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: