'All or nothing' is more of a World Champs vibe, but today had that same unmistakable flavour as riders took their shot for the top steps. The shadiest of starts in the worst of conditions at the outset somehow morphed into one of the most gripping finals all season - pun fully intended. Savage thunderstorms and axle-deep river rapids of the first day became a distant memory as bone-dry grass and granite, and the huge Québécois crowds turned the Velirium festival spirit up to eleven.
While the battle for dominance in the women's race appeared to be something of a two horse race in the ever-growing rivalry between Seagrave and Atherton, the men's was absolutely wide-open. Unusually tight qualifying times suggested it was all to play for after series leader Amaury Pierron took a massive crash as the last man on the hill during morning practice. Of the many great candidates for the win, it would be World Champion, Loic Bruni, charging to victory on a run so fast and precise, it was positively ninja-like. 'Checkers or wreckers' is Bruni's mantra, and today his stars finally realigned, narrowly shutting down Troy Brosnan's bid to get back on top, and Danny Hart's chance to take back 2016 glory.
Meanwhile in the junior races, Vali Höll put the best part of a minute into the competition to go six for six, while Thibaut Diprala once again claimed the top spot, with Kade Edwards and Henry Kerr in hot pursuit. Moving onto the final round in France, the elite men's series may now belong to Pierron, but there's plenty of pride at stake and overall podium spots to fill. The elite women's and junior men's winners are both TBC and we can hardly wait to reconvene across the pond in a fortnight. For now, it's 'au revoir, Québec', it's been a wild ride.