Contrasting conditions for Gordon downhill rider Reece Wilson
Conditions for round three of the UCI Downhill World Cup in Maribor, Slovenia, were dry, dusty and very rough, with temperatures hitting 30 degrees.
This was in total contrast to the wet and muddy settings last time out at Les Gets.
Sporting a new gold- painted helmet and bike and wearing the world champion’s jersey for the last time before the 2021 Championships, Gordon rider Reece Wilson qualified in a reasonable 18th place.
Top of the qualifying heap was his Trek Factory teammate, the new European champion, Loris Vergier, ahead of series leader Thibault Diprela, aiming for back-to-back wins.
In the race run last Sunday, there was little to choose between the early starters until French champion Benoit Coulanges from P20 rode smoothly to take a four-second lead. Reece had a good top section but lost momentum in the crucial sector four and couldn’t recover his speed on the bottom.
The next 10 riders all failed to beat Coulanges and it took another Frenchman – Loic ‘Super’ Bruni – to move him finally off the hot seat. However it was the top four who really set the hill on fire.
South African Greg Minaar, the 39-year-old elder statesman of the sport from P4, pipped Bruni by nine hundreths of a second, only to be beaten himself by next rider, Englishman Laurie Greenland, by eight hundreths.
Diprela, usually on the ragged edge, looked relaxed and confident to go fastest by one second, heaping all the pressure on Vergier as last starter.
Loris soaked it all up and blasted down the hill to take his third consecutive victory at the venue by 1.7 seconds and Trek’s first overall win of the year.
All of this left Wilson in 21st position but, with the top 30 covered by less than 10 seconds, it was not a
He remains in the top 10 of the series but, realistically, with no chance of winning overall, with only two more rounds to go.
Next up is the fearsome Val di Sole at the end of this month, a short hop around the Adriatic into Italy and the chance for him to retain the rainbow jersey for another year.