A First World Cup Win for Langvad and Quarq, a Hat Trick for Schurter and XX1, and a SRAM Clean Sweep in Elite Men’s Downhill.
The 2015 UCI World Cup series closed with a bang in Val di Sole, Italy, with Aaron Gwin taking another race win on his X01 DH and SRAM brakes-equipped bike, and his third overall World Cup championship. Nino Schurter rode to his third win in a row and his forth World Cup overall title. And Annika Langvad claimed a first-ever World Cup victory for herself and XX1 Quarq.
It all started months ago, with the world’s elite riders eager, excited and, hopefully, well prepared to take on the summer of racing around the globe. The World Cup Mountain Bike circuit is a traveling circus at times, and immense highs and extreme lows can fall in the lap of even the most well-trained and skilled athlete. Make it to the finals in one piece and a rider might be rewarded heavily in the overall standings. If you’re the likes of Aaron Gwin or Nino Schurter, you might see yourself holding the crown of a World Cup Champion. Consistency is key in this game — one bad race could see you out of the hunt for an overall title.
The downhill track in Val di Sole, Italy, is renowned as one of the most challenging courses of the year. Incredibly steep woods sections lined with snake-like roots ready to grab the unsuspecting wheel, mixed with large moss-covered rocks and blistering-fast, open, ski-slope freeways make up this animal of a track.
Sitting comfortably in the lead, the overall championship was Gwin’s to lose. Loic Bruni (Lapierre Gravity Republic) has been just shy of a World Cup win all season, coming in 2nd place multiple times. He was desperate for a win, and trailed closely in the championship, but Bruni was only able to coax his Lapierre, equipped with SRAM X01 DH, SRAM Guide brakes, and RockShox BoXXer and Vivid suspension, to another hard-fought 2nd place behind Gwin.
Bruni finished the season with a 2nd place in the overall standings, just in front of Gwin’s Specialized Racing teammate Troy Brosnan. Brosnan had been extremely close in the hunt for the overall win as well, consistently on or near the podium using his SRAM X01 DH drive train, SRAM Guide brakes, RockShox BoXXer and Vivid suspension equipped Specialized. Gwin, Bruni and Brosnan completed a SRAM X01 DH sweep of the men’s World Cup Downhill podium — both on the day and in the overall season standings.
Closing out the weekend was the Elite Cross-Country race, which promised to be a battle for the books. Nino Schurter (Scott-Odlo) held the lead by a comfortable margin, having won the last two rounds ahead of Julien Absalon (BMC). Schurter powered his SRAM XX1- and XX brakes-equipped Scott through lap after grueling lap, and finally escaped Absalon to take his third World Cup XC win in a row and his 4th World Cup Championship title. Always a showman, Schurter gave the crowd his signature style as he passed through the finish arena.
In the women’s field, Annika Langvad (Specialized Racing), who recently won the Leadville 100 in record time, rode her S-Works Era 29, equipped with SRAM XX1 Quarq, SRAM Guide Ultimate brakes and RockShox RS-1 front suspension to her first-ever elite World Cup. The secret to her first World Cup win, according to the Dane, was the lack of pressure that followed in the wake of her stellar Leadville 100 performance, and deviating from her normal pre-race preparation and routine.