Worlds always delivers and Mont-Sainte-Anne was no exception. France locked out the top spots with Loic Bruni taking his 4th title in 5 years and Myriam Nicole delivering a Sam Hill-esque comeback
from injury to claim gold in the women's race.
Bruni must surely now have Vouilloz's 7 senior World Champs titles in his sights. It was once talked up as a near-impossible task for any rider to even get close to that total but Loic could easily do it before he's 30.
What a comeback it was for Myriam. Her and Tahnee claimed the two top spots in the women's race against a field that we thought may have caught them up in their absence. Early indications are that these two, and probably Rachel Atherton on her return, still have the measure of them for the moment.
Mont-Sainte-Anne was hosting its third World Championships, becoming the first venue ever to do so, and what an event it was. The track was rougher than we've seen it for years and the mixed weather only added to the challenge. Let's get straight into the numbers to see who went fast and where on this brute of a track:At a GlanceSector Times
The Story of the SessionMenIn DepthThe SectorsSector 1
1. Dean Lucas - 49.392
2. Loic Bruni +0.079
3. Greg Minnaar +0.466
4. Troy Brosnan +0.470
5. Loris Vergier +0.554
1. Loic Bruni - 1:19.017
2. Troy Brosnan +0.343
3. Laurie Greenland +1.239
4. Amaury Pierron +1.270
5. Greg Minnaar +1.344
1. Danny Hart - 39.896
2. Troy Brosnan +0.111
3. Loic Bruni +0.147
4. Laurie Greenland +0.192
5. Amaury Pierron +0.702
1. Amaury Pierron - 49.122
2. Loic Bruni +0.169
3. Troy Brosnan +0.289
4. Kirk McDowall +0.482
5. Mark Wallace +0.669
1. Amaury Pierron - 27.151
2. Charlie Harrison +0.128
3. Aaron Gwin +0.297
4. Troy Brosnan +0.334
5. Danny Hart +0.452
1. Myriam Nicole - 58.036
2. Tracey Hannah +0.987
3. Marine Cabirou +1.012
4. Tahnee Seagrave +1.126
5. Emilie Siegenthaler +2.125
1. Myriam Nicole - 1:34.414
2. Tracey Hannah +0.116
3. Marine Cabirou +0.302
4. Tahnee Seagrave +1.312
5. Eleonora Farina +2.015
1. Myriam Nicole - 46.818
2. Emilie Siegenthaler +0.286
3. Veronika Widmann +1.216
4. Marine Cabirou +1.338
5. Tahnee Seagrave +1.586
1. Tahnee Seagrave - 59.620
2. Myriam Nicole +0.719
3. Marine Cabirou +1.118
4. Eleonora Farina +1.555
5. Emilie Siegenthaler +1.798
1. Tahnee Seagrave - 31.518
2. Tracey Hannah +0.405
3. Marine Cabirou +0.744
4. Carina Cappellari +1.416
5. Emilie Siegenthaler +1.443
From the start gate, through the cafe and down the first grassy section.Men ≈ 50 seconds, Women ≈ 60 secondsSector 2
Into the woods for the tight bermed corners including some drops and gaps then back into the open for the high-speed section. The speed trap is taken on split two.Men ≈ 80 seconds, Women ≈ 95 secondsSector 3
Starts with the riders coming onto the screen in the broadcast with a high speed straight and some grassy corners. Includes La Tarzan and the Stevie Smith drop and ends with the turns under the chairlift.Men ≈ 40 seconds, Women ≈ 47 secondsSector 4
Covers the second half of the chairlift section and the majority of the infamous Mont-Sainte-Anne Les Dalles rock gardens.Men ≈ 50 seconds, Women ≈ 60 secondsSector 5
The bottom four cross section with its big bermed turns and jumps down to the finish line.Men ≈ 27 seconds, Women ≈ 32 secondsMen
Any suggestion that the top riders would be taking this one easy to save themselves for the World Cup finals next weekend was well and truly blown out of the water as we witnessed a hectic race in Quebec. The familiar faces locked out the top spots once again and there was full commitment from the whole field.
Pierron was the only rider to win more than one split and was the fastest rider through the bottom third of the track but mistakes up top cost him the chance of a more precious metal round his neck. Instead, both Brosnan and Bruni emerged as the pick of the field and were able to master all facets of this varied track to put together incredible runs with Bruni claiming yet another World Championship title.
If there was a disappointment this weekend, it would have to be Martin Maes. It had been a year since he left the world of downhill reeling with his smash and grab in La Bresse and Lenzerheide, but his much-hyped return after a doping suspension fizzled out in the end.
Let's take a look through all the numbers to find out where the time was made and lost for the top racers:Sector 1From the start gate, through the cafe and down the first grassy section.
Dean Lucas always starts well and Mont-Sainte-Anne was no exception as he fired himself into an early lead with Loic Bruni less than 0.1 behind. The rest of the field are all at least 0.4 behind with Minnaar and Brosnan leading them out. Loris Vergier was on a good run at this point but took a big crash in the next sector and ended his race early. Further down the results sheet, Pierron only managed 13th through this sector, he looked visibly annoyed with mistakes in his run and they cost him 1.5 seconds in this sector alone.Sector 2Into the woods for the tight bermed corners including some drops and gaps then back into the open for the high-speed section. The speed trap is taken on split two.
Loic Bruni forged a lead on the longest sector of the track but Brosnan kept him honest 0.3 behind. The rest of the field all lose at least 1 second as Bruni and Brosnan applied the hurt. Greenland was the best of the rest as Pierron recovered from his tough first sector and Minnaar was consistent as ever in 5th. Dean Lucas wasn't able to keep up his first sector form and slipped back to 10th fastest in this sector.
If we combine splits 1 and 2, Bruni already has a lead approaching 1 second over Brosnan in 2nd. Lucas slipped back 4 places as Minnaar and Greenland overtook him. Vergier, 5th at the first split, crashed and fell out of contention. Pierron's recovery saw him move up from 13th to 8th.Sector 3Starts with the riders coming onto the screen in the broadcast with a high speed straight and some grassy corners. Includes La Tarzan and the Stevie Smith drop and ends with the turns under the chairlift.
Four riders were the clear class of the field here with Hart leading out Brosnan, Bruni and Greenland. Pierron and Minnaar would normally expect to find themselves in this company but only managed to lead out the rest of the field more than half a second back. For a lesson in fortitude, take a look at Loris Vergier, who still put in a time fast enough for 16th despite knowing his race was a write off.
Bruni put another slither of time into Brosnan but these two were now comfortably clear oaf the chasing pack. Greenland, Hart and Minnaar were all closely grouped around the 2 second mark. Pierron's march up the rankings continued as he claimed another 2 places to sit 6th. Dean Lucas fell to eighth and his race was about to come to an abrupt halt in Les Dalles.Sector 4Covers the second half of the chairlift section and the majority of the infamous Mont-Sainte-Anne Les Dalles rock gardens.
Pierron was really up to speed now and was the fastest rider from here to the bottom of the track. Who was right behind him though? Bruni and Brosnan, of course, who stuck to him like a limpet. Canadians Kirk McDowall and Mark Wallace were the next fastest through this section, cheered on the vocal, local crowd. Greenland had his worst sector of the race so far here. We know he picked up a puncture somewhere near the bottom of the hill and this seems to be the first signs of it affecting his race run.
Bruni and Brosnan still led but it was all change behind. Greenland's puncture saw him slip four places, which allowed Hart to take third. Pierron's charge continued and he's now fourth, just one place off the medals after his rough start. The rest of the top 10 were all in their finishing spots with just a short bike park section to the line to go. The big winner in this split was Kirk McDowall, who leaped from 27th to 16th after a great split through the rock gardens.Sector 5The bottom four cross section with its big bermed turns and jumps down to the finish line.
Pierron claimed his second sector win and was the only rider to claim more than one sector in the whole race. It was a real mix up behind him as Charlie Harrison and Aaron Gwin found themselves up at the sharp end of the results for the first time in the race. There wasn't much to pick between riders here though with 1 second separating 1st from 15th. Bruni didn't have a great split and loses time to Brosnan but his lead was big enough for it not to matter.
Bruni takes it! That's a fourth Rainbow Jersey in his young career with the promise of many more still to come. You can't help but feel sorry for Brosnan who pulled off one of the runs of his life but just fell short. Pierron's recovery was complete as he moved up to 3rd, nipping past Hart in the final sector to claim the bronze. Women
We suspected Tahnee and Myriam would come back strong in Mont-Sainte-Anne but not many people expected a 1-2. In their absence, we thought the rest of the women would have grown in confidence and speed but this result indicates there may still be daylight between the top women and the chasing pack. That being said, the gap at the finish line was tight, especially between Cabirou and Seagrave, and the rest of the women had the small matter of the World Cup overall to think about next weekend.
Let's take a look through the splits to see who was going fast and where:Sector 1From the start gate, through the cafe and down the first grassy section.
Myriam Nicole was fastest out of the blocks and took her first of three sector wins. She put a second into almost everyone and was already looking like a strong contender for the win. At this point, Hannah and Cabirou were just ahead of Seagrave but it was still close, as it would be for the entire race run. Siegenthaler sat alone in fifth while Widmann led out the rest of the field.Sector 2Into the woods for the tight bermed corners including some drops and gaps then back into the open for the high-speed section. The speed trap is taken on split two.
Sector 2 was much tighter but Nicole took it once again. This time Cabirou and Hannah were right on her tail, both less than half a second back despite it being the longest split on course. Seagrave took fourth again but lost more than a second on her rivals.
Myriam Nicole maintained her lead of about a second from Hannah and Cabirou but Seagrave slipped back and is now nearly 2.5 seconds behind. Siegenthaler held on to fifth but now has Widmann and Farina breathing down her neck.Sector 3Starts with the riders coming onto the screen in the broadcast with a high speed straight and some grassy corners. Includes La Tarzan and the Stevie Smith drop and ends with the turns under the chairlift.
Myriam Nicole took her third sector win of the race and proved herself to be totally dominant over the top two-thirds of this course. Her foot apparently still hurt when doing full runs but she had enough advantage in the bag to carry herself through to the finish. Siegenthaler was 2nd fastest through this sector and was the only rider to get within 1 second of Nicole. Widmann is 3rd and pushed Cabirou, Seagrave and Hannah into the unusual positions of 4th, 5th and 6th respectively.
Myriam Nicole's lead has extended out to 2.5 seconds and she was fully in command of this race. Cabirou overtook Hannah for second while Seagrave held fourth, but watch out, she's about to engage the afterburners. Sector 4Covers the second half of the chairlift section and the majority of the infamous Mont-Sainte-Anne Les Dalles rock gardens.
Seagrave took her first split of the race and, like Pierron in the men's race, was the fastest rider from here to the bottom. Myriam was 2nd here, ensuring she didn't lose too much time. Tracey Hannah had an uncharacteristically weak split and could only manage 6th.
Seagrave starts her move forwards and overtook Hannah to sit 3rd, just a quarter of a second behind Marine Cabirou. Nicole still leads and has 3 seconds to play with before the line, which even gives her enough leeway to miss the final jump to protect her foot. Veronika Widmann, running sixth up until this point, crashed and fell out of the top 10.Sector 5The bottom four cross section with its big bermed turns and jumps down to the finish line.
Seagrave took another sector win and crucially she beat Cabirou by 0.7, which fired her into the silver medal spot. Myriam Nicole elected to miss the final jump and it seemed to cost her around 2 seconds. Tracey Hannah recovered from a weak fourth sector to come 2nd on this one.
Myriam Nicole collects her first-ever Rainbow Jersey by more than a second in an incredible comeback ride. Tahnee's final sector heroics slot her into second, just beating Cabirou in the push for the line. Tracey Hannah will have to settle for fourth, just outside the medals, and in the end a fair way back from the front 3.