A tremendous few days of gravity-fed bicycle action in the French Alps concluded today in spectacular dry and dusty fashion. For more than two decades the Portes du Soleil has been the center of the European mountain bike universe and today was all the proof needed to show its continuing status. Under clear skies that were a far cry from the horrors of Crankworx 2016, the French fans flocked to the Mont Chery hillside in swathes that suggested MTB’s still got it. That or sipping beers under the summer sun with friends is still a big hit. This one might be hard to decipher.
The atmosphere was electric and the Bastille weekend crowds got what they wanted - that all important French victory. To be precise it was two wins when you include juniors. In total, team France amassed 1st, 2nd, and 5th in the men's and a 2nd place in the women’s as well as a win and a 3rd place in the junior men's and women’s respectively. Ca c'est la classe! Vive la France indeed.
Troy Brosnan and Laurie Greenland came closest to spoiling the patriotic mood, but luckily the trio of the French Wolfpack were firing on all cylinders with Loris Vergier once again laying down a podium performance before Loic Bruni went under three minutes and straight into the hot seat with one rider to go. Top qualifier and last man down, Amaury Pierron, somehow produced another sublime and superior run, nothing short of a masterclass that saw him roar to victory with more than two seconds to spare. Marine Cabirou so nearly did the business in the women’s race, missing out by less than a second to series leader, Tracy Hannah. Meanwhile, Thibaut Daprela took the junior win on home soil and Vali Holl, quite notably, rode the fastest female lap of the day.