Oops, they did it again! There is just no stopping Rachel Atherton or Aaron Gwin! As last year both record breakers fought for every hundredth of a second at the UCI Mountain Bike Downhill World Cup in Leogang and awarded the crowd with yet another race for the history books. Despite the fact that her run was not perfect, Atherton continued her winning streak and took home the world cup win for the tenth time in a row. Her fourth success of the season was the record setter, after having pulled along side with Anne-Caroline Chausson in Fort William a week ago with her ninth consecutive win.
Aaron Gwin played catch-up for the most part of his run, but stormed over the finish line, securing himself yet another win in Leogang and showing the fans how a true “Gwinner” sends it. The downhill thriller closes a great weekend of MTB-action at the Out of Bounds Festival, leaving stoked spectators behind.
Slippery conditions, pressure and nervousness? No worries. Rachel Atherton proved once again that she in unstoppable. Even though her run was not immaculate the Brit sped over the 3.1 kilometre / 1.9 miles long “Speedster” track through Bikepark Leogang, distancing herself from the competition with a 5.370 second cushion. For the tenth consecutive time Atherton climbed to the very top of the podium – a new world record. Even Rachel had difficulties to comprehend, what she had achieved after the race: “It’s pretty crazy. I didn’t really think about it, but was so nervous this morning. To win ten in a row is just crazy. Every race I think, it may be the last one and that I can hopefully keep it going. My run was pretty messy really. I didn’t want to crash and I kept making mistakes. I got a bit wild, putting my foot out. I think, you have to ride so on the edge, with the girls being as good as they are. I’m just happy and tired now.” Fellow Brit Tahnee Seagrave, who missed Fort William due to injury and had not yet fully recovered, secured second place with a great performance. Miranda Miller from Canada completed the podium.
84 starters in the Men Elite had absolutely perfect conditions. The muddy section had nearly dried up, the fans streamed to the course and the atmosphere was electric. At first the Brits took firm hold of the top of the ranking, until Troy Brosnan from Australia stunned the crowd and competition with an unbelievable run. Greg Williamson (GBR) had to leave from the hot seat, in which the Australian made himself comfortable. Greg Minnaar (SZA) and Danny Hart (GBR) both came close to toppling him, but small mistakes left Brosnan smiling in first place with his hopes for the title rising by the second. The suspense was palpable and of course everyone still had Aaron Gwin (USA) in the back of their minds. No one expected a 20-year-old to push the American from the throne. But first a young Frenchman shook up the standings. Highly concentrated and ambitious Loris Vergier charged over the “Speedster” and took over the top spot. “I’m so proud. The track was perfect and the condition was great. I totally enjoyed riding here.“
There was only one man, who could separate the Junior World Champion from 2014 from his first title in Men Elite: Aaron Gwin. Without a tyre, without a chain – what could be expected to happen this year? But still the American was able to thrill the fans once again. After the first split, Gwin was well behind. The spectators were preparing themselves to celebrate the young Frenchman. The “Gwinner” however found his stride on his way to the “Roots of Asitz”. Thousands of fans in the finishing area stared in awe at the big screen, whilst the 28-year-old started to eat up Vergiers lead. The climax was reached, when Aaron Gwin hit the third split, which put him 0.531 seconds in front. The crowd went crazy. Gwin was not looking back and stunned everyone with a 3.131 second lead as he crossed the finish line. “I knew I was loosing a little time at the top, because I hit a few things kind of weird. I wasn’t really feeling it. By the time I got out of that last root section, I knew the tech stuff was over and I was a little bit frustrated. I was like ‘dude, you need to get going and hammer down‘. I just tried to pin it at the end. I made one little mistake and came unclipped for a while, but I luckily got back in.“
Four action-packed days of biking have come to an end with the UCI Mountain Bike Downhill World Cup. The weather, the races, the contests and side events made the Out of Bounds Festival better than ever. Although there was no 26TRIX final due to rain, there was no harming the fantastic atmosphere. 16,000 spectators not only enjoyed the main events, but also recreational program such as pump track and bunny hop contest, the trial show with Tom Öhler and the Red Bull Skydive Team show. The Out of Bounds Festival will be back from June 8th to 11th 2017.