• Danny Hart enroute to victory in Mont Sainte Anne (Rob Jones)Source: Rob Jones
Rachel Atherton (Trek Factory) and Danny Hart (MS Mondraker) were the winners at the fifth round of the Downhill World Cup on Saturday, at Mont Ste Anne, Canada. Two Australians finished on the podium, with Tracey Hannah (Polygon UR) finishing second in the womens race and Troy Brosnan (Specialized Racing) fourth in the mens.
8 Aug 2016 - 11:48 AM 

Mont Ste Anne continues to be one of the longest and most physically demanding runs on the World Cup circuit.  Usually, mud and slippery roots are a factor, however, this year dry conditions leading up to and during race day made the course dusty and full of loose gravel. This added up to a lot of punctures and more than a few crashes.

The women's race unfolded in predictable fashion with Rachel Atherton (Trek Factory) scoring a remarkable 12th consecutive World Cup win, sewing up the World Cup title in the process with one race remaining.

Atherton finished over 11 seconds ahead of Australian champion Tracey Hannah, with Tahnee Seagrave (Transition Factory) taking third. Atherton now has an insurmountable lead with 1470 points, followed by Manon Carpenter (Madison Saracen) at 990 and Hannah at 930.

"When my team manager told me if I won the qualifying and the finals I'd wrap up the overall ... yes there was pressure," admitted Atherton.  "This track is so savage you can't really think of anything apart from just getting down. I really wanted to show it who is boss and I struggled a bit on the first day, so really happy to put a good run together."

"The qualifying time gave me a bit of comfort but Tahnee (Seagrave) crashed (in qualifying) so that upset me a little bit, you never know what would've happened.

"But I knew that if I rode it like I did in qualifying I could win it.  I'm pretty stoked to have had a pretty perfect run. I had sweat in my eye at one point coming down so that just shows how hot it is."

The men's race was a battle to the finish, with Danny Hart following up his first World Cup win at the previous round with his second, once again beating World Cup leader Aaron Gwin (The YT Mob). 

Gwin won qualifying by a sizable margin, ahead of Hart, but Hart was the only rider to go under four minutes, finishing 0.669 seconds ahead on Gwin. 

World champion Loic Bruni (Specialized Gravity) showed that his return from injury is complete by finishing third, followed by Australian Troy Brosnan in fourth. 

Gwin continues to lead the standings with 1186 points, but Hart is getting closer, now only 178 points back. Brosnan continues to sit in third at 920 points.

"It's, you know, just unbelievable," said Hart. "I had a good run but I unclipped at the start. So I didn't get a good crank out of the start house.  And then I just held it wide open. 

"I know you can't leave anything up there. Aaron (Gwin) was down and then he was coming back. I changed one line at the top and one line at the bottom."

"I knew I had a good run yesterday I just needed to up the pace a little. I think Aaron's time yesterday was still faster but today's the one that counts."