Photo Epic: No Fate - Fort William World Cup Finals

Jun 4, 2018
by Nathan Hughes  




"The future has not been written, there is no fate but what we make for ourselves." The riders must think about what John Connor said to the T-800 every race. Are they destined to win or lose? What impacts do the decisions they make in their lives have on their runs, their careers... On track, in the moment, an extra pedal stroke here, a little heavier on the brakes there, could be the difference between a flat or a crash and the podium. Do they want it too much or not enough? The slightest alteration to their plans could change everything when tenths of a second count. This year at the Fort the racing was tighter than tight. Except in the Junior women's race.

Yes, Valentina Holl has arrived and she's set to burn brightly in women's MTB. Today she lit up the legendary race track to destroy her counterparts by 29 seconds and even put herself into an elite podium position, whips included. Next week she heads to her native Austria and local DH track, so keep an eye on that winning margin. In the Junior Men's race Australian, Kye A'Hern, took the win ahead of Thibaut Daprela and Kade Edwards, while in Elite Women Tahnee Seagrave was able to clinch that inaugural win on UK soil on the race track everyone wants to dominate most. Rachel Atherton fell foul to a snapped chain and a crash, while Myriam Nicole also had a problem staying upright, but held on to second and third.

The men's race kept the party well alive and the storms held off until the French had taken over the podium. Amaury Pierron took his first ever victory ahead of countrymen Vergier and Bruni, while Reece Wilson experienced what must have been about the best day of his life, becoming the first Scotsman ever to reach the top steps at Fort William. Meanwhile, Troy Brosnan completed the podium and first place qualifier, Luca Shaw and series leader, Aaron Gwin appeared to be flat out of luck, blowing tyres and hitting the deck respectively. No fate, but what we make... Hasta la vista baby.




At the bottom of the hill it was dark and gray but just before the summit the sun was actually shining form a bright blue sky.
At the bottom of the hill it was dark and gray, but just before the summit the sun was actually shining from a bright blue sky.

It was a wet start to an otherwise hot and humid Scottish day.
It was a wet start to an otherwise hot and humid Scottish day.

Yesterday s number one mechanic Dougie Fresh with the bike all ready for the big day.
Yesterday's number one mechanic, Dougie Fresh, with Luca's V10 all ready for the big day.

When your day starts with ice packs strapped to your wrist you know it s going to be a tough day at the office.
When your day starts with ice packs strapped to your wrist you know it's going to be a tough day at the office.

Morning practice went off with about 20 meters of visibility and testing riders nerves as they had to head into high speed sections nearly blind.
Morning practice went off with about 20 meters of visibility and testing riders nerves as they had to head into high speed sections nearly blind.

The weather at the start of the day was more than a bit ominous. Perhaps a preface of what was to come during the men s and women s final runs.
The weather at the start of the day was more than a bit ominous. Perhaps a preface of what was to come during the men's and women's final runs.

Junior men s series leader Thibaut Daprela came second but still has control of the lead in the overall.
Junior Men's series leader, Thibaut Daprela, came second, but still has control of the lead in the overall.

Young Brit Kade Edwards on the attack and keeping things nice and consistent this year with third place.
Young Brit, Kade Edwards, on the attack and keeping things nice and consistent this year with third place.

Kye A Hern is going from strength to strength and is no doubt going to be a Aussie force to be reckoned with in future years. Gold at the Bill today.
Kye A'Hern is going from strength to strength and is no doubt going to be an Aussie force to be reckoned with in future years. Gold at the 'Bill today.

Career World Cup number 2 wins by nearly half a minute and a time good enough for 4th in elite. Valentina Holl has well and truly arrived on the scene.
Career World Cup number two: wins by nearly half a minute, and a time good enough for 4th in elite women. Valentina Holl has well and truly arrived on the scene.

Just a couple of bee-keepers with their honey-nug makers.
Just a couple of bee-keepers waiting in the woods with their honey-nug makers.

Tracey Hannah pure focus at the top before her race run.
Tracey Hannah, pure focus at the top before her race run.

Marine Cabirou is emerging as one of the lead women riders and matched her number board in 4th today.
Marine Cabirou is emerging as one of the lead women riders and matched her number board in 4th today.

The dirt on the arm says all you need to know about Myriam Nicole s race run.
The dirt on the arm says all you need to know about Myriam Nicole's race run.

Rachel Atherton about to head into the storm at the top of the track during the mornings training session.
Unfortunately, disaster struck for Rachel Atherton, but taking inspiration from other riders who have made the most of a dropped chain, she pushed on for an astonishing 3rd place finish.

Last years winner Tracey Hannah took a bit of a distant 5th she ll be hungry to cut that deficit next week in Leogang.
Last year's winner, Hannah, took a bit of a distant 5th, she'll be hungry to cut that deficit next week in Leogang.

One hand is All Tahnee needed of the final jump as she put over 8 seconds into her closest rival today.
One hand is all Tahnee needed on the final jump as she put over 8 seconds into her closest rival today.

Blasting through the crowds lining the length of the Fort Bill track.
Blasting through the crowds lining the length of the Fort Bill track.

It s been a long time coming but Tahnee Seagrave finally took that home win she s been craving.
It's been a long time coming but Tahnee Seagrave finally took that home win she's been craving.

The fastest five ladies of the day with first time Fort William winner Tahnee Seagrave on the top step.
The fastest five ladies of the day, with first time Fort William winner Tahnee Seagrave on the top step.

Seagrave finally taking the W at the biggest round of the year.
Seagrave finally taking the 'W' at the biggest round of the year.



bigquotesIt's mad. I never thought I'd win here. It's so hard and so long and I'm quite a petite rider; I've got quite a lot of strength in me but I didn't think I'd have the endurance to do it, but I proved myself wrong today which is always a nice feeling. The crowd was insane, when I was on the motorway you can hear everything that's happening and it pushed me on... I was like I'm not going to do a one hander, I'm not going to do it, and then I heard everyone so I thought f-it I'm gonna to do it! So took my hand off and heard the crowd go so wild so I thought this was definitely worth losing over!Tahnee Seagrave



Myriam Nicole keeps the number 1 plate as we head into round three one week from now in Leogang.
Myriam Nicole keeps the number one plate as we head into round three, one week from now in Leogang.

Nothing to be heard but the noise of turbo trainers as riders get into the zone.
Nothing to be heard but the noise of turbo trainers as riders get into the zone.

The definition of nonchalant from Marcelo Gutierrez minuted before his race run.
The definition of nonchalant from Marcelo Gutierrez minutes before his race run.

Brendan Fairclough heads for the start hut after completing his warm up.
Brendan Fairclough heads for the start hut after completing his warm up.

Danny Hart has this track on lock like few others and has come so close to winning multiple times in years gone by. Slipping off the podium today by one place would have stung.
Danny Hart has this track on lock like few others and has come so close to winning multiple times in years gone by. Slipping off the podium today by one place would have stung.

11th place after breaking his collarbone a few week ago big respect to Brook MacDonald.
11th place after snapping his collarbone just a few weeks ago, big respect to Brook MacDonald.

Quite the comeback for the Bulldog... 11th place just a few weeks after snapping his collarbone.
Quite the comeback for the Bulldog, who would possibly be in unstoppable form if at full strength.

At just 3.3 seconds out of the lead and in 10th could be see Martin Mae s racing a few more Word Cup DH events in the future
At just 3.3 seconds out of the lead and in 10th, could we see Martin Maes racing a few more Word Cup DH events in the future?

Charlie Harrison holding the fort for his injured team mates Lucas and Moir with a top 20.
Charlie Harrison holding the fort for his injured team mates, Lucas and Moir, with a top 20.

Connor Fearon rode strongly into 13th less than 1.5 seconds off the podium.
Connor Fearon rode strongly into 13th, less than 1.5 seconds off the podium.

Yet another rider who missed Losinj through injury and struck back with a bang was first year elite Matt Walker who crossed the line in 7th.
Yet another rider who missed Losinj through injury and struck back with a bang was first year elite, Matt Walker, who crossed the line in 7th.

It didn t take Matt Walker long to shine in elites how high can he climb this year
It didn't take Walker long to shine in elites, how high can he climb this year?

Finn Iles laying down the law of whip and keeping it top 20 for his first year in elite.
Finn Iles laying down the law of whip and keeping it top 20 for his first year in elite.

Sam Blenkisop Pedals through the air in his signature style to take 9th on the day.
Sam Blenkinsop pedals through the air in his signature style to take 9th on the day.

Scottish style on the motorway with Kenta Gallagher.
Scottish style on the motorway with Kenta Gallagher.

Reece Wilson coming in hotter than any Scotsman in Fort William history.
Reece Wilson coming in hotter than any Scotsman in Fort William history.

A Highland dream come true.
A Highland dream come true.

A rough day at the office for Aaron Gwin...and we haven t seen too many of them... ever. Let alone a muddied leader jersey and bloodied teeth.
A rough day at the office for Aaron Gwin...and we haven't seen too many of them. Let alone a muddied leader jersey and bloodied teeth.

That one will hurt both physically and emotionally. Two years on the trot Gwin has seen a potential win slip from his grasp with a crash.
That one will hurt, both physically and emotionally. Two years on the trot Gwin has seen a potential win slip from his grasp with a crash at Fort William.

Troy Brosan won here back in 2014 before the reign of MInnaar and would come close again today. Just 0.31 back and in third.
Troy Brosan won here back in 2014 before the reign of Minnaar and would come close again today. Just 0.31 back and in third.

Nervous moments for Reece during a long spell on the hot seat riders try as they might couldn t match him on the bottom of the track.
Nervous moments for Reece during a long spell on the hot seat, riders try as they might couldn't match him on the bottom of the track.

Amaury Pierron layed down a blistering pace to take the win by a scant 0.28 over his fellow countryman Loris Vergier.
Amaury Pierron layed down a blistering pace to take the win by a scant 0.28 over his fellow countryman Loris Vergier.

Sheer elation. It all came together for Pierron today.
Sheer elation. It all came together for Pierron today.

Loic trying to come to grips with the ever changing track conditions after a night of heavy rainfall.
Loic trying to come to grips with the ever-changing track conditions after a night of heavy rainfall. He would end the day back on the podium.

Loris Vergier is always happy and smiling about the pits but one has to wonder if losing by just 0.28 seconds might just make his a bit angry as we head to Logang for round three in just one weeks time.
Loris Vergier is always happy and smiling about the pits, but one has to wonder if losing by just 0.28 seconds might just make him a bit angry as we head to Leogang for round three in just one week's time.

Sometimes it hurts. Shellshocked Shaw after it slipped through his fingers.
Sometimes it hurts. Shellshocked Shaw after it slipped through his fingers.

Steve Peat Greg Minnaar and Luca Shaw inspect the rear flat which deflated Luca s race run.
Steve Peat, Greg Minnaar, and Luca Shaw inspect the rear flat which deflated Luca's race run.

What a day for Amaury Pierron. Taking the top spot in a crazy race and being joined on the podium by to fellow Frenchman and close friends.
What a day for Amaury Pierron. Taking the top spot in a crazy race and being joined on the podium by two fellow Frenchmen and close friends.

Pierron Shaw and Brosnan the three muskateers on top.
Pierron, Vergier, and Brosnan, the three musketeers on top.

Amaury Pierron and a smile that will take some time to fade.
Amaury Pierron and a smile that will take some time to fade.



bigquotesI can't believe it. This is awesome. I'm enjoying the moment, I'm super happy... Super stoked. We worked super hard on the team this winter and this is awesome. This morning I was like if I did a good run I could be top 5 I think, but I did the top 1 haha! That's crazy! I feel really bad for Luca because he was on fire and flying on the track, but that's the game and I'll take it. To be on the podium with Loic and Loris, this is awesome! I'm such a fan of these two guys, it's just insane. I'm on the moon!Amaury Pierron



Three french a Scotsman and and Aussie top the podium in Fort William.
Three French, a Scotsman, and an Aussie top the podium in Fort William.

Winning tastes sweet.
Winning tastes sweet.

Reece Wilson became the first Scotsman to climb onto a World Cup podium and he did it with style in front of his family and friends.
Reece Wilson became the first Scotsman to climb onto a World Cup podium, and he did it with style in front of his family and friends.

Reece hoisting the Saltire high in front of the home fans.
Reece hoisting the Saltire high in front of the home fans.

Commencal Riding Addiction killing the game here in the Highlands and claiming fastest team.
Commencal Riding Addiction killing the game here in the Highlands and claiming fastest team.

That s it that s all. Bernat Guardia and his IFR crew take a break from the pit tear-down before heading to Austria with their one man band.
That's it that's all. Bernat Guardia and his IFR crew take a break from the pit tear-down before heading to Austria with their one man band.

Champagne time in the Commencal pits.
Champagne time in the Commencal pits.

Until next year old 'Bill.


Must Read This Week

83 Comments

  • + 247
 SC Syndicate: more flats than a Sam Hill fanboy convention.
  • + 20
 Nice.
  • + 20
 Nice.
  • + 20
 Nice
  • - 3
 ''
  • + 2
 They seemed a lot better on Enve, right?
  • + 5
 Maybe after defining final tire pressure add 1 more psi? Seams work to me...
  • + 1
 Big if true
  • + 8
 SC Syndicate: Flat Out
  • + 127
 Carbon frames. Ultraslick kashima stanchions electronic shifting. 3D printed stuff. Carbon wheels. Gopro. Powermeters And yet tires cant hold air and chains snap in two pedal strokes.
  • + 5
 haha, ironic isn't it?
  • + 30
 Why can't the syndicate keep air in their tires?!?!
  • - 13
flag WAKIdesigns (Jun 3, 2018 at 23:23) (Below Threshold)
 Command: Insert comment
  • + 13
 It is must be a pretty significant $ value that they're losing to punctures. This is becoming a serious issue for them
  • + 8
 Yet they've still got a podium record of 2 for 2 this season with only 3 riders...
  • + 3
 they should ask gravesy about flats! he might know a trick or two... or maybe not.
  • - 2
 It's because they're way faster than you and you don't reach the extent of what equipment can handle. They are. Don't worry, everyone here is in the same boat.
  • + 6
 @raditude: nah, I successfully get flats all the time too.
  • + 1
 @Socket: I still sort of wonder what people are doing, or not doing, to get flats. Heist 27, WTB kom, I9's, numerous OE wheels, 27.5/29/fat/plus the only thing i've successfully gotten flats on is early plus tires in lightweight casing. that's 8 different bikes in 6 different states in 3 different time zones on a lot of different trails and i'm 240 with gear. I just don't get how all these little mosquitos fly over stuff and still get flats.
  • + 0
 @raditude: I don't know, but I suspect it's from teams fitting non-DH spec 29er tyres. DH 29er tyres weigh about the same as a collapsed neutron star so my suspension is that people are trying DD casings or thinner. Could be wrong
  • + 1
 *suspicion
  • + 2
 @raditude: maybe I'm just way faster than you and you don't reach the extent of what equipment can handle.
  • + 24
 fantastic pics, that gwin one with bloodied teeth is pretty cool. How he got up & rode on from that, wow. thought he'd broke his wrist or something the way he landed.
  • + 23
 I think that Gwin pic is one of the best I've ever seen, on a par with Palmer. Props to Nathan Hughes!
  • + 15
 Exciting World Cup racing this year what with not a few youngsters coming through and Rachel and Myriam battling it out in the women’s. Oh, and for the first time since Anne-Caroline raced as a junior (Vail 1995?) I’m actually paying attention to junior women. So exciting to see a major talent on the rise.
  • + 4
 1994.
  • + 2
 @fjm35: were there even bikes with rubber tires back then?
  • + 4
 @pro-keyboardwarrior: Nah, you just ran down the hill with a hoop on a stick
  • + 1
 @pro-keyboardwarrior: Yeah, but they were solid, not pneumatic.
  • + 14
 there's really strong narrative to this sequence of pics (especially the title shot!) . Miles better than just a bunch of action shots. jolly good show.
  • + 10
 Reece Wilson gets 1st place for best hairstyle. How he keeps it looking that good after being in a helmet, avoiding helmet head, is beyond me. The fact that he absolutely ripped up this course is a bonus. Well done.
  • + 11
 Damn shame it's 2018 and races on $8000+ bikes are still won/lost due to a f'ing flat tire.
  • + 11
 Might not be recent but Ruraidh Cunningham was 07 Jr World Champ at Fort William... So a Scotsman on the top step...
  • + 0
 I thought that too. Here's an upvote fwiw
  • + 10
 It says Wilson was the first Scot to podium at a World Cup, Cunningham podiumed/won at World Champs.

However Stu Thomson had a 4th place at a World Cup in 2003, presumably that would have put him on the podium, unless they only had a podium for the top 3 back then.
  • + 8
 Not sure if just the angle, but it looks like Bruni is in the process of a major ankle roll.....
  • + 2
 main cause of injury for 2018: cornering like sam hill
  • + 6
 That was fast. Great coverage of a spectacular race.
Editing tip: Mae’s 10th and the to Frenchman.
  • + 4
 Agree. That was a superb photo narrative. Well done PB!!!
  • + 6
 Only problem I have with your photos is deciding which one I like best. Great work. Love the Kye shot.
  • + 6
 Flat pedals win medals.

Flat tires win... ??
  • + 6
 A go home ticket
  • + 1
 Headaches
  • + 2
 fat bike races
  • + 1
 tired alliterations?
  • + 1
 @cuban-b: Technically not alliterations, but get your point. Big Grin
  • + 4
 "The future has not been written. There is no fate but what we make for ourselves." is the first line of john connor's opening monologue in T3, he didn't say that to a T-800.
  • + 2
 I thought the young John Connor said it to the T-800 in T2 after Sarah Connor left to kill Miles Dyson.
  • + 1
 @Wakad00: Correct. Sarah Connor scratches "No fate" into the table, and JC explains to Arnie it means "no fate but what we make".
  • + 3
 @Wakad00: there are multiple instances of similar phrases throughout the movies. the exact quote from this article is from the opening of T3. "The whole thing goes: The future's not set. There's no fate but what we make for ourselves." - that's what john connor says to the T-800 in T2.
  • + 4
 Anyone see the facial similarity between Rachel Atherton and Steve Peat? Could we have a "Rachel....I am your Father moment??
  • + 2
 jedi's have excellent trail skills as evidenced in return of the jedi when they were protecting all those cute little gremlin aliens.
  • + 4
 @rossbellphoto slotting nicely with Hughes and Trumpore, Solid work coming from you fella
  • + 4
 Great photography, no moment missed it seems. Top work guys!
  • + 3
 Pierron, Shaw and Brosnan? Think Pierron, Vergier and Brosnan were the three musketeers of Fort Bill.
  • - 1
 If UCI doesnt choose a standard wheel size then we will no longer be able to call UCI DH the F1 Racing of mountain biking because at least F1 maintains a level playing field. DH races are simply too short for anyone on smaller wheels to get a chance to compensate for the rolling speed of 29ers.
  • + 2
 Then how would 29ers be able to compensate for the small wheels' quick acceleration?
  • + 2
 That pic of Guitierrez is perfect! Amazing how fast Pierron and Wilson went in sector 4, would love to know how they did it.
  • + 1
 As a Gwin fan, the good part about Gwin's disastrous race is we all know what happens next...
  • + 1
 Amaury Pierron is using the same biomechanic technique aaron gwin was using in 2012
  • + 2
 What a race! Truly epic photography!
  • + 1
 Loved the photosets... The epic photos PB is known for!! Great work this time around!!
  • + 1
 Probably just the angle, but Fearon's bike looks kid-sized.
  • + 1
 those old school 26 in...
  • + 1
 Kade edwards for loosefest, he shreeeeds.
  • + 2
 nice job pb!
  • + 1
 Who's the heaviest world cup racer?
  • + 1
 Jerome Clementz
  • + 1
 good question. i would guess the taller ones since theyre all so fit. so maybe Florent Payet?
  • + 1
 @cuban-b: I did a bit of research. Minnaar is 87kg, and he also has seven wins on this track. Peaty was 89. Gee 85. Gwin 75. Bruni 82. I think heavier riders have an advantage at fort William, given it's so flat and exposed.
  • + 1
 #FRADH for the win... ;-)
  • + 1
 Marcelo lol that's awesome
  • + 2
 Cool
  • + 0
 Brook didn't "snap" his collarbone.
  • + 3
 did he bend it then? or cut it?
  • + 1
 @pro-keyboardwarrior: the word snap connotates something like a comminuted fracture, displaced fracture, which take much longer to heal and sometimes require surgery. Brooks arm was able to hang which illustrates a hairline fracture or greenstick fracture. Not a "snapped bone". Sometimes it helps to read up a bit so you understand what words mean and the types of bone injuries.
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