After a month-long summer break from World Cup racing, the Trek World Racing downhill riders put on a solid showing aboard their Session 88s to be the #1 team at Round 6 in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada. Tracy Moseley led the way with a strong 3rd place finish, marking a welcome return to the World Cup podium. Justin Leov, despite a crash 45 seconds into his race run, still managed 10th place, and Andrew Neethling finished 12th, his best ever finish on this demanding five minute track.
The weather has squirreled around all week, from rainy to misty, to foggy and dry. For most of the race there was a light mist and the track was slippery enough to mandate cut mud tires for most of the field. In the women's final Tracy started 6th last after qualifying 6th, and knew she needed to find more speed for the final. Her run was very strong, despite a couple of small mistakes, and good enough to take the hotseat. However her two main rivals, Frenchwomen Sabrina Jonnier and Emmeline Ragot, finished 1st and 2nd respectively, but the time gaps and splits on the long course were encouraging for Tracy who has worked hard over the past month to find race speed after the last two World Cups where crashes ended her podium hopes.
In the Men's race, Andrew came down half an hour before Justin due to his qualification place of 20th. Not normally a contender on this course, Andrew was aiming for damage control, yet surprised himself with a fast run that put him into the hotseat, nearly two seconds faster than all competitors to that point. Andrew held the hotseat for some time before being knocked out by Australian Chris Kovarik, a two-time winner on this track. Next up was Justin, and already by the 1st split it was clear he was about six seconds off the lead pace due to his crash early into the run. After that he gave it 110% to the finish; in fact, his 3rd interval was 2nd fastest of all competitors, half a second quicker than race winner Sam Hill (AUS).
The results today were enough to give Trek World Racing the award for #1 team of the event, and the team is now only 10 points from taking the overall lead for the season.
Tracy Moseley said: "After the qualifying race yesterday where I rode conservatively and lost little bits of time all the way down, I knew I had to step it up for the final. When I crossed the line I was happy to have had a time close to 5m 30secs and to get into the hotseat. I was pretty sure it was a podium ride, but didn't think it was good enough for a win. It's good to be back on the podium and to maintain my World Cup ranking, as well as help the team get some strong points."
Justin Leov said: "Without the stupid crash at the top I was well on the way to the podium. So yeah I'm pretty frustrated. I really don't know what happened. I ended up with my left foot behind me, draped over the rear wheel with my foot wedged into the gap between the tire and right chain stay. It took me some time to get untangled and back up to speed. I had a foot come out again after the 1st split time, but I was really happy with my third sector. I know I'm getting a lot closer to the top guys now."
Andrew Neethling said: "Yeah I'm happy with that. Until this morning I didn't even have a race face on. My practice wasn't going great and then I qualified a fairly low 20th. It hasn't been a great venue for me over the years, so to get my best ever Mont-Sainte-Anne result on the Session 88, and to minimize the damage that I thought would be greater, well, not a bad week. I expected to drop a place or two in the rankings, especially with Aaron Gwin having a blinder, but I'm only a few points outside the top ten. Bromont next week suits me a lot more. Stay tuned!"