It was more British Steel on the Gravity side of the equation as sibling domination shows up on the top step of the Downhill box for the Windham wins: Atherton and Atherton. For the Overall, it was a nail biter, but Gee Atherton came out on top, and while Sabrina Jonnier had a bad day in the office, she came out on top.
At one o’clock pm precisely, the ladies went off, with Lauren Daney in the start shack at the top of Windham Mountain. Precisely 46 minutes, 51 seconds and 21 one-hundredths of a second later, Rachel Atherton was beaming from the hot seat, another “W” added to her record.
“I was so incredibly stoked to take the win here, especially missing most of the season, and all of last year,” gushed an excited Atherton.
In the other race, the women’s World Cup overall, Sabrina Jonnier came up aces despite a less than stellar performance—the French racer came in 11.39 seconds off pace and had to settle for eighth on the day.
“I just couldn’t find focus,” lamented Jonnier. “This morning, on the rock drop, I had to do it three times before I felt comfortable, and in my run, I was all over the place. It was not good.”
A race within a race; that was the men’s Downhill race. Sure, Steve Peat qualified first, and while it was a toss up between whom the fans were rooting harder for, Peaty or Aaron Gwin, it was all going to boil down to whom, between Greg Minnaar and Gee Atherton, could come out on top and claim the overall.
It was Nick Beer in the hot seat when Gee Atherton set out on the track, and it was with no small amount of disappointment that the Swiss rider took a hike, giving up the seat for Gee. Four riders to go, the next one down Greg Minnaar, with both the win and the overall on the line. Minnaar smoked into the finish line…+00.37 seconds down. Crusher for Minnaar, relief—for a few seconds, anyway—for Gee. After all, there were three very fast riders still to go: Sam Blenkinsop, Aaron Gwin, and Steve Peat.
None of them came close, with Blenki home at +1.91, Gwinnie hot on his heels at + 2.60, and Steve Peat—courtesy of wadding it up almost in the finish—back at +12.98 seconds. The day and the overall were Gee’s.
“I am beyond words,” was Gee’s lone comment before being whisked off to doping control.
On the day, it was Rachel Atherton, Tracy Moseley, Emmeline Ragot, Mio Suemasa, and Floriane Pugin. For the women’s overall, it was Sabrina Jonnier, Emmeline Ragot (only 85 points back), Tracy Moseley, Floriane Pugin, and Nicole Myriam. For the men, it was Gee, Minnaar, Blenki, Gwin, and Nick Beer. Overall, it was again Gee, then Minnaar, Blenki, Gwin, and Marc Beaumont for the overall.
So the fat lady has sung. Six races down and six new crowns for the season. But it’s not quite all over, with the World Champs up next week in Mt St Anne. If people thought this was a wild week, just wait until next week.