Legend Status: The 25th Mont Sainte Anne World Cup 2015

Jul 30, 2015
by Dave Trumpore  
There are a handful of tracks and venues that have become classics in our sport at one time or another, but none more so than Mont Sainte Anne. No single place has held a World Cup or World Champs longer, and with this weekend marking the 25th consecutive year it isn't just a classic. It is legendary. Of course every racer dreams of winning a World Cup, but winning Mont Sainte Anne is simply next level, and the feather every rider wants to have in their cap.

Having first held World Cup racers when racers were simply riding fully rigid xc bikes and through the era of development and specialization that gave way to the modern downhill bike, the race tracks here have also been in a constant state of change. What started as simple high speed fire roads eventually turned into technical woods, more rocks, and even higher speeds. There was even a period in the early 2000's that saw the tracks shortened and some questionable jumps and features added, much in line with some of the questionable (and now regrettable) bike designs of the same era. Mont Sainte Anne has always been on the cutting edge of track design and in both 2006 and again in 2010 it would see major changes. The first of which created the now iconic hip jump and chicane under the gondola, and the second would double the length of the technical woods at the bottom of the track. Change is good, so long as it is not simply for the sake of change but rather to improve and to evolve into something even better. And it is on that note that we take a look at the newest version of the legendary Mont Sainte Anne DH track.

Gone is that iconic hip under the gondola, as well as the fast and rough corners that followed. In its place we now have an entirely new route through some off camber hillside that feeds into one of the biggest cliff faces ever seen on a World Cup. Will this new section be able to fill the shoes of its predecessor? We will just have to wait until tires hit dirt to find out, but regardless we can be certain things are going to be very very different this year.

Further down a few berms have been leveled and it's back to the sports roots with flat and off camber corners, rocky ledges, and raw rough trail that will keep riders on their toes the entire time. Add to this mix the classic Mont Saint Anne high speed open sections that contrast with frequent detours into the dark woods, and there is literally no where to rest or let up. As always, many bikes bodies, and egos are going to leave battered and broken as they have in each of the previous 24 World Cups held here.

The water falls here in MSA are quite nice.
  The waterfalls here in MSA are quite nice.

Out of the European Alps and into the lush green hills of Eastern North America.
  Out of the European Alps and into the lush green hills of Eastern North America.

Disappointing to find that the MSA locals are actually pretty hostile and not welcoming at all.
  Disappointing to find that the MSA locals are actually pretty hostile and not welcoming at all.

Here we are commemorating 25 years of World Cup racing at Mont Sainte Anne.
  Here we are commemorating 25 years of World Cup racing at Mont Sainte Anne.

Atherton Hill and Smith were at the press conference this morning fielding qustions about what is one of the most legendary tracks in World Cup history.
  Atherton, Hill, and Smith were at the press conference this morning fielding questions about what is one of the most legendary tracks in World Cup history.

This Halo is more or less over Stevie not Gwin. Could it be a sign
  This halo is more or less over Stevie, not Gwin. Could it be a sign?

The Mad Dog is ready for this 25th MSA world cup. Stoke level 11.
  The Mad Dog is ready for this 25th MSA World Cup. Stoke level 11.

It s a massive undertaking for the mostly European based World Cup series to make its way to North America. Some pieces of equipment made the journey better than others.
  It's a massive undertaking for the mostly European based World Cup series to make its way to North America. Some pieces of equipment made the journey better than others.

Not too many big rigs here here weekend. Instead we have Uhaul trucks and banners
  Not too many big rigs here this weekend. Instead we have Uhaul trucks and banners.

This is an all time favorite track of many racers and they were all itching to get up and walk it today.
  This is an all time favorite track of many racers, and they were all itching to get up and walk it today.

The steep roll in from the start house gets racers hauling ass quick. The pace wont be letting up.
  The steep roll in from the start house gets racers hauling ass quick. The pace won't be letting up.

Marcelo Gutierrez looking out into the light from the start house. Will he be able to put up a solid result here
  Marcelo Gutierrez looking out into the light from the start house. Will he be able to put up a solid result here?

Sven Martin tests the catch netting right out of the super steep start gate.
  Sven Martin tests the catch netting right out of the super steep start gate.

Elite Teams were looking pretty color coordinated out there today.
  Elite Teams were looking pretty color coordinated out there today.

The high speed straight-away in the first quarter remains unchanged. Still grassy still fast still rough.
  The high speed straight-away in the first quarter remains unchanged. Still grassy, still fast, still rough.

Danny with his girlfriend and mechanic Christian aboard the upper shark fin that was introduced last season.
  Danny with his girlfriend, and mechanic, Christian, aboard the upper shark fin that was introduced last season.

The fresh national champ of Great Britain always pulls out the big results at MSA but is still yet to take a WC win. Could the boost of a new title take him to the top
  The fresh national champ of Great Britain always pulls out the big results at MSA, but is still yet to take a WC win. Could the boost of a new title take him to the top?

The smaller rock shark-fin in the woods has a smoother better groomed landing than usual...for now.
  The smaller, rock shark-fin in the woods has a smoother, better groomed landing than usual...for now.

Bright orange and jagged. The granite teeth of MSA are out to ruin wheels.
  Bright orange and jagged. The granite teeth of MSA are out to ruin wheels.

Bullet proof and rough. High speed with not much chance to recover. MSA serves up speed tech and jumps in spades.
  Bullet proof and rough. High speed with not much chance to recover. MSA serves up speed, tech, and jumps in spades.

Every year the dirt to rock ratio gets a little bit more unbalanced
  Every year the dirt to rock ratio gets a little bit more unbalanced.

If MSA is known for one thing it is for being rough and physical. With only a thin layer of grass atop the bedrock here the decades old track dishes out more punishment than any other on the circuit
  If MSA is known for one thing, it is for being rough and physical. With only a thin layer of grass atop the bedrock here, the decades old track dishes out more punishment than any other on the circuit.

Fresh corners and off camber lines on the setup will keep riders on their toes in the woods
  Fresh corners and off camber lines on the setup will keep riders on their toes in the woods.

Be mindful upon landing
  Be mindful upon landing.

This is the fist time in years that Mick and Tracy Hannah have both been healthy and racing together in Mont St Anne.
  This is the first time in years that Mick and Tracy Hannah have both been healthy and racing together in Mont St Anne.

One of the trickier aspects of the MSA track is going from high speed wide open to slow dark woods over and over again. Dappled light and sniper rocks making it even more difficult.
  One of the trickier aspects of the MSA track is going from high speed wide open to slow dark woods over and over again. Dappled light and sniper rocks making it even more difficult.

Once upon a time this section was made of tacky dirt
  Once upon a time, this section was made of tacky dirt.

Team Unior Tools check out the bare rock on route to the lower woods.
  Team Unior Tools check out the bare rock on route to the lower woods.

Myriam Nicole and Rachel Atherton swap tales of national championships in Britain and France.
  Myriam Nicole and Rachel Atherton swap tales of national championships in Britain and France.

United Ride making their way down the high speed section up top.
  Polygon UR Team making their way down the high speed section up top.

The Bulldog is ready to smash out runs on his all time favorite track.
  The Bulldog is ready to smash out runs on his all time favourite track.

There can be no doubt what track you are on.
  There can be no doubt what track you are on.

Gone is the classic MSA hip. In it s place is a massive cliff.
  Gone is the classic MSA hip. In its place is a massive cliff.

Who knows The much-loved signature hip that has survived through the ages is all over. Done and dusted. It will be a struggle for riders to remember not to turn right and avoid leaping the tape onto overgrown nothingness.
  Who knows!? The much-loved, signature hip that has survived through the ages is all over. Done and dusted. It will be a struggle for riders to remember not to turn right and avoid leaping the tape onto overgrown nothingness.

Laurie Greenland got a little too close to the edge of the new drop. Mechanic Ben Arnott was luckily close by to save him from a nasty fall.
  Laurie Greenland got a little too close to the edge of the new drop. Mechanic Ben Arnott was luckily close by to save him from a nasty fall.

There has been one major change to the track at MSA. Gone are the bermed turns and jumps directly under the lift. Now there is one big old rock roller in it s place.
  There has been one major change to the track at MSA. Gone are the bermed turns and jumps directly under the lift. Now there is one big old rock roller.

The MSA crews put a good amount of work to expose the granite bed rock on the new open piste section under the gondola.
  The MSA crews put a good amount of work to expose the granite bed rock on the new open piste section under the gondola.

We ll see how this new addition plays out before we pass judgment but more often than now change is good.
  We'll see how this new addition plays out before we pass judgment, but more often than not change is good.

Pom Pon healthy and ready to take on Mont St Anne
  Pom Pon healthy and ready to take on Mont St Anne.

This is the only time riders will get a chance to rest this weekend
  This is the only time riders will get a chance to "rest" this weekend.

Unbelievable to think that after this quick exchange of words bitter rivals Thirion and Gee ended up in a vicious bare-knuckle fist fight just moments after this shot was taken. It was savage. Sadly no pics but it definitely did happen. It s a tough world at the top.
  Thirion and Gee discuss the finer points to who is going to be on the top step at the end of the weekend. It's a tough world at the top.

Plenty of square edges to test your Pro-core set up in the depths of the forest.
  Plenty of square edges to test your Pro-core set up in the depths of the forest.

Dappled light of the final woods section which is mostly unchanged from the last several years.
  Dappled light of the final woods section, which is mostly unchanged from the last several years.

A diversion now leads riders onto the old 4x track for a big old fashioned berm.
  A diversion now leads riders onto the old 4x track for a big old fashioned berm.

Gee walks across the new engineering over the XC coursed.
  Gee walks across the new engineering over the XC course.

Brutal exposed bedrock in between the grass in sight of the finish.
  Brutal exposed bedrock in between the grass, in sight of the finish.

Another berm destroyed in the name of off camber rocky goodness
  Another berm destroyed in the name of off camber, rocky goodness.

rock garden

Some of the best woods on the World Cup make up the bottom third f MSA
  Some of the best woods on the World Cup make up the bottom third of MSA.

Another remnant of the old track where once a rock garden led into a giant wooden kicker just above the finish arena.
  Another remnant of the old track, where once a rock garden led into a giant wooden kicker just above the finish arena.

The final corner and slab of rock. This section has seen its fair share of crashes that have ended more than a few riders runs and seasons over the years.
  The final corner and slab of rock. This section has seen its fair share of crashes that have ended more than a few riders runs (and seasons) over the years.

Marzocchi lives Pedro bleeding shocks and making some prep for the Mondraker team.
  Marzocchi lives! Pedro bleeding shocks and making some prep for the Mondraker team.

Aaron Gwin fettles his cockpit set-up with mechanic John Hall in the Specialized pit.
  Aaron Gwin fettles his cockpit set-up with mechanic, John Hall, in the Specialized pit.

Full focus at the GT camp as Polish Pete precisely pieces particular parts of pilot Gee Atheton s race machine together.
  Full focus at the GT camp as Polish Pete precisely pieces particular parts of pilot, Gee Atheton's race machine together.

the clock never lies and every rider will battle to trip this timing beam faster than the rest.
  The clock never lies, and every rider will battle to trip this timing beam faster than the rest.

The party s set for Sunday time to get nostalgic over 25 years of tearing up the Canadian dirt.
  The party's set for Sunday, time to get nostalgic over 25 years of tearing up the Canadian dirt.

Always an embarrassing one when you turn up too early for the party.
  Always an embarrassing one when you turn up too early for the party.

The piece of wood everyone wants to stand on at the end of weekend. Who do you have your money on
  The piece of wood everyone wants to stand on at the end of weekend. Who do you have your money on?

Doing bombs is Kiwi protocol. It s also what you do when it s hot at MSA. Tyler Brooker with the slow rotating back flip.
  Doing bombs is Kiwi protocol. It's also what you do when it's hot at MSA. Tyler Brooker with the slow rotating back flip.

Gutierrez chills out in a cool mountain pool.
  Gutierrez chills out in a cool mountain pool.


About the Photographers

Dave Trumpore • Age: 35 • Years Shooting: 4
Dave spent the bulk of the past 17 years racing professionally before realizing that despite qualifying for the random World Cup final here and there, the next generation was just way too fast and way more talented. Upon hanging up his racing boots in 2010, it would be a few years until Dave picked up a camera and started shooting the odd race here and there as a way to stay in touch with all the friends he had made over the years, and the rest as they say is history. In just a few years time his photos have graced the pages of just about every MTB magazine and major media outlet, while his commercial client list includes a who's who of the cycling industry, and he is lucky enough to shoot regularly with some of the best riders on the planet. Currently at Pinkbike, Dave shoots the Downhill WC and the Enduro World Series as well as contributing to the occasional editorial story.


Matthew Delorme • Age: 40 • Years Shooting: 8
Matthew DeLorme is just one of Pinkbike’s motley crew of World Cup Photographers. He currently lives out of a Ogio bag, and calls the road his home. Delorme works for Trek Bicycle, covering their MTB racing programs. He can usually be found laying in the dirt trackside, cracking jokes and saying things that make little to no sense. He enjoys capturing accessory moments and the journey every bit as much as catching the action shot.



Nathan Hughes • Age: 28 • Years Shooting: 2
Nathan Hughes was snared as mainstay Pinbike media crew for the 2013 World Cup season and has been trapped behind the lens and the keyboard ever since. In between the biggest bike events of the year Nathan can be found on client shoots, making far-off travel stories and trying to catch a moment to spin the pedals himself. A great appreciation of the wilderness, the fear of a normal life and the quest for the perfect picture will have him hooked and looking to raise the bar for years to come.

MENTIONS: @mdelorme / @davetrump / @natedh9




102 Comments

  • + 74
 Yeah yeah yeah, this is great and all...but I think I speak for everyone when I say...Where is Claudio's course preview.
  • + 1
 Claudio following Smith for the course preview!!
  • + 7
 Claudio following me for the course preview. *Internet falls asleep.
  • + 50
 Gee & Thirion in a fist fight ..... photos or it didn't happen ............

Good pics pink bike !!!!

Soooooo freakin amped for this race , already it feels like months since the last round !!

Go Kiwis !!!! Yeeeeeweeeeeeee
  • + 21
 Course looks killer....This is gonna be top shelf awesome. GO STEVIE BOY!
  • + 14
 Doing bombs really is an essential part of kiwi-ness. They won't even give you a passport until you can pull off a flawless staple from 10m up into 1m of water. True story bro.
  • + 18
 What did you say about my umbrella?
  • + 1
 who won ??????
  • + 6
 He didn't call it a sunbrella. Fight starting words.
  • + 20
 he asked Rach's number
  • + 27
 Nathan was just making a joke about Gee and Remi getting in a fight. We left the caption unchanged as it seemed pretty obvious it was tongue in cheek.
  • + 2
 well, you got me good haha. Now that I look back the 'no photos' part doesn't look credible at all
  • + 2
 What is Danny Hart wearing under his shirt?
  • + 1
 Phone and pass I'd expect
  • + 11
 his girlfriend Smile
  • - 8
flag mb00033 (Jul 30, 2015 at 8:40) (Below Threshold)
 No place for such lame jokes here PB mates, not funny bothering people's minds.
  • + 2
 kiwi ride fast party hard, i can't follow witn riding and partying
  • + 46
 Claudio should do a course walk preview.
"OMG I just broke a shoe lace, it's getting really loose and slippery, whoa,whoa,whoa!!!!!! Oh look, a squirrel"
  • + 29
 Thirion: Hey Gee, your sister free tonight?
Gee: Screw you Remi!

...and thats how the fight starter...
  • + 3
 It was more like:
Remy: I liked your naked picture on Instagram.
Gee: Really? Thanx mate!
Remy: No, I was just kiddin'
Fight!!!
  • + 27
 Thirion: I like the tuna here.

Gee: Bull shit a*shole. No one likes the tuna here.
  • + 5
 I don't think you're getting the point.
instagram.com/p/2a6SWqo3wx/?taken-by=gee_atherton
  • + 1
 rather, Thirion: I like the tuna here
Gee: that's my sister, hands off!
....fight ensues
  • + 25
 I once ended up in a bare knuckle fist fight with Gee during am impromptu cheese rolling contest that resulted in Remi having his chocolate fondue knocked over. Remi has never got over it and totally hates Gee after the chocolate got burnt. Sad times.
  • + 17
 "Polish Pete precisely pieces particular parts of pilot"..... Try saying that fast!
  • + 16
 I read this in Rob Warners voice.
  • - 10
flag eloc228 (Jul 30, 2015 at 3:06) (Below Threshold)
 Wow, you're the first person to ever say that
  • + 10
 my arms and hands are destroyed just looking at the pictures...this looks like a proper DH track !! Crack on guys !!(especially you brook Mac !Wish you'll get on the top step !)
  • + 13
 More details on the Gee vs Thirion fight please!
  • + 12
 Why am I not surprised that caption came from @davetrump? That man has to cut jokes, this is serious business. #letaggyin
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns The captions come from the photographer who took the photo. That goes for every photo story we put up. It's not my photo of my caption. I simply wrote the intro and compiled the photos into tone place.
  • + 11
 Remi: Hey Gee, smile up. you look like you just lost your hot seat.
  • + 8
 Blenkinsop past year here :
Fastest speed and finished 5th
Waiting big things from him .... Go blenki !!!
  • + 8
 im enjoying the denim hotpants coverage, thanks PB Smile
  • + 1
 I was having a similar thought, but wasn't sure how to word it.
  • + 8
 C'mon Stevie, do it for the home town crowd!
  • + 3
 Eastern Canada had also been experiencing record setting heat this week but a massive thunderstorm just rolled past Ottawa (it stretches several hundred kms north east to south west and a hundred kms deep) and is bound for montreal within the hour and quebec city/msa area this afternoon. It'll bring cooling temperatures but the forecast for quebec city/msa area is lots of rain the next three days. So all that exposed rock is going to get rather slippery.
  • + 1
 lot's of rain right now it was dumping
  • + 1
 Now we can call it a world cup!! Wink
  • + 5
 Claudio we are waiting for the preview - stop drumming and digging and get riding!
  • + 2
 The new changes look amazing and brutal at the same time. Should keep everyone on their toes.

Remi vs. Gee? Well Gee has the reach advantage. I think it would go 12 rounds and end with a judges decision for Gee.
  • + 3
 and like Rampage, everyone on PB would be crying that one or the other got robbed
  • + 2
 Dam this is going to be a sick race then next weekend ill be at windham experiencing it in front of my eyes... GONNA GET ROWDY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • + 1
 Bruni is finally going to win one. You can only come so close so many times before you reach the top. If he races it like a Crankworx event, he's a lock.

This track is a mofo, so it's anybody's race - barring crashes, mechanicals, etc. Long and techy enough to where the times won't be quite as tight as some of the recent races.

Dammit, is it Saturday yet???
  • + 5
 @Dave Trumpmore: fire your editor. And hire me.
  • + 7
 oN way thats gone to hapen broo!
  • + 1
 'Iconic', the most overused word of the decade. The new 'proactive'
  • + 1
 @bikejunky - I think you mean 'legendary' for the most overused word of the decade/ever. This and Ft. Bill can and should be considered iconic. Especially MSA...considering 1/6 of all the DH world cup races ever have been held there.
  • + 2
 Remi - Hey douche, your sister will get wet without that umbrella
Gee - Drink your lemonade moron
Remi - Just like she did earlier this morning? ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
fight!
  • + 1
 For what I know, MSA didn't do the track preparation work, GESTEV did. We were wondering wtf they were doing while I going up in gondola. I think it's gonna fun to watch, less than the hips.
  • + 3
 Look at the squirrel and hum the mission impossible theme song, it gets funnier and funnier.
  • + 4
 That cliff! I wanna see someone send it!
  • + 3
 this is gonna be an epic race, i can just feel it.
  • + 3
 Damn I missed the first 24.
  • + 3
 Nice work Danny, your girlfriend is hot~
  • + 3
 Took me a while to realize "girlfriend" doesn't have a name and that Christian is not a woman who is both "girlfriend and mechanic." Man I'm dense sometimes...three people in the photo...sheesh.
  • + 2
 If this photo essay doesn't get you pumped up for the 25th Mont Sainte Anne World Cup race....nothing will!!
  • + 3
 All these girls with strong thighs are giving me a boner
  • + 3
 The Gee Vs Remi dispute should be solved over an Epic Rap Battle
  • + 3
 Thirion Vs. Atherton in a fistfight??? GO REMY!!! lol
  • + 3
 Goo Minnaar!!
  • + 3
 Tracey looks hot
  • + 1
 Tracey looks tired with massive dark rings under her eyes ...
  • + 6
 tired prehaps, but that hips and legs are astonishing
  • + 7
 Emmeline Ragot Looks way hotter
  • + 2
 That new rock face looks pretty hungry.... and it will bite!
  • + 1
 Call it...

1. Gwin
2. Bulldog
3. Hill or Bruni

runners up: Remi and Smith
  • + 1
 don't forget steve smith crowd favorite
  • + 2
 Those keg stools are a good idea.
  • + 1
 who do you think will win Remy therion VS gee athrton ........cast your vote
  • + 2
 I'm calling Bulldog to huck the rock face to flat
  • + 2
 GOT THAT RIGHT "ElPrimo"!!!!!!!!!
  • + 2
 Track looks brutal! Here's to hoping few/no bones will be broken.
  • + 3
 brutal is the key word
  • + 2
 Listening to Ratboy's helmetcam practice run, it's sounds like he's sending Morse Code!!
  • + 2
 Poutine for the win!!
  • + 1
 There's like 300 feet of climbing on this course?
  • + 1
 From most of the helmetcam footy I've seen, a lot of it seems to be at the end of the wide-open sections. Looking at the profile map, there's a big uphill-looking part in the middle.
  • - 2
 Observation from the sideline: The XY-part of the crowd looks quite a lot more like pro-level athletes than some of the double-X crowd. There is room for a seriously fit young gunette to soon rise and crush the opposition
  • + 2
 The year 20010?!?!?
  • + 1
 Anyone knows if Sam Hill gonna race ?
  • + 1
 He's in...not quite 100% yet and he's got his sights set on worlds. Not to say he can't pull a top result, mind you.
  • + 1
 Just don't mess up the live coverage RB!
  • + 1
 Always one of the best races of the season. I'm pretty excited already!!
  • + 1
 MMA fight between Thirion and Gee, oh wait! they are mountanbikers
  • + 1
 mangere's! you boys r too much!
  • + 2
 grandissimo Pedro!!
  • + 1
 Course preview? Come on Claudio!
  • + 1
 Tracey looks so mad on this pic haha Big Grin
  • + 1
 That rock step down is a great addition, the exit of that will get wild!!
  • + 1
 Gee Vs Remi :O
  • + 1
 can't wait Big Grin
  • - 1
 I didn't know that there's was a grudge between Gee Atherton and Remi Thirion
  • + 0
 i don't want to wait almost 18000 years to see the track changes tho Frown
  • + 1
 20010
  • + 1
 Can't Imagine what the track will look like then, and the bikes will probably be integrated directly into the body suits.
  • + 1
 Rest assured, Peaty will be racing!
  • - 1
 Greg Minaar or Gwin for the win !!! (or Bruni's first? ) too much excitement for this !!!!!!
  • + 1
 smith for canada
  • + 0
 " Aaron Gwin fettles his cock


pit". Hehehe
  • - 2
 But the question is : WHERE IS CLAUDIO ?
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