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France’s Amaury Pierron clocks up third successive Fort William win at Mountain Bike World Cup

Men's downhill winner Amaury Pierron at the mountain bike World Cup in Fort William.
Men's downhill winner Amaury Pierron at the mountain bike World Cup in Fort William.

Frenchman Amaury Pierron picked up from where he left off as he clocked up a third successive Fort William victory on the Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup’s return to Scotland.

Pierron successfully defended his men’s downhill title when the event was last staged at Fort William in 2019, before halting for three years due to Covid.

The 26-year-old’s time of 4:37.115 was fast enough to clinch him another victory, 0.469 seconds ahead of fellow countryman Thibaut Daprela.

Bristol’s Laurie Greenland had been the fastest qualifier, with his valiant late effort to overhaul Pierron culminating in a creditable third placed finish.

Pierron was thrilled to match South African Greg Minnaar’s record of three straight World Cup victories at Aonach Mor.

‘Dream come true’

He said: “It is a dream come true for me to win three times in a row here at Fort William.

“I just gave everything, but it was really tough mentally and physically.

“It can play on your mind when the conditions are never the same. Sometimes it’s rainy and sometimes it’s not, sometimes it’s windy and sometimes not.

“It’s never the same so it’s hard to know what to do.

“On the first day I saw people putting crazy times away, so there was massive work to do on the track and the bike.

“When you get fourth on the first day, you know you need to work. It has been hard, but I am stoked.”

A fine run from Inverness’ Greg Williamson secured 14th place with a time of 4:43.435, with fellow Scot Reece Wilson coming in at 17th position.

Oban’s Ben Cathro took part in his first World Cup event at Fort William since 2016, coming in 24th place.

Pierron says he felt the adulation of the Scottish crowd at Nevis Range, adding: “It’s pretty nice. I’m not in France, but the people here seem to like me, I think. They send me a very good vibe which is really appreciated.”

Happy Scottish memories

Germany’s Nina Hoffmann was the winner of the women’s downhill final, to continue a trend of happy memories in Scotland.

Women’s downhill winner Nina Hoffmann at the mountain bike World Cup in Fort William.

Hoffmann secured her first World Cup podium when she finished third at Aonach Mor the last time the event was held in 2019.

The 25-year-old went on to claim her first World Cup victory in Maribor the following year, however that event took place with no spectators.

That gave a jubilant Hoffmann all the more reason to revel in the noise that greeted her triumph.

Hoffmann said: “I am feeling overwhelmed by emotion. It’s such a big thing to win at Fort William, it’s such a special race with all the people here.

“I love the track – and I loved it today. I was excited to come back because my first podium was here in 2019. I have got good memories.

“My first World Cup win was when Covid was on and no fans were there.

Crowds gathered for the mountain bike World Cup.

“I love to share my emotions with everyone else and that’s what I could do here.”

Hoffmann’s time of 5:14.17 saw her finish just over three seconds ahead of Switzerland’s Camille Balanche, while France’s Myriam Nicole came third.

Local success secured

Local Fort William rider Mikayla Parton posted a strong eighth-placed finish, with a time of 5:32.735.

Inverness’ Aimi Kenyon secured a podium finish in the women’s junior downhill final by finishing third. Fellow Scot Phoebe Gale came second, with Canada’s Gracey Hemstreet coming out on top.

There was also British success in the men’s junior downhill final, with Somerset’s Jordan Williams triumphing by just 0.038 seconds ahead of Jackson Goldstone.

In the men’s 4X World Series on Saturday night, Czech Republic’s Tomas Slavik triumphed in the big final ahead of Slavik Hannes, Jono Jones and Noel Niederberger.

Men’s 4X winners at the mountain bike World Cup at Fort William.

There was Scottish success for Scott Beaumont in the small final, which saw him take fifth ranking ahead of Connor Hudson, Ian Forsyth and Tom Bell.

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