Qualifying Photo Report: Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust - Vallnord World Cup DH 2019

Jul 5, 2019
by Ross Bell  



Photo Epic presented by Five Ten

Most qualifying sessions tend to pale into insignificance with attention quickly turning to finals, but this afternoon's action in Andorra had more than a few key moments that might play a more significant role in the outcome of the 2019 season. First off, Loic Bruni beat Troy Brosnan to the top spot by a mere +0.010... Fine margins on track and fine margins in the overall standings, that 0.010 of a second was enough to ensure it'll be Bruni that'll be wearing the leader's jersey tomorrow. He'll be wanting to keep a firm grip on that top spot to the end of the season, but as always, a rider's fortune can switch in a heartbeat. It was only a few hours prior that Loic was picking himself out of a cloud of dust having had a rather sizable stack in the lower woods. Those two found themselves over 3 seconds clear of the chasing pack with Pierron, Vergier, Trummer, Hart and Greenland all in quick succession. It'll be interesting to see who, if anyone, is able to challenge them tomorrow.

It was tight atop the women's too. Nina Hoffmann snagged her first qualifying top spot just ahead of the hard-charging Marine Cabirou, both of whom could take their maiden win tomorrow. Tracey Hannah came unstuck after qualifying fastest at all of the previous 3 rounds, falling foul of the deep dust and rutted up course; she would crash 3 times in the bottom woods. She was fastest before doing so and was content enough not being last down the hill tomorrow. Rachel Atherton was 3 seconds back in third despite a fastest top split, then a little further back in behind her were Emilie Siegenthaler and Vero Widmann. Who will come out on top tomorrow is anyone's guess. Will Hoffmann or Cabirou take home their elusive first win? Can Hannah or Atherton make up the ground tomorrow? Or will someone else get in on the act? In the juniors, it was the usual Thibaut Daprela and Vali Holl story, both of their times would place them will inside the elite top 10.

You can almost watch the ruts and holes being dug deeper and deeper with every passing wheel; it's going to be mega rough and mega physical on both bikes and bodies. Tune back in tomorrow to see how it unfolded for some, and unravelled for others.

Clear skies continue to bring dry heat into the valley.
Clear skies continue to bring dry heat into the valley.

Walking shoes on.... It s time to find all those valuable seconds and milliseconds on the driest track we ve had this season.
Walking shoes on... It's time to find all those valuable seconds and milliseconds on the driest track we've had this season.

Hart can do no wrong this season but can he pull out his first World Cup win since Vallnord 2016
Hart can do no wrong this season, but can he pull out his first World Cup win since Vallnord 2016?

It is most definitely a test. Lots to come from the Cannondale camp this season and certainly those to follow.
It is most definitely a test. Lots to come from the Cannondale camp this season and certainly those to follow.

It s good to see Bruce Klein back in the mix he s safely into the big show tomorrow.
It's good to see Bruce Klein back in the mix, he's safely into the big show tomorrow.

Matteo Iniguez flew into P2 but still a sizeable gap behind Daprela.
Matteo Iniguez flew into second place for the juniors, but still a sizeable gap behind Thibaut Daprela.

Thibaut Daprela really has the measure of the field. 13 seconds up with a time that d place 7th in elite.
Thibaut Daprela really has the measure of the field. 13 seconds up with a time that'd place 7th in elite.

Emilie Siegenthaler back where she wants to be. Fourth today.
Emilie Siegenthaler back where she wants to be. Fourth today.

Amaury Pierron navigating the first of the loose open sections. He qualified third today but that s three seconds and change off the pace.
Amaury Pierron navigating the first of the loose open sections. He qualified third today, but that's three seconds and change off the pace.

Kade Edwards exploding berms into 18th.
Kade Edwards exploding berms into 18th.

Vali Holl laying down another run that d place her strongly in the elite results.
Vali Holl laying down another run that'd place her strongly in the elite results.

Kye A Hern ended up third albeit over 13 seconds off the lead time set by Daprela.
Kye A'Hern ended up third, albeit over 13 seconds off the lead time set by Daprela.

Loris Vergier scoops up a sketchy moment after venturing offline.
Loris Vergier scoops up a sketchy moment after venturing offline.

Nina Hoffmann looks comfortable whilst pushing the limits of the track here.
Nina Hoffmann looks comfortable whilst pushing the limits of the track here.

Loic Bruni was so badly coated head to toe in dust after his crash that he had to go back to his hotel and shower.
Loic Bruni was so badly coated head to toe in dust after his crash that he had to go back to his hotel and shower.

Reshaping and maintenance was a must on track. It s really dry out and bomb holes are starting to appear in corners.
Reshaping and maintenance was a must on track. It's really dry out and bomb holes are starting to appear in corners.

A solid 12th place qualifying result for Hugo Frixtalon. The team has been struggling this season so this is definitely a step in the right direction.
A solid 12th place qualifying result for Hugo Frixtalon. The team has been struggling this season so this is definitely a step in the right direction.

Johannes Von Klebelsberg took his jeans to the cleaners and into the top ten in today s quali.
Johannes Von Klebelsberg took his jeans to the cleaners and into the top ten in today's quali.

Awesome to see how Marine Cabirou has turned it up this year in a big way and not just the style... Second in qualies by only 0.5 seconds shows the speed is there too.
Awesome to see how Marine Cabirou has turned it up this year in a big way; and not just the style... Second in qualies by only 0.5 seconds shows the speed is there too.

Eleonora Farina storing through the shale berms for 6th place.
Eleonora Farina storing through the shale berms for 6th place.

Don t be fooled by the 13th place qualifier... Tracey Hannah was fastest up to the point until she crashed 3 times.
Don't be fooled by the 13th place qualifier... Tracey Hannah was fastest until she crashed three ttimes.

Luca Shaw is starting to look like his old self after his early season injury.
Luca Shaw is starting to look like his old self after his early-season injury.

Danny Hart well in the mix like he has been all season.
Danny Hart well in the mix, like he has been all season.

First year in Elite and now first elite final. Kendall McLean into 49th from way down the list.
First year in elite, and now first elite final. Kendall McLean into 49th from way down the list.

Loic Bruni narrowly escaped second but left the rest in the dust. Tomorrow should be interesting as the track deteriorates.
Loic Bruni narrowly escaped second but left the rest in the dust. Tomorrow should be interesting as the track deteriorates.

Finn Iles was on pace for second before a mechanical forced him to the side lines. Luckily he s protected and will be back to try again in finals.
Finn Iles was on pace for second before a mechanical forced him to the sidelines. Luckily he's protected and will be back to try again in finals.

Scary moment for Mick Hannah after a costly mistake in the lower steeps.
Scary moment for Mick Hannah after a costly mistake in the lower steeps.

Amaury Pierron wants to do this in Commencal country. He has 3.4 seconds to find for the big show.
Amaury Pierron wants to do this in Commencal country. He has 3.4 seconds to find for the big show.

Danny Hart is having one hell of a season. A solid 6th today and some faster splits show he is in contention.
Danny Hart is having one hell of a season. A solid 6th today and some faster splits show he is in contention.

Laurie Greenland is always a top performer here in Andorra and tucked in to 8th right behind team mate MacDonald today.
Laurie Greenland is always a top performer here in Andorra and tucked into 8th right behind teammate MacDonald today.

Thibaut Daprela doesn t miss - a monstrous 12 second margin this afternoon and a top 10 equivalent in elite.
Thibaut Daprela doesn't miss - a monstrous 12-second margin this afternoon and a top 10 equivalent in elite.

Anna Newkirk is making great progress with her racing in the junior women s. 2nd place today she will be breathing down Holl s neck in the finals looking for the smallest mistake to capitalise on.
Anna Newkirk is making great progress with her racing in the junior women's. 2nd place today, she will be breathing down Holl's neck in the finals, looking for the smallest mistake to capitalise on.

David Trummer is continuing his amazing season he qualified 5th here today.
David Trummer is continuing his amazing season; he qualified 5th here today.

Rachel Atherton impacting on the hip-to-berm of the final open section before plunging deep down into the forest.
Rachel Atherton impacting on the hip-to-berm of the final open section before plunging deep down into the forest.

Dakotah Norton gapping out of the rock garden where riders have been puzzling over line choice all weekend.
Dakotah Norton gapping out of the rock garden where riders have been puzzling over line choice all weekend.

Controlling the speed and keeping the front wheel in check was the name of the game in the extreme dry conditions this afternoon. Forest Riesco holds on mighty tight.
Controlling the speed and keeping the front wheel in check was the name of the game in the extremely dry conditions this afternoon. Forest Riesco holds on mighty tight.

Laurie Greenland tucking a shoulder to keep it tight to the trees.
Laurie Greenland tucking a shoulder to keep it tight to the trees.

The Bulldog getting angry with it as per for 6th place with more to give tomorrow.
The Bulldog getting angry with it, as per, for 6th place with more to give tomorrow.

No bad days for the one plate Troy Brosnan... not ever. Still looking for his second ever win since Fort William 2014 he was 0.01 off the top for qualies.
No bad days for the one plate, Troy Brosnan... not ever. He won at Vallnord back in 2017, and there's no doubt he'd like to end up on the top of the podium here again.

A small crash in the shale yesterday seemed to take the fire out of Aaron Gwin s performance on track this afternoon leaving him outside the top 10. Hopefully he can get his braking finger working better for finals not that he ll want to over-use it.
A small crash in the shale yesterday seemed to take the fire out of Aaron Gwin's performance on track this afternoon, leaving him outside the top 10. Hopefully he can get his braking finger working better for finals, not that he'll want to over-use it.

Bright whites for new series leader Loic Bruni who will be looking to bring a bit of 2015 Worlds nostalgia to the results sheet tomorrow.
Bright whites for the new series leader, Loic Bruni, who will be looking to bring a bit of 2015 Worlds nostalgia to the results sheet tomorrow.

Atherton is well aware tomorrow is a big day in the course of the season. At least Hannah s wipe-out will have eased the points gap although now she needs to keep a watchful eye on Hoffman.
Atherton is well aware tomorrow is a big day in the course of the season. At least Hannah's wipe-out will have eased the points gap, although now she needs to keep a watchful eye on Hoffman.

Dean Lucas has been in the wars these past days taking a broken saddle to the nether-regions in training. Send healing vibes and ice-pack emojis.
Dean Lucas has been in the wars these past days, taking a broken saddle to the nether-regions in training. Send healing vibes and ice-pack emojis.

Old team mates Loris Vergier and Loic Bruni catch up after qualifying.
Old teammates Loris Vergier and Loic Bruni catch up after qualifying.

Straight from the fastest qualifying run and into an interview with Eliot Jackson.
Straight from the fastest qualifying run and into an interview with Eliot Jackson.

Not a smooth day for all here on the steeps above La Massana but today was not the race.
Not a smooth day for all here on the steeps above La Massana, but today was not the race.



MENTIONS: @natedh9 @andy9 @rossbellphoto




30 Comments

  • + 23
 Fingers crossed for Nina!
  • + 9
 "No bad days for the one plate, Troy Brosnan... not ever. Still looking for his second-ever win since Fort William 2014, he was 0.01 off the top for qualies."

@Ross Bell, Brosnan actually won at this very track in 2017. He'll be looking for his third-ever win.
  • + 4
 He sure did - that's been corrected.
  • + 5
 @mikekazimer: Cheers Mike. Thanks Ross for these bloody amazing photos! So excited for this race!
  • + 0
 Lmfao
  • + 13
 Amazing photos, that one of nina Hoffman!!!
  • + 1
 Amazing form to keep on line!
  • + 6
 As much as I love watching all these pros and known racers. I would LOVE for a privateer to take a podium again. Nina has been killing it, but I'm hoping the same thing happens in the Men's DH. Stoked for this weekend!
  • + 8
 2020 YT team: Palazzari, denim destroyer, daveboy94
  • + 2
 skinny jeans FTW !!!
  • + 1
 Is Randy looking more towards a team management role these days?
  • + 3
 "No bad days for the one plate, Troy Brosnan... not ever. Still looking for his second-ever win since Fort William 2014, he was 0.01 off the top for qualies."

Didn't he win in Vallnord a year or 2 ago?
  • + 4
 @natedh9 @andy9 @rossbellphoto

Nice work on the pics. I always look forward to the "photo report" stuff on pinkbike.

Well done, as usual.
  • + 1
 Not that I ever want anyone to crash, but it's kind of validating seeing riders 1000 times better than me washing out their front wheel in deep dust. For me the only thing that really helped after heaps of practice was a mud spike in the front, even and especially in the middle of summer. Maxxis Shorty does the trick. Even then though....
  • - 6
flag rewob (Jul 5, 2019 at 16:34) (Below Threshold)
 ... you're not even close to riding at their speeds.
  • - 13
flag freekandy (Jul 5, 2019 at 16:36) (Below Threshold)
 @rewob: Oh yeah, you clocked me on my last ride down Zephyr at Northstar where I hit 35mph+ several times? What's the top speed on this course again...
  • - 1
 @freekandy: Thought you were going to have a cheeky & understanding reply at a glance because you seem to undertand these guys are, in your words, 1000x better. I see that you're seriously dick swinging strava stats though....

k.
  • - 7
flag freekandy (Jul 5, 2019 at 16:59) (Below Threshold)
 @rewob: f*ck it, let's resolve this.

I'm fast because my bike is aluminum and I weigh 190 without gear.

I'm fast.

Not skilled like they are. So maybe we could agree, they're way better than I ever will be, and agree, we both love DH and fighting on Pinkbike is beneath us?

I clapped back, I shouldn't have.
  • + 1
 @rewob: We should ride at Northstar sometime. The deep dust makes most wash outs entirely harmless. You go through a lot of grips but end up getting to laugh at yourself a lot.
  • + 1
 @freekandy: the two of yours thread right here is why i think most bikers are clown dbags. Thanks for validating guys
  • - 1
 @pargolf8: yeah jeez. People in the pinkbike comments suck.
  • + 1
 If anyone can find 10 seconds it's Greg Minnaar, settling for being off the pace is nuts to his style. Risking all for qualifying points doesn't always make sense. Should be a great race either way, but for once the slower qualifiers might have a faster less dusty track.
  • + 2
 The denim destroyer is significantly faster than several factory supported pros, including some of the best riders in the world. Awesome
  • + 2
 Pretty sure Troy won Vallnord in 2017, so if he won tomorrow it wouldn't be his 'second ever win'.
  • + 1
 "Broken saddle to the nether regions" .... Ouch. Seat post up the bum is one of my biggest bike fears.
  • + 2
 Troy’s won twice already. Second time was vallnord!
  • + 1
 Loic looks to be an astronaut walking to a rocket ship. Commence launch sequence.
  • + 1
 PedBull tv!
  • + 1
 Get some TB. Awesome.
  • + 0
 Go AG USA .

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