was padded when he picked up 50 valuable points by winning qualifying, when Minnaar crashed, but the race between the two basically came down to Final:  if Minnaar won and Hill didn’t finish second, the South African would take the title.


Sam Hill. Rob Jones photo

“I was all right until 20 minutes before the start of my race,” revealed Hill.  “Greg had done a good run, so I started to get a bit nervous.  I was pretty shaky, and all I could think about was the overall, and that i had to get down fast to beat Greg.  I think it’s been a good strong battle all year.  I had some bad luck at some races, and so did others, so it is definitely pretty special to come out on top here.”

Josh Bryceland (Santa Cruz Syndicate) set the first sub-4:10 time, but barely had a chance to climb into the Hot Seat before his team mate Minnaar came down two riders later to obliterate his time with a 4:04.71 .  This time began to look pretty solid, as names such as Mick Hannah (GT Bicycles), Justin Leov (Yeti Fox Shox), Peat and Atherton all came up short.


Luke Strobel. Rob Jones photo

“I felt that I had it in me to do well,” said Minnaar, “but I had a bad start, made some mistakes and lost my rhythm.  I kept making small mistakes through the top until I was able to regroup halfway down.  I was surprised that my time held up so long.  It’s kind of hard to lose the title when I had the most wins for the season.”

However, Minnaar’s hopes received a blow when Sam Blenkinsop (Yeti Fox Shox) knocked nearly a second and a half off his time.


Men’s podium: Aaron Gwin, Samuel Blenkinsop, Sam Hill, Greg Minnaar, Brendan Fairclough. Rob Jones photo  

Blenkinsop took the Hot Seat and held it through the remaining riders until it was Hill’s turn.  The Australian came through the first split over two seconds up on Blenkinsop, and continued on to finish 2.33 seconds in front, taking his second World Cup win of the season and confirming him as the World Cup winner for 2009.  Minnaar stayed in second, as did Peat in third.
Schladming, Austria
Place, Rider,  Time,  Diff.

1 Samuel Hill (Aus) Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Cat     4:01.10     0
2 Samuel Blenkinsop (NZl) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team     4:03.43
3 Greg Minnaar (RSA) Santa Cruz Syndicate     4:04.71     3.61
4 Aaron Gwin (USA) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team     4:08.07     6.97
5 Brendan Fairclough (GBr) Monster Energy / Specialized / Mad Cat    
4:08.93     7.83
6 Justin Leov (NZl) Trek World Racing     4:09.28     8.18
7 Steve Peat (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate     4:09.35     8.25
8 Josh Bryceland (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate     4:09.37     8.27
9 Luke Strobel (USA) Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain Bicycles     4:09.59    
10 Mickael Pascal (Fra) Msc Bikes     4:09.89     8.79
11 Nick Beer (Sui) Scott 11     4:09.95     8.85
12 Markus Pekoll (Aut) Solid Aclass Factory Team     4:10.10     9.00
13 Gee Atherton (GBr) Animal Commencal     4:10.45     9.35
14 Marc Beaumont (GBr) Gt Bicycles     4:12.00     10.90
15 Mitchell Delfs (Aus) Kenda Morewood     4:13.30     12.20
16 Fabien Barel (Fra) Subaru Mountain Bike Pro Team     4:13.93     12.83
17 Joseph Smith (GBr) Kona     4:14.00     12.90
18 Robin Wallner (Swe)     4:14.14     13.04
19 Thibaut Ruffin (Fra)     4:14.16     13.06
20 Fabien Pedemanaud (Fra) Scott 11     4:14.49     13.39
21 Bernard Kerr (GBr)     4:15.19     14.09
22 Wyn Masters (NZl) Ancillotti Doganaccia Racing Team     4:15.20     14.10
23 Boris Tetzlaff (Aut) Solid Aclass Factory Team     4:15.36     14.26
24 Damien Spagnolo (Fra) Subaru Mountain Bike Pro Team     4:15.44     14.34
25 Bernat Guardia Pascual (Esp) Massi     4:15.67     14.57
26 Thomas Braithwaite (GBr)     4:15.81     14.71
27 Michael Hannah (Aus) Gt Bicycles     4:16.23     15.13
28 Toni Berg (Fin)     4:16.24     15.14
29 Cesar Rojo Vidal (Esp)     4:16.85     15.75
30 Danny Hart (GBr) Lapierre Powered By Saab Salomon     4:17.46     16.36
31 Adam Vagner (Cze)     4:17.54     16.44
32 Marcel Beer (Sui)     4:17.65     16.55
33 Marcus Klausmann (Ger) Ghost A.T.G. Pro Team     4:17.71     16.61
34 Joris Bigoni (Fra)     4:18.19     17.09
35 Ivan Oulego Moreno (Esp) Massi     4:18.29     17.19
36 Chris Kovarik (Aus) Chain Reaction Cycles/Intense     4:18.83     17.73
37 Matej Charvat (Cze)     4:18.87     17.77
38 Oscar Harnstrom (Swe)     4:18.91     17.81
39 Ben Reid (Irl) Just Reid Race Team     4:19.14     18.04
40 Cyrille Kurtz (Fra) Team Sunn     4:19.31     18.21
41 Ruaridh Cunningham (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycles/Intense     4:19.55
42 Herman Olund (Swe)     4:19.99     18.89
43 Duncan Riffle (USA) Duncan Riffle Racing     4:20.11     19.01
44 Nico Vink (Bel)     4:20.19     19.09
45 Steve Smith (Can) MS Evil Racing     4:20.30     19.20
46 Gareth Brewin (GBr)     4:20.48     19.38
47 Curtis Keene (USA)     4:20.59     19.49
48 Shaun O’connor (Aus) Iron Horse-Kenda-Playbiker     4:20.65     19.55
49 Joe Barnes (GBr)     4:20.79     19.69
50 Rémi Thirion (Fra) Team Sunn     4:21.29     20.19
51 Georg Sieder (Aut) Solid Aclass Factory Team     4:21.52     20.42
52 David Eme (Fra)     4:21.67     20.57
53 Antonio Ferreiro Pajuelo (Esp) Xms-Devinci World Cup Team     4:22.06
54 Maxime Remy (Fra) Suspension Center     4:22.09     20.99
55 Nejc Rutar (Slo) Mbk Orbea     4:22.21     21.11
56 Marco Bugnone (Ita) Argentina Bike Gravity Team     4:22.53     21.43
57 Will Rischbieth (Aus)     4:22.82     21.72
58 Andrew Neethling (RSA) Trek World Racing     4:23.22     22.12
59 Alexander Kangas (Swe)     4:23.43     22.33
60 Romain Paulhan (Fra)     4:23.95     22.85
61 Sam Dale (GBr)     4:24.48     23.38
62 Scott Mears (GBr)     4:24.60     23.50
63 Vlastimil Hyncica (Cze)     4:24.70     23.60
64 Kyle Strait (USA) Specialized Team America     4:24.77     23.67
65 David Vazquez Lopez (Esp) Lapierre Powered By Saab Salomon    
4:24.91     23.81
66 Simon Cardon (Fra)     4:25.78     24.68
67 Benny Strasser (Ger)     4:26.20     25.10
68 Dan Atherton (GBr) Animal Commencal     4:27.54     26.44
69 Maciej Jodko (Pol)     4:27.58     26.48
70 Cameron Cole (NZl) Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain Bicycles     4:27.70
71 Ralph Jones (GBr)     4:28.34     27.24
72 Félix Groizard (Fra) Team Sport Bike     4:28.79     27.69
73 Kim Petersson (Swe)     4:30.34     29.24
74 Richard Thomas (GBr)     4:30.83     29.73
75 Pierre Charles Georges (Fra) Solid Aclass Factory Team     4:33.35
76 Dominik Gspan (Sui)     4:34.74     33.64
77 Bertrand Gilles (Bel)     4:35.83     34.73
78 Joshua Button (Aus)     4:38.23     37.13
79 Mitch Ropelato (USA)     4:39.38     38.28
80 Dan Stanbridge (GBr)     4:52.40     51.30

2009 Men’s Downhill World Cup Series Points
1…Sam Hill…1469      
2…Greg Minnaar…1349      
3….Steve Peat…1258      
4…Gee Atherton…1166      
5…Mick Hannah…990      
6…Justin Leov…838      
7…Samuel Blenkinsop…828      
8…Brendan Fairclough…810      
9…Aaron Gwin…770
10…Fabien Barel…725

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