Come All Ye Faithful - Lourdes World Cup DH 2017

Apr 29, 2017
by Nathan Hughes  
It's back! The wick of the World Cup season just got lit and it's all going off here in the French foothills at last. First practice began slow, sticky and slippery in between and finished with a balls to the wall timed training session, under summer sun, on just about perfect dirt. The Lourdes course looks set to produce the goods all over again mixing the spectacularly gnarly with do-or-die gaps and full throttle racing all the way. A familiar course in the great majority of sections to the great majority of riders, most were looking breathtakingly quick and comfortable from the very beginning and to behold it was a thing of beauty. This evening Gee and Rachel Atherton sit on top of the pile, setting the standard for the weekend at 2:57 and 3:34; times the rest of the pack will now have to chase as a minimum.




Danny Hart and Marc Beaumont in the line-up for the ghost train ride up. Of course the scariest part should be on the way down probably not to the likes of them though.
Danny Hart and Marc Beaumont in the line-up for the ghost train ride up. Of course, the scariest part should be on the way down, probably not to the likes of them though.

Look out for the number 2 ranked junior going into the season Germany s Max Hartenstern the new signing to ride alongside Walker and Williamson.
Look out for the number 2 ranked junior going into the season, Germany's Max Hartenstern, the new signing to ride alongside Walker and Williamson.

Charlie Harrison stretching out and finding some inner peace before everything gets fast and furious.
Charlie Harrison stretching out and finding some inner peace before everything gets fast and furious.

Not expecting big things from Laurie Greenland this year Wrong. You should expect big things of Laurie Greenland this year.
Not expecting big things from Laurie Greenland this year? Wrong. You should expect big things of Laurie Greenland this year. Silver at Worlds followed by a whole winter of nothing but shredding in NZ...

Rolling out of the funicular and ready for what riders found to be a tacky and pretty grippy race track.
Rolling out of the funicular and ready for what riders found to be a tacky and pretty grippy race track.

The eagle eyed of you will have noticed a fresh Session this weekend. Trek are keeping tight lipped for the moment.
The eagle-eyed of you will have noticed a fresh Session this weekend. Trek are keeping tight-lipped for the moment.

Rachel framed by the mountains as she drops into another practice lap.
Rachel framed by the mountains as she drops into another practice lap.

Thankfully the snow that fell towards the top of the track yesterday didn t hang around.
Thankfully the snow that fell towards the top of the track yesterday didn't hang around.

Pom Pon is fit and healthy after a 2016 season plagued with a collarbone injury.
Pom Pon is fit and healthy after a 2016 season plagued with a collarbone injury.

Vaea Verbeek muscles through the big rock garden at the top of the track.
Vaea Verbeeck muscles through the big rock garden at the top of the track.

Snow s out for the summer...
Snow's out for the summer...

Sik Mik s no joey he came here for a fight.
Sik Mik's no joey, he came here for a fight.

The champ already pushing hard in turn one of run one.
The champ already pushing hard in turn one of run one.

Ah the first taste of WC dirt after a long off season.
Ah the first taste of WC dirt after a long off-season.

Flo Payet was a man on a mission steering his XXL Mondraker through some outrageous lines on the hillside.
Flo Payet was a man on a mission, steering his XXL Mondraker through some outrageous lines on the hillside.

 PanshotFriday with Rachel Atherton and a French sunrise.
#PanshotFriday with Rachel Atherton and a French sunrise.

Giant s new signing Eliot Jackson was going hard from the off but took a gnarly spill just before the wall section.
Giant's new signing, Eliot Jackson, was going hard from the off, but took a gnarly spill just before the wall section.

Yep that s exactly what the section s like... If they chucked horrible boulders and tree branches down the tracks at the olympics to make it much gnarlier.
Yep, that's exactly what the section's like... If they chucked horrible boulders and tree branches down the tracks at the Olympics to make it much gnarlier.

Brooke Macdonald staying low and flying through the woods up top.
Brook Macdonald staying low and flying through the woods up top.

The track is changing every run lines are getting cut in rocks and roots exposed and its becoming drier all the time... But for how long
The track is changing every run, lines are getting cut in, rocks and roots exposed, and it's becoming drier all the time... But for how long?

Shaw riding his especially large steed down the mountain with the same kind of venom we saw from his last season.
Shaw riding his especially large steed down the mountain with the same kind of venom we saw from his last season.

Aaron Gwinn took a bunch of slow cruising runs through the day while scoping out lines. And it wasn t until the very end that he turned things up a notch.
Aaron Gwin took a bunch of slow cruising runs through the day while scoping out lines. And it wasn't until the very end that he turned things up a notch.

Some quick laps today out of Aussie thunder Deanos Machinos Lucas.
Some quick laps today out of Aussie thunder, Deanos Machinos Lucas.

Morgane Charr smashes some cold and slick rocks as the sun begins to rise on the valley below.
Morgane Charre smashes some cold and slick rocks as the sun begins to rise on the valley below.

Marcelo Gutierrez drops into The Wall.
Marcelo Gutierrez drops into The Wall.

Fresh colorways for the MS Mondraker boys Markus rails a berm in one of the new fresh cut sections.
Fresh colorways for the MS Mondraker boys, Markus rails a berm in one of the new fresh cut sections.

If practice is anything to go buy the other juniors will have their work cut out for them if they want to catch Finn Iles this weekend.
If practice is anything to go by, the other juniors will have their work cut out for them if they want to catch Finn Iles this weekend.

Polygon UR s Alex Fayolle was already in full attack mode this afternoon and would no doubt love a big result her in France.
Polygon UR's, Alex Fayolle, was already in full attack mode this afternoon and would no doubt love a big result here in France.

Tahnee Seagrave is super motivated this year and wants nothing more than to end Rachel Atherton s unbeaten streak.
Tahnee Seagrave is super motivated this year and wants nothing more than to end Rachel Atherton's unbeaten streak.

Greg Williamson had a stellar 2016 and is looking to build on that success as we kick of the new season.
Greg Williamson had a stellar 2016 and is looking to build on that success as we kick off the new season.

Gaetan Vige is on a new team this year and has also bumped up to Elite s after two stand out years in the junior ranks.
Gaetan Vige is on a new team this year and has also bumped up to Elites after two standout years in the junior ranks.

Brendan Fairclough death gripping through the new fresh cut section.
Brendan Fairclough death gripping through the new fresh cut section.

Cube s young gun Harternstern getting amongst it his first time on the Lourdes rock.
Cube's young gun, Harternstern, getting amongst it, his first time on the Lourdes rock.

If the last four races of 2016 are anything to go buy Danny Hart is the man to beat right now.
If the last four races of 2016 are anything to go by, Danny Hart is the man to beat right now.

The last push to the start hut.
The last push to the start hut.

Perfect conditions on track right now.
Perfect conditions on track right now.

Connor Fearon may not have put down the quickest lap of the day but he definitely won practice in more than a few sections riding like an absolute animal.
Connor Fearon may not have put down the quickest lap of the day, but he definitely 'won' practice in more than a few sections, riding like an absolute animal

Remi Thirion in his familiar attack position.
Remi Thirion in his familiar attack position.

Brayton with the eye of the tiger somewhere behind those iridium lenses.
Brayton with the eye of the tiger, somewhere behind those iridium lenses.

Loic floating through the late morning light.
Loic floating through the late morning light.

American junior Nik Nestoroff holding it wide open out of the fastest berm on the track.
American junior, Nik Nestoroff, holding it wide open out of the fastest berm on the track.

 The wall section seems a little tamer this year mainly down to the drier conditions but there are also fewer rocks and some additional steps have been cut in.
'The wall' section seems a little tamer this year mainly down to the drier conditions, but there are also fewer rocks and some additional steps have been cut in.

Mark Wallace leans his new Canyon through one of the fast berms half way down the track.
Mark Wallace leans his new Canyon through one of the fast berms half way down the track.

Gwin looked calm composed and calculated taking time to scope and survey lines.
Gwin looked calm, composed and calculated, taking time to scope and survey lines.

After a wild ride through the wall section riders have a beautiful looking catch berm to scoop them up. Noel Niederberger putting his side knobs to good use.
After a wild ride through 'the wall' section riders have a beautiful looking catch berm to scoop them up. Noel Niederberger putting his side knobs to good use.

Greenland on top of the World about to drop the wall .
Greenland on top of the World, about to drop 'the wall'.

George Brannigan brought his usual rowdiness to the hillside.
George Brannigan brought his usual rowdiness to the hillside.

Veronika Widmann out putting her new Patrol set-up through its paces.
Veronika Widmann out putting her new Patrol set-up through its paces.

Loic Bruni was looking fast and comfortable all day.
Loic Bruni was looking fast and comfortable all day.

Someone on the rise is Intense s Charlie Harrison who really turned it on at the end of last year.
Someone on the rise is Intense's Charlie Harrison who really turned it on at the end of last year.

Elliott Heap has stepped up to elites this year it s always intriguing to see how the once top juniors get on with the big boys.
Elliott Heap has stepped up to elites this year, it's always intriguing to see how the once top juniors get on with the big boys.

Greg s been looking as smooth as ever aboard the big wheels this weekend although suffered a set back in timed training with some rear tire trouble.
Greg's been looking as smooth as ever aboard the big wheels this weekend although suffered a setback in timed training with some rear tire trouble.

Looking on form Bernard Kerr would come second in times training today.
Looking on form, Bernard Kerr would come second in times training today.

Rachel made her intentions clear once again. 9 seconds up in timed training.
Rachel made her intentions clear once again. 9 seconds up in timed training.

Gee Atherton was looking steady all day and would take the top time in the afternoon s timed session.
Gee Atherton was looking steady all day and would take the top time in the afternoon's timed session.

Rachel and Gee interacting live with find at the end of the day. It s amazing the level of technology these days that allows everyone to be plugged into he race no matter where they live.
Rachel and Gee interacting live with find at the end of the day. It's amazing the level of technology these days that allows everyone to be plugged into the race no matter where they live.

Remi Thirion cools down after a long day of smashing out runs
Remi Thirion cools down after a long day of smashing out runs

Fly by wire
Fly by wire

Loic now has this nifty device first seen on the back end in Rotorua mounted to his Ohlins fork.
Loic now has this nifty device, first seen on the back end in Rotorua, mounted to his Ohlins fork.

Schwalbes new Addix compound just got put through the motions of a full WC day on the hill at the mercy of the best riders in the world for the first time. Early reports are coming in on the grippy...
Schwalbe's new Addix compound just got put through the motions of a full WC day on the hill at the mercy of the best riders in the world for the first time. Early reports are coming in on the grippy...

There s a superstition that if you prepare for rain and it won t rain.
There's a superstition that if you prepare for rain, and it won't rain.

The Intense Factory Racing mechanics on the fast track to success here in Lourdes... It s a simple theory drink holy water wash bikes in holy water everything with the holy water.
The Intense Factory Racing mechanics on the fast track to success here in Lourdes... It's a simple theory; drink holy water, wash bikes in holy water, everything with the holy water.

Big Wheels ready to smash some rocks on Lourdes.
Big wheels ready to smash some rocks on Lourdes.

Lourdes has always treated Aaron Gwinn well and he is loving the track and all the new changes.
Lourdes has always treated Aaron Gwin well and he is loving the track and all the new changes.

John Hall knuckles down to some qualie-day prep at the Mob pits.
John Hall knuckles down to some qualie-day prep at the Mob pits.

It ll take more than a miracle to save anyone now... judgement day is tomorrow.
It'll take more than a miracle to save anyone now... judgement day is tomorrow.


MENTIONS: @natedh9 / @davetrumpore / @rossbellphoto




55 Comments

  • + 137
 best sport in the world...simple as that
  • + 3
 Link to livetiming anyone?for the qualis
  • + 7
 gotta love our sport and the beautiful community we have built around it !!!!! best luck to all the riders this season!!!
  • + 1
 Lourdes is such an amazing track, too.
  • + 2
 F*CK YEAH - Tim Lincecum.
  • + 57
 Probably gonna get burned for this but id love to see Gee back near the top this year.
  • + 10
 The Atherton project is back in a way so that's one bonus
  • + 14
 I'd love to see Gee win more than anyone else I think. I want Danny to continue his winning spree, I'd like bruni to win on home soil, but I really want gee to make a return too.
  • + 0
 @Jack-McLovin: 3rd place
  • + 4
 Gonna need that 29r Session. : )
  • + 20
 Fariclough wasn't "death gripping" in that pic
... he was going bloody fast though
  • + 14
 Great work Pinkbike! Most of us cannot make it to any of the events, but your coverage always makes me feel like I am a part of the whole process, love it! Good luck to all the riders and I will see you all at Mont-Saint-Anne in August!
  • + 11
 The YT pits are trying to figure out a device to break off Gwins chain and blown up his rear tire
  • + 10
 Sam Hill FTW
  • + 1
 Is Sam gonna race any dh this year or not?
  • + 2
 @coolskidz: I read in a recent article by CRC/Nukeproof that he's going to be racing at Fort William. Lets hope it happens.
  • + 7
 Phenomenal photography. Thanks, PB photographers, for enabling our addiction.
  • + 4
 So many amazing shots in this article. Maybe biased cos I love the racing so much but they are some of the best photo's I've seen in a while. Especially like the pan-shots, b&w's, and washed out ones.
  • + 4
 So glad The world cups are back. Anyone know where I can watch deathgrip can't find it on itunes
  • + 3
 Its not out yet is it?
  • + 1
 Still got a month to wait
  • + 3
 @MattStaggs: ahhhh FairPlay wrong month haha cheers
  • + 1
 Sic shots,

Man even Danny Harts shot of the front wheel and and Flo Payet make 27.5" look small, 29" does look right, just saying, woulda been interesting if Trek had run 29"front and 27.5" rear just for kicks and giggles! This could also be the solution for likes of the smaller riders keep the benefits of the rear end of 27.5" and benefits of 29" at the front for roll over and grip! I'm calling it now, remember years ago theyre was a company called Carver bikes, its not new, just not ready for DH till now maybe!

Lets Rock n Roll...
  • + 2
 From the picture of Brannigan (www.pinkbike.com/photo/14665903) What do the tennis ball markers signify? I'm assuming it is a different line for lower levels or something?
  • + 8
 probably safety. less chance of getting skewered.
  • + 1
 @neil-g: I was more referring to it looking like it is an alternate flagged line, which I have not heard of before on these WC tracks so am definitely curious about it.
  • + 2
 They'll often put an extra line of tape to keep spectators back from the track. The tennis ball is just to keep riders from getting skewered.
  • + 2
 @toast2266: But it really does look like a second line, I can't see the tape extending across between the 2 tennis balls, and there isn't additional type in that manner above that point.
  • + 3
 There is no better excuse to wile away the early hours of the morning than by watching World Cup DH.
  • + 3
 Nice dink in Bruni's rear wheel.. hope punctures don't play a big part in the race.
  • + 2
 Alex Fayolle running the Suntour (im guessing) Coil with a Cable to the left shifter! wonder what the changes are upon actuation
  • + 0
 I think it is a device what adjusts your shock's settings on the push of a lever. It would make sense if when he is halfway down and tired af he pushes the lever and make the shock more forgiving and also softer.
  • + 3
 What happened to Mike Jones??
  • + 2
 Broken wrist :/
  • + 2
 who?
  • + 1
 @scotteh: mike jones
  • + 1
 Go Troy and Mark! Would be awesome to see a Sender on the podium for the team's first WC race.
  • + 1
 @davetrumpore @natedh9 and Ross Bell, brilliant work guys!! Love the photos - Cheers Big Grin
  • + 1
 Stoked for race season! Always great coverage. Ross Bell with some awesome pans!
  • + 2
 Time to refresh the screen of my desktop with this years photos!!
  • + 2
 Is Jack Moir not racing - haven't seen any pics of hime yet?
  • + 2
 I Fachking love the first World Cup of the year!
  • + 1
 Amazing production, good luck to the riders...
  • + 1
 I'm so curious what that contraption is on Bruni's front brake.
  • + 1
 Great coverage as always! Keep it up!
  • + 1
 Getting the beers tonight. Bar opens at 6AM PDT
  • + 1
 Some of those outfits are looking pretty top to toe form fitting.
  • + 1
 This sport makes me so happy????Downhilling for life
  • + 1
 Atta boy GEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • + 1
 Lol @ Gwin's "slow cruiser run" .
  • + 1
 Awesome shots. mates!
  • + 1
 Tissot livetiming?

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