Filip Polc Wins 2011 Valparaiso Cerro Abajo

Filip Polc has won the craziest downtown race in the world, the Valparaiso Downtown event in Chile.

Fraser Britton was at the scene and has sent us this great insight into the bonkers street race.

filip polc

1. Filip Polc (SVK)
2. Cedric Gracia (FRA)
3. Mario Jarrin (ECU)

Words and Photos:Fraser Britton.

Filip Polc took home his second VCA title in a row this weekend in Valparaiso, Chile. Cedric Gracia took second and Mario Jarrin of Ecuador took home third.

Gracia and Polc figure out where the camera is from the podium.
Gracia and Polc figure out where the camera is from the podium.

The urban track is becoming legendary in the downhill world as more and more big names pros are using it to kick off their race season and enjoy a bit of sun and southern hospitality during the northern hemisphere’s winter months.

The week began with a nice little press conference with the Mayor of Valparaiso. Here Cedric, the mayor, race organizer Victor and Kike pose for the TV.
The week began with a nice little press conference with the Mayor of Valparaiso. Here Cedric, the mayor, race organizer Victor and Kike pose for the TV.
Massive finish area this year!
Massive finish area this year!

The event was bigger than ever for 2011, with a massive Athlete lounge that could be rolled into from the finish line directly, with white leather sofas, shade and things to eat and drink, thanks to Samsung. Canon Cameras set up 2 media areas with beers, fruit and sandwiches for the press to relax and get out of the sun.

The UCI mandated a hand rail off of the Peruvian's takeoff. Like those tack welds were going to stop anyone from falling off.
The UCI mandated a hand rail off of the Peruvian's takeoff. Like those tack welds were going to stop anyone from falling off.
Ex World Cup racer Berny Pizarro mans the BBQ, trackside.
Ex World Cup racer Berny Pizarro mans the BBQ, trackside.

This year’s course was a slightly modified version of the 2010 version, with a few new features and much better construction. Every obstacle from the start gate down was built of welded steel with 3/4″ plywood decking – sturdy. No more rickety moving jumps of the past and no incidents that required major repairs mid race day. After a few tweaks, the gaps on track were perfect for the speed riders were carrying into them, requiring little to no brake checks or panicked pedalling.

Kike takes his Devinci Wilson off the Peruvian gap, soon to be renamed the Canadian gap after a Canadian racer tried to take on the blue house at the bottom. The house won.
Kike takes his Devinci Wilson off the Peruvian gap, soon to be renamed the Canadian gap after a Canadian racer tried to take on the blue house at the bottom. The house won.
Canon Wallride. Slippery when wet, technical when dry.
Canon Wallride. Slippery when wet, technical when dry.

Race morning dawned cold and drizzly, a first for the event. As 11 am rolled around and practice was set to start, CG and I rolled up the ridiculously wet street, with tires on the pickup spinning on every hill. Slippery does not even begin to explain the conditions. 50 years of grease, grime, oil and animal shit ground into the cobblestone all started to come up with the tiniest bit of moisture. Even walking down the track was an experience. The first few practice runs were terrifying as most riders not only had to deal with slick conditions (and 90 degree corners on a 45 degree hill…) but also contend with hitting the jumps for the first time. 3 runs to get it right and get comfortable, no room for error!

Filip Polc shows everyone how it is done on the staircase. A signature piece for the race in Valpo, your speed here will win or lose you the race. Make sure you remember which sets to gap, because they aren't even, and the wrong ones will send you for a wild ride without your bike.
Filip Polc shows everyone how it is done on the staircase. A signature piece for the race in Valpo, your speed here will win or lose you the race. Make sure you remember which sets to gap, because they aren't even, and the wrong ones will send you for a wild ride without your bike.

An hour delay due to UCI track modifications and the sun started to come out and dry things up, and by race time the cobbles were back to being dusty and slippery instead of wet and deadly.

Felipe Vasquez of Chile hits the Hotel gap. His hip stayed together for his qualifying run, but his feet didn't stay on the pedals. Next year, old man!
Felipe Vasquez of Chile hits the Hotel gap. His hip stayed together for his qualifying run, but his feet didn't stay on the pedals. Next year, old man!
Mexico represent! The smallest racer on the World Cup showed up and absolutely sent it off the ski jump. Unfortunately, she wrecked hard in practice and wound up in hospital. She is doing alright, with only a broken tooth and shattered ego.
Mexico represent! The smallest racer on the World Cup showed up and absolutely sent it off the ski jump. Unfortunately, she wrecked hard in practice and wound up in hospital. She is doing alright, with only a broken tooth and shattered ego.

In qualifying it was Gracia taking the lead, with Polc in 3rd 3 seconds, Antonio Leiva of Chile was in second place. Following a quick complimentary massage, it was back to the top for everyone as the crowds hit epic proportions. Somehow, Polc made up his 3 second deficit to take the win as the last rider down, with CG in the hotseat for less than a minute as a massive crowd of thousands cheered his name as if he was Pele.

Nothing like sending it over a massive sea of people. The World Cup could learn a thing or two.
Nothing like sending it over a massive sea of people. The World Cup could learn a thing or two.

As usual, it was Gracia who stole the podium limelight, getting nearly naked and giving away everything, starting fights for his clothing in the process and winding up back at the hotel in only his boxers and helmet.

Now it is on to a multitude of riding zones until next weekend, thanks to Santa Cruz Chile. Look for some exclusive photos on dirt this week as we enjoy a few days of sunshine, Chilean BBQ and bikes!
________________________________________

Polc Head cam.

  1. Alex

    That last step section gave me a headache just watching it!

  2. Alex

    That last step section gave me a headache just watching it!

  3. Sam Davies
  4. intense951

    thanks for the link sam davies – that footage is amazing.

  5. Matt

    At 0:09 he nearly runs over a dog!

  6. billy

    @ Sam Davies, thanks for that, added it on. That’s a hell of a hill they’ve got there!

  7. Robo

    There’s small error in contry label, SLO is Slovenia, Filip is from Slovakia, so SVK is correct

  8. luke

    insane!

  9. billy

    Well spotted Robo, 10 points to ya!

  10. oli

    bonkers!

    1. Patricia

      An alternative is to file every email imtemiadely, but to put a flag on those which need a reply; then to just work through your For Follow Up folder. This approach means there is no need to move emails first into the reply folder, and then move them again once you’ve replied to them though at the cost of having to set and later clear a flag.

  11. Jamie

    You don’t want to be running wide bars down that track! Also, nice jump over the dog :D

  12. greg

    holy fekk!

  13. Messy

    That looks bloody terrifying. Good on him, big riding :-)

  14. polcster
  15. adude

    CG !!!

  16. slafko

    At 0:28 Did he run over a dog? :-)

  17. Tom KP

    It certainly sounded like the dog got run over. But I’m sure it would have slowed him up a bit if it had.
    Awesome looking course. Much more spectator friendly than cold wet woods.
    Makes me want to visit South America so much(especially as I look outhe window at a dreary grey Bristol)

    Tom Kp

  18. Waazaa

    soon the next step VCA11 video on
    http://www.vimeo.com/omarsalas

  19. julio cardoso

    out of this world

  20. LonePaladin

    This looks like it’d make an interesting console game. Those sharp turns and little dead-ends would put me on edge the whole time.

    Did anyone make a map of this?

  21. velotut

    It’s very cool!
    Обалденное видео и фото! Респект велосипедистам! :)

  22. Ron

    As a relatively new urban rider, at age 44, this was motivating to see. I truly love the opportunities that urban riding offers here in lovely San Antonio, TX. I doubt I will ever get up the nerve top participate in anything this extreme but, I know it’s time to step it up a spell after seeing these clips, totally awesome!!!

  23. odDonnellE

    Is there a google map (or the like) overlay for this anywhere? I would really like to see the route. :)

  24. Tamaresque

    Was the course changed between practice and the actual race?
    In the video you have on this page of the practice run, I count three walls to ride.
    In an actual race footage [http://www.gadling.com/2011/03/03/downhill-bike-race-in-chile-is-insanity-at-its-finest/?ncid&a_dgi=aolshare_facebook]there is only the first wall (unless the film was edited, but they’re both racing about the same length of time).

  25. Jonathan

    Anyone know the altitude drop in the race?

    Height from start to finish? I love watching this race! Kudos to all the riders, they are insane!

  26. Wingnut

    This needs to be an Olympic sport. It would liven up the Summer Olympics. Have to watch it again!

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