Aaron Gwin's Amazing World Cup Win
American mountain biking standout Aaron Gwin put on quite the show at Round Two of the UCI World Cup at Val di Sole, Italy, last weekend, winning by an unthinkable margin and cementing his status as the rider to watch this season.
During Saturday’s qualifying round, Gwin posted a time that had officials double-checking their equipment—more than six seconds faster than the next-quickest rider, then-points leader Greg Minnaar. It would have been an unbelievable performance if Gwin hadn’t shattered records with strong, consistent riding all season long last year, when he became the first American to win the World Cup overall, and the first male to ever win five World Cup races in a single season.
With his fastest qualifying time, the former BMX prodigy and professional motocross racers was the last down the steep and technical DH track at Val di Sole. After hundreds of tires had thundered down the course during both the men’s and women’s qualifying and race runs, the track had taken a beating. Rocks and roots were left exposed and loose, and dry dust filled the corners.
Gwin didn’t seem phased though, and by the time he hit the first timing gate he’d already accumulated an impressive lead on Greg Minnaar, who was sitting in the hot seat with the then-fastest race time on the day. Always excitable race announcer Rob Warner was nearly apoplectic by the time Gwin crossed the line, a jaw-dropping 7.85 seconds better. For reference, just more than half a second separated second- and third place finishers Minnaar and Gee Atherton, respectively. Scroll to the 1:50 mark in the video below to pick up the action at Minnaar's penultimate race run.
While Gee wasn’t able to pull out a win, his sister Rachel took one home for the Atherton family mantle earlier in the afternoon—winning the women’s downhill by an impressive nearly five-second margin over second-place Nicole Myriam. Emmeline Ragot earned enough points for her third-place finish to take on the leader's jersey for the women. See the UCI site for full race results and standings.
Because Gwin finished second to Minnaar in Round One, the two are currently tied for the points lead. Although it took more than two months between the season opener in South Africa and last weekend’s race, the World Cup calendar is heating up for summer as the circus heads to Fort William, Scotland, for Round Three next weekend, June 9-10.
Tune into Redbull TV for live streaming race coverage all season long, and see the video above to relive last weekend’s action.