It couldn’t have been much more emotional and thrilling: Aaron Gwin wins the first race of the UCI Downhill World Cup in Lourdes, bringing in the first ever World Cup win in the history of the bike manufacturer from Germany.
First race, first win. Just two months ago, YT announced their World Cup engagement with the YT Mob. And right after the first race, they are proud to jump on the podium for the first time. Aaron Gwin wins by nearly 2.5 sec ahead of Steve Smith (CAN) and Danny Hart (GBR). This marks quite a historic day for YT where everyone is absolutely stoked about the win.
The conditions in Lourdes were anything but relaxed. Cold, rain and mud on the track made practice and qualifying a tough challenge for the riders: Not only youngster Angel Suarez crashed during qualifying but also Aaron Gwin went off the bike, still he managed to qualify in the tenth position. Unfortunately, it did not work out for Angel who was not able to start on Sunday.
On Sunday the Pyrenees finally showed a lovely face – the sky cleared up, the sun was shining and the track kept drying from minute to minute. At YT’s headquarter they were preparing for the World Cup live stream with beers and barbecue while CEO Markus Flossmann and CTO Stefan Willared watched the race live on site in Lourdes. “We were excited and nervous since the last weeks and months were quite busy with preparations for the World Cup season. Of course, our expectations were high. We wanted to see our TUES on track – preferably on the podium, too. When Aaron finally made his run, we were almost dying watching it”, Markus Flossmann said. Aaron did a fantastic run and flew directly into the Hot Seat with the clock stopping at 3:09.131. But there were nine more riders to come who possibly could have taken the win. But nobody managed to do so until Loic Bruni entered the race as the last man on track. The tension was nearly unbearable. Would he keep his nerves and push Aaron into second place?
Loic showed quite an impressive run but he pushed a little too hard towards the bottom and went off his bike. In this very moment, it became clear that Aaron Gwin is the winner of the first race in 2016. At YT’s headquarter in Forchheim, employees and friends were cheering and the management in Lourdes got emotional: “Aaron made a dream come true. When we started to build the first bikes eight years ago, we could not have imagined winning a World Cup race with one of the world’s best downhill riders. This day will go down in the history of YT“, Stefan Willard stated after the race.
Aaron was also super stoked about this relieving first victory: “This week was especially challenging for everyone on the mountain. Due to the changing weather conditions, nearly every run was different, so to have it all come together on race day is really cool. I want to say a big thank you to the team staff, everyone at YT, and all of our team sponsors. We put in a ton of work in the offseason to get us ready for the races and it’s awesome to see it all come together so well. Really looking forward to the rest of the season; this was a great start and I believe we’ll continue to get stronger from here!”
Words: YT press release | Photos: Ale Di Lullo
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