Marine Cabirou produced a dominant performance to claim victory at the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Lousã on Sunday, while Great Britain’s Matt Walker took the overall title in the men’s race despite Loïc Bruni returning to winning ways.
In the men’s race it looked as though the rain and wind would play havoc with the final riders. Instead the big guns delivered in thrilling fashion.
First to lay down a serious marker was British rider Philip Atwill who, after a couple of barren years, showed that he was back to being a serious contender for titles.
Jamie Edmondson was next up and he sliced two tenths off the time of Atwill. With the rain now arriving it seemed as though the Brit could be heading for victory.
Neither David Trummer or Finn Iles could get close to Edmondson’s time and suddenly there were just three riders remaining.
Next up was Matt Walker, the 21-year-old Brit with the World Cup leader’s jersey and plenty of pressure on his shoulders. Walker showed no signs of nerves though and produced an aggressive run that was enough to take the lead.
Fresh off his sublime victory on Friday, the penultimate man at the start gate was Greg Minnaar. The South African was super smooth and that translated into serious speed as he took the lead with an incredible run.
Last up was Loïc Bruni who produced a sensational finish to the day. The Frenchman was behind after the second split but made a small adjustment while heading down the long pedal section and claimed the win by 0.457 seconds.
A fitting finale to a sensational season, Bruni returned to winning ways, but it was not enough to deny Walker being crowned the overall 2020 World Cup champion.
Walker said: “I came into the race and I had already surpassed my expectations for the year. The run was tricky and conditions were a bit sketchy so I gave it everything and to come across the line and get old the news I’d won the overall was incredible. It’s so hard to put into words, I’ve realised a dream here today.”
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup men’s Lousã result
1. Loic Bruni (FRA)
2. Greg Minnaar (RSA) +0.170
3. Matt Walker (GBR) +1.415
4. Jamie Edmonson (GBR) +2.044
5. Phillip Atwill (GBR) +2.065
1. Matt Walker (GBR)
2. Loic Bruni (FRA)
3. Greg Minnaar (RSA)
4. Loris Vergier (FRA)
5. Thibaut Depréla (FRA)