Finals Photo Epic: Old School Rules - Lousa DH World Cup 2020

Oct 30, 2020
by Andy Vathis  




Photo Epic presented by Five Ten

Welcome to the all you can eat buffet of ruts and cuts that is Lousa. We’ve spent a great deal of time talking about the track conditions worsening and, to be frank, we've had the best case scenario given its natural characteristics. Round 3 of the short season was as exciting as it gets with fair weather conditions. The morning fog and humidity has consistently kept the ground greasy well into the afternoon hours. Both junior categories raced into the clouds while the Elites, even with what seemed like an endless sunset, had to navigate an unusual mix of dusty and slippery corners. Knowing when to push was the key to a good result. Oh, and maybe having some level of fitness for the gruelling pedal connecting the lower woods to the motorway jumps, too.

Waking up tomorrow and heading into the fourth and final round, the tables have turned on their heads. The junior categories are won and lost by whoever makes the least amount of mistakes, while the elites are racing at the absolute limit of what’s currently possible on a bike. Myriam Nicole has made a statement of power since setting foot in Portugal, snatching the first win for Commencal Muc-Off. She is the one to beat, hands down. It’s not so cut and dry with the men, however. While many were astonished to see the G.O.A.T. claim his unparalleled 22nd career victory, the win seemed to be a weight lifted off his shoulders. Still, Sunday is anyone's race. We’re seeing the usual suspects fall further back while names like Reveli, Williamson, and Edmondson, to name a few, are etching their names closer to the top spots. The weather is supposed to stay fair throughout the remainder of the race weekend so expect much the same recipe come Sunday.


Title shot.
Another day another early shuttle to take on the Lousã loam.

No matter how blue the sky the track seems to stay damp for much of the day at this time of year.
No matter how blue the sky, the track seems to stay damp for much of the day at this time of year.

Louzan bike park .
Lousa 'bike park'.

Ben Cathro also knows how to enjoy himself between takes.
Ben Cathro also knows how to enjoy himself between takes.

Big day for Ethan Craik taking the Junior win.
Big day for Ethan Craik taking the Junior win.

Third place for Aina Gonzalez Grimau this morning for Junior Women.
Third place for Aina Gonzalez Grimau this morning for Junior Women.

Leona Pierrini extended her lead in the junior women with a 3.9 second win over rival Chappaz.
Leona Pierrini extended her lead in the junior women with a 3.9 second win over rival Chappaz.

WC Round 3 Junior women s podium Leona Pierrini Lauryne Chappaz and Aina Gonzalez Grimau.
Lousã WC Round 3 Junior women's podium; Leona Pierrini, Lauryne Chappaz and Aina Gonzalez Grimau.

Second place for Pau Menoyo Busquets in a stacked Junior Men s field.
Second place for Pau Menoyo Busquets in a stacked Junior Men's field.

Lauryne Chappaz laying down a time good enough for second. Hopefully she can shave some seconds off on Sunday.
Lauryne Chappaz laying down a time good enough for second. Hopefully she can shave some seconds off on Sunday.

The Specialized Gravity team junior member Chris Grice hits the podium for the first time at the World Cup with 3rd place.
Specialized Gravity team junior member Chris Grice hits the podium for the first time at the World Cup with 3rd place.

Unfortunately a flat tyre off the ski jump ruined O Callaghan s chances of going 4 for 4 in the junior mens.
Unfortunately, a flat tyre off the ski jump ruined O'Callaghan's chances of going 4 for 4 in the junior mens.

junior Men s podium - Ethan Craik Pau Menoyo Busquets and Chris Grice.
Junior Men's podium - Ethan Craik, Pau Menoyo Busquets, and Chris Grice.

Still two more days of hard harding remain for this thoroughly battered and bruised Lous course.
Still two more days remain for this thoroughly battered and bruised Lousã course.

Third for Tahnee Seagrave and under a second to the number two spot.
Third for Tahnee Seagrave and under a second to the number two spot.

Winner of Round 2 Nina Hoffmann riding the German sleeve into the last spot on the podium.
Winner of Round 2, Nina Hoffmann, riding the German sleeve into the last spot on the podium.

Camille Balanche giving her rainbow stripes some sun. She ll need a bit more magic to crack into a podium spot on Sunday.
Camille Balanche giving her rainbow stripes some sun. She'll need a bit more magic to crack into a podium spot on Sunday.

Marine Cabirou came out all guns blazing but it would only be enough for second place.
Marine Cabirou came out all guns blazing, but it would only be enough for second place on the day.

Marine along with the rest of the top women have their work cut out for them if they want to get in touch with Myriam s times on this track.
Marine, along with the rest of the top women, have their work cut out for them if they want to get in touch with Myriam's times on this track.

Tracey Hannah kept it safe and solid today but will porbably want a bigger score than 4th place on Sunday for her big WC send off run.
Tracey Hannah kept it safe and solid today but will probably want a bigger score than 4th place on Sunday for her big World Cup send off run.

Myriam Nicole already in the leaders jersey after storming the qualies roared to victory once again today.
Myriam Nicole, already in the leaders jersey after storming the qualies roared to victory once again today.

A classy run from Nicole on this true track of the tactician.
An extremely fast and aggressive run from Nicole on this track of the true tactician.

Myriam being greeted at the finish. She put nearly five seconds into Marine Cabirou on this physical track. Another race begins tomorrow.
Myriam being greeted at the finish. She put nearly five seconds into Marine Cabirou on this physical track. Another race begins tomorrow.

It was a real special run perhaps best ever for Myriam.
It was a real special run, perhaps a best ever for Myriam.

Elite Women s podium - Myriam Nicole Marine Cabirou Tahnee Seagrave Tracey Hannah and Nina Hoffmann.
Elite Women's podium - Myriam Nicole, Marine Cabirou, Tahnee Seagrave, Tracey Hannah, and Nina Hoffmann.

After today s result Myriam Nicole has truly separated herself from the rest.
After today's result, Myriam Nicole has truly separated herself from the rest.

Angel Suarez sealed 12th on his local track but was surely hoping for more. Still he has another shot starting tomorrow.
Angel Suarez sealed 12th on his 'local' track, but was surely hoping for more. Still he has another shot starting tomorrow.

Full inversion mornings are the norm apparently here in Lousa.
Full inversion mornings are the norm apparently here in Lousa.

Jamie Edmondson wins privateer of World Cup Round 3 with a massive 10th place finish.
Jamie Edmondson wins privateer of World Cup Round 3 with a massive 10th place finish.

Uncharacteristic result from Danny Hart way back in 24th.
Uncharacteristic result from Danny Hart, way back in 24th.

Eye of the tiger mode engaged. Over the years some of AG s best wins have come from the least amount of bike riding during practice and whole lot of stopping and scoping.
Eye of the tiger mode engaged. Over the years, some of AG's best wins have come from the least amount of bike riding during practice and whole lot of stopping and scoping.

Times were tight enough that 4.6 seconds back was enough to put Troy Brosnan in 9th.
Times were tight enough that 4.6 seconds back was enough to put Troy Brosnan in 9th.

Benoit Coulanges cracks the World Cup top 10 in style with P7.
Benoit Coulanges cracks the World Cup top 10 in style with P7.

Greg Williamson looking right at home into the top 10.
Greg Williamson, looking right at home, into the top 10.

No peak and a dirty jersey after a massive off for Finn Iles.
No peak and a dirty jersey after a massive off for Finn Iles.

Matteo Iniguez with perhaps the shapliest shape of finals on the big table.
Matteo Iniguez with perhaps the shapliest shape of finals on the big table.

Phil Atwill floating like a butterfly for 14th.
Phil Atwill floating like a butterfly for 14th.

Thibaut Daprela was three back and only half a second off of the podium.
Thibaut Daprela was three back and only half a second off of the podium.

Huge result for Dakotah Norton landing himself on the podium. It s been a long time coming since his last top five finish in Losinj. Well deserved.
Huge result for Dakotah Norton, landing himself on the podium. It's been a long time coming since his last top five finish in Losinj. Well deserved.

Dakotah Norton monster-trucking to his second ever podium after Losinj. Rumour has it he s still on the transfer market for 2021.
Norton monster-trucking into the finish area with yet another top result. Rumour has it he's still on the transfer market for 2021.

Elated Dak s hard work is starting to pay off.
Elated, Dak's hard work is starting to pay off.

4th place today would come as a big surprise to most especially after a low key 19th in qualifying.
4th place today for Gwin would come as a big surprise to most, especially after a low key 19th in qualifying.

A little sebatical from podium duties for Aaron Gwin and he s back to work. Can he climb further up the ranks on track 2
A little sabbatical from podium duties for Aaron Gwin and he's back to work. Can he climb further up the ranks on track 2?

1.9 seconds shy of the prize for 2019 champ Loic Bruni.
1.9 seconds shy of the prize for 2019 champ, Loic Bruni.

Nothing motivates Bruni more than a poor performance. A lowly third should be just the motivation he needs to charge that bit harder on Sunday.
Nothing motivates Bruni more than a poor performance. A lowly third should be just the motivation he needs to charge that bit harder on Sunday.

Impressive one from Matt Walker. He almost had it until the G.O.A.T. was unleashed from the pen.
Impressive one yet again from Matt Walker. He almost had it until the G.O.A.T. was unleashed from the pen.

The man with the fresh white waistcoat Matt Walker.
The man with the fresh white waistcoat; Matt Walker your new 2020 series leader.

Greg Minnaar looking for grip during practice making mental notes of where he can push a little harder without too much consequence.
Greg Minnaar looking for grip during practice, making mental notes of where he can push a little harder without too much consequence.

You ever drink Baileys from shoe Old Greg is still the man after all these years. 19 years to be precise.
You ever drink Bailey's from a shoe? Old Greg is still the man after all these years. 19 years to be precise.

Tough break for Loris Vergier getting a front puncture high up on track. Watch for him to come back with a vengeance on Sunday.
Tough break for Loris Vergier getting a front puncture high up on track. Watch for him to come back with a vengeance on Sunday.

One big day of disappointment for the top qualifier and series leader.
One big day of disappointment for the top qualifier and series leader.

Lot s of respect between these two and today was no different. Greg got his. It s game on for the final round.
Lot's of respect between these two and today was no different. Greg got his. It's game on for the final round.

G.O.A.T. 1.
G.O.A.T. + 1.

Elite men ahead of the pack Minnaar Walker Bruni Gwin and Norton.
Elite men ahead of the pack; Minnaar, Walker, Bruni, Gwin and Norton.

He s still got it. Win number 22 for Minnaar.
He's still got it. Win number 22 for Minnaar.

Thirsty for more Well we ve got just the thing another World Cup coming right up starting with qualifying tomorrow.
Thirsty for more? Well we've got just the thing; another World Cup coming right up, starting with qualifying tomorrow.



48 Comments

  • 76 1
 Hearing rob Warner sing Minnaar Minnaar to the manamamah theme was the best thing I’ve heard him do since dannys champery run in 2011!
  • 8 0
 also I loved the reaction of Claudio when someone was sending the last jump
  • 72 0
 To say Minnaar is one of the world's greatest living sportsmen would be an understatement. His career is comparable to the likes of Hamilton, Rossi, Gretzky, Jordan, Niklaus, Slater etc. Athletes like this come once in a generation, and we are blessed with just such an superstar right now.

(A totally unbiased South African, cycling loving opinion, of course.)
  • 7 1
 Federer
  • 7 0
 @jimbothekid: yup he is the Federer of downhill for sure. Needs to be advertising watches and Toblerones next.
  • 19 2
 I wouldn't put Hamilton on the same level. He has the advantage of having a car 1 second faster than anyone else. He basically has to beat 1 guy, his team mate. Minnaar comes up with the goods year after year. He is a true athlete and can take it to anyone without any unfair advantage. Beating guys like Lori's and Bruni at his age is amazing. I'd love to see him win the overall which I'd say he has a good chance of doing now.
  • 4 1
 Phil "the Power" Taylor
  • 3 0
 @johnnyboy11000: I wouldn't go so far to call him an athlete.
  • 9 2
 He's also responsible of how capable are today's downhill bikes, the first in introduce 29" wheels, always tinkering with reach adjusters, chainstay length, head angle, suspension setup, etc., Ideas that others copied. In some manner other riders can thank him for having bikes that fast.
  • 3 1
 @humoroususername: I bet with you that the reason behind he being in the best car is it not because he is an average pilot that needs a good car to suceed.
  • 3 0
 Joey Dunlop raced motorbikes over a span of 24 years, taking his last TT win at age 48 (not long before his death). I wouldn't be surprised to see Minnaar take some more wins in his 40's. Absolute legends.
  • 5 1
 Greg Minnaar is no longer the goat. He is the dinosaur, and the rest of the elite riders are the goat: Like that scene from the 90s Jurassic park where they lower a goat into a dinosaur cage. Such a great athlete, I'm so happy he won!
  • 2 0
 Don't know what you mean, he paved the way for darts players with BMI under 30 everywhere
  • 3 0
 @mr-fabio: not saying he isn't a good driver but no one else has had unquestionably the fastest car on the grid for 7 years in a row. And it's not like the car is a little bit better than all the others it's almost unbeatable. Only a handful of times over the last 7 years have Mercedes been beaten on pace. That's not competition.

And with the regs staying the same next year he will have had it for 8 years in a row. It's a bit of a joke to be honest. Look at his record with Mclaren and then look at it with Mercedes. It's like two different drivers. It's mainly the car. Can't say the same for Minnaar.
  • 1 0
 @johnnyboy11000: lol fair enough.
  • 2 0
 @humoroususername: Honestly I would put Hamilton with those guys, despite the car, he goes out every weekend and performs. Barely ever has a bad weekend and is a good team player. He is still a top 2 driver in the series and hasn't shown any signs of relinquishing that. It is expected for him to win with the car, but in the fashion that he wins and the consistency it is not expected, he is a world-class athlete like those stated above.
  • 1 0
 @humoroususername: you could also argue that the red bull was a far superior car in the years when vettel dominated. Also I think someone alluded to it above, but if you have a competitive car and want to win you don't choose Johnny Average as your driver. He was chosen based on his abilities and has delivered consistently. If that isn't worthy of recognition then I don't know what else could be in this day and age.
  • 22 0
 Thanks GOAT for making me feel old... 19years at the top... Been a fan since Minnaar's Sprung debut on that Orange. Cheers GM!! Keep on keeping on. Sam, age 37 and a half.
  • 2 0
 I do find Minnaar to be quite the inspiration. I'm in my early 30s I feel like I peaked a couple years ago. Last year I was on the same pace but this season it's getting harder to push myself to go faster and I feel I've lost my ability to make much progress. It didn't help that I broke 3 ribs this spring jumping my dirt bike. Getting to the point, Greg may be an anomaly but he's a reminder that my age isn't a good excuse and it motivates me to try to get faster next year.
  • 17 0
 Matt Walker without the pressure of being the next big thing is quietly achieving what Finn Iles can't seem to put to together. Not only completing race runs but leading the overall.
Is Finn to Canadian downhill what Tim Henman was to British tennis? Seems more a curse than a blessing.
I met Finn very nice young man, Ive not met Matt but I wish them both all the best for tomorrow and the seasons ahead.
  • 5 7
 Walker seems to be the real deal. Nice to see him give Danny Hart a good kicking. Danny and his dad seem like a right pair of knobs to be honest.
  • 3 2
 @humoroususername: I used to like Danny but not after the way his Dad and Mrs carried on the other week. They were slating a team that he is still currently riding for, contracts come up, Danny must have been fully aware that his contract was up at the end of the season. No other rider on the circuit acts like this. Probably not even Danny's fault they went about it the way they did but who knows. Lets just be grateful that we even have racing this year, come on SUNDAY!!
  • 17 0
 The Mighty Boosh reference made my day Smile
  • 2 0
 Yes!!! I’m old Greeeeeeg!!
  • 3 0
 I doubt that this Ol’ Greg has a mangina.
  • 4 0
 @Onetrickpony: I doubt that too, but he's got a hell of a set of balls in his downstairs mixup
  • 2 0
 Do you love me? Make an assessment
  • 8 0
 That Balanche pan is one in a million Mr Vathis Salute
  • 7 0
 And that’s why we love Minnaar: youtu.be/PEVaeK_Teyo
  • 5 0
 That race run from Minnaar was one for the history books, just like Hart’s race run in Champery and Pierron rocketing down Les Gets. Loving it!
  • 7 0
 Epic photos!
  • 3 0
 Ol Greg..... Not even surprised, even in the slightest... Lousã had his name all over, right from the start.... I'm just echoing what has been said a billion times..... The greatest DH biker if all time.... Nuff said...
  • 5 0
 I caught that Ol Gregg reference. fuzzy little man peach.
  • 4 0
 The old school Goat giving the new school a lesson in Dh. What a beast !!!
  • 6 1
 A 4th and 5th place on the podium is a bit silly I think.
  • 1 0
 Apparently - this was started some time ago and now is just kept as tradition - it's the only sport to do so, but I agree.
  • 1 0
 Weeell - sometimes there’s only a poofteenth of a second between those riders so I why not..
  • 2 0
 Beautiful pictures from PB. Really bummed out watching Finn eat the dirt but seeing Greg take that win with such a dialled and controlled run was mesmerizing and felt like a cherry on the Sunday.
  • 1 0
 Can it be said that courses like this should become the norm again instead of the over sized flow trails we have seen in recent years. I much prefer seeing teh multiple lien choices and then seeing teh riders trying to figure the puzzle out. (This is coming from someone who has only ever raced two DH events in 30 years of riding)
  • 1 0
 Damn Daprela! another impressive ride! He seems well installed in the top 10, like if it's been 5 years he's been doing so ^^
  • 2 0
 Amazing shots amazing Lousã
  • 1 0
 Calling it now - Norton signing with Gwin on Intense - Neko off. (or when his contract is up.)
  • 2 0
 So there is still hope I can win a DH world cup at my age :-)
  • 1 0
 What do they mean with Tracey Hannah and her send off? Is she retiring?
  • 1 1
 Can’t edit on mobile but yes, she’s retiring:

www.instagram.com/p/CGpi6tgBHBV/?igshid=1vt31xz4z147l
  • 1 2
 Sorry but I just can't get behind the white lowers on the Fox forks. Too old school.

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