New Zealand champion Brook MacDonald has blasted his way to sixth in the latest round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Andorra.
MacDonald powered his way into the hot seat as the fastest rider after a wild ride down the super-steep 2.5km track at Vallnord, high in the Pyrenees.
However the MS Mondraker professional had to settle for sixth place, his best of the season, as the final five riders headed by world champion Loic Bruni (France) who won for the third time in five rounds this season.
It moves the Hawkes Bay rider to seventh overall on the Mercedes Benz World Cup standings with three rounds remaining.
“I’m so happy to finish sixth today,” said MacDonald. “This was insane. The finals were mental. The speed everyone is going is crazy.”
It proved one of the most successful days for Kiwi riders across the categories, with national champion Kate Weatherly following her podium at Austria with sixth placing in the elite females behind multi-world champion Rachel Atherton. Weatherly took care on the tricky top half of the course before powering down the bottom half of the run to retain her sixth ranking on the world cup rankings.
Subway National Performance Hub rider Sam Gale (Queenstown) enjoyed an outstanding fourth place in the junior men in his first World Cup outing of the season.
Gale, conservatively through the first time check 16th fastest, finished strongly to be only 3.7s behind winner Matteo Iniguez (FRA).
His fellow Hub rider Blake Ross (Cambridge) was 12th with Finn Hawkesby-Brown (Christchurch) 15th.
Only three Kiwi riders qualified for the finals in the elite men with Sam Blenkinsop (Christchurch, NORCO Factory) 27th and George Brannigan (Hawkes Bay, GT Factory) 47th.
The attention turns to cross-country tomorrow with Anton Cooper, Sam Gaze and Ben Oliver competing in the elite males and Josh Burnett in the under-23 racing.
Both downhill and cross-country will reset quickly with the third-to-last World Cup set for Les Gents in France next weekend.