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Need for speed – Mont Sainte Anne 2016 track walk

Meet the fastest track of the year

It’s crunch time. Mont Sainte Anne is the penultimate round of the 2016 World Cup series and if you want to have any chance at engraving your name in an overall crown, this is your last chance to do so.

Photos: Seb Schiek

As it stands Gwinny and Rach go into this round looking untouchable but Mont Sainte Anne is a venerable track that’s thrown a lot of surprises our way in the past and, over four and a half minutes of racing, anything can happen.

Atherton needs to score just 126 points to secure her title (so a podium place will probably be enough) while Gwin needs to score fifty points more than Danny Hart and Troy Brosnan (who are separated by just three), so a win with a solid qualifier could well clinch it.

But what about the track? As you might expect, it’s classic Mont Sainte Anne. There a few new sections (most notably a 70kph straight and some man-made rock gardens), but you’re looking at an old-school, fast, rocky marathon which will batter bikes and forearms. The winner surely being the rider brave enough to stay off the brakes the longest.

Our man on the ground claims it’s the roughest he’s seen it with even more surface rocks appearing from last year. It’s also bone dry at the moment but with rain forecast, who knows what it will look like come Saturday.

Track walk was a day early because the race is on Saturday (19:30 British time) to make way for the XC on Sunday. Let’s take a look:

We're back for our one North American round of the year...
... But as the name suggests, Mont Sainte Anne is in the French bit
Caressed by the feet of many a legend, the Mont Sainte Anne podium is a highly desired spot
Does it get more iconic than this?
Translation: "The track of speed and rocks"
Bruni is back! It would be a lot to expect him to be up to speed straight away but then he's a man who constantly surprises
This picture may not look like much but there used to be a bus stop here that’s been taken out. It’s actually super steep and will be scarily fast
Minnaar has been racing here since 1998. He grabbed a win in 2008 but has also been second six times.
This road gap has been in for a few years now, but the awkward entry always makes it worth a look
Pompon had a storming comeback last time out,she'll be a threat again here
Team Pivot survey the new, man-made rock gardens
Leogang take note - this is how you integrate rocky features
There's root here too, but the grey stuff is stealing far more attention
Gwin hasn't won here since 2012. Surely he's a hot favorite for claiming back his crown
The Rampage Rock looms under the chairlift. If you have to take the chicken run you can consider your race over.
It's gained its nickname for a reason, this is properly gnarly at race pace
This tribute to Stevie Smith will be permanently fixed to Rampage Rock
Fearon grabbed his first podium of the year in Lenzerheide, he'll be hoping to back it up with number two here
The track is the roughest it's been in modern memory - it's going to be a tough weekend for riders and bikes
Into the unknown: it's time for Hart to prove Lenzerheide wasn't a fluke
The finish line jumps have proved tricky for the women in the past -let's hope the track runs dry so they can huck them on Saturday
Through here in under four and a half minutes and you won't be disappointed.

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