Fort William 2013: MacLennan Photo Epic

Jun 11, 2013
by Alasdair MacLennan  
 
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 2013 World Cup - Fort William Copyright Ian MacLennan 2013
  Josh Bryceland has swapped to clips this year after dabbling between flats and clips throughout the event in 2012. That doesn't stop a little style and flair coming into play though, and the loose and dusty corners of the top always make for some great shots while riders experiment and have fun early on in the weekend. Here it's Friday but just 48hrs later there would be a more serious head on in an attempt to make up for the puncture in qualifying. Josh does go well at Fort William, there's no denying it, but with a bunch of riders seemingly on form and all ready to fight for victory it was always going to be a tough day at the office. However, that all said, ninth is a great start to the season and only one place behind the ever dependable Minnaar.

 2013 World Cup - Fort William Copyright Ian MacLennan 2013
  Gee Atherton may not have won any World Cups in 2012 but with a new (albeit ageing) bike, and Gwin on a charge, that's perhaps not surprising. What he did show though was the consistency that won him a world title. With a new bike designed with better geometry, sizing more suited to the Athertons, and with one clear purpose in mind, the writing was already on the wall for a win before the season was out. What was more surprising though was the domination that Gee meted out on the rest of the field, sitting well over a second clear of the competition.

 2013 World Cup - Fort William Copyright Ian MacLennan 2013
  Micayla Gatto takes a seat on the sidelines during practice on Friday. The Canadian is racing with support from Commencal this year and should be on for some top ten results if she keeps it together on the day. Ninth at the first and second splits looked like a top ten was a done deal but problems lower down unfortunately dropped her down the order to twelfth by the time she crossed the line. Val di Sole beckons though, and another weekend is another chance.

 2013 World Cup - Fort William Copyright Ian MacLennan 2013
  We mentioned it already in one of our results articles but for the avoidance of doubt, let's repeat it here; the new for 2013 standalone Junior category is a great thing. It allows the Juniors to stand out from the rest of the field, gaining experience and speed without the pressure of qualifying against the Elite men. Make no mistake, these Juniors are all ridiculously quick already, but sometimes that's forgotten with all the glitz surrounding the already proven big names. Australian Dean Lucas here fills the sensor on one of the upper corners on his way to third place in the fresh category.

 2013 World Cup - Fort William Copyright Ian MacLennan 2013
  He may have forgotten his gloves for the finals but Greg Williamson was a man on fire. He put in a stormer here in 2012, taking his best ever result of 17th. But one year on, and a freshly inked TWR deal, things only got better. Smooth and stylish, he has been creeping up the results for the past few years, building both speed and consistency while under the wing of 23 Degrees Management. He admitted after his run that the lack of gloves hadn't really bothered him until the compressions on the bottom jumps when his hands started slipping but even that didn't detract from his storming run. After sitting in the hotseat for a long time an eventual tenth place is an amazing result for the young Scotsman, and a great way to celebrate his 21st birthday weekend.

 2013 World Cup - Fort William Copyright Ian MacLennan 2013
  Jared Graves never seems to make a bad image. The sunshine all weekend meant many riders were rocking iridium lenses. Scotland, sunshine and glitz; what more can anyone ask for? Struggling as ever on the long track with arm pump, 45th in qualifying was solid on the dusty track after a mistake up top robbed him of some time. Showing some of his legendary 4x skill (he was so close to winning the World Champs here in 2007), 9th to the split in the final was a stunning display of skill. Sadly the rest of the run couldn't quite live up to that early pace and he slipped back to 37th, still a more than respectable result in an ultra-competitive field.

 2013 World Cup - Fort William Copyright Ian MacLennan 2013
  It's difficult to pinpoint why Aaron Gwin, the dominating force of the past few years, wasn't showing his best in Scotland. Was it the bike, an injury being kept quiet, or something else? The magnitude of decline is such that not only was his several second winning margins gone, Sunday showed a near nine second deficit to Gee. It doesn't seem that it was one big event in his run which caused this either. Truth told he was off the boil all weekend if you scrutinize the results from timed training and qualifying in conjunction with those from the finals. It's far from the ideal start to the season for the American and, whatever the reason for the dip in performance, time is short to find a resolution given the compressed nature of this season. A win or at the very least a podium is therefore a must in Val di Sole if he's to silence the doubters and critics, and set about some damage limitation to his season. We don't believe that he's forgotten how to ride a bike so it will certainly be interesting to see what happens in Italy in just a few days time.

 2013 World Cup - Fort William Copyright Ian MacLennan 2013
  Casey Brown is one of a growing number of Canadian women ripping up the World Cups. Good splits in qualifying and practice came to an end somewhere in the mid-section of the brutal course come Sunday though and the Dirt/Norco rider was left wondering what might have been. The slopes of Aonach Mhor take no prisoners, and don't differentiate between big names and those dreaming of making it there. Solace can be found for Casey in hitting the first split in fourth place, proving that with a little luck great results could be just around the corner.

 2013 World Cup - Fort William Copyright Ian MacLennan 2013
  Emilie Siegenthaler had a 'mare in qualifying for the Gstaad-Scott team, having hit the first split well, bad luck intervened and 32nd would have left her sitting on the sidelines were she not a protected rider. Sunday is a different day though, and a consistent run to seventh was a solid and dependable result for the Swiss girl.

 2013 World Cup - Fort William Copyright Ian MacLennan 2013
  Always a track the Scots shine on, Fraser McGlone certainly counts as local given he lives just half an hour away. But at this level you need more than just local knowledge to get results and Fraser is another rider who has been quietly plugging away. Last year he finally stepped away from the shadow of the GB jersey and stood on his own feet at a World Level. 50th in qualifying followed by 47th in the final was a consistent and solid result for the nineteen year old.

 2013 World Cup - Fort William Copyright Ian MacLennan 2013
  Manon Carpenter opened her 2012 season with a 2nd in Pietermaritzburg and followed up 2013 with another here. A winter of training and racing full time has got to help your preparation going into a busy season and this podium gets her off to a flying start. She may not have had quite the pace to match Rachel on the day but you can be sure that the Welsh ripper will be fired up and ready to fight for more podiums this year with her Saracen as one of the most technically gifted girls on the circuit.

 2013 World Cup - Fort William Copyright Ian MacLennan 2013
  What can be said about Rachel that hasn't already been said? The only Atherton not to carry the Y-chromosome, you wouldn't always tell that to look at her riding and again it proved this weekend. A clean sweep of both qualifying and the final, her winning margin on Sunday was epic and certainly showed the rest of the field what they will be up against for the rest of the season.

2013 World Cup - Fort William Copyright Ian MacLennan 2013
  Lapierre's Emmeline Ragot has been a force to be reckoned with for a long time. Another race, another podium; third this time round.

 2013 World Cup - Fort William Copyright Ian MacLennan 2013
  Going into the weekend Steve Smith was the rider who last had the upper hand, having won the final of the 2012 season in Hafjell some eight months previously. But things never stand still in the world of downhill and it was anyone's guess as to whether or not it would be repeatable at the season opener. He's quick, that is absolutely not in question, and he's consistent too, but ultimately he had to settle for third behind a storming Gee and an equally storming Brook Macdonald aboard what appears to be a very fast bike in the Trek Session.

 2013 World Cup - Fort William Copyright Ian MacLennan 2013
  Devastating doesn't even begin to cover Harry Heath's weekend. After qualifying as fastest privateer in eleventh spot on Saturday with a convincing performance, there were more riders and supporters cheering his name and wishing him well than ever before. Sunday rolled around as ever, and as he set out from the gate hearts were in mouths; everyone wanted to see him get a blinding result to kick start his season. The first split was great, and coming into the second over the Hazzard Hoofer he was dead on the money of the times the top boys were putting in. But, as has happened so many times before on Aonach Mhor, some loose gravel on the exit of a corner and down he went. The crash easily cost him the thick end of ten seconds as it happened going into one of the fastest sections, the motorway, where every percent counts. Looking at the stats a top fifteen was a guarantee, or maybe even a top ten. If you'd said to him that he'd be 46th at the start of the weekend he would probably have nodded and thought 'not bad', instead he heads to Val di Sole with his head in his hands wondering what went wrong. That he's running as a privateer is a crime, someone needs to pick him up, and give him the support at races his riding ability deserves. Keep an eye on this one, chances are there'll be some more results to make you sit up and take notice this year.

 2013 World Cup - Fort William Copyright Ian MacLennan 2013
  A change to the 'protected' rider rule for 2013 means that no longer is it the top 20 riders in the series, but the top 20 riders in the UCI rankings who gain the coveted status. It's a get out of jail card for when the worst happens, and allows for the majority of top riders to be guaranteed a spot in Sunday's race should a crash or puncture otherwise take them out of the running. Nick Beer is usually fairly high up in the overall rankings but not this year, and a puncture in qualifying cruelly took away any chance of a result on Sunday. It has a knock on effect for following races too, with riders having to balance speed with caution more than they would like to ensure they don't have another DNS in the season.

2013 World Cup - Fort William Copyright Ian MacLennan 2013
  Peaty is the man who never stops. The ultimate ambassador for the sport, his professional career spans more than two decades and as the most winning rider to have raced in the sport, he is a firm favorite with fans. He may be unlikely to stand on the top step of the podium again at a World Cup but that doesn't dampen fans' enthusiasm for the Englishman.

 2013 World Cup - Fort William Copyright Ian MacLennan 2013
  Three hundred and seventy two days after entering his last World Cup, and ten years since winning the 2003 race here in Fort William, the fast and stylish Frenchman is back. Having been on a roll with results most had long since discounted him from achieving, Val di Sole last year brought that run crashing to a halt. The seriousness of the broken pelvis almost led to more than just the end of his career but the fighting spirit lived to fight another day. It was incredible to see him busting the style out again as if he'd never been away. 65th perhaps didn't set the world on fire but when you've come back from the brink, any result must feel pretty special.

2013 World Cup - Fort William Copyright Ian MacLennan 2013
  Like Gracia, Tracey Hannah suffered a pretty horrific crash last year, breaking her femur in August. But the fighting spirit lives on and she rode hard, despite struggling to set a competitive time in split one through both qualifying and the final. The rest of the run was damage limitation and ninth is no bad place to be heading into round two, with several technical tracks coming up that will suit the Australian well.

 2013 World Cup - Fort William Copyright Ian MacLennan 2013
  Greg Minnaar is usually a safe bet for a podium in Scotland but it wasn't to be this year after a mistake before the first split left him languishing in 21st place. He pulled it back from the brink, but eighth overall will be a disappointment for a rider used to so much more.

2013 World Cup - Fort William Copyright Ian MacLennan 2013
  Knocking yourself out on a Friday is never the ultimate start to the weekend yet Holly Feniak did just that. It was amazing to see her carrying on riding after that, let alone making it through qualifying to Sunday.

 2013 World Cup - Fort William Copyright Ian MacLennan 2013
  So many riders seemed unable to fulfill promise on the day. After a string of second place results it's only a matter of time before Danny Hart makes the extra jump to the top step, adding a World Cup trophy to the World Championship medal already hanging on his wall. Going into Sunday having won qualifying would definitely have been a confidence boost, and didn't seem to apply any pressure that he wasn't already dealing with, but unfortunately 2nd at the first split dropped to 4th by the second, finishing up in 7th, just one place behind Sam Hill.

 2013 World Cup - Fort William Copyright Ian MacLennan 2013
  When this photo was taken on Friday who could have thought that it would be an accurate representation of the weekend for the Specialized team mates? Troy has been on the team for a few years now, learning from the tactical and talented Sam Hill. This year sees Sam replaced by Gwin, and while still early days, it so far sees Troy taking the upper hand. It's unlikely to stay that way once Gwin's back on form but twelfth for Troy is a great result, as is taking the status of being equal fastest through the speed trap.

 2013 World Cup - Fort William Copyright Ian MacLennan 2013
  Blindingly bright kit, great style and plenty of speed; Scott Mears spends a lot of time on a motocross bike and it shows. Mears is one of the lads you love to see do well. He is one of the lads, and the privateer is always a great character to have on the circuit. Running a bike shop day to day means he puts plenty back into the sport and if anyone deserves to have a great year it's the Englishman. 39th in qualifying was followed by 56th in the final after a crash in the rocks but with luck, Val di Sole will see an upturn and a real representation of his abilities.

2013 World Cup - Fort William Copyright Ian MacLennan 2013
  No rider wants to crash at Fort William, and definitely not when you're going for gold in a race run. Loic Bruni was utterly sublime all weekend, and certainly not looking like a first year senior. Seventh place in qualifying would have been a great result to replicate come Sunday but this crash up top made that task impossible. Damage limitation pulled him back to 26th but looking at the splits a top ten could have been so easily on the cards.

More images from Ian MacLennan are available in the album here.

95 Comments

  • + 75
 "aaron....heres what corporate would like you to do.......we need to sell more 29ers......and put the argument to rest for good....corporate wants you to go to Ft. W. and throw it....qualify, but throw the race.... Make them question EVERYTHING!.....

Then, in ValD, come out swinging on a 29er.....and SMOKE the competition...."

"Ok! where do i sign!"
  • - 7
 " Then, in ValD, come out swinging on a 29er" Bahahahahahah!!!!
Now that's sarcasm for ya! Well done!

Agree, great photo's.
  • + 7
 I would love to read "I told you so" next week from you, sandiegoroots. Top prediction.
  • + 1
 Sandiegoroots is probably right, or who knows Gwin will ride a 29er Enduro and blast into first place!
[Reply]
  • + 32
 cedric is the most stilish rider there without any doubt, dayuuuuumm
  • + 32
 You have a "stilish" " way of writing style! Smile
  • + 7
 It's not easy to have a shot of him where both his hands on his handlebar and jump without flat table.
  • - 2
 Cedric is a great one! Having said that, whats going on with Aaron???
  • + 2
 dunno mtbvein, alot of people would argue danny hart and sam hill have just as much if not more style than cedric.
  • + 1
 Bryceland finished ninth not seventh... Great pics tho
  • + 10
 Yeah but... Theres somethin kinda special about cedric, the way he shreds, did u just saw that trick at the finals? Risky... Oh did i mentioned the stilish gear, fork AND the french accent?? Exactly Wink
[Reply]
  • + 21
 pink plates for the women's class?
really uci?
what the hell? , its not 1978....
just give em regular plates for christs sake.
  • + 13
 i think its cool if i was female i would rather have pink plates and i'm sure that the girls probably like them
  • + 3
 pink makes me wink
  • + 8
 it's cliché but I don't care. I like pink.
  • + 5
 I think next week Sam Hill will sport a whole pink kit. Is that cliché then? Wink
  • + 3
 since they also have pink helmets, pink grips, pink gloves... i think it's pretty ok Smile
[Reply]
  • + 16
 Micayla Gatto.... and that's all I have to say about that!
  • + 1
 its Ragot and Tracey Hannah .. Big Grin
  • + 4
 manon... oh my
  • + 4
 Tahnee Seagrave though..
  • + 0
 brook macdonald ooooooh
[Reply]
  • + 13
 No pics of hill?
  • + 78
 Look at the background, plenty of hills..
  • + 5
 I wonder why they have pics of the dude who came in 20th and not 6th?
  • + 16
 The photographer (ie my dad) chooses images he likes for these things, and I give him relative free reign on it. Of course if there's a particular shot I prefer, or feel should go in because of an achievement then we put it in, but in general it's the choices of the old man.. Sam did great, but at the end of the day not every article has to show pictures of every rider. That Gwin came in 20th is in any case a far bigger talking point than Sam getting 6th.
  • + 2
 It's all personal preference great job on this just think its kinda more of a big deal Sam got 6th on the pulse and Gwin got 20th on the demo kinda shows why Sam moved but all and all your pops takes amazing photos!!
  • + 7
 your pops rocks, (cloverleaf) !!! If Hill had won 9 WC races past 2 years and finished 20th on Sunday, their would be pictures, and words. Sam at 6th, awesome, yet expected. And media doesn't spend much time on 6th (not saying sam doesn't deserve it, GO SAM VAL'D!!)
  • + 2
 This is true!!! Gwin has won a lot I'm just not a fan I'd love to see Sam Hill take some wins or take overall champ
  • - 14
 Too many pics of the shielas, not enough of the blokes. Great shots though but honestly, who cares who finished 4th in the girls? (or even first for that matter?)
  • - 8
 Jaaame I agree. Along with the coverage. I really couldn't care how the women go its actually a really boring race watching them struggle down the hill. I would way rather watch the Juniors race. So much quicker. I can go to any race really and watch locals ride faster than the women.
  • + 7
 Scott and Jaame - those female entrants would wipe the shit off your face with ease while having a bad run ! How about you gain some respect and move on ! We need more females in the sport so it can continue to grow, have you any idea how many products out there would pick up/do pick up females for sponsorship that do not pick up men?
  • - 3
 No idea, I don't think you have either. I'm just stating my opinion. I don't care about or watch the women's race because they look slow and uncoordinated. It's not top level, so who cares? Plus, none of them are hot. Honestly, if they got some hot ones who looked more like women than men, I'd like to watch that even if they were ten seconds slower than they already are. Even better if they were wearing bikins.

I don't want to sound like a chauvanist, I love and respect women, but I have no interest in women doing a bad impression of men! Ha!
  • + 3
 Man I don't know you but you just wrote everything im thinking.
There is definatly not one hot girl that races the WC. Also every state in Australia the elite men would "wipe the shit off their faces with ease while having a bad runs". So c*nt suck a dick you have no idea. @jmbrit
  • - 2
 I don't mean to be rude, but in my humble opinion, any woman who can get down a hill faster than me on a bike isn't a woman. And since we agree they're closer to men than women, why don't they just race against the men..? Then we'll all see exactly how slow they are. Except we won't because they won't qualify for the race.

I know that may sound wankerish to some, and I apologise for any offence caused by my opinion.

Me, if I want to look at girls I'll go to the beach or a strip joint, not flick on the UCI world cup DH footage.
  • + 2
 So what you're saying is that women just shouldn't do downhill, or any sport at all? Because what you're saying could very well be applied to any sport given your narrow minded, chauvinist attitude towards women and competing. Everyone is of course right to an opinion on things, but sometimes they really should be kept to oneself rather than thrown out in the open by a petulant child looking to cause as much offence as possible. I, along with many others think it's great to see more women getting involved in competitions, and riding to an ever higher standard. Less great is the unbelievably outdated and immature attitude shown by a small minority of guys.
  • - 1
 Yes, sorry, you're right. Oh no, you're not.

I'm 32, and I'm married to a woman.

There are some things that woman are world class at, such as negotiating for a common goal, diplomacy, counseling, giving care and empathy, getting men to do what they want. I have all the time in the world to watch and admire women doing these things. However, they are not world class at DH, and as such I'm not interested in watching or reading about them race. That's it.

I'm not a petulant child, I'm a responsible, educated and mature father who has no one to try to impress and is completely at peace with his own feelings. Perhaps you are the petulant one, judging me on (incorrectly) on a simple matter of opinion that differs from your own. Is it I, or you, who is narrow minded?
[Reply]
  • + 9
 The focus and resolution of the pictures are so sharp, it's almost better than seeing it in person. Amazing.
[Reply]
  • + 7
 It's so wonderful to see great photo coverage, including quite a few women!!
[Reply]
  • + 8
 Epic photos!
  • + 1
 Agree. THAT shot of Casey Brown!!!!
Harry Heath's shot #2.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 I'm wondering if Gwin on 20 isn't a strategy. Maybe he just wants to motivate the others because last year was a battle for 2nd place, with him being so constant . Anyway I like seeing competition and not a one man show.Let's hope Gee won't take Gwin place.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 i was marshaling at the weekend and there a few things about both gwin and troy
both did very minimal number of runs over the weekend on friday practice i saw them twice where as most riders i saw 4 maybe 5 times
their specialised tent was secluded and away from the main crowds, trying to loose attention?
most of all while troy looked like he was pinned and trying hard
qwin looked disinterested and was smooth but nowhere close to the pace the other riders where doing in practice
something is not right at specialized!
[Reply]
  • + 6
 SPONSORS FOR HARRY HEATH!!!!
  • + 1
 Harry is a friend of mine and believe it or not, by his own admission he is happier on his own this year and with his current kit deal, he has just spent 2 years with Unior Tools on Trek as a fully supported rider and it wasn't right for him. His privateer results will show this year - Ft.Bill was cruel.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 "so far sees Troy taking the upper hand. It's unlikely to stay that way once Gwin's back on form"

Says who? Total BS. That kid is only going to get faster and I can see Gwinn getting his ass kicked by him on a number of occasions this year. In a couple of years he won't see which way he went.
  • + 1
 Bullshit! You don't know what you;re talking about... Razz
  • + 1
 You wanna bet?
  • + 1
 I don't bet! Wink
Gwinn has proven he's a Tomahawk rocket on steroids in the past. Give him time to get used to the new teammate, to the new bike, to the new team as a whole, probably to a new exercise program, and he can get back even stronger than before. Smile
that being said, i'm a mad fan of Hill, so don't think Gwinn is my idol! Big Grin I'm just more open-minded. Wink
  • + 1
 Not open minded enough to realise Troy won his last Junior world championship by 12 seconds... The kid is special.
  • + 1
 But open-minded enough to remember Gwinn's dominance for the last 2 years. Smile Time will tell what will happen! But i just have this feeling inside me that Gwinn is not fully awake after the winter, but his alarm is already on... Big Grin
[Reply]
  • + 3
 I think Jared Graves was going for the strava KOM. all he needs to do if he needs to pass someone: THIS IS STRAAAVAAAA
[Reply]
  • + 4
 all these photos are so sharp and clear!!!! fricken amazing!
[Reply]
  • + 4
 Thanks for the awesome photos, it's all in the eyes.
[Reply]
  • + 5
 Awesome pictures!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I find it quite amusing that GWIN is having a mare....should of stuck with TWR pal....see the grass isn't always greener...and before anybody starts yes I have got a trek
[Reply]
  • + 2
 How does Jared Graves get arm pump? I would imagine his forearms resemble tree trunks!
  • + 2
 big muscles can actually make arm pump worse
  • + 1
 Hm. Didn't know that. Any more info?
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Anyone notice that Gwin always has white "shark eyes" when he's riding? Great pics.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 whats with greg not wearing the rainbow strips
  • + 1
 He only needs to do so in qualifying and the finals; that shot is from Friday or Saturday when it wasn't required.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 300 F2.8 or 16-35 F2.8 only lenses he needs!!!!!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Every time i see photos from Ian im speechless he nails it every time!!!!!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 what are the little red things cable tied to one side of the lowers of the forks?
  • + 2
 Timing chip
  • + 1
 They're timing transponders.
  • + 0
 you're a timing transponder
[Reply]
  • + 2
 The new Crank Bros Mallet is taking over DH!!
  • + 2
 Brook was on flats and he did damn good
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Does anyone know if gwin is still trained by John Tomac?
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I think he nailed it! Aaron Gwin has forgotten how to ride a bike!
  • + 0
 "We don't believe that he's forgotten how to ride a bike"

I think you misread that.
  • + 5
 The lack of quote marks was because I was not quoting him. You are no fun and are never invited to any of my birthday parties. And anyway when someone writes "we don't believe..." it means they totally believe it. Its like saying "Aaron Gwin can no longer ride a bicycle, but that is not necessarily my opinion"
[Reply]
  • + 1
 What knee pads is Emmeline Ragot using???
  • + 1
 looks to be Dainese from the red triangle on the knee
[Reply]
  • - 1
 Everyone's kit is so nice.. But Specialized's? God I find it hideous, anyone else?
  • + 1
 I like it. Too bad it slowed them down Wink
[Reply]
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