The world’s top mountain biking stars wowed huge crowds as they plummeted down the slopes of Aonach Mor in the thrilling downhill finals.
UK rider Gee Atherton took top podium place in the Men’s Downhill following a tremendous show of power and control down the course.
France’s Sabrina Jonnier won the Women’s race, pushing Gee’s sister Rachel into 2nd.
Starting high on the upper slopes of the mountain, riders dropped 555m down the 2.8km boulder-strewn course, cheered on by thousands of spectators, to finish at the bottom gondola station at the Nevis Range.
Gee’s win marks his first at Fort William. Celebrating, he said: “I’m the most excited I’ve ever been about winning an event. It’s been a massive goal of mine and it’s an amazing catapult into the season for me.”
Speaking after her win today, Sabrina said: “This is my second victory at Fort William. It’s awesome to win here in front of the crowds – they’re amazing.”
Rachel Atherton said she was disappointed but enjoyed the course: “I qualified fast but that meant there was lots of pressure for the final. I really enjoy racing here – the track was rad!”
Scottish rider Ben Cathro made it into the final 20, ranking 18th despite problems with his chain during the race.
More than 18,000 spectators at the World Cup basked in the sunshine over the weekend, consuming more than 1,500 litres of water and 1,500 burgers.
1. Gee Atherton GBR (4:35.70)
2. Cameron Cole NZL (4:36.18)
3. Greg Minnaar (4:36.91)
4. Aaron Gwin USA (4:37.71)
5. Michael Hannah (4:37.75)
1. Sabrina Jonnier FRA (5:11.57)
2. Rachel Atherton GBR (5:12.68)
3. Floriane Pugin FRA (5:16.44)
4. Tracy Moseley GBR (5:16.46)
5. Emmeline Ragot FRA (5:20.65)
FORT WILLIAM UCI MOUNTAIN BIKE WORLD CUP – GRAVES AND HORAKOVA STRIKE GOLD IN 4X FINALS
Crowds witnessed a spectacular show of speed and strength in the gladiatorial-style 4-Cross (4X) finals at the Fort William UCI Mountain Bike World Cup on Saturday 5 June.
Thousands of spectators and fellow riders watched on as Australian Jared Graves battled to the finish line to secure his World Cup title in this evening’s men’s final.
Jared said: “Things were pretty sketchy at the top. Joost and I banged elbows coming out of the gate. The best chance you get is the lead from the start and I felt wired the whole race. I’m real happy to win at Fort William.”
Hot on the heels of Graves came Joost Wichman (NED) and Michal Prokop (CZE) securing silver and bronze respectively, as they conquered the twists and turns of the famous Nevis Range course.
4-Cross MEN Results:
1. Jared Graves (AUS)
2. Joost Wichman (NED)
3. Michal Prokop (CZE)
4. Romain Saladini (FRA)
5. Kamil Tatarkovic (CZE)
The top female riders battled it out against one another in a closely contended race, with Jana Horakova (CZE) taking first place in the women’s 4-Cross final.
Jana said: “I am very happy. I did better than I expected. My first jump wasn’t good but Molcik made a mistake at the second and I went ahead. I love it at Fort William, the crowds are fantastic.’’
Coming in behind Jana Horakova was Anita Molcik (AUT), closely followed by Romana Labounkova (CZE) in third place, as the finalists braved the bends and jumps of one of the world’s toughest 4-Cross courses.
4-Cross WOMEN Results:
1. Jana Horakova (CZE)
2. Anita Molcik (AUT)
3. Romana Labounkova (CZE)
4. Anneke Beerten (NED)
5. Lucia Oetjen (SUI)
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