MacDonald and Cole 3rd and 5th, NZ Top Ten Domination.
NZ's world class downhill contingent practiced their way through four days of weather extremes on the Mont Sainte Anne mountain, at times racing on the world renowned course in less than 10m of visibility. The class of this group of athletes was displayed firstly with Friday's qualification run - Cam Cole (Lapierre International, Christchurch) fourth, teammate Sam Blenkinsop (Wanganui) seventh and Brook MacDonald (MS Evil Racing, Napier) ninth. Joining these three Junior World Championship medalists in the top 80 were George Brannigan (Devinci Global, Hawkes Bay), Justin Leov (Trek World Racing, Dunedin) and Dan Sims (Auckland). Alexandra's Matt Scoles (Cingolani-Trek) had a terrible qualification run, but moved through to the top 80 final due to having protected status as a top 20 rider on current World Cup standings. Racing his first World Cup for several years, James Dodds (Zerode, Rotorua) wasn't able to break the top 80, missing the cut-off by six seconds.
The weather held for today's race run, with the race course dry in the open but still treacherous in the rocky, forest sections. Conditions that suited the NZers with MacDonald blazing to a time that shattered the field with only a handful of riders still to run. MacDonald's time was beaten only by current World Cup leader Aaron Gwinn and the UK's Josh Bryceland, and the Napier flier claimed a charging podium third.
Cole looked strong and carried great momentum through the middle parts of the Mont Sainte Anne mountain to claim his first podium result for the World Cup, in fifth.
And confirming growing NZ dominance in the top ten on the World Cup Downhill circuit, Blenkinsop was eighth, and Leov 10th - results that have the Downhill circuit on notice with the final two month lead-in to this years World Championships. Scoles and Brannigan raced to 19th and 25th respectively.
Monte Sainte Anne Downhill Results