2017 Lourdes World Cup Preview and Track Walk - Photo Epic

Apr 27, 2017
by Dave Trumpore  



Here we are, back in the land of miracles and unexplainable feats. Of course, it is the Virgin Mary who's said to have appeared on a total of eighteen occasions here in Lourdes that has made this small town at the foot of the Pyrenees famous for recent centuries. It's a place of massive religious pilgrimage where faithful and wishful should travel in from all corners of the globe hoping their prayers and wishes will be heard and answered.

In its modern time, Lourdes now has a population of around 15,000 residents but takes on an additional 5,000,000 pilgrims and tourists each season to give it the feel of a major urban center complete with the hustle and bustle of human activity around every corner. This week however there is a new pilgrimage in town, one where the participants are more concerned with the holy qualities of the dirt rather than the water as they look to kick off the UCI downhill season on Lourdes' hallowed ground. Marking the opening of the season for the third year in a row the track may very well become as legendary as the town itself. And while three years has nothing on a century, and a few thousand people isn't quite as big as a million, it's still nice to think that our little World Cup Pilgrimage holds a bit of relevance in this unique location. We are after all situated just below some of the biggest mountains on the planet, the Pyrenees.

After what seems like the longest of off-seasons where there's been a lot of shuffling about of teams and sponsors, things are looking quite fresh and exciting with quite a few unknowns on the horizon. Loic Bruni is on totally new suspension never raced at the highest level, riders like Mannon Carpenter and Mike Jones are coming back from injuries, all of the Santa Cruz Syndicate are about to race the first truly competitive 29" wheeled DH bike in World Cup competition, countless other riders are running new frames, brakes, tires, etc and all are hoping that the off-season of testing will truly make the difference. We wouldn't even be surprised if a few riders or mechanics have been sneaking out at night to fill their buckets with Holy Water in hopes of gaining that extra edge.

On top of all that there's the track here Lourdes. The organizers have taken what was already one of the best courses on the circuit and given in a subtle but significant facelift. The rock-studded beast that snakes down the Pic du Jer in brutal fashion has always been a rider favorite, and response to the demand for more natural and technical tracks, many of the berms and bench cut straightaways have been removed. In their place, we have flat corners, off-camber straights, direct inside lines with some big consequences, and a whole lot of fresh loam and hero dirt. In fact, the relatively dry Spring combined with rain (and snow) the past few days has left the track in primo condition. The soil is pure perfection, and since we are in Lourdes we might as well just say that it is devine.

Get stoked. The 2017 World Cup Downhill Series is here...

Welcome back.
Welcome back.

While the DH track is situated in the hills just on the edge of town the heart of Lourdes is jammed pack with the hustle and bustle of the big city. It s close proximity to such a large urban center makes Lourdes quite a unique venue on the WC circuit.
While the DH track is situated in the hills just on the edge of town, the heart of Lourdes is jammed pack with the hustle and bustle of the big city. It's close proximity to such a large urban center makes Lourdes quite a unique venue on the WC circuit.

Light a candle in Lourdes and perhaps your dreams may come true.
Light a candle in Lourdes and perhaps your dreams may come true.

2017 Lourdes World Cup Preview and Track Walk - Photo Epic

Summer is still a fair ways out in these parts.
Summer is still a fair way out in these parts.

Brook Macdonald having a look at the fresh snowline that crept well below the start house overnight.
Brook Macdonald having a look at the fresh snowline that crept well below the start house overnight.

3 weeks later in the year than Lourdes 2016 but still we re seeing concerning dustings of the white stuff.
3 weeks later in the year than Lourdes 2016, but still we're seeing concerning dustings of the white stuff.

Loic Bruni locked and loaded looking for the lucky break in Lourdes.
Loic Bruni locked and loaded looking for the lucky break in Lourdes.

Manon Carpenter and mechanic Gavin fettling her Radon Swoop.
Manon Carpenter and mechanic, Gavin fettling her Radon Swoop.

16 wins and counting and the mud in her fork brace won t be slowing her down.
16 wins and counting for Rachel Atherton, and the mud in her fork brace won't be slowing her down.

Tahnee Seagrave unwraps some fresh new kit.
Tahnee Seagrave unwraps some fresh new kit.

Lourdes downhill world cup number 3 coming right up...
Lourdes downhill world cup number 3, coming right up...

Through the tunnel and up to the top of the hill in the somewhat unconventional Lourdes uplift.
Through the tunnel and up to the top of the hill in the somewhat unconventional Lourdes uplift.

The ghost train cabin passing point always raises the pulse on the way up.
The ghost train cabin passing point, always raises the pulse on the way up.

Luckily the overnight snow has melted off before track walk got underway in the early afternoon.
Luckily the overnight snow has melted off before track walk got underway in the early afternoon.

The city of miracles as seen from the start gate.
The city of miracles as seen from the start gate.

Ou la la
Ou la la!

At 9am the start ramp was under a few centimeters of snow. By afternoon this was all that was left.
At 9 am the start ramp was under a few centimeters of snow. By afternoon this was all that was left.

All the snow turned to holy water and was absorbed to make some fantastic looking dirt.
All the snow turned to holy water and was absorbed to make some fantastic looking dirt.

The grass might be a bit taller than in past years but that doesn t mean the rocks have gotten any smaller.
The grass might be a bit taller than in past years but that doesn't mean the rocks have gotten any smaller.

Kona Fearon and crew scrubbing the last of the melting snow off their shoes.
Kona Fearon and crew scrubbing the last of the melting snow off their shoes.

Gee Atherton strides forth under the troll bridge high above Lourdes.
Gee Atherton strides forth under the troll bridge high above Lourdes.

New Atherton Racing additions Graeme Mudd and Kade Edwards.
New Atherton Racing additions, Graeme Mudd and Kade Edwards.

The infamous Trackwalk Trackstand was in full effect in many sections this afternoon.
The infamous Trackwalk Trackstand was in full effect in many sections this afternoon.

Remi Thirion takes the nasty shelf section of the wall in his stride.
Remi Thirion takes the nasty shelf section of 'the wall' in his stride.

Steve Peat is here to help his Syndicate brethren with line choice and race strategy. He has a media pass and everything so there s no telling what else he might get up to.
Steve Peat is here to help his Syndicate brethren with line choice and race strategy. He has a media pass and everything so there's no telling what else he might get up to.

Junior World Champ Finn Iles back on the hill that saw him claim his first WC one year ago.
Junior World Champ Finn Iles back on the hill that saw him claim his first WC one year ago.

The organizers modified the track this year t remove many of the termed corners. In their place there are fresh cut flat corners and heaps of fresh loam... As it should be.
The organizers modified the track this year to remove many of the termed corners. In their place, there are fresh cut flat corners and heaps of fresh loam... As it should be.

This new bit of track looks like it s going to be loose fast and rowdy.
This new bit of track looks like it's going to be loose, fast and rowdy.

Loamy hero dirt full of rocks. Lourdes have mercy.
Loamy hero dirt full of rocks. Lourdes have mercy.

The course modifications have riders questioning if some of the previous years sneaky lines are still doable or if there are a few super sneaky new ones on offer.
The course modifications have riders questioning if some of the previous year's sneaky lines are still doable, or if there are a few super sneaky new ones on offer.

Brannigan scopes one of many leaps of faith.
Brannigan scopes one of many leaps of faith.

While April showers bring May flowers this colorful bouquet s days are numbered sitting in the middle of the track.
While April showers bring May flowers, this colorful bouquet's days are numbered sitting in the middle of the track.

The French rock is looking mighty slick and sharp at this point.
The French rock is looking mighty slick and sharp at this point.

Lourdes... always ready to turn the gnar-factor up to 11 and leave it there.
Lourdes... always ready to turn the gnar-factor up to 11 and leave it there.

2017 Lourdes World Cup Preview and Track Walk - Photo Epic
Near the bottom and the dirt is looking primo

The infamous gully and the risky gap line off the embankment on the right have claimed many a riders season over the past two years. We sincerely hope no one meets this cruel fate in 2017.
The infamous gully and the risky gap line off the embankment on the right have claimed many a riders season over the past two years. We sincerely hope no one meets this cruel fate in 2017.

Myriam Nicole amongst the moss of the hipped step-down that has seen many a brutal fall over the last two years.
Myriam Nicole amongst the moss of the hipped step-down that has seen many a brutal fall over the last two years.

Last year the track was taped all the way out to the catch net. This year riders have to stay up on the off-camber before diving down into the big left hand turn that took out Loic Bruni in his race run last year. It s the little details like this that go a long way in making things more challenging for the riders. Something they are all asking for on the current WC tracks.
Last year the track was taped all the way out to the catch net. This year riders have to stay up on the off-camber before diving down into the big left hand turn that took out Loic Bruni in his race run last year. It's the little details like this that go a long way in making things more challenging for the riders. Something they are all asking for on the current WC tracks.

Loris Vergier happy to see that despite the rain and snow over the last two days the track is in amazing condition.
Loris Vergier happy to see that despite the rain and snow over the last two days, the track is in amazing condition.

It would be amazing to see Nicole land the kind of result she deserves here on home soil after a few runs of bad luck in a row.
It would be amazing to see Nicole land the kind of result she deserves here on home soil after a few runs of bad luck in a row.

Mike Jones has had a wild inside line through this section and a few others the past two years.
Mike Jones has had a wild inside line through this section and a few others the past two years.

other than a brief flat straightaway near the top of the course the track in Lourdes never lets up. Throwing rocks roots and corners at riders in succession all the way to the bottom.
Other than a brief flat straightaway near the top of the course, the track in Lourdes never lets up. Throwing rocks, roots, and corners at riders in succession all the way to the bottom.

Rocks on rocks on rocks through the pine trees.
Rocks on rocks on rocks through the pine trees.

Get things wrong in the last few corners and the catch netting is the only thing keeping you from cartwheeling down the steep woods.
Get things wrong in the last few corners and the catch netting is the only thing keeping you from cartwheeling down the steep woods.

Miranda Miller and Mechanic Kevin Joly inspect the huck to flat that is actually more accurately described as a buck to off-camber flat full of big slippery roots.
Miranda Miller and Mechanic Kevin Joly inspect the huck to flat that is actually more accurately described as a buck to off-camber flat full of big slippery roots.

Team GT about ready to huck their meat to flat.
Team GT, about ready to huck their meat to flat.

The trail maintenance crew hiking up for those final touches. A bit of grooming can do no harm on a course this ragged...
The trail maintenance crew hiking up for those final touches. A bit of grooming can do no harm on a course this ragged...

The last turn before a raucous reception from the roaring French crowd.
The last turn before a raucous reception from the roaring French crowd.

The landing off the last bridge drop has been moved out and a healthy dose of knuckle applied.
The landing off of the last bridge drop has been moved out and a healthy dose of 'knuckle' applied.

Fox 40 s getting delivered after a final tune polished and blessing with holy water.
Ready for tomorrow's thrashing. Fox 40's getting delivered after a final tune, polished, and blessing with holy water.

Troy s Mechanic Aaron Pelttari tending to his all new Sram Code RSC.
Troy's Mechanic, Aaron Pelttari, tending to his all new SRAM Code RSC.

Look at the time There haven t been to many races with big international turn-outs so far this year but for what there has been Jack Moir s the man.
Look at the time! There haven't been to many races with big international turn-outs so far this year, but for what there has been, Jack Moir's the man.

The complete Intense Factory Racing crew in front of their shiny new pit set-up.
The complete Intense Factory Racing crew in front of their shiny new pit set-up.

Danny s machine with new colors coming together at the hands of Christian Schandl.
Danny's machine with new colors coming together at the hands of Christian Schandl.

Dan the man ready to continue a 4 race long winning streak.
Dan the man ready to continue a 4 race long winning streak.

Holy water straight from the source.
Holy water straight from the source.

Let s hope these lady s are praying for no rain and lots of sunshine this weekend.
Let's hope these ladies are praying for no rain and lots of sunshine this weekend.

Who will wear the crown and skip town with all the gold in Lourdes this weekend Stay tuned to find out.
Who will wear the crown and skip town with all the gold in Lourdes this weekend? Stay tuned to find out.


MENTIONS: @davetrumpore / @natedh9



Posted In:
Stories



73 Comments

  • 115 7
 None of those pics were Claudio's preview, but that's cool man
  • 85 12
 VERY EXCITE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lots of Beer ~ check
Lots of chips ~ check
Comfortable couch ~ check
50" smart TV with Redbull TV ~ Check
flowers for the wife ~ check

How the hell am I going to sleep between now and Sunday night ?! ~ not check

Will be great to see BULLDOG / EDDY-WYN MASTERS / BLENKI / WALKER or any other kiwis clean this race up !!!! haha !

Whoever wins please don't be a 29er

yeeeeweeeeeeeeee
  • 12 1
 @glenno: YEAH BOI!
Haha got almost the exact same setup!
Don't forget to warn the boss you'll be a bit groggy on Monday.. ????

Go the Kiwis!
  • 1 0
 he said yesterday, it will be this evening if redbull will get it fast
  • 1 0
 @glenno: redbull TV coverage failing in my area = ✅ ❎?
  • 5 0
 @epzy: How? Its the internet man, its available everywhere but North Korea.... click on redbulltv 9pm Sunday Australia Sydney time !
  • 5 0
 @glenno: 7am for us eastern dudes... pregaming with some eggs and toast
  • 3 0
 @trumbullhucker55: yeeea, most rounds are around 4am our time so pretty happy to watch an evening race !! Beer beer beer !
  • 1 1
 @glenno I had to set up 2 big ass tvs for Sunday AM. This starts at 6am MST, and so does the Formula 1 race live from Russia. Toughest decision will be which event feeds to the whole house surround sound.

Side by side 62" TV set up ~ check
Bloody mary bar ~ check
Champagne to open at the end of DH ~ check
Champagne to open at the end of F1 ~ check
Open Wheeler F1 simulator for pre-race entertainment ~ check
Night ride to prep DH stoke ~ Not check: stupid snow is still falling in Park City and our trails are buried
  • 1 0
 @bluntaaronr: That's RAD !
  • 58 9
 Please God, let a fucking 29er win this fucking race lol I really just Wanna see done heads explode lol
  • 7 1
 If anyone can, it's Minnaar! Seriously, look at that track walk picture; that's one stylish MoFo!

When I grow up, I want to be just like Greg. I'm 30, so that should be any day now.
  • 3 1
 Keep praying.
  • 1 0
 I'd rather a 29 get 10th or 20th place so everyone feels confident coming out and trash talking 29ers, then have every race from then on be won by 29ers...
  • 1 0
 @atrokz: hmmm Praying is working pretty good lol a 29er qualified first haha.
  • 1 0
 @2bigwheels: yup. Keep at it.

Everyone else: quickly sell your bikes a top ten fast kid whos won medals qualified first on one of the best bikes on the market fitted w bigger wheels!
  • 1 0
 @atrokz: apparently due to some kind of rueling the 29er DH bikes we see in the WC may come to the consumer market pretty quick.

Havent gotten all the details but thats the rumblings
  • 1 0
 @2bigwheels: 10 months iirc. but I don't think the UCI really pays attention to downhill so maybe that's why bikes have gone through development and never made it out. If it's enforced maybe that's why Honda pulled out.....?
  • 1 0
 @atrokz: not a bad theory
  • 24 0
 Fantastic that they've gotten rid of berms and have janky flat corners instead. Keep it real for the big boys.
  • 5 3
 29 advantage tho
  • 1 0
 Thank you!
  • 18 0
 No snark intended, honest question here - this looks seriously gnarly. Is this track an exception on the WC tour? Because given all the talk about how the courses are wide open and not all that technical, this seems to be a bit of a counterpoint to that.
  • 10 0
 look at all the other courses they race on, I believe most of the whingeing is unfounded, hardly any of the courses are bike parky
  • 4 0
 Sometimes it feels like people get in a habit of complaining about something and they stop actually looking at the situation. The tracks seem gnarly to me this year too
  • 2 0
 I think people just have it in their heads that Champery and Schladming are the only gnarly tracks, despite evidence to the contrary
  • 2 0
 Andorra, Val Di Sole, Fort William, Leogang don't look like they are watered down, totally the opposite IMHO
  • 1 0
 There are some of each but this is definitely on the more gnarly side.
  • 9 0
 So glad the season is back! Very curious what Loic has in the bag. Not much news or footage of him. My guess is fast. Also, Minnaar on 29 will be someone to watch. So stoke.
  • 8 1
 Im Stoked! #LongLiveChainsaw
  • 3 0
 Formula 1 "Launch control and ABS", GP Bikes "screamer motors (fuel injected)" the teams that made the changes at the right point ruled the series. Is this the year of the 29" wheel? As with the other examples they had not been the "first" times attempted but when the supporting technologies combined with the main feature change the teams could not be denied the championship. Looking forward to 2017 WC.
  • 7 2
 Lourde of the chainrings! Let's go gollum...I mean danwise...I mean Danny Hart
  • 5 1
 I'm not having that SRAM brakes need to be bled, that picture was staged Wink
  • 2 0
 That photo of the "last turn" before the crowd really puts the pucker factor into perspective. It's not the steepest section but it'd still destroy most mortals when taken at speed.
  • 2 0
 I'll admit, I was enjoying the enduro coverage and will continue to do so -- but DH is just the best. And this track looks amazing. And I'll be up at 4am PDT watching it. #pleasenoinjuries
  • 3 0
 can't wait for sunday, hopefully it will be no issues with the streaming, happy world cup season opener to all of us
  • 2 0
 Damn that course looks proper rowdy! Can't help but think half the fun is getting practice runs in while it's still in premo shape
  • 1 0
 That inside tape-pole on the last corner laying that flat looks kinda pointless, especially with the tape so far up it you could easily hop that without technically every leaving the track.
  • 4 0
 There's more corner there than you can see in the photo, and given the angle of entry there's no inside. It's a pretty hard/sharp bermed corner and the tape is like that so riders body and bars don't smack it.
  • 1 0
 @davetrumpore: Figured that might've been the case, but difficult to know with what we could see. Thanks for the insight. Smile
  • 3 2
 Just glancing at the pics I could have sworn I saw Stevie in a few of those pics. Wishful thinking I guess. #longlivechainsaw
  • 3 1
 I wish my last name was Mudd... but NOOOOO its Prohoroff. Jeeze. Nick Beer is cool to.
  • 5 1
 prohuckoff?
  • 1 0
 Yees!! It's been way too long and I'm so pumped right now haha. Thanks Pinkbike for the amazing coverage and for making the WC weekends that much more exciting!
  • 3 1
 'We are after all situated just below some of the biggest mountains on the planet, the Pyrenees.'

This is hyperbole, right?
  • 1 1
 Haha, just what I was thinking.
  • 1 0
 Why is Danny Hart's bike painted like a Yeti or an old Commencal? If you count his BDS win - that's five in a row for him. He's on a roll.
  • 6 4
 I can smell some atheistic vibes in PB HQ Smile
  • 3 1
 Loic don't need no luck... He has the skills!
  • 1 0
 Hey the new 29 santa is the bike for you Steve ,go try it out it would make you again world champion I guess ?
  • 2 0
 Yaaaaaayyyy World Cup DH is Back!!!!! Woohoo. Sorry, I'll see myself out.
  • 2 0
 Not gonna lie. Jack Moir is a definite dark horse this year Rip in mate
  • 2 0
 These photos are always mint, but i wish they showed more of the track
  • 1 0
 Did anyone else notice the face of the Virgin Mary in this photo?
www.pinkbike.com/photo/14661394
  • 12 13
 Steve peat there to help syndicate brethren with line choice and to breathe a sigh of relief that he retired from racing before they put wagon wheels on a V10.
  • 23 0
 I reckon the big wheels would have suited Peaty more than anyone! His bikes have always looked too small for him.
  • 3 2
 Vergier clearly having an existential crisis about 29ers in that picture
  • 3 1
 Yeah, it's not like 29" wheels roll over obstacles easi... um, yeah.
  • 2 0
 Peaty doesn't have a problem with 29ers, as he says in an interview on Vital.
  • 4 3
 ça va être du lourd(es) ! (French world cup, French words !)
  • 1 0
 I'M SO STOKED I'M SO STOKED I'M SO STOKED I'M SO STOKED I'M SO STOKED!
  • 2 3
 ctrl+f 29 - whew, thought there might be an article that didn't mention a 29'er DH bike...
  • 1 3
 Beautiful pictoors! Cash me outside that mini Market. It's almost 5pm here so, I guess I wait til tomorrow at work for CLAUDIO and LAURIE.
  • 1 0
 **
  • 1 0
 Great pics!
  • 2 5
 Did I miss something or why is Wyn not standing there with the GT crew?
  • 7 1
 Off elsewhere on the track doing WynTV
  • 2 1
 He's standing laughing next to Sam and Brook in one of the shots, obviously no hard feelings after his beating. Leave the man's salad alone!
  • 2 1
 Nah not meant as calling him out, just didn't see him so I was curious if he was racing or not. Saw Wyn TV get put up so he is clearly around there somehwere.
  • 2 0
 @ianswilson815: I didn't think you were calling him out, my comment was because on Wyn TV he said Sam Dale had punched him for eating his salad
  • 1 0
 I think he got laid off.
  • 1 0
 @slayersxc17: no he didnt

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