Finals Photo Epic: Thriller - Lousa DH World Cup 2020 Round 4

Nov 2, 2020
by Nathan Hughes  




Photo Epic presented by Five Ten



And though you fight to stay alive, your body starts to shiver; for no mere mortal can resist, the evil of the thriller. What a finale it was here for the fourth and final of the curtailed Covid series. We were lucky on many counts to see these races through and to top it off, today's final had those 'miracle feels' of Mont Sainte Anne 2017; one of those awe-inspiring races where it seemed all was lost when the weather struck, but a couple of (super) heroes prevailed against the odds.

Man of the match, young privateer from Scotland, Jamie Edmondson, took to the hotseat early on after a dubious qualifying run yesterday. 10th place at the last round was all the warning he could offer top riders as they tried time and again to challenge his time as the heavens opened at the top of the course turning trust into treachery. Consistency king, Troy Brosnan, was the first to show that we might still have a race on our hands, rather than some damp squib to fizzle out in the rain and from there, the Goat, the man in the white vest and Super Bruni himself all had their say.

The women's race was no less exciting, although unaffected by conditions, as we saw Marine Cabirou attacking like never before. She destroyed the pedalling sections and pinned the rest to storm the final round of the season, much as she did at Snowshoe '19. It would be enough to steal the leaders vest back from Myriam Nicole and reign supreme. In the juniors, Dante Silva of the USA took his first win, while UK youth, Ethan Craik, claimed the overall title. World Champ, Lauryne Chappaz took top spot in the junior women, but couldn't stop Leona Pierrini from holding steady for the series.

Lousã delivered everything and more; an amazing course and unpredictable racing that tested riders to their tactical and physical limit. It was one hell of a double-header event. A real Halloween thriller.




One last time to take in this view. Lousa it s been great.
Media log, day 127. All involved are pretty shattered. On the plus side, the weather is holding up nicely.

Racing in autumn has been great for nice cool temps on the hill and pretty colours even if the weather did play a cruel role in the series.
Racing in autumn brought us nice cool temps on the hill and pretty colours, but the weather certainly did play a cruel role in the series.

Hi ho Silva away Dante of San Diego takes his first World Cup win in the junior men.
Hi ho Silva, away! Dante of San Diego takes his first World Cup win in the junior men.

Third place for Dutch up-and-comer Van Der Velden.
Third place for Belgian up-and-comer, Van Der Velden.

Goncalo Bandeira takes second for his home race.
A heroic home-soil performance from Goncalo Bandeira taking second here in Portugal.

Junior Men s podium.
Junior Men's podium Lousa WC Round 4.

Second today for Aina Gonzalez Grimau.
Second today for Spain's Aina Gonzalez Grimau.

Lauryne Chappaz riding the loam rollercoaster to 1st place by more than 5 seconds.
Lauryne Chappaz riding the loam rollercoaster to 1st place by more than 5 seconds.

Great ride this week for Ethan Craik who secured the Junior overall and a third in today s final.
An awesome ride this week for Ethan Craik who secured the Junior overall and a third in today's final.

A narrow clinch of the overall for British junior Ethan Craik.
A narrow clinch of the overall for British junior, Ethan Craik.

The junior lady victors of WC round 4.
The junior lady victors of WC round 4.

The 2020 season overall winner Leona Pierrini.
The 2020 season overall winner Leona Pierrini.

Just another day between the tape for Tracey Hannah out here making the most of her last World Cup.
Just another day between the tape for Tracey Hannah, out here making the most of her last World Cup.

Top qualifier Tahnee Seagrave ready to drop bombs.
Top qualifier, Tahnee Seagrave, ready to drop bombs.

Despite riding 5 seconds faster today than her qualie run the victory slipped out of Seagrave grasp.
Despite riding 5 seconds faster today than her qualie run, the victory somehow slipped out of Seagrave's grasp.

Fair play to Tahnee Seagrave getting down the mountain in third. Good result to end the season.
Fair play to Tahnee Seagrave getting down the mountain in third. A good result to end the season on her road to recovery.

Fifth for the last hurrah for Monika Hrastnik.
Fifth on the last 2020 hurrah for Monika Hrastnik.

One last time for Lil Trace.
One last time for Lil Trace.

Hannah would have been on to yet another podium to round out her fantastic career but instead a big tumble entering the finish area would be her acrobatic final salute.
Tracey Hannah would have been on to yet another podium to round out her fantastic career, but instead a big tumble entering the finish area would be her acrobatic final salute.

With a big salute Tracey signs off from an legendary career of racing World Cups.
Back on the bike and across the line, Tracey signs off from a legendary career of racing World Cups.

No peak no problem. Tracey Hannah all smiles waiting for the rest of the women to come down.
No peak, no problem. Stoked on her cashroll attempt, Tracey Hannah was all smiles waiting for the rest of the women to come down.

Myriam Nicole s winning race run from Round 3 was a thing of beauty but today circummed to mistakes she couldn t afford to make.
Myriam Nicole's winning race run from Round 3 was a thing of beauty, but today succumbed to mistakes she couldn't afford to make.

All green for Myriam crossing the line but she starting way early in the race due to her qualifier. She d finish her day in fourth.
All green for Myriam crossing the line, but then she started 2nd in the race due to her qualifying crash. She'd finish her day in fourth.

German DH sensation Nina Hoffmann getting the legs primed for some fierce pedalling.
German DH sensation and winner of Round 3, Nina Hoffmann, getting the legs primed for the savage pedal.

Nina Hoffmann has had quite the season and surely would have done more if it wasn t cut short. She s proved her worth going into 2021.
Hoffmann has had quite the season and surely would have done more if it wasn't cut short. She's more than proven her worth going into 2021.

Marine Cabirou crushed it at this final stop reminiscent of her Snowshoe performance to round out the 2019 season.
Marine Cabirou crushed it at this final stop, reminiscent of her Snowshoe performance to round out the 2019 season.

Marine Cabirou had the fitness and finesse to take win on this tough track and with that the overall title.
All the fitness and finesse to take the win on this tough, tactical track, and with that, the overall title.

Impressive splits from Cabirou who seemed to be getting faster as her run wore on.
Impressive splits from Cabirou who seemed to be getting faster as her run wore on.

Cabirou gave everything for her run pedalling for her life on the flat bit.
Well earned. Cabirou gave everything for her run, pedalling for her life here, there and everywhere.

The fastest women of Lousa WC round 4.
The fastest women of Lousa WC round 4.

A win and the women s elite overall for Cabirou. That s a damn fine way to end the season.
A win and the women's elite overall for Cabirou. That's a damn fine way to end the season.

Worlds 2020 silver medalist David Trummer gets in the zone with YT Mob mechanic Ben Arnott.
Worlds 2020 silver medalist, David Trummer, gets in the zone with YT Mob mechanic, Ben Arnott.

9th for Trummer to round out a few very strong showings this short year.
9th for Trummer to round out a few very strong showings this short year.

Joe Breeden has been quiet up until now. Cracking your first top 10 and on a track like this is surely a special feeling.
Joe Breeden has been a pretty low-key member of the UR team up until now. Cracking your first top 10 and on a track like this is surely a special feeling.

Young UK talent Joe Breeden scored a brilliant 10th place to sign off the season.
Young UK talent, signs off the season showing his great potential with a banger run

Not so local local boy had high hopes coming into this race and off the back of a 7th place in Maribor.
The not so 'local', local boy, Angel Suarez had high hopes coming into this race and off the back of a 7th place in Maribor.

A podium sure would have been nice but 8th is no bad score for Spain s fastest export.
A podium sure would have been nice, but 8th is no bad score for Spain's fastest export.

So there is hope Troy Brosnan was the first of the big names to get out of the red crossing the line after the rain.
So there is hope! Troy Brosnan was the first of the big names to get out of the red crossing the line after the rain.

Absolutely bullet-proof in Maribor Lousa would be Loris Vergier s undoing and he was forced to surrender the 1 plate at close of play.
Absolutely bullet-proof in Maribor, Lousa would be Loris Vergier's undoing and he was forced to surrender the 1 plate at close of play.

Big day for Phil Atwill landing on the last step of the podium.
What a day for bike-handing behemoth, Phil Atwill, piloting the 26 plate onto the last step of the podium.

Phil freakin Atwill ladies and gents. Privateer mode engaged and straight onto the podium at the last opportunity.
Phil freakin' Atwill ladies and gents. Privateer mode engaged and straight into 5th place at the final opportunity.

Staying in the top 10 Thibaut Daprela has had a great first elite season. 2021 is looking bright so far.
Staying in the top 10, Thibaut Daprela has had a great first elite season. 2021 is looking damn bright so far.

Warning shots were fired in the qualies yesterday but who would have predicted Jamie Edmondson would spend the entire afternoon in the hotseat before landing his first ever World Cup podium here in Lousa.
Warning shots were fired here in Round 3, but who would have predicted privateer, Jamie Edmondson, would spend the entire afternoon in the hotseat, before landing his first-ever World Cup podium here in Lousa.

Jamie Edmondson sat on the hot seat for nearly the entire men s race finishing off in fifth. There was no shortage of privateer talent here.
Wild-card, rising-star, Edmondson, in the final moments of a masterful run. The weather gods may have favoured him, but rest assured there is no shortage of raw talent here.

Matt Walker. Such speed so consistency... The World is impressed and hails it s new leader.
Matt Walker. Such speed, so consistency... The World is impressed and hails its new leader.

Matt Walker has officially cemented himself as a threat to the top dogs in the field and he s only getting started. A strong third for him and with that the overall title.
Walker has officially cemented himself as a threat to the top dogs in the field and he's only getting started. A strong third for him and with that, the overall title.

Walker was first to dethrone Edmondson from the hot seat 55 plus riders later.
The first to dethrone Edmondson from the hot seat... 30 riders later.

Man. Machine. Goat. Greg Minnaar opens up the airways at the top of the track.
Man. Machine. Goat. Greg Minnaar opens up the airways at the top of the track.

Had Minnaar not banged his head on the start hut that 0.17 handicap might have disappeared but what good are these what ifs in racing
Had Minnaar not banged his head on the start hut, that 0.17 handicap might have disappeared, but what good are these 'what ifs' in racing?

Full-gas canonball mode for one of the tallest in the game and straight into the hot seat with just one man left on the mountain.
Full-gas, canonball mode for one of the tallest in the game and straight into the hot seat with just one man left on the mountain.

Minnaar was set for the two for two once he crossed the line. Only one man remained to drop in.
Minnaar was set for the two for two once he crossed the line. Only one man remained to drop in.

We got glimpse real fire from Loic Bruni for qualifying last time in Maribor but today would be that next level Super Bruni.
We got glimpse real fire from Loic Bruni for qualifying last time in Maribor, but today would be that next level Super Bruni.

This track wasn t the easiest for Loic to figure out. He played with line options and was patient during training testing what was best for him.
This track wasn't the easiest for Loic to figure out. He played with line options and was patient during training, testing what was best for him.

Bruni studying the lines. There s a lot more to it than simply smashing down the track.
Do your homework, kids. There's a lot more to it than simply smashing down the track.

the animal that is Loic Bruni soaring into the finish arena. He achieved what he came here to do an did it with explosive fashion.
The animal that is Bruni soaring into the finish arena. He achieved what he came here to do and he did it in explosive fashion.

Compulsive viewing as Bruni goes red on the middle splits.
Compulsive viewing as Bruni goes red on the middle splits.

Victory by a hair s bredth.
Victory by a hair's bredth; 0.17 seconds.

No caption needed.
No caption needed.

And the 2020 overall starts to sink in for Matt Walker.
And the 2020 overall starts to sink in for Matt Walker.

After losing his beloved stripes in the Leogang mud and such a narrow defeat to Loris Vergier in Maribor super Bruni is back on top.
After losing his beloved stripes in the Leogang mud, and such a narrow defeat to Loris Vergier in Maribor, super Bruni is back on top.

Not a bird not a plane.
Not a bird, not a plane.

Jamie Edmondson in utter disbelief of what he just accomplished.
Jamie Edmondson in utter disbelief of what he just accomplished.

Elite Men s podium.
Legends of Lousa WC round 4...

Matt Walker hits the showers.
Matt Walker hits the showers.

Win or lose...
Win or lose...

The 2020 WC season overall womens champs.
The 2020 WC season overall womens champs.

Little Trace takes top spot in the Champagne champs.
Little Trace takes the top spot in the Champagne champs.

The way in ended; Elite Men's overall podium 2020

Make no mistake, there's a new kid in town. Matt Walker knows a thing or two about putting down quality runs and no messing in between.

A bit of a corker, indeed.

Legendary Lousa. That was damn good I think we can all agree. Let s hope for a return to the this multi-line natural madness before too long.
Legendary Lousa. Let's hope for a return to this multi-line beauty of natural madness before too long.

Hopefully this isn t a hard farewell of absolute legend Tracey Hannah.
Surely this isn't a full farewell to absolute MTB legend and all round excellent human, Tracey Hannah.



53 Comments

  • 62 0
 Thanks PB and all the media for the love.
Fingers crossed the World Cup returns soon and with the biggest piece of the puzzle missing: We,the portuguese fans!
  • 1 0
 True!
  • 10 0
 It was really difficult knowing that you got the first World Cup DH in Portugal 2h away from you and not being able to live it! Thanks Redbull to make it less painful, and everyone in Lousã that helped to put DH at this scale on the portuguese map. Big example here...
  • 27 0
 Bruni's mental game must be absolutely dialled. Minnaar really thought he had it!
  • 3 0
 Did Minnaar really hit his head on the start gate?
  • 7 0
 @kev-bike: I rewatched his run, and you can definitely see and hear the thunk (01:4Cool . It didn't look major, but it was the kind of thunk I've experienced many times working under a car which results in a string of expletives. I wouldn't be surprised if it broke his concentration enough to cost at least a tenth. They definitely need to make the starting box bigger!
  • 21 0
 Big love to Nathan and Andy from the Vital snappers. Cheers for the good times, shit talking and keeping us awake in such a weird season! You guys killed it as always.
  • 6 0
 Same to you guys. Amazing work this year!
  • 8 0
 Dan, I know I have talked to you about the killer photos that ALL of you take each and every race weekend. It is important for ALL of you to know what a joy it is to see all the hard work that you ALL do to bring killer stories to life in the photos taken. Crazy year for sure, but the racing, and photos make it a bit easier.

Thank you to the VitalMTB Squids @danhearn @maddogboris @svenmartin Pinkbike Squids @andy9 @nathanhughes also Seb "The Hof"

All of you are as important to the sport as the riders. Keep safe, smile, and don't stay up to late editing photos. Perfection can wait. Big Grin
  • 7 0
 Stunning pics, amazing race to witness... Huge props to all involved. Legendary Lousã indeed. Bit of bonus footage here if anyone's keen: www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4uU6cQRXw4
  • 8 0
 Phil the thrill, hell yes! Mark my words, Daprela is the next golden boy...
  • 5 0
 Brand new World Cup Track... it was amazing seeing the Guys/Girls facing a new reality, new track, new lines every day, not the same 'ol "i know this"... just made the competition to another level... Congrats to the Winners, specialy to Greg, the GOAT, what an animal this guy ???? Amazing End of Season here in Portugal
  • 7 0
 Trummer railing to 9th place in the worst conditions...even a food poisoning within a double world cup week could not stop him...looking forward for next season Smile
  • 7 0
 Nobody is gonna ask what Bruni pushed while entering the pedal section ? Seemed like a good button to push for the win ????
  • 16 0
 NOS system camembert-fart-turbo-mode
  • 5 0
 If you're alluding to an e-advantage, UCI already checked over his bike many times. Rob is most likely right, its gotta be proprietary tech. for remote suspension adjustment.
  • 5 0
 Some sort of downcountry gimmick I'm sure.
  • 5 0
 Hot-swap to a fresh set of legs.
  • 5 0
 Watch Wyn TV... Bruni said the button affects the compression on his fork.
  • 1 0
 @thinkbike: The shock too. I wonder why it's electric? Perhaps it can be programmed to switch back after x number of seconds or something?
  • 1 0
 @kcy4130: yes, looked like he had two separate controls. The button on the grip for the rear shock and he reached down to adjust the fork.
  • 3 2
 @thinkbike: Is it legal to switch suspension settings like that? If it can be controlled electronically then I can see in the future an on-board computer switching the suspension settings a bunch of times for each part of the track. They can analyze previous runs and select which setting to run for each segment or something.
  • 8 0
 @genemk: Yes it is and only Tony Stark can predict the future.
  • 1 0
 @scott-townes: LOL. Fair enough. I'm surprised more riders weren't doing it then.
  • 5 0
 Someone could please explain the rationale behind DHR2 being used as a front tyre by both Bruni and Minnaar on this particular track? No sarcasm, just very curious
  • 12 0
 it happens to be a fantastic front tyre too
  • 7 0
 Greg ran dual DHR II for years and years before he made the Assegai.
  • 6 0
 they used this tyre as most of the riders because it have less rolling resitence but a lot of bracking traction, they know how to ride corner fast so an assegai for example will byte too much the ground..and in a track like Lousa carryin speed, espetially on the last jump part was the key to win.
  • 3 0
 Looking forward to more International Events and of course WC Races, putting Portugal in the MTB Map... With more hope, it will wake up people to try to do more for this sport since we surely have the raw materials to do it...
  • 2 0
 What a track, what a weekend! Pure racing.

Does anyone know why Bruni is wearing a black arm band (usually a sign of mourning)? I think he even pointed to it during the improv podium when he got 3rd place in race one.
  • 11 0
 There has been a terrorist attack in his native city of Nice. 3 people killed, I’m guessing its for them.
  • 5 0
 @benmayot: Oh, wow, I didn't make that connection, must be. I didn't know he's from Nice.

Thank you for taking the time to reply.
  • 2 0
 Super stoked for Ethan Craik! I have no idea if we are related, but it isn’t exactly a common surname, so I have been following his progress for a while now.
  • 4 4
 Sooo nobody wants to talk about Loic Bruni's adjustments on the fork right before the pedal section? Not one word about the hidden part of the rear shock? It's obvious that Öhlins made some kind of a lockout function, but why isn't anybody talking about it??
  • 7 1
 They talked about it in both of his race runs, he talked with Wynn about it, and every article here has multiple comments about it. How much conversation do you want about what is clearly a remote lockout / climb switch that's been common on XC bikes for years? Only interesting question really is whether it's just a lockout for the fork or if it does the shock at the same time too.
  • 1 1
 Anyone know what knob Loic Bruni was switching on his fork before starting the pedal section? I've never seen that before. Is he just putting his fork into some sort of firm pedal mode for the rest of the run?
  • 4 0
 He was probably dialing on some extra low speed compression to reduce pedal bob a bit. The benfits of some extra support while pedalling clearly outweighed the small bump sensitivity he lost in the lower section that was pretty smooth and flowy
  • 2 0
 What's the purpose of Greg's nose plugs during warmup? I think I saw Loris with some kind of nose plugs as well.
  • 3 0
 Peppermint oil or similar for better breathing and free sinuses
  • 2 0
 On the junior men's podium: one of these things is not like the others. Second place has been eating his wheaties.
  • 2 0
 Amazing photos! Very well captured and a beautiful way to round off the season. Such great work you guys!
  • 1 0
 Amazing photos as always!
Scroll down to view or slide show click through?
Maybe do a reader poll to see what people prefer?
  • 2 0
 Third place for Dutch up-and-comer, Van Der Velden. she's Belgian
  • 1 0
 Cheers, corrected now.
  • 1 0
 What was dubious about Edmondons qualifier?
  • 2 0
 Just meaning he was far back in the ranks. Probably a big mistake and/or crash.
  • 4 0
 @nathanhughes: he said he took it easy, saving energy
  • 1 0
 That detail shot of Ethan Craik with the little mushrooms is so badass!
  • 4 4
 Somebody, please feed Claudio a steak!
  • 5 2
 or maybe respect someone’s nutritional choices? It’s not like he’s pushing it in your face
  • 1 1
 @Upduro: are you saying he is experiencing malnutrition?
  • 1 0
 Lousã born and bred!

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