Source: Trek World Racing
After suffering a crash in Fort William one week ago, America’s Aaron Gwin proved that he is still the man to beat in the downhill season of 2011, with a win in tricky conditions at Leogang Austria. Aaron’s win means that he, like his team mate Tracy Moseley, will be carrying the World Cup leader’s jersey across the Atlantic for Round Four in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada, in 2 weeks time. It was a great weekend for the entire team with Tracy finishing third, Justin Leov scoring another top 10 with eighth, Neko Mulally having a career best 32nd and the Session 88’s carrying the team to the top spot for the weekend, just like Fort William.
The course in Leogang was affected by the wet and cloudy weather throughout the week. Large holes and ruts had opened up, and the first section of the track was very slippery and would normally demand mud tires, but the rolling speed of the remaining two sections meant that, for the men, dry tires were a better bet. Second place Gee Atherton who rode just before Aaron (who started last as the fastest qualifier), ran mud tires and was 3 seconds up after the first interval on eventual third place Greg Minnaar. That looked impressive, but when Aaron came down on dry tires, and was 1.7 seconds faster than Gee, many in the crowd just shook their heads in amazement. And when Aaron crossed the line, he had more than 2 seconds over Gee, and nearly 6 seconds over Greg Minnaar.
Aaron now has a 46 point margin over Greg Minnaar, with Atherton 101 points behind. Tracy Moseley’s 3rd was a solid ride and one that she was very happy with on this track. Her series lead is 90 points going into Round 4. Justin’s 8th place in the race moves him from 10th overall to 8th, while Neko jumps up to 39th and is looking forward very much to racing Mont-Sainte-Anne.
Aaron said: “I walked the first section of the track just before my race run, to see how it was changing and that certainly helped. Then lower down I came unclipped and instead of taking a big risk trying to get my foot back in, I tried to calm myself down and rode a good 200 meters before I found a safe chance to get back in and power down. After finishing 3rd here last year, and especially after last week’s crash, I’m super stoked to take this win."