Race day in Alpe d’Huez. Atop the hill this morning, a lot of riders were struggling with nerves. Standing side by side with almost 350 riders, the nerves were quite understandable. The sun was out in force and softening up the glacier pretty quickly, which added another element of uncertainty for the riders.
Remy Absalon had the pressure of the number 1 plate, but lived up to expectations and took the win. He’s had some experience here, making this his 5th Megavalanche victory. Second placed Damien Oton was pretty happy just to make it to the bottom. He’s raced here a few times before but hasn’t made it to the finish line until today.
We stopped for a moment today to have a quick chat with George Edwards, the organiser of the Megavalanche.
4 Questions With George Edwards, Megavalanche Organiser
It's the 22nd Megavalanche, what keeps bringing you back to Alpe d'Huez?
It's the best place for an event like this, it has one of the longest runs in the world. There is the fantastic bike park area, the lifts, and a big team of people who know what they're doing when it comes to put on an event. The icing on the cake is the glacier, it really adds value to the event. The event has been built around the hillside here. We see a lot of events popping up that have similarities to the Mega.
The Megavalanche is like the Olympics of Mountain Biking, it's influenced the sport. When the Mega was created in 1995, there was a cross country bike and a heavy downhill bike, over the years we have seen bikes more and more suited to this race, I think the evolution of the bikes has had something to do with the Mega. What was new for 2016?
We've spent a lot of time working on the qualifying track, we have refurbished about half of the track. We will continue working on the tracks for future years. And for the future of the Mega?
Every year we focus on improving the race tracks, we want everyone to enjoy the race. From the pro riders to the amateur riders, we want to cater for all the competitors. The other reason for this is that we want to make it as safe as possible, which is very important to us. We would also like to include more races and events during the week of the Megavalanche.
1st: Remy Absalon
2nd: Damien Oton
3rd: Francois Bailly Maitre
4th: Gustav Wildhaber
5th Cedric Ravanel