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Iles Wins Second World Cup of 2017

From Canadian Cyclist:

There were both new and familiar faces on the top step of the podium for the third round of the UCI Downhill World Cup on Sunday in Leogang, Austria.  New was British rider Tahnee Seagrave (Transition Bikes/FMD Factory), taking the first World Cup win of her career in Elite Women.  Familiar was Aaron Gwin (The YT Mob), winning for the third consecutive time in Elite Men.

The top Canadian result was Junior Men’s world champion Finn Iles (Specialized Gravity), winning his second World Cup of the season and extending his lead in the overall standings.

Leogang is the site of the 2012 world championships.  It is a very steep and fast course, where taking the best line and being aerodynamic can be as important as pedaling strength.

The Elite women’s field is still missing world champion and defending World Cup champion Rachel Atherton (Trek Factory) of Great Britain, who dislocated her shoulder a week earlier during Round 2 training and is still recovering.  This opened the door to fellow Brit Seagrave, beating Round 2 winner Tracey Hannah (Polygon UR), the Australian champion.  Hannah still leads the overall standings, with 635 points, followed by Seagrave – who jumps from fifth in the overall standings – with 504 points.  Myriam Nicole (Commencal/Vallnord), who was third, is now also third in the standings with 500 points.

Vaea Verbeeck was the only Canadian woman racing, since Canadian champion Miranda Miller (Specialized Gravity) is still out with a leg injury from her crash during training at Round 2.  Verbeeck was 14th in the final.  Miller drops to 13th in the overall standings, with Verbeeck 15th.

Elite Men’s defending World Cup champion Aaron Gwin clearly likes Leogang.  With four riders to go, Loris Vergier (Santa Cruz Syndicate) smashed the leading time by nearly three seconds.  Australia’s Troy Brosnan (Canyon Factory) was next, slotting in behind Vergier by 1.8 seconds.  Round 2 winner Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate), the second fastest qualifier, could not beat his team mate, but bumped Brosnan down a spot, so it was down to Gwin, looking for his first win of the 2017 season.  The American took the lead on the opening split and rode to a 1.435 second victory, the 17th of his career, tying him with the legendary Steve Peat and three behind all-time leader Minnaar.  Minnaar still leads the overall standings with 472 points, while Gwin has moved into second at 434 points.  The top Australian in the standings is Jack Moir (Intense Factory), 11th in Leogang) but third in the overall standings with 349 points.

Mark Wallace (Canyon Factory) was a disappointing 27th after breaking his chain on his run.  The Canadian was still riding extremely well, with top-10 splits as he coasted down the course, until the final section when the chain began to interfere with his rear wheel turning.  Wallace drops from fourth to sixth in the overall standings.

In the Junior categories, Round 1 winner Iles (Specialized) won ahead of Round 2 winner Matt Walker (Madison Saracen).  Iles continues to lead the overall standings, with 160 points to Walker’s 100.  In Junior Women, it was Latvia’s Paula Zibasa who took the win, followed by Round 1 winner Melanie Chappaz (Dorval AM Nicolai).  Chappaz continues to lead with 140 points, followed by Flora Lesoin of France at 70.