Results from Vallnord World Champs 2015.
Marine Cabirou takes the win! She demolished seeding by 35 seconds, and while her finals run wasn’t as dominant, she takes the first World Champion’s title of the day for France. And to think that only a couple of months ago she was lying in the dirt of Lenzerheide with a broken back. A phenomenal return for Cabirou and she once again proves that she is one to watch for the future of women’s downhill racing. Viktoria Gimenez (France) and Lilla Megyaszai (Hungary) round out the top three, exactly as in the seeding results.
1: Marine Cabirou
2: Viktoria Gimenez
3: Lilla Megyaszai
Greenland does it! Britain’s Laurie Greenland just wrapped up an unbelievable final season in Junior by adding the World Champion’s stripes to his collection – he of course won the World Cup series too. Belgium’s Martin Maes gave him a run for his money though, the enduro specialist smoking the top flatter section of track and beating Greenland’s Split 1 time by over a second. Maes’ advantage was torn to pieces in the lower sections though, where Greenland came into his element in the steeps to cross the line over three seconds clear. Australia’s Jackson Frew puts in a superb season ender to round out the top three.
1: Laurie Greenland
2: Martin Maes
3: Jackson Frew
Carnage! They were falling left, right and centre as riders battled the challenging conditions and put in 110% in order to try and close the huge gap that Rachel Atherton put into the field in timed runs on Saturday. But as we moved through the ranks the times started to hot up and riders mostly stayed upright, bar an unfortunate Myriam Nicole who crashed out in the upper section, twisting her seat in the process and writing off her hopes of a World Championship win. Tahnée Seagrave also went down and tumbled down the hill, having to scramble back up to join the course. Morgane Charre was once again strong in the lower sections, moving from 10th at the first split to fourth by the finish line. Tracey Hannah was consistently fast and moved from fifth at Split 1 to third at the line.
And then it was a battle of the Brits. Manon Carpenter, riding full spike tyres, put seven seconds into the competition with only one rider to go. Rachel Atherton left the start hut confident from her 20-second destruction of the timed training, and at Split 1 her speed was evident as she took four seconds off Carpenter’s time. That moved to five at Split 2, but in the lower steep and rutted sections of the course Carpenter had ridden strong, and Atherton lost two seconds. It was still easily enough to take the win though, and Atherton walked away with a clear three-second victory.
1: Rachel Atherton
2: Manon Carpenter
3: Tracey Hannah
Bruni shakes the curse of second place and rides an inspired finals run to snatch the World Championships!
After a week of wholly unpredictable weather patterns and constantly changing ground conditions no one was able to confidently call who was going to win the Men’s here in Vallnord. And even if they’d been thinking Loic Bruni had it in the bag, not a single person would say it for fear of cursing the man who has finished runner up or suffered unfortunate mechanicals innumerable times now. But Bruni has one of the best temperaments of them all, and his bad luck has never put him off the hunt for that elusive win. Today it came in the form of the biggest of them all.
Following an astounding run by Greg Minnaar which put the South African comfortably in the hot seat, Bruni had all the pressure in the world on his shoulders. But he performed faultlessly and snuck in front of Minnaar with only two riders to go. The first of those was Troy Brosnan, but the Aussie was down on Bruni’s time at both splits before crashing out. He still finished a highly respectable sixth after scrambling to his feet.
That left one man – the most dangerous of them all. Aaron Gwin has dominated the downhill scene in 2015, his four World Cup wins and series title testament to his immense skills. But there’s just something about World Champs that doesn’t work for Gwin. The American was fifth at Split 1 before crashing out and taking a long time to get back up the steep hill and to his feet. By this point – Gwin clearly uninjured – the finish arena was already exploding.
There is not a single competitor – even Minnaar who came so close to his fourth World Champion’s title – who wasn’t celebrating for Bruni. The Unfortunate Frenchman no more. His name’s Loic Bruni and you can call him Champion of the World.
1: Loic Bruni
2: Greg Minnaar
3: Josh Bryceland