It was another beautiful bluebird day here in Canada’s Mont Sainte Anne, in fact, it was probably the best day of the week to ride a bicycle with zero chance of weather affecting the outcome of the race.
Early morning practice was the last chance riders had to fine tune any lines and search for precious milliseconds of savings, most riders clocked in 2-3 runs with a few stops along the way to see if certain features had deteriorated or just completely disappeared.
I’ll let the pictures tell the story of the day!
The view to the north at the top of the mountain. Mont Sainte Anne is at 47degrees North. If you flip it down under you’d find nothing but the ocean way south of Tasmania. So the Summer is pretty short here, short but sweet!
Young Talent indeed. Valentina Holl getting warmed up to smash the junior women’s field apart by over 45 seconds!
No time to stop for a snack for Vali Holl, today she would have placed 6th In the Elite Women category. At 16 years of age, we are seeing the rise of the next Anne Carro or Rachel Atherton!
Samantha Sorano getting in the right headspace before her run. She had an amazing run and cemented the 2nd place on the day behind Vali Holl.
A rough start to morning practice, Thibaut Diprela going outside the tape thanks to a persistent mud hole after Stevie Smith’s Drop.
Trek Team manager Dan Brown reliving some younger days… He’s still got it!
Wyn Masters is one of the sports great characters, he is damn talented on a bike too. 47th today.
Rachel Atherton getting caught up in traffic on her last practice run, not the most ideal way to prepare for a race.
Graeme Mudd on track today, he didn’t have the best run today but it was good to see him back between the tape at the World Cup.
Luca shaw sailing through his last practice run, leaving the Giant Factory boys in his wake.
Phil Atwill leading the Propane boys down for a practice lap. He would sneak into the top 20 today.
Connor Fearon through the rock garden, a steady run saw him finish in 15th place
Remi Thirion has been on the long road to recovery and it’s safe to say he’s getting back up to top form. A solid 14th place today and only 5 seconds off the podium.
Greg Minnaar is back!!!
Reece Wilson definitely had the most stylish finish to his race run today, another solid weekend and 18th today.
Pre-warmup nap for Thibaut Daprela. The current junior to beat, would he be able to claw back the time Kye A’Hern made on him in qualifying?
Paddi Butler on his way to a solid 4th place, just over a second off the podium.
Paddy Butler was all smiles after his run, I think it might have been something to do with a small wager between himself and NZs Sam Robbie, as you can see Paddi is a step higher…
Henry Kerr, dropping into 3rd place!
Henry Kerr was stoked to get up on that podium today.
Thibaut Daprela stormed down the mountain and was the fastest at every split, taking the hotseat with only one man left to race.
Absolutely spent at the end of his run Thibaut actually slid into the fence. Out of all the juniors it looked as if he was the man who left everything out on the track…
Kye A’Hern warming up for his race run.
Kye was on a pretty solid run that could have challenged for the win, but it all came undone at the very end of the long off-camber rock garden, crashing hard onto his elbow. He would bounce back up and the adrenaline took him down the rest of the track into 12th place.
Thibaut came over to check on Kye and immediately saw he was pretty banged up, he called over the medics who helped Kye down to First Aid. We hope you’re doing okay Kye!
Tracey Hannah warming up looking directly down at the race track.
Marine Cabirou looked so good on track all week it wasn’t a surprise to see her claim the 4th best time of the day. Mariana Salazar would take 5th place.
Unfortunately, Myriam Nicole had a small crash just after split one (where she was 3rd) and bent her seat which made it too difficult to ride down such a tough track. She’ll bounce back at the final round in La Bresse in her home country France.
Race run panshots are always a risk, haha. Check out how Tracey Hannah’s chain is all jammed up. She heard a loud thud around Stevie Smiths drop (about halfway down the track) and believes that’s where she lost the lower portion of her chain guide..
Detail of Traceys mechanical… Nasty.
Rachel was the next to start and it was clear she was on a mission going a full six seconds faster in the first minute of the track, she would continually build her advantage at every split and thanks to Tracey’s mechanical it would eventually blow out to over a twenty (yes 20) second gap! The crowd went ballistic when she crossed the line after one of the race runs of the year!
Race run story time with Tracey and Rachel, two current legends of our sport who we are lucky to have!
Tahnee Seagrave spent a lot of time this morning walking up and down the track analysing sections. Being the last person down the hill adds a fair amount of pressure and expectation.
When it was all said and done Tahnee had a great run, but it just wasn’t on the level of Rachel today. A comfortable 2nd place with Tracey Hannah in 4th.
The top 3 fastest bikes on the planet ridden by women!
Tracey spends some time signing autographs for people outside of the finishing corral, inspiring others to jump on a bike and send it down the mountainside!
To the winner go the spoils!!!
The gorgeous winning bike. Rachel Atherton’s Trek Session.
The top 3 today. Also the top 3 in the overall World Cup which is still to be decided in La Bresse, France.
Jack Moir had an awesome return to World Cup racing with a solid 11th place.
Canada’s best hope came crashing down in the La Tarzan. Finn Illes was in 4th place after the first two splits before a tree got in his way… 25th was the best he could salvage.
Deanos Machineos the Don cracking into the top 10! Nice!
What could have been! Greg Minnaar dropping into the finish area, after sitting in 8th at split 2 he would have a small crash which ended his chance of a podium, nevertheless in true Minnaar style he’d climb his way back up to 16th.
Gee Atherton had a stellar week here at Mont Sainte Anne, finishing in 8th place today he said he was stoked. He also helped team Trek take the team of the day award (and finished off the champagne).
Bulldog once again lived up to his name, although this time the tree didn’t move… Brook MacDonald was sitting in 5th before hitting a tree in the La Tarzan. La Bresse is calling his name for sure.
Angel Alonso Suarez made sure the YT team was well represented this weekend, he finished up in 9th place, team mate Neko Mullaly finished a respectable 21st.
Charlie Harrison’s run was epic. A slow-burning run saw him light it up after halfway to move up from mid-pack to take the hotseat. He would eventually finish in 7th place, his best result of the year!
Loris Vergier was the first rider to challenge Charlie’s time. He was back at split 1 but clawed his way down the mountain gaining significant time at every split before finishing 1.5 seconds up on Charlie’s time and into the lead with 6 riders to go.
Troy took Loris’s time and just blew it out of the water. Seeing that Loris took 1.5 seconds off Charlie Harrison’s time just one run earlier had everyone pretty amazed at Troy’s stellar run.
Luca Shaw dropping into the stadium, thousands of people cheered the riders all the way down the hill today, it’s always one of the busiest World Cups of the year. Luca Would end up just a second off the podium in 6th place.
Next to start was Amaury Pierron, remembering all he had to do was beat Loris Vergier to take the overall World Cup, seeing Loris had put in an awesome run it was not going to be easy. Amazingly Amaury was only 0.15 behind Loris at the last split and the crowd was going nuts for him. Amaury found another gear and soared down the last straight to finish just 0.17 ahead of Loris! You’re looking at the 2018 World Cup Champion!
Loic Bruni was the 2nd last man to start. At the first split he was 0.3 behind Troy but took the lead and held onto it at all the other split times down the mountain. He sailed across the line in front of Troy by only 0.3 of a second, he knew it was a good run and with only Danny Hart to go, all eyes turn to the big screen!
Danny Hart… I’m sure if it was wetter today he would have won, but alas he was back at every split and crossed the line in 3rd place, the elusive win with Madison Saracen is still to come!
The first to congratulate Loic on his win was long time friend Loris Vergier.
Troy Brosnan ponders just what he has to do to win a World Cup this year. It is the Australian champions best result this season but looking back at the splits you would think if the track was 100m longer Troy would have taken the win today.
It’s been a long time between drinks for the World Champ, injuring himself at round 1 of the 2018 World Cup he has steadily moved his way back to the top, I think it might be the start of something big!
There was a moment not too long after the race when Loic Bruni realised Amaury Pierron had won the overall World Cup (with one round still remaining). Their celebratory embrace was the stuff of legend, it was impossible not to have a massive smile on your face.
Everyone wanted to congratulate Loic on his win, even this doggo wanted a high-five.
All three Pierron brothers made the final today for the first time this season. Amaury placing 4th, Baptiste placing 28th and Antoine placing 30th.
The Intense boys relaxing after a good days work. 11th, 10th and 7th on the day. Be sure to watch out for these guys here in MSA next year for World Champs.
Snowing again at Mont Saint Anne… Your elite men podium.
Another World Cup in the history books!!! WHAT A WEEK IT HAS BEEN!!!
Thanks so much for following along, I hoped you enjoyed this exclusive look in between the tape at the 2018 Mont Sainte Anne World Cup. But for now, it’s time I got some sleep…
Words and photographs by Matt Rousu.