Fort William World Cup Photo Gallery No.3 | The Men

June 13th, 2013

By Nathan Carvell in Features

Here we are, the big show. Senior men’s finals and like always, times were fast and murmurs of track records being broken soon circulated through the pits where bets were going down as to who was going to take the top spot. With Danny Hart taking the BDS win here a few weeks previous and in a field of World Cup pinners, coupled with qualifying first on Saturday, he was a clear favourite to take the race.

With Gwin posting a seemingly uncharacteristic qualifying time and with quite a few top riders on new bikes and in new teams with new trainers, the World Cup opener felt like a totally new World Cup altogether, only adding to the excitement of what was to come. Let’s start with some photo highlights to wet your appetite…

First off was CG, yes the mighty Cedric Gracia is back! After his horrific injury last year the showman returned to bring the party and the showmanship we need amongst the nutritionally balanced, number crunching race field was back too. Just check that steeze coming into the arena! Nowt wrong with a bit of banter with the fans either.


Words & Photos: Nathan Carvell

Check that focus! Scotty Mears was easy to spot all week end thanks to Fox and was hungry for a good finals position all week end.


Ben Reid was motoring that 650B machine around all weekend coming in at a steady 45th. I’m sorry to announce that 650B is here to stay if the ‘bang on the industry drums’ have anything to say, but will it make a more pronounced jump into DH? Top 5 were all on 26″…


Brendog, forever stylish and always fast but on a track that doesn’t suit him and it was never going to be his weekend. Val Di Sole may say otherwise though! 24th for the Scott rider, which is not to be sniffed at at all.


Gwin. What can you say? Too much change or is he just human? Has everyone just done their homework over the off-season and figured out what they’ve been doing wrong these past two years? Gwin is a clever racer though and will be more determined than ever. A hard to swallow 20th for Gwin.


The closest of teammates; Peaty and Minnaar stop and talk tactics – Peaty coming in at 44th and Minnaar 8th, not quite up to scratch for the Syndicate boys this time.

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Speaking of the Syndicate, Josh ‘Ratboy’ Bryceland put in a stormer, but what could it have been? I certainly thought he was in for a podium! From pinned to pensive. A solid 9th for the boy Bryce.


Sam Hill is back in the mix and looking fast on his new Nukeproof setup, challenging the top step this year with a solid 6th with a jammed rear mech – what could have been?


And before we move onto your winners, lets all take a moment to applaud the “Congleton Killer”, Harry Heath. It’s one thing seeing a Brit do well but this could have been sensational for the privateer who qualified 11th. A mistake in the trees sadly ended Harry’s run with a 46th place finish, but lets not forget, 11 seconds were lost in his crash. The speeds there, the determination is there and I think this won’t be the last time we’ll see Baz knocking on the door of the top boys this season…


Your top 5 from round 1 of the UCI Downhill Mountain Bike World Cup, presented by Shimano (I’ve always wanted to say that)…

“Sik Mik” Hannah looks to have shed some serious weight over the off-season and is looking as fit as ever and not to mention fast on his new Polygon DH bike. Starting the season strong with a 5th!


No gloves Sam Blenkinsop was sending it all weekend and it shows with his 4th place on the podium. Could it have been the clips? One of the happiest looking riders all week end and coming down in 4:38.201, 1.489 back.


Podium regular Stevie Smith posted another solid result – 3rd with a 4:38.073, 1.361 back for Stevie, but rest assured he will take another win very soon…


The new man at Trek – Brook ‘Bulldog’ MacDonald. One of only a few flat pedal riders this weekend, the other notably being Sam Hill. Brook smashed home to an almighty 2nd place, making up time on the pedally motorway – who said you need clips? Brook puts it down with an astonishing 4:37.854, just 1.142 back.


And your winner – non other than Gee Atherton. New bike launched the Friday previous, new fitness coach (Alan Milway) and what seems like a renewed focus – not like he needed it. Bringing it home with a ridiculous time of 4:36.712 Gee was visibly relieved bagging a win that has eluded him for sometime now. Just look at the crowd and the faces of the GT crew!

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Your top 5 atop the podium and the fastest bike of the day.


A sweet one, two for GT and the Atherton siblings. That bike is going to be a hit – Lead Engineer Etienne certainly thinks so!


Finally, notice anything about the top three? Let’s just say they all have wings and a massive podium bonus each. Looks like F1! Stoked.


Full results can be found here, bring on Val Di Sole!!




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