I arrived back in Canada after this years World Championships feeling incredibly good about the state of racing and our sport. The race was held in Les Gets France, a small ski resort located in the French Alps, about 60km out of Geneva.All photos by Warwick Patterson www.formulaphoto.com
Usually, when I go to Europe to race, I am greeted by rain and a busy schedule. This time around things were very different. The trip was two weeks long and we had only one day of rain. There is nothing like ripping around in the Alps for a week and then racing Worlds on one of the best courses of the year and enjoying the enthusiasm of the Euro fans and organizers.
I flew into Geneva and enjoyed a couple of days exploring and getting over my jetlag. The coolest thing about this town was the free bikes. There is a service where you leave a deposit and take a town bike out for the day. Needless to say I took advantage of this service and just enjoyed riding along the shores of Lake Geneva, exploring the narrow winding streets of the city and finding killer little beaches complete with beautiful euro girls to relax at. The trip started off very well.
After Geneva it was off to Les Gets with the Canadian Team. They had booked us a huge Chalet for the entire team. I was bunked up with fellow downhill riders Geoff Pendrel (Devinci), Eric Goss (Giant), Derek Chambers (Evilution), and Mat Laurin (Mad Catz/Iron Horse). These guys are all my good friends so at the very least we were destined to have a fun two weeks.
In the first few days we discovered a great way to overcome jet lag by frequenting the pubs, staying up late sampling euro brews, listing to a little too much techno and ripping the handles off the foozball tables.
In the day we took advantage of our amazing location and rode the endless network of trails. At home in BC a resort may have two lifts and one mountain to ride. At Les Gets we rode a total of four different lifts and three different mountains and this was only scratching the surface. Apparently the area is the most densely developed in the World in terms of ski lifts and it is possible to ski and ride into Switzerland just by taking the network of chairs and mountains. We rode some incredible trails and just had a blast freeriding until we could not hold onto our bars anymore.
Once the Worlds loomed nearer we ceased our evening jetlag treatment and started to sleep a little more. The course was insanely fun. It seemed really steep when we walked it, but upon riding it turned out to be one of the most fun tracks of the year. Really fast, with lots of high speed off camber grass corners and a bunch of huge jumps and drops. One jump in the middle of the track that we all called the ‘ski jump’ sent the rider nearly 50ft through the air and down a steep pitch before the course wrapped around an off camber corner at about 50kmhr. It was super fun to ride every lap.
Race day was another day of perfect sun and about 30,000 spectators lined the course from top to bottom, so many people that it was distracting! There was also a big screen TV at the finish line showing riders runs and broadcasting live to the Eurosport Network… racing is alive and well. The organizers put on one of the best World Championships ever.
The race finish was probably the most dramatic/tragic/exciting moment I have ever witnessed in sport. France’s Fabien Barel (Kona/Clarks/Les Gets) was in the hotseat and the final rider to come down the track was Britain’s Steve Peat (Royal/Orange). Steve has never won a World Title and is definitely the most dominant DH rider in the World Right now, at 30 years old he has also been at it for longer than nearly everyone as well. At the split Peaty was winning by over a second and in his feverish effort to win his first Worlds ever he crashed… within site of the finish line!! Fabien jumped to his feat, Peat grabbed his bike and kept going… amazingly he only lost 4.5 seconds, but also the World title. The crowd was on their feet and the French fans went crazy as they crowned their new Champion.
The Woman’s race was pretty crazy too as favorites Anne Caroline Chausson, Sabrina Jonier and Tracy Mosely were all out with injuries… Anne Caro did herself in on the morning of the race. This left the race open to surprises, and Vanessa Quin of New Zealand wowed the crowed with her win.
That evening the 4X race went off. What a show with a super long track and fireworks in between every heat. The spectators were lined up 10 deep all the way down the course. What an insane show.
The following day we woke to pouring rain… the poor cross country riders had to race in the cold and rain when the previous 13 days had been nothing but sun and heat.
Now I am at home savoring a great season of riding and racing and thankful to have been at one of the best World Championships ever and thankful that I had a season at all as my wrist was pretty messed all year. Now I am typing (pecking) with one hand as I have had a long awaited surgery for my wrist and it looks like I will be off my bike for months as my wrist heals up… try not to ever rupture your scapholunate ligament.
Thanks to Norco for helping make my season and this Worlds trip happen.
Mat Laurin (Mad Catz/Iron Horse) was the top Canadian finisher in 41st, his run was ok he said, but he was not happy… too conservative he thought. Dustin Adams (Giant) had a huge crash and was forced to just roll into the finish. Eric Goss (Giant) was fairly pleased with his run and stoked to finish 56th at his debut Worlds Performance. My run was safe and conservative as I knew that I was scheduled for a major wrist surgery 6 days later. Geoff Pendrel (Devinci) separated his shoulder just days before he flew to France, he came anyway hoping that he could ride, but after one run in practice he knew that he would be support crew for the rest of us. Derrick Chambers (Evilution) has a big spill and lost a bunch of time.
Danika Schroeter (Giant) continued her great season and finished 9th! She is just ripping this year. Claire Buchar (Balfa) was the next highest Canadian in 15th place, while Michelle Dumaresq (NSMB) placed 17th, followed by Katrina Strand (BeOne/Oakley/Marzocchi) in 18th and Janelle Cassidy (Cove Bikes) in 21st and lastly, Caroline Milot (Oryx) in 28th place.
Our Junior men faired quite well with Kyle Ritchie (Kona/Oakley) having an amazing run and placing 13th… quite a respectable result. Andrew Mitchell (Norco/Oak Bay Bikes) was disappointed with his 22nd place and is already looking forward to Worlds in Italy next year. Justin Brown (Giant), the National Junior Champion was a bit off on the day and palced 26th, Guillaume Soucy-Alarie of Quebec and pyromaniac almighty placed 36th.
Notes that have nothing to do with the race:
After the race we always have a pretty good party and this year was no different, with most of the events happening at the Aussie bar ‘Boomerang’. However, as with most years the party got crazy, so the bar was closed. At which point the party moved to the Canadian Bar, that too was closed soon after the full DH tribe arrived… we need a big tent next year with a live band or DJ a huge dance floor and free drinks for all girls. If Les Gets wins the prize for the best Worlds, maybe Italy will win the prize for the best after party next year.
Don’t Party with the Irish… they are pros and will ‘win the party’ every time.
We were pretty excited to find out that you can buy firecrackers, M-80’s and ¼ sticks of dynamite in the toy stores at Les Gets. I think I blew up more fireworks on this trip than I had all through grade school. I guess I made up for all those years when my mum confiscated my fireworks as a kid. The American juniors were given a warning by their coaches “any more blowing things up and you are on a plane home within 24hrs”. The Canadian Juniors were also given a warning from our coaches “Go blow those things up down the street and not near our hotel”. I hope the American Juniors did not get into much trouble when things were blown up down the street in front of their hotel.
Results and North American Highlights
Women Intermed. Time Gap
1. Vanessa Quin (NZl) 2:19.12 3:08.04 0
2. Mio Suemasa (Jpn) 2:21.96 3:10.82 2.78
3. Celine Gros (Fra) 2:21.79 3:12.02 3.98
4. Marla Streb (USA) 2:24.33 3:13.76 5.72
5. Marielle Saner (Sui) 2:21.32 3:14.41 6.37
6. Kathy Pruitt (USA) 2:26.64 3:16.29 8.25
7. April Lawyer (USA) 2:31.67 3:22.20 14.16
8. Lisa Sher (USA) 2:30.96 3:22.41 14.37
9. Danika Schroeter (Can) 2:28.81 3:22.60 14.56
10. Nolvenn Le Caer (Fra) 2:34.34 3:24.49 16.45
15. Claire Buchar (Can) 2:41.21 3:35.19 27.15
17. Michelle Dumaresq (Can) 2:28.85 3:36.74 28.7
18. Katrina Strand (Can) 2:48.09 3:43.87 35.83
21. Janelle Cassidy (Can) 2:59.37 3:56.46 48.42
26. Gale Dahlager (USA) 3:03.36 4:16.50 1:08.46
28. Caroline Milot (Can) 3:21.74 4:26.49 1:18.45
Men Intermed. Time Gap
1. Fabien Barel (Fra) 1:56.58 2:40.78 0
2. Greg Minnaar (RSA) 1:57.66 2:41.36 0.58
3. Samuel Hill (Aus) 1:58.17 2:42.20 1.42
4. Joel Panozzo (Aus) 1:59.56 2:42.81 2.03
5. Nathan Rennie (Aus) 1:58.85 2:42.82 2.04
6. David Vazquez Lopez (Esp) 1:59.59 2:43.59 2.81
7. Julien Camellini (Fra) 1:59.99 2:44.01 3.23
8. Cedric Gracia (Fra) 2:00.63 2:44.50 3.72
9. Marc Beaumont (GBr) 2:00.61 2:44.99 4.21
10. Gee Atherton (GBr) 2:01.26 2:45.33 4.55
32. Chris Vandine (USA) 2:04.66 2:50.78 10
38. D Klaassenvanoorschot (USA) 2:05.57 2:52.29 11.51
41. Mathieu Laurin (Can) 2:07.31 2:54.16 13.38
56. Eric Goss (Can) 2:12.53 2:58.82 18.04
65. Judd Devall (USA) 2:13.32 3:01.25 20.47
70. Michael Jones (Can) 2:14.83 3:02.54 21.76
99. Derrick Chambers (Can) 2:34.79 3:24.94 44.16
101. Dustin Adams (Can) 3:52.00 5:12.27 2:31.49
Junior Men Intermed. Time Gap
1. Romain Saladini (Fra) 2:03.50 2:48.69 0
2. Florent Payet (Fra) 2:04.12 2:49.58 at 0.89
3. Kyle Strait (USA) 2:05.87 2:51.15 2.46
4. Ben Reid (Irl) 2:05.65 2:51.19 2.5
5. David Young (GBr) 2:06.05 2:52.16 3.47
6. Henry O'Donnell (USA) 2:07.30 2:52.55 3.86
7. Amiel Cavalier (Aus) 2:05.64 2:52.80 4.11
8. Duncan Riffle (USA) 2:07.52 2:52.94 4.25
9. Florent Wolter (Fra) 2:07.35 2:53.02 4.33
10. Fabien Cousinie (Fra) 2:07.46 2:54.18 5.49
11. Luke Strobel (USA) 2:08.59 2:54.30 5.61
13. Kyle Ritchie (Can) 2:09.79 2:56.08 7.39
22. Andrew Mitchell (Can) 2:14.16 3:02.18 13.49
26. Justin Brown (Can) 2:16.41 3:03.23 14.54
32. Cameron Zink (USA) 2:20.31 3:06.39 17.7
36. Guillaume Soucy-Alarie (Can) 2:19.25 3:07.74 19.05
42. Garrick Anderson (USA) 2:09.38 3:10.66 21.97
Junior Women Intermed. Time Gap
1. Scarlett Hagen (NZl) 2:19.76 3:09.24 0
2. Rachel Atherton (GBr) 2:28.86 3:20.07 at 10.83
3. Audrey Le Corguille (Fra) 2:31.22 3:21.45 12.21
4. Laetitia Le Corguille (Fra) 2:37.78 3:29.48 20.24
5. Michela Thaler (Ita) 2:38.70 3:30.39 21.15
6. Zsofia Koczka (Hun) 3:04.79 4:03.89 54.65
7. Jennifer Makgill (NZl) 2:40.81 5:01.18 1:51.94
8. Miriam Ruchti (Sui) 3:58.73 5:04.39 1:55.15
DNS. Anne-Lise Caire (Fra)
1. Jana Horakova (Cze)
2. Jill Kinter (USA)
3. Tara Llanes (USA)
4. Sari Jorgensen (Sui)
5. Katrina Miller (Aus)
6. Mio Suemasa (Jpn)
7. Anneke Beerten (Ned)
8. Laetitia Le Corguille (Fra)
9. Melissa Buhl (USA)
10. Fionn Griffiths (GBr)
11. Zsofia Koczka (Hun)
12. Leana Gerrard (USA)
13. Michelle Dumaresq (Can)
14. Joanne Gough (GBr)
15. Anne-Caroline Chausson (Fra)
16. Vanessa Quinn (Nzl)
1. Eric Carter (USA)
2. Mickael Deldycke (Fra)
3. Michal Prokop (Cze)
4. Roger Rinderknecht (Sui)
5. Mike King (USA)
6. Lukas Tamme (Cze)
7. Michael Robinson (Aus)
8. Chris Powell (USA)
9. Ross Milan (USA)
10. Jared Graves (Aus)
11. Karim Amour (Fra)
12. Michal Marosi (Cze)
13. Mick Hannah (Aus)
14. Scott Beaumont (GBr)
15. Carmine Falco (Fra)
16. Dale Holmes (GBr)
17. Matej Vitko (Svk)
18. Filip Polc (Svk)
19. Thomas Allier (Fra)
20. Bas De Bever (Ned)
21. Janis Vanags (Lat)
22. Thomas Schafer (Ger)
23. Sidney Gerber (Sui)
24. Brian Schmith (USA)
25. Brian Lopes (USA)
26. Sebastien Autale (Fra)
27. Romain Saladini (Fra)
28. Kamil Tatarkovic (Cze)
29. Leiv Ove Nordmark (Nor)
30. Gee Atherton (GBr)
31. Aivars Buris (Lat)
32. Peter Prajczer (Hun)
33. Guido Tschugg (Ger)
34. Dan Atherton (GBr)
35. John Kirkcaldie (Nzl)
36. Remo Heutschi (Sui)
37. Pablo Galan Carrasco (Esp)
38. Marcel Beer (Sui)
39. Yuta Kurise (Jpn)
40. Sascha Meyenborg (Ger)
41. Rudiger Jahnel (Aut)
42. Paulo Domingues (Por)
43. Geza Kinda (Rou)
44. Frans Sj?blom (Swe)
45. Sorin Parau (Rou)
46. Manuel De Vecchi (Ita)
47. Gabor Vigh-Kiss (Hun)