• Rachel Atherton (GBr) GT Factory Racing was clearly riding at another level from the rest of the field, finishing over nine seconds ahead of Carpenter. (Rob Jones)Source: Rob Jones
All the action from the Windham round of the UCI MTB World Cup
Cycling Central/Rob Jones

11 Aug 2015 - 10:33 AM  UPDATED 11 Aug 2015 - 11:34 AM


Downhill: Atherton, Gwin a class above

Round 6 of the Mountain Bike World Cup saw World Cup leaders Rachel Atherton (GT Factory) and Aaron Gwin (Specialized) solidify their overall leads with dominating wins in dusty conditions.

Rachel Atherton had already mathematically won the women's overall title before the Final in the this penultimate round after qualifying first. However, it was clear that the British rider wouldn't back off as she chased her fifth consecutive win.

Polygon UR's Tracey Hannah took an early lead with a time of 3:13.669, which was eventually overhauled by world champion Manion Carpenter. Atherton's ride was an incredible nine seconds faster than Carpenter, cementing her hold on the overall competition following the withdrawal of Emmeline Ragot due to injury.

Aaron Gwin (specialized Racing) was clearly the rider to beat in the men's race after qualifying first before a home crowd with a gap of over two seconds on Loic Bruni (Lapierre Gravity Republic).

Loris Vergier (Lapierre Gravity Republic) set the first fast time of 2:42.398, after starting mid-field, eventually being beaten by Greg Minnaar. Australian hope Troy Brosnan had an off-day, finishing sixth, but teammate Gwin trounced the field, finishing with a time of 2.38.108.

Cross-country: Ferrand-Prevot and Schurter take the prizes

Road world champion Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Raboliv) proved that she has not lost any of her mountain bike skills by taking the women's victory, while Nino Schurter (Scott-Odlo) won his second straight World Cup in the men.

The odds-on favourite for the women's race was World Cup leader Jolanda Neff (Stoeckli Pro Team), with three wins in four races, however, Neff had not trained all week after fainting and hitting her head, and so she started uncharacteristically slowly, allowing Ferrand-Prevot to take the lead.

"I am really happy, of course," said Ferrand-Prevot. "Last week I felt really good on the uphill and sometimes in the descent. Today I wanted to take a good start and to fight to be the first if possible on the uphill and to relax a bit on the downhill. It worked, so it was perfect."

In the men's race, Nino Schurter took his second World Cup victory in as many weeks, fighting back from a flat to beat usual rival Julien Absalon (BMC) by a slim four seconds.

Schurter took the lead after the start loop, carving out a ten second lead on the first lap over Absalon, Manuel Fumic (Cannondale Factory) and Dan McConnell (Trek Factory Racing). He was extended his lead in lap two when he flatted, luckily, shortly before the tech zone at the start of the next lap. After a quick wheel change he had dropped to fifth, and set off in pursuit of Absalon and Fumic.

The trio stayed together until the penultimate lap, when Absalon attacked on the climb, with only Schurter able to respond. The pair started the final lap together and rode up the climb together, with Absalon managing to get the hole shot into the descent, denying the faster descender Schurter the chance to get away. The Swiss rider executed a bold move through a rock garden to retake the lead and open a slim four second gap, which he held to the line.

Schurter now leads the overall standings with Absalon in second place.