Okay so round three of the UCI world cup in Vallnord is over, and wow! One hell of race, the riders have been saying ‘It’s the best track ever’ ‘These are the sorts of tracks we should be racing on all the time’, all I can say is I hope we see more tracks like this on the world cup circuit.
Wednesday – Track walk
The track is one of the most difficult tracks we have on the world cup calendar, partly because it’s not a bike park track, but also because it’s super rough and steep all the way down, the track has a vertical drop of 700m, and it’s 2.5km long.
DirtTV take us down the track.
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Laurence does a similar thing, but in the form of photographs.
Thursday – Practice
Friday was the first day of practice and the Andorran monster claimed a couple of victims straight away.
DirtTV give us a glimpse of what the riders were looking like on course.
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Laurence was snapping away, giving us an insight into the track and how riders were feeling on it.
Friday – Qualifying
Qualifying caused a lot of excitement, with the legend that is Sam Hill surprising everyone by taking the hot seat from Greg Minnaar, by just .046 of a second, in terms of speed Sam Hill was averaging just .006 of a kilometre an hour faster than Greg.
Sam Hill taking the hot seat in qualifying wasn’t the only big news, Gee qualified 3rd, so the question was being asked, is someone going to beat Gee in the finals?! And stop the Atherton domination.
Brendan Fairclough qualified in 9th position and 5 seconds back, but it later emerged he rode the bottom section of the track with a puncture, suddenly this raised the question of ‘Is Brendog going to win his first world cup?’
Loic Bruni also put down a stormer of a run, he was in 4th position, and only 2.884 seconds back… oh yeah and he had a crash we lost him a pretty big chunk of time. Could the young French man take the win here at Andorra?
The excitement didn’t finish with the men’s race, the women’s caused just as much interest. Manon Carpenter came down the hill 3.5 seconds faster than Rachel Atherton; could Vallnord be the race to end the Atherton domination? And was Manon about to win her first ever World Cup?
DirtTV gold from qualifying.
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Laurence goes snap happy, and gives us another fantastic insight into the day’s events.
Saturday – Practice
Saturday was a bit of a quiet day, in terms of riding, it was a bit of a quiet day because of the XC race.
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Laurence opted to give us an insight into the life in the pits.
And the Parkins gave us a Slow-mo epic of the limited riding that there was on the Saturday.
The race itself was flipping exciting, nail biting until the very end, Gee Atherton’s winning streak has been halted, he finished in 2nd place and 1.35 seconds back. Gee is still the series leader, by 203 points.
Sam Hill was the man that everyone seemed to want to win, and unfortunately for him he came down the hill just .4 of a second behind Gee and in to 3rd place, fantastic result for Sam he’s back up kicking it with the top guys, but still not the result he really wanted.
And the biggest surprise of the whole weekend, the race was won by Remi Thirion. This was his first ever world cup podium, let alone his first ever win! He took the win from Gee Atherton by 1.35 seconds; this weekend was also the first time anyone had won a world cup on air suspension.
Interesting fact #467: The top three men won the race on aluminium bikes.
In the women’s race Manon couldn’t quite hold on to here winning time, she missed out by just 1.62 of a second to Rachel Atherton. Rachel’s win has allowed her to continue dominating this year’s world cup series.
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Here’s Laurence’s photo gallery from the finals.
And the biggy, DirtTV gold from the finals!
The series so far.
We are now mid-way through the race season, and as you may have guessed, Gee and Rachel Atherton are leading the series by a pretty healthy margin, and they’ll be able to get away with making the odd mistake and still be able to take the overall win.
Gee is currently winning the series by 203 points, and Rachel is leading by 205 points…weird eh? With these large leads they have a little bit of leeway, when it comes to the next couple of rounds, they can both come in second for the rest of the year, and definitely take the overall win. If they win the next two rounds they could decide not to race the final round and still take the overall win.
If Stevie Smith wants to take the overall he not only has to go faster than Gee at every round, he also has to rely on other people beating him too! If Gee and Rach can stay consistent for the rest of the year, they are sure to take the overall win.
Overall men’s standings.
Overall women’s standings.
The next round is over at Monte-Sainte-Anne, in a couple of weeks’ time. Who’s going to take the win there?