The UCI DH MTB World Cup is back for 2017 with the first stop having just finished in the French town of Lourdes. An eventful first stop; Rachel Atherton continues the streak, Miranda Miller’s first “professional” World Cup, Santa Cruz rolling on 29 wheels, Tahnee Seagrave qualifying in first (with over 1 second up on Rachel), Gee Atherton finding his feet again (finishing first in Timed Training) and Vergier qualifying first in Men’s Elite…but anyway, enough talk, time to share our thoughts!
Men’s Elite – It’s all about the weather
The weather came in hot and heavy in Lourdes as the men bombed down the hill and played havoc on the ones starting last, with a weather warning coming in just after Brendan Fairclough finished his run and 16 riders still at the top, with some heavy winds all across the track and the clouds coming in fast and low and rain starting as Estaque came out of the start gate.
- “Sick” Mick Hannah was one of many to be affected by the slippery dust in the Men’s Elite final, crashing in the same location as Loic Bruni in 2016. Guttierez also almost ate dirt in the same corner. It’s a very treacherous corner when you’re coming in at speed.
- Alexander Fayolle put down a massive run, starting early and not having to deal with the inclement weather and definitely one of the best runs of his life, just slightly slower than Vergier’s quali run, moving into the hot seat early and staying there.
- Brannigan was chasing Fayolle early but hit either a puncture or a burp on the way, putting him out of contention for a good spot. But that roost was amazing!
- First World Cup showing for the Canyon Factory Downhill Team with Mark Wallace (2nd place finish) and Troy Brosnan.
- Sam Blenkinsop might not have put down the fastest run, but he definitely styled it up on the road gaps and jumps.
- Brendan Fairclough got really loose during his run and it definitely looked like he had a flat tire, something that crazy Swiss Claudio Caluori also picked up on during the run.
- Intense’s Jack Moir is on the up and up and he’s continuing to show the same good form we saw at Crankworx earlier this year.
- The weather definitely played a factor for the Top 15 Men’s riders, with many riders looking in touch at the first few splits, but then having to face the wind, causing a lot of speed loss and speed checks in general to keep on track with a lot of riders were being thrown off balance on the road gaps. Gwin crashed due to the icy dust, as did Remi Thirion and Danny Hart.
- We’re going to say it – Greg Minnaar would have been Top 5 if the weather stayed the same as it was at the start, with Gwin, Hart, Bruni, Vergier and Fayolle all definitely being in the Top 10, with Kerr and Thirion also being in contention.
- Gee Atherton, even though he looks to be on form, definitely got lucky being one of the last Top 20 riders attacking the track when the conditions were still bearable.
We have to give it up to Syndicate’s Luca Shaw for silencing the 29 haters. When asked whether it was the wheels that gave him his qualification results, he simply said that it’s not because of the wheels, but more because of the rider on top of the bike.
*Since when does Lourdes have a slip and slide instead of a downhill track???
With a strong wind, fog and rain in the middle of competition it was a big gamble who will win! It was a great day for Alexandre Fayolle, who set up a great time in dry conditions. Afterwards, no one was able to beat that time. Aaron Gwin had two crashes: one in the top section and the other in the lower section, where he hit a tree after his front wheel lost traction. In total Gwin had a time of 3:37. Danny Hart had a massive crash and he felt few meters below the track, his time was 3:57. Luca Shaw setup a time of 3:26 with 29″ wheels. Lois Vergier had 3:29. The fastest in the mud was Greg Minnaar with 3:09. The results are below.
Smashing runs from all of the ladies today! A few of them had quite a few problems rolling down the treachourous track in Lourdes, but the Top 5 absolutely smashed it, with another insane run by Rachel Atherton.
- Rachel Atherton continues her streak, but will be feeling the heat for the rest of the season. Hannah and Seagrave are the most obvious threats to her dominance, with both of them putting down a great time.
- Was it nerves or bad luck for Tahnee Seagrave? Qualifying in first, solid timed training and an overall good race
- PomPom is setting herself up for a great season, with a solid … place finish
- Manon Carpenter – new season, new team, but that bike didn’t look 100% set up with a few unwanted bucks in some of the techy terrain.
- Tracee Hannah has been working hard all off-season and it’s definitely already showing with a rocket run, and looking smooth on some of the tougher