It's a Wild, Wild Ride: Lourdes World Cup DH Practice

Apr 11, 2015
by Matthew DeLorme  
After the first fifteen minutes of yesterday's track walk, it was safe to say we all just wanted practice to start. We couldn't wait to see our first glimpses of this track being thrashed by the big guns. We predicted a fair amount of bike carnage, and we have yet to be disappointed; it's eating wheels, breaking bars, and snapping brake levers. Speeds are going to be staggering, so getting it wrong on this track could mean the end of your race run. The track is burning in nicely, main lines are forming, and there is a plethora of lovely loose dust and jagged rocks. What may be the biggest letdown was not seeing Sam Hill on his bike today, all of us were pumped to see him destroy a track that seems built for him. The latest word is that Sam is out with an injury, and we will have more details as they follow. Gee Atherton was fastest in timed training and Aaron Gwin was hot on his heels. Some weather is forecast to roll in tomorrow, and if it does, this track will be an entirely different beast.

The sun rises on what looks to be a glorious season of World Cup DH.
  The sun rises on what looks to be a glorious season of World Cup DH.

The Funicular did a much better job of getting riders up to the top than anyone expected. It was tight in there but it did the job.
  The Funicular did a much better job of getting riders up to the top than anyone expected. It was tight in there, but it did the job.

Lorenzo Suding is not racing but he is back and on the road to recovery. He will be doing a little wrenching this race.
  Lorenzo Suding is not racing, but he is back and on the road to recovery. He will be doing a little wrenching this race.

Day two and the weather continues to behave itself miraculously.
  Day two and the weather continues to behave itself, miraculously.

Myriam Nicole rolling in fresh high-vis from the top of the ghost train.
  Myriam Nicole rolling in fresh high-vis from the top of the ghost train.

Emmeline Ragot scopes the top rocks after the first turns under the funicular tunnel. The track was packed with puzzled riders all morning and it was the usual beginning of season struggle for the media working out all the riders new looks for 2015.
  Emmeline Ragot scopes the top rocks in her new team gear. The track was packed with puzzled riders all morning and it was the usual beginning-of-season struggle for the media working out all the riders new looks for 2015.

Manon Carpenter was fourth in timed training today. Expect her to pick up speed tomorrow come qualifying.
  Manon Carpenter was fourth in timed training today. Expect her to pick up speed tomorrow come qualifying.

Even though not fully recovered from his broken foot Josh Bryceland is still here toughing it out and giving 100 here in Lourdes
  Even though not fully recovered from his broken foot Josh Bryceland is still here toughing it out and giving 100% here in Lourdes.

Joe Smith is one of the few riders still on flat pedals.
  Joe Smith is one of the few riders still on flat pedals.

The most asked question on track all day long - Why isn t Sam Hill on a bike The truth was typically shrouded in secrecy but sources say he s irritated an old injury.
  The most asked question on track all day long - 'Why isn't Sam Hill on a bike?' The truth was typically shrouded in secrecy, but sources say he's irritated an old injury.

Wynn Masters has put in the hard work this winter and is looking to leave his mark on 2015
  Wyn Masters has put in the hard work this winter and is looking to leave his mark on 2015.

Mikes Jones had a hot streak at the end of last season and a 7th in timed training shows he has no plan to slow down in 2015.
  Mike Jones had a hot streak at the end of last season and a 7th in timed training shows he has no plan to slow down in 2015.

The track is taking bikes and bodies to the limit no doubt about it... Mark Wallace surfs on his heals away from the mighty hip jump.
  The track is taking bikes and bodies to the limit, no doubt about it... Mark Wallace surfs on his heels away from the mighty hip jump.

BrenDog looks like he has been putting in some solid work over the off-season. All the style now with extra speed.
  BrenDog looks like he has been putting in some solid work over the off-season. All the style, now, with extra speed.

Tracey Hannah diving right in from the start looking pinned. While she was a ways back in timed training the newest Pinkbike rider was all confidence.
  Tracey Hannah diving right in from the start, looking pinned. While she was a ways back in timed training, the newest Pinkbike rider was all confidence.

Loose chunky shale is not your tire s friend. There were plenty of flats today.
  Loose chunky shale is not your tire's friend. There were plenty of flats today.

Sam Dale making the ground shake with the number 13 plate. He can hope for the same good fortune as Gwin who took the first round win with it last season...
  Sam Dale making the ground shake with the number 13 plate. He can hope for the same good fortune as Gwin who took the first round win with it last season...

Rachel Atherton took after brother Gee today quickly putting up the fastest time in Women s timed training.
  Rachel Atherton took after brother Gee today, quickly putting up the fastest time in women's timed training.

During the practice overlap things became a little congested. Technical sections like this chute were often littered with riders trying to come to grips with the track.
  During the practice overlap, things became a little congested. Technical sections like this chute were often littered with riders trying to come to grips with the track.

Blenki keeps it low and tight as he buzzes the padding up top in the rhythm section of the track.
  Blenki keeps it low and tight as he buzzes the padding up top in the rhythm section of the track.

Taylor Vernon was looking good out with the big guns even though he has an injured hand.
  Taylor Vernon was looking good out with the big guns, even though he has an injured hand.

The World Champ was fully pinned today. Gee Atherton took the top spot in timed training and had some rather impressive hucks going down today.
  The World Champ was fully pinned today. Gee Atherton took the top spot in timed training and had some rather impressive hucks going down today.

Troy Brosnan was having no issues in the dust today. Brosnan was third fastest in timed training.
  Troy Brosnan was having no issues in the dust today. Brosnan was third fastest in timed training.

Danny Hart hit training hard as ever from the off boosting his way out of every corner except all the ones he cut...
  Danny Hart hit training hard as ever from the off, boosting his way out of every corner except all the ones he cut...

Finally recovered from shoulder surgery that cut his 2014 season short Mick Hannah is back on the gas and enjoying training with new teammate Andrew Neethling.
  Finally recovered from shoulder surgery that cut his 2014 season short, Mick Hannah is back on the gas and enjoying training with new teammate Andrew Neethling.

New colors and a new team but the same old Blenki pinned everywhere. Even the silly French rules requiring that he wear gloves can t slow him down.
  New colors and a new team, but the same old Blenki pinned everywhere. Even the silly French rules requiring that he wear gloves can't slow him down.

George Brannigan was running fast loose and wild today - just like in his most recent video. Well no back flips but it s still impressive to watch.
  George Brannigan was running fast, loose, and wild today - just like in his most recent video. Well, no back flips, but it's still impressive to watch.

Always smooth and calculated in practice Myriam Nicole was steadily picking up the pace in each run today. She thrives on steep and tech tracks and everything about this hillside in Lourdes should play to her strengths.
  Always smooth and calculated in practice Myriam Nicole was steadily picking up the pace in each run today. She thrives on steep and tech tracks and everything about this hillside in Lourdes should play to her strengths.

Rachel Atherton is angry this year after playing the runner up in 2014 in both the World Cup and World Champs. Full of confidence and riding practice full speed it s safe to say he is out to prove something this weekend
  Rachel Atherton is angry this year after playing the runner up in 2014 in both the World Cup and World Champs. Full of confidence and riding practice full speed, it's safe to say she is out to prove something this weekend

Needles takes a break from all the line choice dilemmas and takes flight off roadgap number 1.
  Needles takes a break from all the line choice dilemmas and takes flight off roadgap number 1.


The track in Lourdes is probably the last ting you would want to try and ride one week after thumb surgery but Greg Minnaar is a hard man and isn t about to let a freshly reattached tendon stand in the way of him and a World Cup title.
  The track in Lourdes is probably the last thing you would want to try and ride one week after thumb surgery, but Greg Minnaar is a hard man and isn't about to let a freshly reattached tendon stand in the way of him and a World Cup title.

Gwin s approach for the day 1. Look at the trail hard for several minutes 2. Look a little harder some more 3. Get on the bike 4. Send it at pace. It seemed effective...
  Gwin's approach for the day: 1. Look at the trail hard for several minutes 2. Look a little harder some more 3. Get on the bike 4. Send it at pace. It seemed effective...

Aaron Gwin has all kinds of sneaky inside lines and little gaps hidden up his sleeve. One of the few guys really getting aggressive and creative with line choice in practice he must being doing something right as he ended the day in 2nd after timed training.
  Aaron Gwin has all kinds of sneaky inside lines and little gaps hidden up his sleeve. One of the few guys really getting aggressive and creative with line choice in practice, he must being doing something right as he ended the day in 2nd after timed training.

Gee s first time this year repping the stripey jersey didn t go to plan in Rotorua but he s looking to set thing right a little closer home and winning training s a pretty solid start.
  Gee's first time this year repping the stripey jersey didn't go to plan in Rotorua, but he's looking to set thing right a little closer home and 'winning' training's a pretty solid start.

With a new bike and the whole Commencal family here in attendance Remi Thirion is looking to for nothing less than the top step of the podium.
  With a new bike and the whole Commencal family here in attendance, Remi Thirion is looking to for nothing less than the top step of the podium.

Lucky 13 and Sam Dale enter the dark and loamy tree section near the bottom of the track.
  Lucky #13 and Sam Dale enter the dark and loamy tree section near the bottom of the track.

With a win a few weeks ago at Crankworx New Zealand we know Loic Bruni is up to pace this season but the field in Lourdes is stacked and there are probably 15 guys here who all have a shot at winning.
  With a win a few weeks ago at Crankworx New Zealand we know Loic Bruni is up to pace this season, but the field in Lourdes is stacked, and there are probably 15 guys here who all have a shot at winning.

Loic cools down in the Lapierre rig at the end of a long day waiting for the tram and absolutely blitzing the track in-between. He looked absolutely on fire out there at times today.
  Loic cools down in the Lapierre rig at the end of a long day waiting for the tram and absolutely blitzing the track in-between. He looked totally on fire out there at times today.

Neko Mulally is one of the fastest riders out there through rough sections and rock gardens. Considering the track in Lourdes is full of both those things top to bottom Neko is definitely one to watch this weekend.
  Neko Mulally is one of the fastest riders out there through rough sections and rock gardens. Considering the track in Lourdes is full of both those things top to bottom, Neko is definitely one to watch this weekend.

Mick taking a break while looking over the day s training times figuring out where to gain precious seconds.
  Mick taking a break while looking over the day's training times, figuring out where to gain precious seconds.

Danny Hart s Marzocchi and Sram-equipped carbon Mondraker Summum... Certainly a sight for sore eyes.
  Danny Hart's Marzocchi and Sram-equipped Mondraker Summum carbon... Certainly a sight for sore eyes.

Peaty was spending his time wisely getting the ol chainsaw ready for some superfan cheering for Ratty tomorrow.
  Peaty was spending his time wisely, getting the ol' chainsaw ready for some superfan cheering for Ratty tomorrow.

Gwin s new signature TLD kit definitely looked the ticket out in the grey woods this afternoon.
  Gwin's new signature TLD kit definitely looked the ticket out in the grey woods this afternoon.


The Troy Lee AG eagle adorning the top of Aaron s Red Bull D3.
  The Troy Lee 'AG' eagle adorning the top of Aaron's Red Bull D3.


Time to get those chains prepped. Question is wet or dry lube will it really matter
  Time to get those chains prepped. Question is, wet or dry lube? Will it really matter? We will find out tomorrow.



109 Comments

  • + 94
 Danny's bike is FN beautiful.
  • - 20
flag donpinpon29 (Apr 10, 2015 at 18:05) (Below Threshold)
 dont buy it
  • + 31
 I feel like a lot of the new bikes and kits are ridiculously sexy this year
  • + 2
 hey @donpinpon29 why do you say so?
  • + 5
 Don't tell me @donpinpon29 - it's cause its carbon?! You're probably right, it's only been in development c60 years. What do those materials guys know?!
  • + 10
 that marzocchi is sick too ! looks like Kashima, but better
  • + 24
 If humanity is a parade of fools, you sir would be marching at the front, twirling a baton.
  • + 4
 ^^ Can't prop this enough.
  • + 0
 who is on GIANT aside of gutierrez ?
  • + 3
 Anyone know what the blacked out sponsor is above the "D"? Did one pull out?
  • + 3
 @elscotto. He was riding mavic deemax's during the offseason but seems to be using DTswiss wheels now. Presuming it could be that?
  • + 41
 Ahhhh so good to see those pictures !! It's like if it's been years Smile (and blenky with gloves ?! O.O)
  • + 15
 Mandatory glove rule?!? wtf
  • + 61
 mandatory gloves but no neck brace or spine protection. Makes sense.
  • + 21
 Just read on Vital that the UCI passed a rule today banning all POV cameras...who are the idiots passing this crap? Hard enough learning a WC track in 2 days now the riders can't even study their footage....but the UCI dummies will claim "its for their safety"
  • + 12
 if you haven't seen vital's raw yet, you're missing out. This track is sick
  • + 1
 I actually agree with this rule. Apparently Schumacher's head injury was caused by a camera attached to his helmet. The helmet probably isn't going to be as effective in a crash if there's a camera attached at the point of impact.
  • + 6
 That Schumacher report was proven to be full of sh!t, and the journalist has retracted his claim.
  • + 4
 POV cameras are so dangerous they might just blow up in the riders face good that UCI baned them... Who are these morons even do they know anything about mtb
  • + 1
 To be fair, all UCI is saying is you can run a camera ar your own risk and with non modified gear. I read the rules as If the helmet comes with a mount it would be ok. If proven safe you can run a camera. UCI seems a bit backwards in banning something till proven safe without presenting any material that sugest running a POV camera is dangerous.
  • + 2
 It's not species-appropriate to let a wild Blenki wear gloves!
  • + 1
 @StanMarsh ist so stupid,go pro is Even a official Partner of the UCI
  • + 1
 I was told by an official once that cameras attached to helmets have not been crash tested and safety approved yet, so they legally can not take the chance of something going wrong. For argument's sake, maybe a camera could make for a weak point on impact. Who knows, but in our litigious society you can't really blame them.
  • + 1
 I highly doubt a square of 3M tape under the GoPro mount is going to jeopardise the safety of the helmet
  • + 2
 3m tape is not the problem...I think a piece of plastic,hard plastic,can press the helmet carcass very badly and broke it in this place. I think gopro mount must be breakable in case of impact to prevent neck bending.
  • + 1
 ah, in a straight on collision I suppose you're right, it could compress inwards and catch
  • + 1
 I'm not arguing in favour of the UCI rule, as I think its pretty dumb, but it is what it is
  • + 0
 But seriously who will crash that way that a top mounted go pro becomes a problem
  • + 23
 So let me understand this, UCI bans helmet cam footage, Troy and Gwin have different kits but Spesh is an elite team and the syndicate is not, but they finally have a year with a bunch of awesome tracks. I know getting everything right can be hard, but is it really that difficult??
  • + 1
 Just guessing here but maybe it is because Gwin's kit is a signature kit and Troy's is not???
  • + 2
 its more to do with sponsor placement
  • + 2
 Ahhh yeah that makes sense.
  • + 24
 If Hill is out I am rooting for Gwinn to put some serious time into the rest of the pack. Let em know Like Val di sole 2012
  • + 20
 I hope Sam races and wins with no practise That would be so epic
  • + 20
 NEKO!!! I'll crack a beer for you come race day!
  • + 15
 Come on Fairclough. Theres a step on the podium with your name on it.
  • + 15
 I bet Sam rides the final
  • + 9
 I like how you think. If Sam doesnt though, I'll still be rooting for his teammates. Jones is definitiely looking fast!
  • + 1
 Is he still a protected top 20 rider or does that not carry over year to year?
  • + 2
 @rockin-itis and Jones's on flats !!!
  • + 1
 Jones ain't on flats, that's another pic of Joe Smith
  • + 8
 What the world needed was a true downhill race, and that is exactly what we have here!!!
  • + 8
 SAM HEAL!!!
  • + 6
 The circuit needs at least one race per month all year round the world
  • + 6
 ELLIOT JACKSON FTW !!!!!!!!!!
  • + 1
 He Had a nasty crash (it's on Vital RAW). But I think he's okay
  • + 1
 @fabdemaere no, its not on vital raw, I didn't see anyone crashing on a Pivot
  • + 4
 @zede no fabdemaere is actually right, there was a different video called 55 seconds of carnage at lourdes or something like that and Elliot did actually have a rather brutal slam
  • + 1
 Actually I was talkin about the first one, where tou see Eliot sitting on the side, looking down.
Excuse me for jumping to conclusions, but unless he is watching other riders for their lines (which he isn't), the only reaon why a guy that loves riding as much as Eliot would sit on the side is if he'd had a massive slam
  • + 1
 yeah you're right that was not in the "vital raw -Lourdes", it was "the scariest 55 second of your life" video.
So yeah, really bad crash of eliot at 38s. Hope he's alright
  • + 6
 Rocking down hill race go USA A.G.is back and strong.
  • + 5
 Could they make those Fox 40 look any better?
  • + 6
 I preferred last years stickers...
  • + 2
 Yes, but somehow they didn't.
  • + 1
 Could someone explain to me the comment in the article about Joe Smith being one of the last tidings on flat pedals? What does everyone else ride? I'm a XC rider that's moved to more of an all mountain so I'm used to riding clipless. Is that what other are moving towards? I didn't think they were used in DH. Thanks for the info.
  • + 1
 It looks like there is older Sram stuff on some of the bikes. Why would this be? (Code levers on Gwins bike and the older Avid rotors on Danny's Mondraker.) Some of those photos are ace as well!!
  • + 2
 World cup this weekend and BDS last has for me so stoked for getting out on the bike and shredding hard, hell I've even started training on the hardtail.
  • + 3
 Two things I took out of that are that Sam Hill is injured (DAMMIT!), and hells YES that new Norco is sexy!
  • + 5
 why is peaty not racing?
  • + 9
 knee surgery a few weeks (?) ago
  • + 1
 And... gardening problems as we can see on this report!
  • + 4
 Be careful not being fully recovered Ratboy! Rooting for you !
  • + 1
 I predict Rachel antherton is going to destroy the women's feild this year . Now fully fit after last year illness etc . She's got a point to prove.
  • + 2
 the track really suits myriam and emmeline though it seems. plus the french girls have probably raced the coupe de france there so they may have the home advantage.
  • + 2
 Loving Danny's bike. It's got to be a good track for him, like Hamsterley Descend turned up to 11Smile
  • + 2
 Damn shame really. Would of been a great season for everybody to come back without injuries.
  • - 1
 1. Ever notice that Troy Brosnan moves his body on his bike WAYYY more than anyone else?
2. Does Minaar's wheel look tweaked or what?!?!?
3. Very cool to see smaller bike companies in the limelight.
4. A Marzocchi shock WITHOUT chrome tubes - WTF?!?!?
5. Great photos Mathew Delorme (photographer). Nice angles!
6. New Trol Lee Designs logo looks like a German flag mated with a French one.
  • + 3
 So stoked to get this train on the track!!
  • + 1
 @TFreeman He's questioning an injury and may not race this round, real bummer as it looked like this track suited him down to the ground.
  • + 2
 something's wrong: blenki has gloves !
  • + 3
 Stupid French rules....
  • + 0
 El├ęgance first ! Wink
  • + 2
 Watch out Gee, they're coming for you.
  • + 1
 i dont know why the are lubing that chain, we all know a new one will be on there tomorrow come race time!!
  • + 1
 Marie.... support all these riders tomorrow for this tough first round of the World DH Cup !
  • + 1
 i wonder where santacruz's pits are located in relation to the "trade teams"
  • + 2
 Peaty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • + 1
 Who has everyone got there money on? I'm seeing it a gee 1st Loic 2nd Troy 3rd
  • + 1
 any ideas if you can watch the training somewhere online today ?
  • + 1
 Come on Peaslake get behind the Brendog
  • + 1
 that marzocchi shox is the mean between kashima and blackbox !
  • + 1
 On a course like this, it's not a proper win if Sam wasn't riding.
  • + 1
 I'm waiting for the Pink Bike riders ^^
  • + 1
 Looks like a new Renthal Apex 'direct mount' stem on a few bikes.
  • + 1
 Has Bryce stopped riding for monster then?
  • + 1
 Didn't see Eliot's name on the timed practice - any word if he's racing??
  • + 5
 Timed practice isn't mandatory, many of the riders we will see later this weekend aren't on the TT result list.
  • + 3
 Thanks for that. I had no idea! First I learned that what people call loam is really duff and now this.
  • + 2
 Haha won't lie that was a game changer for me too
  • + 1
 @sfrucian look again, he was 31
  • + 2
 SQUIRT!
  • + 1
 How come Peaty's not racing?
  • + 2
 he had knee surgery
  • + 1
 Anyone know what time the race will be QLD Oz time?
  • + 1
 1030 pm it kicks off im pretty sure reb bull tv
  • + 1
 looks like ratboy understood that white socks weren't so beautiful !!
  • + 0
 Part of the "British flair" my dear !
  • + 1
 Making blenky wear gloves!?
  • + 1
 Edit: Gwin
  • + 6
 No way Sam's not going to ride. Bos have got black legs, Thirion's bike looks awesome, Hart's too, and Rachel Atherton's.... shit they all look awesome come to think of it. Go on Brendog son... let's take it back to 2009! Get your finger out of your arse and start getting on the podium again. Don't let "No chain" beat you at every round buddy. Wet or dry lube, for him it doesn't matter!
  • + 1
 but what about Sam?
  • + 2
 Shoulder may keep him out from racing. He decided not to do timed practice to rest up from what I understand.
  • + 2
 That is the question I think we all want an answer to. This course plus Sam is like a dream come true.
  • + 3
 some percentage of excitement gone in me hearing bad news about Sam .. dats fact.
  • + 0
 looks like a new dh wheels by bontrager! looking good
  • + 1
 where is stevie smith?
  • + 1
 Roll on tomorrow
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