Rachel and Kade podium with 5th and Gee and Muddy ride awesome runs in wet conditions for 17th and 40th place.
Mont St Anne is a World Cup classic, it’s long, brutal and this year it’s more rocky than it has ever been before. Rain in the last few days had left the course pretty slippery but all eyes were to the skies as thunderstorms rolled into Mont St Anne today with 100% likelihood of rain forecast – when would the storm hit and who would suffer the consequences?
First up as ever were the Juniors – and it stayed dry for them! Finn Iles had qualified down in ninth so perhaps unsurprisingly he was in the hot seat with Joe Breeden in 2nd and Nikolas Nesteroff in third when fourth qualifier Kade came on track. What could our rising star bring to today’s race?
Kade didn’t have a confident start, 4 seconds back by the first split but that was to be the least if it, a mistake in the woods saw him with his hands off the bars losing more valuable time and near the bottom he smashed hard into a rock partially detaching a pedal and rendering it useless for the rest of the run.
Kade’s good friend Kaos Seagrave had qualified in third but was way back in15th today, Sylvian Cougoureux slotted into 2nd pushing Kade back into 5th and then only first place qualifier Matt Walker was left on track. Trouble in the bottom section (rumours of a puncture) ended Walker’s weekend and Kade’s 5th stood.
In the Women’s race 6th place qualifier Emilie Siegenthaler roared into the hotseat by 12 seconds just before the top 5 came on course, then the action got pretty wild! Marine Cabirou had trouble and was way off the pace then 4th qualifier Tahnee Seagrave was on track. Tahnee attacked all the way holding nothing back and it paid huge dividends, into the hotseat 12.75 seconds clear of Siegenthaler. Could Rachel match her?
Rachel started more steadily than usual she was slightly down by split 1, 2.5 down by split 2, but then disaster struck – she got completely sideways in the rocks and it was nothing short of a miracle that she managed to hold on and stay within the tapes as she veered to the side of the course, 6.1 back by split 3 she had a few more sketchy moments to go 9.5 down on Seagrave by split 4. She crossed crossed into 3rd place.
Tracey Hannah had a good fast run, but a flat right at the end of the course probably stole her 2nd her place from her, and then only Pompon was left on the hill. Myriam didn’t have a great start, she lost her pedals out of the start hut but she composed herself and put together another great run – enough for 2nd place today.
Rachel said “Congratulations to Tahnee and to Pompon, Tracey and Emilie, it’s been a wild weekend. Only physio Fi Lundie’s sterling work enabled me to hold on out there today!”
In the Men’s race Gee had qualified 31st still nursing that hip, he put together another solid run despite slippery conditions to finish in 4.24.77 – just 8 seconds off his dry qualifying run and eventually good enough for 17th place..
Muddy had qualified in 13th and was super-excited that at last he felt he was finding his flow, but shortly before his Finals run the storm arrived in earnest and looked likely to put paid to the entire top 20s chances. Muddy was one of the first to ride the storm and the driving rain put paid to his quest for a top ten here, he rode with the confidence of a successful week’s riding behind him but he crossed in 4.29.83 (18 seconds back on his qualifying time) enough for .40th today. Muddy said “ That was the wildest run of my life! I’m extremely happy with how I approached this weekend, I was calm, relaxed and shredding! Pity Mother Nature had other ideas for me! Crazy this is my best result of the season though!”
Riders continued to struggle through the storm until Jack Moir crossed into second and Suddenly crowd and riders began to think that it wasn’t all over! 4th qualifier, Brit Danny Hart looked very close to “doing the impossible” in the terrible conditions, he was up by 0.2 at split 1, lost a little I the mid sections but was up again by split 4 , the crowd went wild as he crossed into 2nd by just 0.3 seconds, a truly spectacular run with water spraying all the way!
3rd qualifier Greg Minaar was 20 seconds off the pace by split 2 but Loic Bruni was amazing, in the green by split 2, back 0.6 by split 3 and not looking like he was slipping at all – less than a second off by split 4 he crossed into 3rd.
But then Aaron Gwin was on course and he was in the green the entire way – in a run that will surely go into the history books he crossed into first by a whole second! Gee 17th and Muddy 40th.
1 Finn Iles Specialized Gravity 4.18.14
2 Sylvain Cougoureux Les Gets Intense team 4.19.77 +
3 Joe Breeden Intense Racing UK 4.22.59
4 Nikolas Nesteroff Intense Factory Racing 4.25.95
5 Kade Edwards Trek Factory Racing DH 4.27.47
1 Tahnee Seagrave Transition Bikes/FMD Factory Racing 4.46.72
2 Myriam Nicole Commencal/Vallnord 4.52.46
3 Tracey Hannah Polygon UR 4.58.77
4 Emilie Siegenthaler Pivot Factory Racing 4.59.47
5 Rachel Atherton Trek Factory Racing DH 4.59.54
1Aaron Gwin The YT Mob 4.18.42
2 Dean Lucas Intense Factory Racing 4.19.48 + 1.05
3 Danny Hart MS Mondraker Team 4.19.84 + 1.42
4 Loic Bruni Specialised Gravity 4.21.68 + 3.25
5 Mike Jones Chain Reaction Cycles/Mavic 4.21.85 + 3.43
17 Gee Atherton Trek Factory Racing DH 4.24.77 + 6.35
40 Graeme Mudd Trek Factory Racing DH 4.29.83 + 11.40
Sven Martin pics