The downhill boys head to Andorra as the 2013 UCI Downhill World Cup season continues. The ski area at Vallnord offers a particularly dynamic and demanding track, with a mix of tight sections that require a of pedaling, technical terrain, and some remarkably steep flat-out runs. Though it’s already late July, this is only third round, and the crew is visibly anxious to get back into racing rhythm.
All three riders (Mitch Ropelato, Troy Brosnan, and Aaron Gwin) safely found their way down the track, with two of them placing in the top ten. Though satisfied with the progress, each rider is clearly hungry for better results.
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Remi Thirion the man everyone suspected but no one wanted to back. Thirion has that all out speed, that on the edge look on a bike, that can mean one of two things when it comes to race runs and that is he will either crash in magnificent style or come away with one amazing win. Today it was the latter.
Whilst Steve Smith made early proclamations that he would be easily knocked from the hot seat, the assault took a long time to come. Perhaps it was the large break in racing due to a rather heavy crash from Cam Cole who had to be airlifted out or perhaps it was course deterioration. Rider after rider came increasingly close as the race entered the top ten and it looked as if it would be Sam Hills day, for many.
After seeding in fifth Remi Thirion took off out of the start gate and completed a run that was not only the fastest time on the clock but the most visually dominate of the day so far. Straight lining where possible, staying out of the ruts and generally slaying to ride into the hot seat. …View More
A strong start and some rapid climbing saw the usual suspects of Schurter, Fluckiger and regular top tenner Giger making their way through the first split in the top three. It was not to last for Schurter as a front flat soon after had him diving through the positions.
By the end of lap one a group of ten riders had broken away including Fluckiger, Giger and previous round performers Mantecon and Fontana with a second group behind in the chase. Certain similarities were beginning to appear with the first round, Schurter down the order and Julien Absalon with a shaky start, not yet out, but franticly fighting his way through the field.
By mid race Cink had control but it looked to be fast running out with Schurter having recovered from the wheel change, twenty eight seconds on the charge behind with Giger and a handful of others. Steady winds made riding outside of a group difficult but with flat tires common place, it was quite regular to see a rider out on their own and falling behind. …View one killer gallery
Five weeks of home time and continued focus before flying over to Andorra appears to have done the man that is forever ‘on the hunt’ a world of good. Sam Hill flies into the top seeding spot by the skin of his teeth with just 0.046 separating himself and Greg Minnar. World Cup leader Gee Atherton lies little more than a second behind them showing times are incredibly tight in the upper echelons. Big surprises are in fourth and fifth with Loic Bruni and Remi Thirion looking to break into the top five.
Major congratulations has to go to Dave McMillan who cracked into the top 80 with a 74th on a conservative run. That position is only set to go higher when he unleashes in the finals.
In the Womens Manon Carpenter put a clear three plus seconds into series and race winner of every round so far Rachel Atherton. Could there be a upset for the queen of downhill? Emmeline Ragot took third, five seconds back whilst Morganne Charre in fourth blew out to seventeen seconds. It appears to be a race entirely within the top three. …View More
Those five weeks have flown by and it’s World Cup time again, round three for the XCO and round four for the DH. The Andorran Hills are alive with bike chatter and downhill practice was in full swing today. Tim Bardsley – Smith was there to capture it all, check the gallery after the jump …View More