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Canada’s Iles Wins Junior DH as Gwin and Seagrave Triumph in Elite Races at Legendary MSA + PHOTOS

by Fraser Britton

August 05, 2017 (Mont-Sainte-Anne, Que.) – Fans were stoked as the day began in sunshine with Canada’s Finnley Iles (Specialized Gravity) rebounding to win the Junior Men’s DH race at UCI MTB World Cup DH#6 at MSA celebrating its 27th year.

Junior Men’s podium  ©  Peter Kraiker
Tahnee Seagrave (Gbr) Transition Bikes / FMD Factory Racing earned a decisive victory in the Elite Women’s DH final, but the race of the day went to Aaron Gwin (USA) The YT Mob, who dazzled with an incredible run in pouring rain as the final rider in the Elite Men’s DH to triumph in style at MSA.

Seagrave  ©  Fraser Britton
Gwin  ©  Fraser Britton
The monster of a track here in Quebec reared it’s head this week and proved that it was ready to take on all comers. Faster and rougher than anyone had ever seen it thanks to sunshine and bone dry dirt, riders were scaring themselves run after run and reaching speeds in excess of 80km/h in the upper high-speed straights. The week of gorgeous practice weather was a tease however, as everything was to change come race day.

Chappaz  ©  Peter Kraiker
Melanie Chappaz (Dorval AM Nicolai), in the white leader’s jersey, gave France the first victory winning the Junior Women’s DH race with only three riders on the start line, as the racing at MSA got underway.

Iles  ©  Fraser Britton
Iles, who suffered a flat in the qualifications, laid down a blistering 4:18.140 in the final that no one could touch. His closest rival, Matt Walker (Gbr) Madison Saracen, looked strong but suffered a mechanical as Iles shared a celebratory hug with his father at the finish. He’d already locked up his second consecutive title at round #5 in Lenzerheide, Sui.

Iles  ©  Peter Kraiker
Top Canadian qualifier, Miranda Miller (Specialized Gravity), led the Canucks with a 7th-place finish in the Elite Women’s DH final with Vaea Verbeeck 8th as Seagrave took the second World Cup win of her career.

Miller  ©  Fraser Britton
Verbeeck  ©  Fraser Britton
Myriam Nicole (Fra) Commencal / Vallnord settled for second with Tracey Hannah (Aus) Polygon UR third. Rachel Atherton (GBr) Trek Factory Racing DH finished 5th. Nicole still leads but Hannah and Seagrave could unseat her at the final round in Val di Sole, Italy.

Nicole  ©  Fraser Britton
Hannah  ©  Fraser Britton
Elite Women’s podium  ©  Peter Kraiker
The rain gods decided that the MSA World Cup has seen enough great weather and minutes before the Elite men’s final it began raining lightly. Just before the top 30 riders were about to drop, the skies opened up.

Dean  ©  Fraser Britton
Australian Dean Lucas sat in the hot seat for an eternity as rider after rider could not match his “dry” time. It wasn’t until Troy Brosnan (Aus) took over third place that the soggy crowds realized that there may still be a race going on. Danny Hart (Gbr) was a favourite delivering a stellar run but could only manage second.

Hart  ©  Fraser Britton
Greg Minnaar (RSA) was another contender but went off course and was disqualified. The final rider, Gwin, put down a run that will be talked about for quite some time, to take the win today in Quebec. Gwin is now only 33 points behind Minnaar in the overall standings. The top Canadian was reigning Elite Men’s champ Kirk McDowall who had a dry run, with Mark Wallace was 36th in the rain.

McDowall  ©  Fraser Britton
“It was exciting that’s for sure, I wish I coulda seen it! It was just wet. We had a qualifying run like this 2 or 3 years ago and it rained so much that the traction actually wasn’t bad. I was hoping it’d be the same today and it was.

Wallace  ©  Fraser Britton
“There was so much standing water on the track today that vision was a nightmare. I felt pretty good 90 seconds into the track and that I was only giving up a couple of seconds from my qualifier and that that would probably put me in a good spot and then I hit a big puddle and went blind in my left eye! I pulled a roll off and it didn’t work so I could only see out of one eye. I rode like that for probably 30 or 40 seconds. I was pretty bummed, I was like ‘this is probably the end of my run.’

Manson  ©  Fraser Britton
“I got to a straightaway and pulled a few more roll offs and it actually cleared and I was like ‘ok game on, let’s go’. I managed to see a bit and it happened again at the bottom before the rocks so I sort of rode those sections just blind. They paint all of the sharp rocks orange so I was just trying to avoid those ones!

Elite Men’s podium  ©  Peter Kraiker
“I was running over most of them though I think, i just couldn’t see where I was going… I could hear the crowd cheering as I got near the bottom and they were really excited so I thought man, I may be in this! It was really fun, a crazy run for sure.”

Junior Women/Men’s results here – JM Standings here.
Elite Women’s results here – Standings here.
Elite Men’s results here – Standings here.

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