| That'll do, sis. A pair of twin triumphs added to basket.|
Two rounds down and it’s four top prize pay-outs lining the coffers of mountain biking’s most formidable double act. Now’s the time to send that letter asking if they’ll buy you the new stem you wanted. Val di Sole brought a fresh drenching of champagne for both Gee and Rachel once again today, as well as some high profile crashes up in the woods and a collection of less than typical faces looking out across the sea of media at the close of play.
Here's the gist of how it all came together...
Bryceland’s part bike, part body qualifying descent saw him spend an extended spell in the hot-seat, having raised the bar 4 seconds on the initial competition. Some 15 hopefuls later, Troy Brosnan came roosting into the arena on a razor-sharp run to edge the Syndicate rider off the perch. Lapierre's Loic Bruni, one year the Australian’s junior, was next to raise eyebrows with a rip-roaring 3:14.6 to head the field. A solid outing from Minnaar was then dispatched by a top-of-his-game Stevie Smith who took no prisoners on his way down through the boulders. There was only one man still at altitude and those from the land of lakes, ice hockey and maple syrup were rubbing their hands together in anticipation of Smith’s second ever World Cup win. However, a perfect ride once again from Gee Atherton, put a stop on the fantasy and turned things black and yellow all over for a second consecutive time. Bellisimo!
| Blenky chows down in the pits, with a little detox food, before go time.|
| Greg soaks up some pre-race atmos. Hard to believe he gets so nervous before his races.|
| The winner's tipple ready to get blown.|
| Most of the big names kept it to a minimum in the short-lived morning training session with just one or two runs. Then it was time to head on up through the forest one last time. Do spare a thought for all the resting owls that were disturbed over the weekend by the racing.|
| Earlier in the week PB photog, Colin, said Atwill was looking so fast and loose it was 'like he wanted to go home in a box'. Luckily he went home with a silver medal instead.|
| The Aussie junior Dean Lucas cleaned Val Di Sole in 3:24.6 this arvo, upgrading his Fort Bill 3rd to a 1st.|
| Revelstoke local, Casey Brown, getting a bit buck wild on the second to last corner of the track. Look for Brown to be stepping onto the box sometime soon - she was just off by a hair over a half second today.|
| Pompon finds local approval for her podium finish. Fantastico!|
| 'Mi scusi, Mi scusi!' Rachel parts the Italian crowds on the way to a 3:43.8... Grazie!|
| Before the day began few would have predicted Hart in 73rd, Hill in 56th and MacDonald 26th......The three biggest fallers of the finals.|
| Privateer, Pons, making the ground shake. It's a hotel instead of Guerilla Camp for the 18 year old Frenchman, however.|
| Remi's coming up! 11th here in Italia and faster than a 2nd hand Lamborghini.|
| Unfortunately, things went positively 'Sam Hill' for Greg Williamson.|
| The hot seat, with far fewer riders left up top than you might expect.|
| 6th for Gwinner at 3:16.30 and what can only have been half a tyre nobble behind Troy also on 3:16.30.|
| Troy was stoked to be back on top after almost missing a full year prior to Fort Bill. He told PB he wasn't full throttle either.|
| 'Grig' is the boy. He scooped a +1.25 bronze in the final for which he chose to wear his green Kabuto. Must be faster through the rocks.|
| Well what can we say...we tipped you. Bruni the powerhouse, at 19yo, coming to fruition.|
| So close, but the cigar eluded the Devinci pilot for one more race.|
| Now just 5 seconds back, Emmeline's halving the gap on Rach! Pugin and Charre were then a good 7 seconds behind the French girl.|
| An absolute waste of liquids on a sweltering afternoon.|
| Troy feeling the final five vibe.|
| 'That's it baby, bathe the Stevemeister'. A familiar crew welcome the newcomers, Gee leading by example.|
It's a wrap here in the Dolomites, congrats to the Athertons and all the overachievers out there! Thanks for reading and look out for the Afterbang before the weeks out, to lay it all out on the table!