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Sam Hill taking it steady during qualifying - photo by Duncan Philpott.

After what seemed like a far too lengthy summer World Cup break, race day came around faster than Josh Bryceland on a qualifying run. And after heavy rain threw a spanner in the works earlier in the week, it was a relief to see blue skies and perfect track conditions greet the racers for the big showdown - although the weather service called for a 50% chance of thunderstorms, which could of course be bad news for the fastest qualifiers should the threat materialize.

The early hot seat lodger was Dean Lucas who took nearly 20 seconds out of his own qualifying time, a clear indication that the race track had little in common with the mudfest from qualifying. George Brannigan was the first rider to beat Josh Bryceland's fastest qualifier, and it would only get faster from there on in. Remi Thirion looked awesome through the rough bits and took another 2 seconds out of Brannigan's time - how long would it hold up?

Brook MacDonald was looking good until a big bail in one of the fast corners, and it was a story of what could have been for the Bulldog as he crossed the line all dirty in 3rd. It was to be France vs. France next as Loic Bruni finally put one together, and boy did he look good doing it. 3 seconds up on Remi, and by now the chips were well and truly down.

Getting close to the top-10, Gee Atherton paid no heed to his injured wrist protesting and came within .6 of Loic's time - fair play to the G-man. And speaking of injuries, Minnaar would go on to shrug off a big crash in the morning practice session to hit the hot seat with a 4:14.3. Short-lived joy for the South-African though, as Blenki followed him down and took another half a second off Greg's time. Next up the Hart Attack - and another half a second shaved! Would we get close to a 4:10 before all was said and done?

Sam Hill was next up, and the flat pedal thunder from down under did just that. With a vintage run that had us on the edge of our seat he put down a 4:10.566 - would that be the fastest of the day? The Vital Sam Hill fanboi choir was warming up, but there were 5 fast guys left in the start hut. Matt Simmonds had a clean run but came down in 5th. Gwin was up next, and he took his brand new Demo into 4th. Needles put in a spirited bid, but got ragged and ended up with a run to forget. Troy Brosnan was next up, and he got close, but it was still Sam on top as Ratboy set off. The Rat was up at split 1....we were holding our breath....but dropped back to 2nd at the line, and Sam had done it! Back on the top of the podium, with all the style that made him so immensely popular in the first place. YEAH SAM!

In the Women's, all eyes were on Rachel Atherton - her qualifying run showed her back to true speed at the top of the track, but she seemed unable to hold on for the entire run. When she came down 14 seconds up on Tahnee Seagrave and 11 seconds better than Manon Carpenter's fastest qualifier, we thought we had our answer. Emmeline Ragot dropped 3.5 seconds to Rachel at split 1, but pulled almost 3 seconds back to come down in second. What would Manon do? 4.3 seconds down at split 1 and we thought the deal was done, but Manon absolutely nailed the bottom section to make up the time and make it 3 wins for 2014! 3 girls within 1 second was rad to see - but the rest of the field have a little catching up to do.

Luca Shaw backed up his recent run of good form and honored his number 1 qualifying spot with a solid win in the juniors. We were denied a battle for the ages though with fast boys Alex Marin and Amaury Pierron unable to take the start.

2014 Mont Sainte Anne DH World Cup Final Results, Men's Elite (full results)

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2014 Mont Sainte Anne DH World Cup Final Results, Women's Elite (full results)

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2014 Mont Sainte Anne DH World Cup Final Results, Men's Junior (full results)

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Watch the Live Replay of the Mont Sainte Anne World Cup downhill

Check out Sam Hill's Winning Bike

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