Words and photos: Steve Jones.
LAPIERRE 2013 DOWNHILL
This might well be all over the internet by the time I arrive in Val Di Sole but I was lucky to get an exclusive first run on Lapierre’s new downhill offering for 2013 with the legendary ten times World Champion Nicolas Vouilloz.
It had stopped raining. Vouilloz had to drop in at Camellini’s shop in Beaulieu Sur Mer to pick me up a harder spring. I hesitated at telling him to ‘step on it’ to get to Sospel thinking….well I don’t exactly know. A mix of care and thinking he obviously would be anyway.
Lapierre had given us an exclusive first look at their all new 2013 downhill bike, a load of shuttle runs on Sospel’s infamous slopes and, heaven forbid, Vouilloz to do the spannering.
The new bike features an overall evolution of the Pendbox system in terms of travel, curves and stability. This smarter new Lapierre comes with strengthening and sizing changes in the chassis too but weight remains similar.
Nico can tell you the rest…
Nico had been using two versions of the Fox damper and the bike came with non-standard Michelin rubber. The rest of the componentry featuring a good spread of Easton was all as it comes for next season. Is it improved? Yes.
More than anything the day reminded me just why Vouilloz is the greatest downhill racer of all time for there is no rider I know with bike knowledge like this man. A unique thirst for facts, composed and supremely analytical, yet again I was in the position where I had to tell him honestly how the bike was feeling. He went away and came back with a transformed bike. I shook my head in disbelief and we headed up the hill to hit a few shots for the web and mag.
Hiding behind the lense with Rowan Sorrell on the flash gun as Nico boosted down a bank for the first time, I hit the shutter the looked at Rowan – nothing needed to be said.