The French march carries on, with French men winning all four of the world cups thus far in 2019. As for the women’s racing that has been more of a Great British affair with Tracey Hannah being the sole non British winner. As we head to Les Gets this weekend it will be interesting to see if this streak continues… Continue reading “Andorra World Cup 4 – Pick of the Pics”
WE ARE BACK BABY
The 26th World Championships were everything the ‘race of the year’ was billed up to be. Held in the Principality of Andorra, which is located in the Pyrenees, home of 85,000 people it was fair to say this was one event which had a lot of people talking about the place. The lead up to the race is always different from you regular world cups, there is no qualifying and the schedule looks different from what we are use to.
Legendary racer, turned commentator, Rob Warner was gauging the riders feedback all week and the overall consensus was that the track was definitely up to the task of holding a world championships. The weather was pretty average for the majority of the event, the sun was out on Sunday for the finals though.
The majority of riders survived practice in the lead up to the event, only a few registered a DNS. Now as a spectator worlds is a stomach churning affair so you can only imagine what it is like for the racers, Rachel Atherton even had to vomit, that’s how much it means to these racers! Moving onto race day and it was the juniors off first, the junior women to be exact! For Australia it was Ellie Wale representing with a 6th place. Turning to junior men, in his first worlds foray Jackson Frew was Australia’s highest placed finisher taking the bronze medal. Australia’s most likely winner, Andrew Crimmins, who has had a stellar world cup season crashed and finished well down the order. It was his game plan of all or nothing, in this case he rolled the dice and the house won but have no doubt he will be back a stronger rider next year.
Next came the women and the track was drying out more but the wooded sections were still quite slippery and caught more than a few riders off guard. Moving up from last year saw Tegan Molloy racing the senior class, unfortunately a tumble saw her hopes of a win evaporate. After an up and down season Tracey Hannah finished on a high note with another bronze medal for Australia, Manon Carpenter got close but couldn’t hold onto the rainbow stripes from last year with a silver medal. In the end it was the dominant rider of 2015, Rachel Atherton, who took the jersey back to the UK with her.
The tension had been steadily rising all day and when the men kicked off everyone was excited! Spectators lined the course, riders headed to the top with trainers, photographers checked their memory cards and like that we were racing! Coming down were some riders who wouldn’t normally qualify for world cups so it was great to see this mix. There were also plenty of crashes as wooden bridges, roots and the general steep nature of the track caught riders off guard.
After four second place finishes this year it was Loic Bruni who made his first win the most important one! He took the world championship jersey and with that a huge weight off his shoulders. Greg Minnaar and his Santa Cruz team mate Josh Bryceland were second and third respectively. For the other contenders it was a case of what could have been with names such as Atherton and Gwin crashing out.
That wraps up the 2015 international season, what a ride and what a great way to finish it off!
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After round 2 at Val di Sole there was a 5 week gap in races. I took this time to head
back to Australia and dig into some training, eat a lot of Chicken Parmigianaa��s and
do heaps of Go Karting. By the time I flew back to Europe for Andorra world cup I
felt I was a lot stronger, fitter and ready to continue the season.
Nobody really knew what to expect of the track in Vallnord. There were rumours of it being steep, long, technical and also physical. After walking the track on the Wednesday it was apparent that the rumours where true. The course was very long, steep, rough, fast and technical. I liked the look of the track except the first section which was very flat and had you sprinting for the first 40 seconds of your run. When the first day of practice rolled around the track was pretty wet from the heavy rain it received leading up to the event. Some sections of track where so slippery you could hardly brake or steer down them.
Qualifying was on Friday and I had been feeling really good on the track. It hadna��t rained at all so the course was drying up and getting almost dusty which I preferred. In my qualifying run everything was working well until about halfway down when my hands where cramped so badly due to arm pump I was reduced to just crawling down the track. I didna��t have this problem in practice because I would stop 2 or 3 times a run. I qualified 63rd which is my worst qualifying result by far in the 3 seasons I have competed in.
On Saturday my mechanic and I worked on changes to help me down the track. We changed the settings on my suspension a lot to try and make it easier for my Hands! I walked the track on Saturday as well and scoped out some smoother lines which might be a little slower but in the long run would make me go faster. On Sunday my practice was good and the track was dry and dusty in sections which made for a really fast course. I knew if as long as I could hold on I could get a good result here.
My plan for my runs was to make as much time up at the top of the track before my hands got cramped. This seemed to work pretty well for me. My final run was fast, the track had changed quite a lot since my last practice run so I had to guess what to expect in some sections. I finished in 34th position, which was good considering my qualifying result and I didna��t lose to many points for the overall.
Next race is Mont St Anne which I have done well at in the past. At the moment Ia��m already in Bromont, QuebecA� spending a lot of time on my bike getting prepared to get a great result there in two weeks!
Wow who picked that?! World Cup number three delivered a huge range of highs and lows, a classic race and one that really stood out. Lets rewind a little to Sunday morning, the weather A�was inclement and people were still unsure what would happen with it later in the day, as it turned out conditions were near perfect.
It was the juniors who kicked proceedings off, a shame that there were no Australian Junior females present and only a few males but such are the demands of racing a whole season it is just not viable.
The Elite Men put on one heck of a show, there were a few moments that were not nice to see, the most notably Cam Cole crashing hard and having to be airlifted out. Cam is a nice guy, with time for everyone and has had a bad run of luck with injuries over the past few seasons, we wish him all the best! Mic Hannah scored a flat up on course and as he said the realisation that your tyre is deflating when you are giving it everything is never nice! Big news of course is that Cedric Gracia chose his home World Cup to retire, a true legend but one we will still be seeing more of in the future outside of the World Cup circuit.
1. Remi Thirion 4.13.66
2. Gee Atherton 4.15.016 + 1.350
3. Sam Hill 4.15.422 + 1.756
4. Steve Smith 4.15.939 + 2.273
5. Troy Brosnan 4.16.142 + 2.476
The next round in a few weeks time is the infamous Mont Saint Anne – join us there!
Images – Phunkt.
Big news out of the qualifying session is Sam Hill sits atop of the time sheet, a mere 0.046 seconds ahead of Greg Minnaar but in front none the less, as Sam said he must really like this track! A few quick Frenchmen Loic Bruni and Remi Thirion close out the top 5. Remi had all sorts of data acquisition equipment strapped onto his bike throughout the day – maybe that is what gave him an edge on most of the other riders?
A few noticeable results were Brook MacDonald with a DNF, rumour is he is nursing a shoulder injury and has been taking it easy all week. David McMillan qualified for the big show on Sunday in 74th place.
1. HILL Sam 4:20.660
2. MINNAAR Greg 4:20.706 + 0.046
3. ATHERTON Gee 4:22.004 + 1.344
4. BRUNI Loic 4:23.544 + 2.884
5. THIRION RA�mi 4:23.758 + 3.098
11. HANNAH Michael 4:27.063 + 6.403
17. BROSNAN Troy 4:30.794 + 10.134
22. DELFS Mitchell 4:31.704 + 11.044
56. MOIR Jack 4:41.891 + 21.231
63. FEARON Connor 4:45.119 + 24.459
74. McMILLAN David 4:47.509 + 26.849
106. ATKINSON Bryn 4:55.304 + 34.644
115. VEJVODA Joe 4:59.218 + 38.558
Junior Men and a depleted Australian contingent as the majority of the juniors are watching from home. Luke Ellison was the highest Aussie in 7th place and Dean Lucas way down the order in 47th but he qualifies anyway so the result that counts is still to come!
The riders who qualified for the main show now have a few more practice sessions to get their lines dialed, will the weather play a part in the race? We will just have to wait and see, check back soon!