25 years on and the puzzle of Mont Sainte Anne still baffles the best racers in the world. It’s a brute’s track requiring an immense physical effort to overcome a four minute pummelling.
The race used to be a Sam Hill stomping ground but nobody is yet to step up and take on his mantle as the King of Quebec. We’ve had a different winner at Mont Sainte Anne every year since 2012 (Gwin, Hart, Bryceland, Hill, Smith) making this one of the hardest races to predict this year. Last year’s wash out doesn’t give us much to go on either with Finn Iles claiming the fastest time of the day from the junior ranks.
1st - Amaury Pierron
With Gwin still rumoured to be out injured and Minnaar on his road back to recovery, I think it will be one of the young guns to step up and become the sixth unique winner in as many years so I’m backing Pierron to take the win and the overall.
The most similar track to Mont Sainte Anne this year has been Fort William, where Pierron took his maiden win. We also know that Commencal absolutely trucks in a straight line and they don’t get much straighter or longer than in Quebec.
2nd - Loic Bruni
French riders are on a charge at the moment and Loic Bruni is no exception. Bruni hasn’t had the luck this year but we know when it comes together he’s right on the money. Bruni hasn’t been off the podium in Canada since 2014 and I see no sign of that stopping in 2018.
3rd - Luca Shaw
Both the Syndicate newbies have found their feet in 2018 and really Luca or Loris could go here. I’ve gone with Luca because he’s historically done well here and picked up his breakthrough, maiden podium here in 2016. He also qualified super-well last year before the rains came. All Luca needs to do is pull a full run together and he’ll be right up at the top.
1st - Rachel Atherton
There may not be a King of Mont Sainte Anne but there’s definitely a Queen. Rachel Atherton has accrued five wins in her career in Quebec and I have no doubt she’ll add a sixth this weekend. She’s still a fair way ahead in the overall so can afford to throw caution to the wind and hunt down that win.
2nd - Tahnee Seagrave
Tahnee’s hot streak in Europe was a true showing of the unqestionable pace she’s been nurturing since she stepped onto the race scene but I don’t think she’ll be able to pip Rach in Quebec.
3rd - Myriam Nicole
Myriam is making her return to World Cup racing this weekend and will be keen to make up for lost time. She had a blistering start to the year but unfortunately an injury put her out of contention for the overall. She has nothing to lose and plenty to prove, making her the danger woman for this weekend.
1st - Vergier
We've seen in the past how securing that first victory can be a springboard for further success. Pierron's win in Fort William projected him to three in a row and it’s not so long since Danny Hart took four back to back. Vergier’s been showing glimpses of what he’s capable of for the past few seasons and, aboard that V10, we may be looking at the next French serial-winner. Smooth, controlled and rapid; a recipe for success at Mont Saint Anne.
2nd - Pierron
Pierron has been almost infallible this season, raising the bar every round. He’s also shown how well-rounded a rider he is by winning on three completely different tracks and backing that up with a 2nd in Vallnord. Piloting the fastest bike on the market, if Vergier doesn’t pull something spectacular out of the bag you can’t look much further than Pierron.
3rd - Bruni
By his own high standards, Bruni has had a season to forget. Injured during practice in the opening round; it’s been a tale of what-ifs for the World Champ. Despite all of this, he’s not lost any of his pace. We had a brief reminder of what he’s capable of in Val di Sole before he binned it and an 8th place finish in Vallnord while injured was a warning shot. If he can keep his bike rubber-side down you’d be bold to bet against him.
1st - Tahnee Seagrave
Last year’s winner, Tahnee is having quite the season. Three wins already along with a third at the opening round in Losinj, if it wasn’t for a DQ in Leogang you feel that she’d be firmly in contention for that overall. As it is, she trails Rachel, but there’s not much in it and she seems to be growing stronger with every race. It’ll be tight, but I fancy Tahnee to take it.
2nd - Rachel Atherton
It’s been a mixed bag for Rachel for this season, at times she’s been utterly dominant, but she’s also struggled with consistency. Currently leading the overall, she’ll have to fend off an in-form Tahnee if she wants to remain there, though she’s more than capable.
3rd - Myriam Nicole
Before her injury in Val di Sole, it was Myriam taking charge of the overall. Ever consistent, her first in round 1 coupled with 2 second places had her sitting 10 points clear of Rachel. As with any injury, it’s unlikely that Myriam will pick up where she left off immediately, but with her in contention again it’s going to be a nail-biting end to the season.