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Canada’s Miller and Iles Podium at UCI MTB WCup DH #4 in Leogang – Report + PHOTOS

by Fraser Britton
Women's podium (l-r) Hannah 4th, Seagrave 2nd, Atherton 1st, Miller 3rd, Carpenter 5th  ©  Fraser Britton
June 14, 2016 (Leogang, AUT) – It was a banner weekend for Canada with two podium finishes at the UCI MTB World Cup DH #4 in Leogang courtesy of Finnley Iles and Miranda Miller both with Specialized Gravity Powered by SRAM.

Junior Men's podium (l-r) Iles 2nd, Vige 1st, Cougoureux 3rd  ©  Michal Cerveny

History was also recorded as Elite women’s series leader, Rachel Atherton (Gbr) Trek Factory Racing DH, took home her 10th consecutive World Cup victory for 30 wins overall. Aaron Gwin (USA) The YT Mob, the men’s leader, powered to his 16th top podium finish as both served notice that they intend to continue their downhill domination.

After Saturday’s rain the anticipated deluge of more showers held off and the mountain in Leogang dried out just in time for the Sunday’s action. The sloppy, greasy fresh sections managed to drain enough to allow riders to get some grip and not have to dance through the roots mid course.

Miranda Miller  ©  Michal Cerveny

Squamish’s own Miller, the reigning national champ who qualified fourth, delivered another stellar run to claim a career-best 3rd for a dramatic return to racing following several seasons of serious injury.

Miranda Miller  ©  Fraser Britton
“My run went pretty good. I felt like I was either going too hard, or holding back too much. I guess it was consistent so it was good, I’m happy with it. This morning the track was kinda shitty, but it got way better. I think we just got really lucky,” Miller added that given all of the new fresh dirt and roots on the track this year “it’s pretty much like riding at home”.

Rachel Atherton  ©  Fraser Britton

With all eye’s on her, top qualifier Atherton nailed her 4th win by a decisive 5.370-second margin to unseat Tahnee Seagrave (Gbr) Transition Factory Racing / FMD who settled for second with Miller third. Tracey Hannah (Aus) Polygon UR grabbed 4th and Manon Carpenter (Gbr) Madison Saracen Factory Team 5th.

Rachel Atherton  ©  Michal Cerveny

Atherton now has a commanding 300-point lead in series and was all smiles commenting, “It was really wild and I felt the pressure a bit… ten wins in a row feels amazing.”

Aaron Gwin  ©  Fraser Britton

Gwin laid down a near perfect run as he continued to dominate here in Leogang, winning by over 3 seconds over Loris Vergier (Fra) Specialized Gravity Powered by Sram in second and Troy Brosnan (Aus) Specialized Racing in third. The american was happy with his performance.

Aaron Gwin  ©  Michal Cerveny

“I knew I was losing time at the top, because I hit a few things kinda weird. By the time I got out of that last root section with the tech stuff over I was frustrated and just thought ‘Now you’ve got to pin it and put the hammer down’. I made one little mistake near the end and came unclipped but luckily I got back in. I’m stoked. The team game plan really went well this week – we had different scenarios and lines worked out depending on how the weather went. I’m here to win races. At the end of the day the overall will sort itself out… but you want to be the fastest dude.”

Mark Wallace  ©  Fraser Britton
Men's podium (l-r) Hart 4th, Vergier 2nd, Gwin 1st, Brosnan 3rd, Minnaar 5th  ©  Michal Cerveny
Danny Hart (Gbr) MS Mondraker Team took 4th and Greg Minnaar (RSA) Santa Cruz Syndicate was 5th as Mark Wallace (Devinci Global Racing) was the top Canuck in 40th followed by Forrest Riesco (Race Face Performance/Banshee Bikes) in 62nd. Gwin leads the series with Brosnan second and Hart third with Wallace in 27th.

Finnley Iles  ©  Fraser Britton

The day’s action began with the Junior men as Canada’s Isles of Whistler delivered another podium finish taking home second place, edged out by a mere 0.625 of a second, as Gaetan Vige (Fra) Commencal / Vallnord took the win. Fellow Canuck Henry Fitzgerald (Can) Steve Peat Syndicate / Uberbike Global was 15th.

Finnley Iles  ©  Michal Cerveny

Isles continues to lead the series with 160 points followed by Vige in second with 135 and Matt Walker (Gbr) Madison Saracen Factory Team 3rd with 116 points. Fitzgerald is 26th overall.

Qualifications here.
Results here.

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