Two years after a monsoon-soaked race, the UCI World Cup returned to Cairns, Australia, for the second race of the 2016 calendar. The historic venue was first raced at the World Cup level in 1994 and hosted the 1996 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships. Incredibly, the downhill course that traverses through the dense rain forest has not changed much in 20 years, but remains impressively challenging. There are a handful of tricky technical sections with roots and rocks, as well as equalizing pedal-filled flat portions that test fitness limits.

Precipitation teased the venue during practice days earlier this week, making training slick and difficult, but race day conditions were nearly perfect through all sections of the course. The riders were able to push their limits during race runs and recorded the fastest times of the week.

When the dust settled, Loic Bruni was the winner of the Elite Men's class with his first, long-awaited World Cup DH win. Troy Brosnan appeared to be close to the win with leading split times, but lost time in the pedaling section, resulting in a bittersweet 2nd place. Mick Hannah had his strongest finish in years with a spectacular run proving his fitness and pedaling power is nearly unparalleled, earning 3rd place. The Top 3 men were separated by less than one second.

Loic Bruni by Sven Martin

Australian rider, Josh Button, who recently quit his day job to give World Cup racing one more shot, had the race of his life and bested a host of the World Cup's most seasoned pros collecting his first podium finish in 5th. Lourdes World Cup winner, Aaron Gwin, placed 4th, crossing the line with a look of disappointment. Gwin retains the lead of the 2016 UCI World Cup after the first two races.

Junior Men took off first with a field of 24 riders and racing was heated. Matt Walker backed up his 1st place qualifier with a win in the class, but only .686 seconds ahead of 2nd place, Remy Morton. Harry Bush pulled up in 3rd place, just 1.1 seconds off the top of podium. The Lourdes World Cup Jr. winner, Finn Iles, crashed in qualifying and injured his wrist. He refrained from racing the final today.

Matt Walker by Duncan Philpott

Rachel Atherton continues to race at a completely different level than her fellow female competitors and took her 28th World Cup DH victory in Cairns. She finished over 7 seconds ahead of 2nd place, Tracey Hannah. Tracey, who lives near the Cairns venue, used her local knowledge and rode well all week. Her 2nd place finish is a strong result. Manon Carpenter took 3rd, just under 10 seconds off the top pace.

Rachel Atherton by Duncan Philpott

Elite Men's Results

Elite Women's Results

Junior Men's Results

More Cairns World Cup DH Coverage‚Äč

sspomer 4/22/2016 11:44 PM

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