Practice Photo Report: Grappling with Gravity - Vallnord World Cup DH 2019

Jul 5, 2019
by Ross Bell  




We're well and truly in the thick of the World Cup downhill season as we slip into the second half of the year with a visit to the mountain town of La Massana, nestled within the deep valleys and steep hills of Andorra. Heading into the fourth round it's the Aussies, Tracey Hannah and Troy Brosnan, who have been clean and consistent thus far and lead the overalls, but there will be plenty of hungry riders snapping at their heals this weekend and beyond.

The track here has remained largely unchanged for this year, but it remains just as savage as ever with the riders having to endure over four minutes of toiling with the steepness and blown out track surface. The track has turned into a dustbowl once again with massive holes developing despite the rain we've had over the past two afternoons. It didn't seem to deter the riders from cracking on with many looking up to speed from the get-go, but as always it's hard to judge just who has the measure of the track until the stopwatch starts ticking. The ones getting wild today attracted all the attention, but it might be the ones who are keeping it smooth that are the dangerous ones...


No sign of relief from today s skies to help with the dust.
No sign of relief from today's skies to help with the dust.

The morning gondola commute to the pits at the top of the track.
The morning gondola commute to the pits at the top of the track.

David Trummer pitting out the back of his van and getting the results. Respect.
David Trummer pitting out the back of his van and getting the results. Respect.

The World Cup leader Tracey Hannah warming up for practice.
The World Cup leader Tracey Hannah warming up for practice.

Danny Hart getting suited and booted for a long afternoon on the bike.
Danny Hart getting suited and booted for a long afternoon on the bike.

Rachel in good spirits warming up before hitting the steepest track currently on the circuit.
Rachel in good spirits warming up before hitting the steepest track currently on the circuit.

Stefan keeping the wheels of Mike Jones turning at the MS pits.
Stefan keeping the wheels of Mike Jones turning at the MS pits.

Aaron talking numbers in the morning before putting tyres to dirt.
Aaron talking numbers in the morning before putting tires to dirt.

Whatever happened to World Cup paternity leave 33 just won t do for Blenki after his hiatus... time to go to work.
Whatever happened to World Cup paternity leave? 33 just won't do for Blenki after his hiatus... time to go to work.

Loic Bruni psyching himself up for his first practice run.
Loic Bruni psyching himself up for his first practice run.

Kaos Seagrave giving the roll in some extra sauce.
Kaos Seagrave giving the roll in some extra sauce.

Warp speed with Mille Johnset.
Warp speed with Mille Johnset.

Mariana Salazar leaping the gully. Casing it is not an option.
Mariana Salazar leaping the gully. Casing it is not an option.

Vali Holl popping and pumping through the physical top section.
Vali Holl popping and pumping through the physical top section.

Brook Macdonald bulldozing down the course. The sun was out and so was the dust.
Brook Macdonald bulldozing down the course. The sun was out and so was the dust.

A patriotic Aaron Gwin on this July the 4th.
A patriotic Aaron Gwin on this 4th of July.

Amaury couldn t quite get the win for Commencal on home turf here last year. Let s see how this weekend plays out. It s anyone s game.
Amaury couldn't quite get the win for Commencal on home turf here last year. Let's see how this weekend plays out. It's anyone's game.

Tracey Hannah s speed and consistency seems tough to match this year.
Tracey Hannah's speed and consistency seems tough to match this year.

Nina Hoffmann must be starting to fancy her chances at that top step on the podium.
Nina Hoffmann must be starting to fancy her chances at that top step on the podium.

Luca Shaw is beginning to clamber his way back up the overall standings.
Luca Shaw is beginning to clamber his way back up the overall standings.

MacDonald not helping the erosion situation and taking 5th in timed training.
Macdonald not helping the erosion situation and taking 5th in timed training.

Not calling it quits after taking the win here last year Vergier wants the repeat. The man to beat out here in Andorra.
Not calling it quits after taking the win here last year, Vergier wants the repeat. The man to beat out here in Andorra.

Danny Hart has won here in the past and is always one to watch when things get loose and steep.
Danny Hart has won here in the past and is always one to watch when things get loose and steep.

Marine Cabirou is on it here. Her first win is coming.
Marine Cabirou is on it here. Her first win is coming.

Reece Wilson launching one of many gaps in the lower woods.
Reece Wilson launching one of many gaps in the lower woods.

Greg Minnaar detonating berms. The G.O.A.T looks comfortable on track.
Greg Minnaar detonating berms. The G.O.A.T looks comfortable on track.

Finn Iles laying it flat in front of the the Andorran mountains.
Finn Iles laying it flat in front of the Andorran mountains.

Kye A Hern would love to get back on that top spot he looked quick today and laid down a fast timed training run.
Kye A'Hern would love to get back on that top spot, he looked quick today and laid down a fast timed training run.

George Brannigan s rips one of the loose open turns.
George Brannigan rips one of the loose open turns.

Emilie Siegenthaler with Camille Balanche in tow. They d end up 3rd and 4th in timed training.
Emilie Siegenthaler with Camille Balanche in tow. They'd end up 3rd and 4th in timed training.

Kyle Strait doppelganger or the real Kyle Strait You choose.
Kyle Strait doppelganger or the real Kyle Strait? You choose.

Brook and the Mondraker train make a stop to let the dust settle - a big issue out there this afternoon.
Brook and the Mondraker train make a stop to let the dust settle - a big issue out there this afternoon.

Blue skies happy little clouds and plenty of happy riders and media under the Andorran sun all day.
Blue skies, happy little clouds and plenty of happy riders and media under the Andorran sun all day.

First podium last time out for Matteo Iniguez can he take his first win here this weekend
First podium last time out for Matteo Iniguez, can he take his first win here this weekend?

Adam Brayton doing what Adam Brayton does best gas to flat.
Adam Brayton doing what Adam Brayton does best, gas to flat.

Loic Bruni doesn t plan on having that number 2 plate for long.
Loic Bruni doesn't plan on having that number 2 plate for long.

Jamie Edmondson with the push up and drift for the many cameras camped out at the famous shale berms before TT.
Jamie Edmondson with the push-up and drift for the many cameras camped out at the famous shale berms before TT.

Great to see the man and myth that is Fairclough back between the tape today.
Great to see the man and myth that is Fairclough back between the tape today.

To say Matt Walker s first year in elite is going well is an understatement. 7th in the standings after three rounds.
To say Matt Walker's second year in elite is going well is an understatement. 7th in the standings after three rounds.

Philip Atwil going to war in the berms for the green team.
Philip Atwill going to war in the berms for the green team.

On board with Laurie Greenland.
On board with Laurie Greenland.

Thibaut Daprela had a scare last week when his bike got stolen here in Andorra but thankfully it was recovered.
Thibaut Daprela had a scare last week when his bike got stolen here in Andorra but thankfully it was recovered.

Bernard Kerr is on firey form right now. A very fast TT and big style at every opportunity on track.
Bernard Kerr is on firey form right now. A very fast TT and big style at every opportunity on track.

Whips scrubs and style all day today from Marine Cabirou... big props to the young French rider.
Whips, scrubs and style all day today from Marine Cabirou... big props to the young French rider.

Theo Erlangsen with an express suicide on the big double in the open section. Still counts.
Theo Erlangsen with an express suicide on the big double in the open section. Still counts.

Ropelato can t ride a bike straight. God bless him.
Ropelato can't ride a bike straight. God bless him.

Dean Lucas ran more laps this afternoon and looked damn smooth doing it.
Dean Lucas ran more laps this afternoon and looked damn smooth doing it.

Fayolle was going hard as one of the last men on the hill duirng the TT session.
Fayolle was going hard as one of the last men on the hill during the TT session.

Biting the dust...not something you see too often from this man and certainly a good indication of how loose conditions are turning up on the hill.
Biting the dust...not something you see too often from this man and certainly a good indication of how loose conditions are turning up on the hill.

Troy Brosnan on the move. He was barely touching the ground hammering through the upper woods.
Troy Brosnan on the move. He was barely touching the ground hammering through the upper woods.

Loris Vergier took the W here last year and did the same today in timed runs. Can he keep up the pace until Saturday
Loris Vergier took the W here last year and did the same today in timed runs. Can he keep up the pace until Saturday?

Analytics and helmet cam playbacks post practice for Danny Hart.
Analytics and helmet cam playbacks post practice for Danny Hart.

Happy camper Finn Iles loving the track. P2 in timed runs.
Happy camper Finn Iles loving the track. P2 in timed runs.

 CouplesOfDownhill
#CouplesOfDownhill

The dust clung to everything today.
The dust clung to everything today.

Happy 4th of July shredding to the Americans among us.
Happy 4th of July shredding to the Americans among us.


MENTIONS: @natedh9 @andy9 @rossbellphoto




33 Comments

  • + 59
 That picture of Bernard Kerr though... the way his back wheel is kissing the gravel, while his front wheel is perfectly lined up with the camera is nigh on poetic.
  • - 8
flag WAKIdesigns (Jul 4, 2019 at 22:24) (Below Threshold)
 What fascinates me is that this pic must be a result of one thing: if you fool around so much you get good at it, then you fool around even more in a better way, then there are hundreds of photos of you doing such things. One of them will be perfect. Persistence...
  • + 6
 That pic looks so sick it’s borderline outrageous...
  • + 4
 One of the most underated pure bike handlers out there i think...
  • + 45
 I don’t usually post a comment...rather just upvote... but holy shit those pics are awesome. Well done!!
  • + 17
 For me the print pics are a huge part of bringing this experience to life. The way Andy, Ross, and Nathan capture the moment is the reason I’m on PB. They make me immersed into the shot.
  • + 12
 Actually that was Lyle Straight
  • + 9
 Kade has an interesting accessory attached to his bars.
  • + 2
 He'll need to pedal harder.
  • + 8
 Rope.... damn! b.
  • + 2
 What wheels is Troy Brosnan riding? They seem to be compliant in each possible direction. Is it really 27.5" set-up of Mavic wheels?
ep1.pinkbike.org/p6pb17423014/p6pb17423014.jpg
.
www.vitalmtb.com/tags/troy_brosnan_person
  • + 2
 I had the same reaction at first but then i checked the fork and handlebar. Probably just a visual effect due to the fact that his handlebar is not straight and that wheel flop is big when rocking a 62° HA.
  • + 6
 it's Matt Walker's second year in elite... (Pedant's corner)
  • + 5
 That shot of Ropelato is freakin money!
  • + 3
 Holy hell, these photos... The ones of Mitch and Iles are so insane. Damn fine work guys.
  • + 3
 Surprisingly, that picture of Stefan spinning the wheel is my favorite. That is just a beautifully composed photo!
  • + 2
 Where is Jure Jabjek? Anyone know?
  • + 1
 I read he's out with a thumb injury, don't quote me on it tho as I couldn't find a confirmation.
  • + 2
 Injured thumb, back home already probably.
  • + 0
 Phone cameras are awesome these days.. my pictures from Andorra are shitty but then again I've a Chinese knock-off.. he must have been using a nice flagship !!
  • + 1
 @wynmasters...david trummer next hot candidate for the privateer challenge?
  • + 1
 He's giving the privateer award to enduro this weekend and next, he committed treason and defected to hang with the enduro-bros
  • + 1
 Actually that was Style Kraight.
  • + 1
 We desperately need an exploding berm photo montage from this track.
  • + 1
 Great job, props for all the photogs.
  • + 1
 Epic as usual. Thanks PB!
  • + 1
 56 pictures with 56 creative comments. Not bad. Not bad at all!!!
  • + 1
 breathtaking action, SUPER amped to watch on redbull saturday!
  • + 2
 Gwinny ok?
  • + 1
 Saving the best for last
  • + 1
 Real deal KS.
  • - 2
 PLEASE REMOVE THE JAZZ HANDS NO HANDER THANKS IN ADVANCE

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