Photo Epic: Vallnord DH World Cup Memories

Jun 21, 2020
by Ed Spratt  


This weekend would have seen the World Cup arrive in Andorra for another assault of the steep and wild track at Vallnord. The course has provided some incredible moments over the years with Remi Thirion's win in 2013 and Loic Bruni's first World Championship title back in 2015. Although we may be missing any new stories from Andorra this weekend here's a bit of a look back of some of the past races on the steeps of Vallnord.

2015

Cabirou locked and loaded entering the finish arena ready to earn the rainbow stripes.
Marine Cabirou, locked and loaded entering the finish arena, ready to earn the rainbow stripes.

Martin Maes was clearly the big threat. He came threw six seconds up but it wasn t enough for the win. Maes finished second.
Martin Maes came down a massive six seconds up but was stopped short at silver.

Drink up Laurie Greenland. We look forward to seeing what you can do in elites next season.
Laurie Greenland ties up the Junior World Cup overall and World Championships in 2015

Defending World Champ Manon Carpenter fought hard but won t be leaving Andorra with the 1 plate.
Manon Carpenter fought hard but would end 3.2 seconds away from leaving Andorra with the #1 plate and the jersey.

Another huge day another superb run for Rachel. How does she cope with the pressure and nerves She throws up.
Rachel Atherton takes the title.

Rachel s rocket.
Rachel Atherton's winning bike.

World Champs champagne glory once again for Rachel Atherton after a year of no stripes.

Brendan Fairclough got a bit loose coming out of the woods and would almost end up in the crowd. Luckily he saved it but lost precious seconds within sight of the finish line.
Brendan Fairclough getting loose coming out of the woods.

Ratboy rails the final corner for bronze.
Ratboy rails the final corner for bronze.

It s been a long time coming. Loic has been so close for so long. He pulled the win when it counted most.

The run of a life time in it s last two seconds.

We can officially call Loic the peoples champion.
Loic Bruni secures his first Elite World Championship title.

Loic literally jumped for joy when he got to the podium.
Loic jumping for joy on the podium.



2016

Vige chute front
Gaetan Vige made it two wins in a row.

Finn Iles 20 meters away from becoming the Junior World Cup Champion. It s hard to believe he still has another year to go before jumping to elites.
Finn Iles may have come second on the day but he walked away with his first Junior World Cup overall title.

Seagrave step-down
After a crash in qualifying Tahnee Seagrave pushed hard for a fifth-place finish.

Pure domination once again from Rachel Atherton.
Pure domination in the dust from Rachel Atherton, over 6.5 seconds up on the day.

Fighting some back pain all week Rachel dug deep and got her perfect season. 7 wins out of 7 races.
Rachel secured a perfect season in Vallnord. 7 wins out of 7 races.

Gwin in a spin.
With the title almost in the bag Gwin just needed to beat three riders down the hill and arrive within the top 80.

Ratboy style

We said it yesterday. Never count Greg Minnaar out on race day no matter how poorly he does in training or qualifying. No racer has the ability to dig deep and lift his game when it matters most and today he did just that to take 2nd place.

Gwinner
Finish inside the top 80 may have seemed easy at the start of the day but heavy rainfall during the race made it hard for Gwin to stay between the tape as the greasy conditions took hold.

Gwin just needed to finish to take the overall and in conditions like today s it was best to play it safe. Fifty-fifth was just fine today. Now all he has to do is focus on worlds.
Gwin would have to settle for 55th place in Vallnord but he would secure the overall.

What a career and what a legend. The sport owes this man so much and there won t be another like him. Today Steve Peat raced his final World Cup... What a ride it s been.
Thanks Peaty. You ve been an absolute hero to all of us.
Steve Peat completes his final World Cup race.



2017

Finn Iles steering from the rear on his final practice run before laying down a commanding final time.

Junior bosses Iles Walker and Edwards.
Another Junior win for Finn Iles.

Marine Cabirou compressing and nearly popping out of the berm before the final field section on route to her career best finish finish of 3rd.
Marine Cabirou secures a career-best (in 2017) 3rd place finish.

4 from 4 in the women s category. Its been a while since we ve had such great and wideopen racing.
Myriam Nicole takes her second win after waiting six years since her last victory at Val di Sole in 2011.

It s terrfiying to think that a rider with the skills of Sam Blenkinsop has to push so hard for 12th... Still that should at least get his plate down to size for Switzerland.

Brendan Fairclough brought some time back towards the bottom but it wasn t enough and seen him outside the top 20.

The intense focus of Loic Bruni. Back on the bike and with a fine 4th place finish he ll look to start rebuilding his momentum as he searches for that top step once more.
The intense focus of Loic Bruni.

2.5 seconds back for Gwin on a track so steep it seemed tough for him to really shine and attack with the venom he usually brings to finals.

An insane run on the edge all the way this afternoon out of the Redcar Rocket himself
Danny Hart lays it all on the line with a run that was on the edge the whole way down.

The number one so nearly came out on top once again but was denied by 0.2 of a second.
Greg Minnaar so nearly came out on top once again but was denied by 0.2 of a second.

Troy Brosnan had been in this position before last year in Andorra only for the rain to ruini his chances. It almost looked liked a repeat might be on the cards but at the end of the day the fastest man on the hill one.

After qualifying in pole position the rain salted Brosnan s game here last season well not this time.
In the end it would be Troy Brosnan to tame the steeps of Vallnord to take the top spot and his second World Cup win.



2018
Golden girl Vali Holl surrounded by a cloud of appropriately coloured dust today the winner by 15 seconds.
Vali Höll continued her Junior domination with a 15-second lead.

Kye A Hern came out swinging after a near miss in the qualies and took third place.

Thibaut Daprela smashed the completion today to take the win by 6seconds in the junior race. Consider his title all but locked up barring any disaster at the final two rounds.
Another win for Thibaut Daprela, making it clear that he is the one to beat in the Juniors.

Seagrave on the charge through the upper woods her last chance to shave seconds off her qualifying time.

Early morning laps with a golden-hour view for Rachel Atherton.
Things started out perfect for Rachel Atherton. She was way up at the first two splits before crashing halfway down the track.

At split two Rachel Atherton was 4.7 seconds up but at the line she would be 4.8 seconds down. What happened in the middle is something she would like to forget about.

There s not feeling like winning and it s even better when you can do it two weeks in a row.
Tahnee Seagrave takes her second win in two weeks.

Full gas from Danny Hart on the first training run of the day. Danny meant business today but would come up just fractions short.

Mark Wallace making shapes for the Andorran crowds.

Loris Vergier entering the X-Class finishing field number 1 at all the splits.

Off the final drop and around the final corner Loris Vergier gets ready to sprint to the line with the fastest time of the day.
Loris Vergier sprints to the line to take the fastest time of the day.

Amaury Pierron dropping in with style only 1.33 seconds off consecutive win number 4.
Amaury Pierron falls just short of consecutive win number 4.



2019

Vali Holl holding it down with another huge 12 second lead despite crashing on her injured shoulder in morning practice.
Vali Höll takes another huge 12-second lead despite crashing on her injured shoulder in morning practice.

Another mid-race run abduction in the depths of the forest.

Matteo Iniguez keeps it low but far from slow on route to his first win.
Matteo Iniguez keeps it low but far from slow on route to his first win.

Tough on riders and on media alike. be aware of the dust waves or be a victim.
There was no shortage of dust on track last year.

2nd in the splits but mistakes cost the series leader in the lower steeps and she lost 60 vital points to Atherton rolling into 3rd on the day.

Marine Cabirou rode strong all weekend in these tough conditions. She d finish second behind Atherton.
Marine Cabirou would finish just 2.5 seconds off the win.

Rachel Atherton took a full three seconds off her qualifying time and along with that the victory here in Andorra.

Win number 2 of the season for Rachel Atherton as she claws back towards Tracey Hannah in the overall.
Rachel Atherton takes another win in Andorra.

Nina Hoffmann s race run antics didn t stop once she crossed the line. Check the shoe or lack of
There was no shortage of drama for Nina Hoffman and her race run antics didn't stop once she crossed the line.

Luca Shaw is a dark horse always looking so calm and controlled on track yet carrying top 20 speed down to the line.

Thomas Estaque is at his best when things get steep and sketchy. A return to the top 20 for the wild Frenchy.

Just outside the top 10 for Greg Minnaar.
Just outside the top 10 for Greg Minnaar.

It was a matter of time before this berm let go and claimed a victim. Dakotah Norton couldn t believe his luck.

Remi Thirion put down a heater of a run and stayed in the hotseat all the way through until Brook Macdonald had a say about it. Keep in mind that Brook dropped in with less than 10 riders to go.
Remi Thirion makes a return to the World Cup top ten.

Loris Vergier boosting off the infamous road gap pioneered by Bernard Kerr earlier in the week.

An incredible bottom section had Vergier just 0.4 off the win for the second year in a row.
An incredible bottom section had Loris Vergier just 0.4 off the win for the second year in a row.

Amaury Pierron was always going to be a danger man here in Commencal country and indeed any track put infront of him. 4th for the defending series champ.

Troy diving into the finish arena.

Loic Bruni smashing the final turn. Everyone knew Loris s time would be a tough one to beat but at 2.8 seconds up at split one Loic had the answer.

The moment Loic Bruni realised he d taken his third win of the season.
Loic Bruni takes his third win of the season.

New levels of savagery in the Vergier-Bruni-Pierron wolf-pack battle are to be expected next weekend on home soil.

3 out of 4. Loic Bruni is really starting to gather momentum is this 2019 World Cup campaign.





7 Comments

  • 15 2
 I don't wanna be that guy but, what ever happened to the Donut? are you guys making a full length theatrical release or...?
  • 2 0
 They explain it in the podcast. TLDL: They want to make it an awesome edit, which takes a team of people working together. COVID has prevented said team from assembling, so they're waiting until they can do it right.
  • 3 0
 DH needs more Rat. Bring back the Rat. Not the same at all.
  • 1 0
 That 2019 black and white dust shot is absolutely superb.
  • 1 1
 Agree, however if you crop the left of the photo out on the 6th pic up from the bottom, that would be sick.
  • 1 0
 made ya look

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