It was complete carnage at the Fort William World Cup Downhill this weekend. Scotland’s infamous track is a nasty one with no shortage of boulders, roots, and gnar. Add rain into that equation, and it’s no longer downhill racing—it’s straight up survival. For a sense of the madness, check out Gee Atherton's POV course preview:
The boulders were merciless, sending leaders Tahnée Seagrave and world champion Loic Bruni straight over the handlebars. Seagrave, who ended up tearing her AC joint from the brutal crash, was unable to race in the finals and may need surgery.
With challenging wet and windy conditions, strategy and tenacity were key for prevailing. On the women’s side, it was down to world champion Rachel Atherton and top qualifier Tracey Hannah. Hannah, who came down the track in the last heat, wasn’t able to best Atherton—solidifying the world champ’s 38th world cup win. Now Atherton is three wins away from the all-time record of 41 wins currently held by Anne-Caroline Chausson.
Amaury Pierron was able to keep it together for the win. Red Bull Content Pool.
“That was the most nail-biting thing ever. I am absolutely buzzing - a win at Fort William is special enough without doing it for the first time for Atherton Bikes. That is all I have been thinking about all winter. The weather is really horrific. It is really hard to concentrate on your bike set-up and your line choice. Everyone is covered in mud. It is carnage. It is the worst weather I have ever experienced," Atherton said to Red Bull.
For the men, it was anyone’s game. Nearly everyone suffered gnarly crashes at some point during the weekend, but the chaos wasn’t enough to throw off the day's victor Amaury Pierron. Drawing from his win here last year, Pierron bested the UCI overall leader Troy Brosnan. Also, can we talk about that incredibly sketchy finish? Way to keep us on our toes, Pierron.
The next stop of the tour is next weekend in Leogang, Austria. Hopefully, it's a little less muddy.