3rd Place for Gee Atherton at World Cup Opener
Bettering his previous result on the long physical course, Gee Atherton of Commencal took third spot at the first round of the World Cup Series in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
04.25.11 Bettering his previous result on the long physical course, Gee Atherton of Commencal took third spot at the first round of the World Cup Series in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
The defending World Cup Champion worked hard all week to start his season off on a flyer, with bike set up key on the demanding course. Placing 5th in qualifying Gee knew he had to step it up on the 3.1km track, the weather had been mixed all week but it was glorious sunshine and track temperatures of 33 degrees that greeted the riders for Sundays finals.
The early pace was set by fellow Brit Steve Peat who stepped up his riding from qualifying with a time of 4.15.443. A time that was smashed by Aaron Gwin a few riders later by a staggering 6.809 seconds which meant 4.08.634 was the time to beat. Frenchman Fabien Barel came close and suddenly it looked possibly to topple Gwin from the top spot. Gee up next had a few bobbles up top meaning his first split wasn't great, 3.392 seconds down at intermediate one left him a lot to do on the rest of the track. He dug in deep and clawed it back to 1.642 before intermediate two. Coming into the finish Gee launched the final two hip jumps and crossed the line into second place just 1.921 from Gwin.
Local hero Minnar rode super strong all the way down and took it to the line, the crowd held there breath while the cloaks ticked through but it wasn't to be for the South African meaning only Mic Hannah the fastest qualifier could topple Gwin. Mic crashed up top and didn't even make the first intermediate leaving Gwin with his first World Cup win.
"We came here for a top three and I am happy we got that, my run was good but definitely room for improvement before Fort William" Commented Gee who refereed to his home World Cup and Round Two of the World Cup Series.
Gee will be joined at round two by brother Dan and sister Rachel who are both returning after injury, with the family in full force there will be no stopping the Atherton crew in Scotland.