Gee Atherton Leogang 2011 Sven Martin

Both Gee and Rachel Atherton finished in second place in their respective races at the UCI World Cup Mountainbike Downhill in Leogang, Austria at the weekend.

On a tough and drying track, with plenty of roots and mud, the course changed shape continuously throughout the weekend making tyre and line choice critical for Sunday's finals.

The Austrian weather was its usual unpredictable self leaving the riders guessing if they were going to have to race through torrential rain or blazing sunshine, but fortunately, they were treated to the latter and despite the overnight rain slowing the track conditions, we were treated to some amazing racing.

Qualifying in second, Rachel knew she was in touching distance of her first World Cup win of 2011 and it certainly looked like she would take it when she burst out of the woods to dislodge fellow Brit, Tracey Moseley, off the top spot.

Celebrations were shortlived however, as French rider, Floraine Pughin, was last on the hill and hot on Rachels heels.

Floraine flew down the last section considerably quicker than anyone else putting 1.7 seconds between her and Rachel and even more between her and the rest of the field.

Rachel was made up with her result – her second runner-up place in as many races – which leaves her in third overall UCI World Cup standings and in full catch up mode with four races remaining.  

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Gee also qualified in second spot on Saturday and had his sights firmly upon the top step on Sunday.

It was series leader, Greg Minnaar, who set the early pace, with his time of 3.49.902 looking to be a serious contender until Gee hit the course.

His first split flashed up green and represented a big gap of nearly three seconds ahead of Minnaar. Gee kept the pace rolling and pushed hard all the way to the bottom to take the lead by a huge 3.6 seconds.

With only fastest qualifier and series one winner, Aaron Gwin, left on track things were looking good for the Brit. Gwin however had other ideas as he stomped his run and took the win by 2.113 seconds.

The second spot kept Gee in third in the overall as the series takes a short break ahead of the Northern American rounds in early July.

Eldest sibling, Dan Atherton, qualified well but suffered a crash in the finals leaving him in 60th place, but his comeback is improving every race and it won't take long until he's back in the thick of it.

The team now takes a short break before they hit Mt St Anne in Quebec, Canada for round four of the World Cup and more podium action – hopefully this time it will be the top step.

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