Atherton (who won in Windham last year) had qualified second behind round three winner Floriane Pugin (Scott 11), who was widely considered the favourite for this short, fast, technical track. World Cup leader and world champion Tracy Moseley (Trek World Racing) qualified third.
While Moseley took the lead with her run, Atherton smashed it on the next run by over two and a half seconds. Pugin managed to beat Moseley, but finished 1.348 seconds behind Atherton.
"I love this track," stated Atherton. "It's short, which suits me. It was really dry so I knew I had to go fast throughout. I'm really stoked to be number one here today."
In the World Cup points standings Atherton gained enough points solidify her third place position at 820 points, and could still surpass Pugin with two races to go. Continuing as the points leader is Moseley with 1080 points, followed by Pugin with with 980. The women's World Cup title is far from decided.
Aaron Gwin capped a strong weekend of racing at the World Cup in Windham with the first American World Cup victory on home soil in over a decade when he won the Men's Downhill. Gwin finished over two seconds ahead of Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate), with Andrew Neethling (Giant) taking third. Gwin's fourth win of the season gives him an almost insurmountable lead in the overall standings.
Andrew Neethling (Giant) took the lead with ten riders to go, only to be immediately topped by Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate). This is where it stood, as the final rider, Gwin, was about to start. Expectations among the spectators were high, after Gwin qualified first, and the partisan nature of the crowd was clear, with American flags everywhere. The Trek rider was fastest through every part of the course, finishing 2.339 seconds ahead of Peat.
He was mobbed by adoring fans and patiently signed autographs and posed for photos. "It was awesome today, all week actually. It was so great to race in front of the home town crowd. They were all so cool to me. It's been a fun weekend. I'm very happy."
With his fourth win of the five races so far in the World Cup, Gwin has a total of 1110 points. Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) sits in second with 776 points with a disappointing 12th place today. Gee Atherton (Commencal) sits in third with 657 points after finishing 11th today.