You can’t always believe what you read on the Internet. In the lead-up to the race this weekend in Lošinj, Croatia there was rampant speculation from all kinds of commentators on the track being too short, too flat, too rocky, too different. With a high speed top section followed by an intensely rocky and technical section where even the slightest error costs too much speed to be able to make back again, followed by an urban finish, this was definitely something different. Many riders caught out by the track, which turned out to have some intensely close racing owing to the track’s length and also its technicality.

Amongst the Aussie Men, Dean Lucas started off with the best time in Timed Training, coming 4th behind a rejuvenated Brook Macdonald in 1st and Sam Blenkinsop in 2nd. The track seemed to suit the Aussies and NZ, short, technical and requiring plenty of power, just like a lot of our tracks back home. Troy Brosnan took 7th in timed training, Jack Moir, 8th, also looking in with a chance with Connor Fearon in 13th.

There were some high-profile crashes in the leadup to Finals – Loic Bruni the reigining World Champ, coming unstuck in a corner near the top of the course, dislocating his elbow ruling him out before timed training. Mick Hannah crashing and injuring a finger, ruling him out also.


Kye A’Hern, racing in his first world cup after his signing to Canyon Factory Racing, put down great times in training, qualification and racing, finishing up with a 3rd place result in Junior Men. A great start to the season for the Queanbeyan pinner!

Kye A’Hern. Pic Yasmeen Green

Elite Female

The Elite Female category was hotly contested, due to UCI rule changes there were a smaller number of qualification spots. Rachel Atherton was back, seemingly over her injury issues of 2017, but the time away in 2017 has allowed Myriam Nicole to dominate along with the extra opportunity given to Tahnee Seagrave, Tracey Hannah and the other women. Cecile Ravanel, EWS champ, was racing in her 2nd World Cup race, the rocky technical track would probably seem right at home for an EWS racer.

Tahnee Seagrave, showing she is not to be underestimated, a solid performance along with her bigger and better team this year. 3rd place. Pic Bartek Wolinski / Red Bull Content Pool
Rachel Atherton, a blistering return to form after injury woes knocked her 2017 right round. 2nd place. Pic Bartek Wolinski / Red Bull Content Pool
Myriam Nicole, 2017 series winner, a smooth and technically almost perfect run aboard the Commencal for the win. Pic Bartek Wolinski / Red Bull Content Pool
Myriam Nicole. Pic Bartek Wolinski / Red Bull Content Pool

Unfortunately for Australia’s Tracey Hannah, she slid out in a right-hand corner around half-way down the course, pushing her back to 14th place.

Elite Women’s results:

5. Cecile Ravanel 2:48.416
4. Marine Cabirou 2:44.484
3. Tahnee Seagrave 2:45.935
2. Rachel Atherton 2:44.265
1. Myriam Nicole 2:40.706

Elite Men

With a track such as this, amongst practice and timed training it was clear that times would be very close indeed, with fractions of seconds separating the riders. But Brook Macdonald put seconds into the field in his qualification and timed training runs and would be the one to beat in finals. Owing to rule changes at the UCI, Brook would not come down the hill last though, those honours given to Aaron Gwin.

As racing rolled on, the famous rocks were getting dustier and slippery with rubber from competitor’s tyres, making things dicey in some parts especially some of the corners in the upper sections and the Pinball section, a long rock-lined alley rock garden section.

Finn Iles, stepping it up to Elite this year. Pic Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool
Connor Fearon. Showing how close the times were, only 8 seconds behind the winning time and coming in 27th. Pic Yasmeen Green
Troy Brosnan. The short technical track suiting his skills, still in the top 10 with a 9th place at 2:22.404. Pic Yasmeen Green
Dakotah Norton, the US ex-privateer now on Unior Devinci Factory Racing, taking his 29er Wilson for a near-perfect run in finals, that would see him on the hotseat for a huge amount of time, eventually taking 5th place. Pic Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool
Brook Macdonald. Fastest time in Timed Training and qualification, his fast Finals run cut short with a huge over the bars. Pic Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool
Gathering his thoughts and lamenting what could have been without the crash. Pic Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool
At least he got back on the bike and rolled down the course, much to the enjoyment of the fans. Pic Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool
Amaury Pierron , on an absolute heater, running faster on the split times until the lower section of the course where a flat tyre slowed him right down. Both him and Greg Minnaar suffered from flat tyres when they were running faster on the splits, showing the course could be brutal to tyres. Pic Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool
Jack Moir came down on a clean and fast run, putting him into 2nd place when he reached the bottom, but in the end getting pushed down to 6th place and narrowly missing the podium. Pic Yasmeen Green
Sam Blenkinsop, the short technical track suiting almost perfectly his riding style (even if the idea of not wearing gloves on this track is somewhat fear-inducing), back on a WC podium at last with a 4th place. Pic Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool
Dean Lucas, what a performance throughout this weekend. 3rd place. Pic  Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool
Luca Shaw. The Syndicate rider smashing out a 2nd place. Pic Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool
But without any mechanicals, flat tyres or anything out of the ordinary, Gwin was just too perfect, laying down a technically excellent and fast run to take the top spot and get the first points of the season under his belt.


5. Dakotah Norton 2:21.821
4. Sam Blenkinsop 2:21.107
3. Dean Lucas 2:20.328
2. Luca Shaw 2:19.991
1. Aaron Gwin 2:19.193

Sam Blenkinsop, Luca Shaw, Aaron Gwin, Lucas Dean, Dakotah Norton on the Elite Men’s podium. Pic Bartek Wolinski / Red Bull Content Pool.
Marine Cabirou, Rachel Atherton, Myriam Nicole, Tahnee Seagrave, Cecile Ravanel on the Elite Women’s podium. Pic Bartek Wolinski / Red Bull Content Pool.
That’s it for Lošinj! Pic Bartek Wolinski / Red Bull Content Pool.

Next up on the circuit is Fort William at the start of June!

Full results here:

Replay the action on Redbull TV:

Photos: Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull & Yasmeen Green