Lourdes had all the drama, excitement and speed of a world cup round that will go down in the history books. Here are our hand-plucked highlights of a stunning weekend.

Loic Bruni’s run (until he crashed)

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WC_Lourdes_2016_82A2487

Coming into the race everything seemed perfect for Loic Bruni. He was in the rainbow jersey, on the bike that won the overall series last year and he would be cheered on by a fanatical French crowd.

Bruni’s run was blisteringly quick and, despite a serious moment that spat him off his pedals after the second road gap, he had a 2.3 second advantage over Gwin at the fourth split. Unfortunately, with the finish line in sight, Bruni washed out and threw away yet another golden opportunity to take his first World Cup win. It made for one of the most exciting World Cup finishes in recent years though and proved (once again) that Bruni has the raw pace to challenge Gwin’s dominance.

More than anything it showed Bruni is a true champion as he still made time for every one of his fans despite the huge disappointment. We have no doubt Bruni will pick himself back up and be pushing the limits once again Down Under in Cairns.

Our British girls

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WC_Lourdes_2016_82A2600

You can’t get more dominant than a 1-2-3 finish and that’s exactly what the Brit girls pulled off this weekend in Lourdes. No other country had a look-in as Rachel Atherton, Tahnee Seagrave and Manon Carpenter locked out the top spots in qualifying and the finals.

Sure, we loved God Save the Queen ringing out on French soil but maybe even more glorious was Rachel being so stoked on winning she dropped a cheeky f-bomb during her interview.

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WC_Lourdes_2016_82A2099

Glorious Mud

There’s no leveller in mountain biking quite like a bit of rain. It’s only when the elements come into play that you start to see who the real bike handlers are.

By the time the race runs came around, most of the mud was gone but it was great to see some properly sloppy conditions to challenge the riders throughout the weekend. The trickiest section was The Wall rock garden with a slippery surface that just proved too much to handle for some riders but made for this awesome video.

Youth in revolt

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DSC_3972

The Junior category has always been easy to ignore but it seems there’s a couple of first year riders who are going to make sure you notice them this season.

First up is Finn Iles who has the dubious honour of being the only junior to have the pressure of a Red Bull helmet weighing on his shoulders. He showed the world he’s about more than just whips in Lourdes though as he stormed to the win.  Secondly is young Brit Matt Walker, part of the Madison set up who closely followed Iles into second place. We’re going to enjoy watching these two juke it out over the next two years on the junior circuit.

Eddie TV

In the biggest episode of brotherly beef since the Mitchells stalked Albert Square, Ed and Wyn Masters are sparring for supremacy in pits interviewing.

Lourdes was the first battle of the war and we think the bald Edded eagle drew first blood for his savage put-down: “I don't think your interviews are 60 places better than mine."