New day, new prospects... same old mud. The morning commute up into the clouds on Mont Chery was a long one; wintery temperatures were spliced with intermittent doses of heavy rain and the water-logged track took yet another irrecoverable hit. Riders soon found the mud to be just that bit thicker and the ruts that bit deeper than they were only a day ago, while back in the pits the mechanics found the mud to be just as much a pain in the ass as it had been all week.
After one quick and final temper tantrum from the weather gods just before the junior final, it was nothing but blue skies for the remainder of the day as the sun emerged to burn off the fog. However, instead of help on track, it hindered, concocting a nasty paste to create arguably the worst conditions of just about any race in recent memory. Riders gave it their all regardless, some claiming glory and others going down in a blaze of that same glory.
For the women, it would be Morgane Charre who regained her form in front of a home crowd taking the win with an aggressive ride, the likes of which we have not seen from her in some time. In the men's race it would be Remi Thirion who threw down the gauntlet early on, and while some came close, most literally blew up trying. Most notably Mike Jones, Loris Vergier, Joe Smith, and Fabien Barel, who all had massive crashes in an effort to unseat the Frenchman from his throne. In the end, the boisterous French fans got what they came to see; team France dominating the top steps of the podium.
It's a long road to the top if you wanna rock and roll.
Second in yesterday's qualifier was French rider and Les Gets sponsored, Romain Paulhan.
Flying into the fog in the early morning session.
Trying to avoid the massive ruts and find race speed simultaneously.
Finn Iles shut it down here in Les Gets with a victory of almost 10 seconds.
Brendog reclines before getting rowdy on the way down.
Another day of adverse conditions for the lensmen of the mountain.
At least shooting mist hanging in the trees never gets old.
It was an in and out morning for visibility high on Mont Chery.
World cup sender, Florent Payet, performed brilliantly on home soil for 7th.
The top chair felt painfully slow in the freezing rain.
Smashing through the last twigs of heather still standing.
Sam Blenkinsop hammering the waterlogged turns of the top section.
It's possible there was actually just a little more grip in this turn than any other.
This Crankworx, conditions have been 'mixed'... at best.
'Sik Mik' breaks free of the muddy woods and heads for the rutted and sloppy open slope.
Marcelo goes full moto, wishing he had a throttle to get across the boggy bits lower down.
After a quick storm rolled through just before racing got under way, Finn Iles and the rest of the Junior men had it the worst today for their final runs.
Kevin Joly is psyched to do battle with the mud on Loris Vergier's Demo.
Lots of little tricks about in the pits in an effort to keep the mud out of important components.
Les Gets village finally bathed in the good stuff.
The sun finally appeared after lunch only to make matters a whole lot worse.
It was a jungle out there today.
Privateer life going well for Melvin Pons with a super strong 5th place!
Miranda Miller on the hunt, taking 4th in the Canadian-esque conditions.
Rain and fog, heavy at times, was the story for most of the early morning practice session.
Phil Atwill, one of many riders to have a bit of nightmare out there this week.
It's starting to look like a rain forest in the French Alps right now after weeks of heavy rain.
Casey Brown was bucked off in the deep mud and sludge before the road gap.
As the sun finally broke through and the fog started to burn off it looked and felt like a sauna trackside.
Birthday boy, Eliot Jackson, snakes through the rutted out corkscrew section.
Fabien had a phenomenal time, but the course tape on his bars hints as to why he ended the day with a DQ.
Barel's filthy Sender.
Jill Kintner smashing through the stream on the way to 5th and the mission to bring home the Queen of Crankworx grand prize.
Nothing about this race has been easy...
Intense's, Jack Moir with a great finish today taking the bottom step of the podium.
Remember the bush that was in between the tape for track walk? It met a violent end.
Alex Marin hovering above the slop with overloaded tyre treads.
Marin rounds one of the final treacherous turns.
It was good to see Rafael, the younger of the Gutierrez brothers, make the trip over from Colombia to mix it up in the French mud. He managed to qualify in the top 10, but a crash in the final ended his high hopes in the final.
Loic Bruni shows us how he's healing, and how he's feeling about not getting to race these past few weeks.
Brook Macdonald knows how to muscle it through an axle deep rut.
Blenkinsop looked on top of the gnarly conditions but couldn't manage to crack the top ten today.
Joe Smith looked fast and aggressive in practice but would struggle with crashes in the rapidly thickening mud during his race run.
Adam Brayton works on his drift multiplier.
The ruts were eating a lot of bikes and riders today.
Bernard Kerr flying into 8th place.
Greg Williamson gets ready to dab through this rut section on route to 10th.
Fantastic to have Miranda Miller healthy and mixing it up at the top again with a 4th place here and a 3rd last week in Leogang. She leaves Europe on a high note.
A strong finish for Emilie Siegenthaler today in the mud.
Thomas Estaque, riding to fifth place.
Morgane Charre looked extremely comfortable all weekend in the mud, and being a lifelong flat pedal rider, had no issues whatsoever. Unlike many of the other women who had switched from clips for this race only. Her victory was more than decisive at a whopping 25 second advantage.
The tape on the handlebar tells the tale.
Brendan Fairclough fully committed through this super high-speed muddy turn right out of the gate.
Stoked to get up on the podium this afternoon, it's Brendawg.
Remi Thirion is a master of technical tracks and mud.
After Romain Paulhan crashed out he left Mike Jones as the only man at the top who could take the win away from Remi.
Romain still stoked although he couldn't back up his incredible quali after hitting the deck.
Mike Jones returns to base with his peak smashed off for the second time this race season.
Jones took a huge tumble in the fastest part of the track, sliding for quite a ways through the farmland that lines the track, as you can see from the state of his shoe.
Thirion's race machine, tired and muddied from battle in front of the hot seat.
Taking the win by just more than two seconds.
Today's fastest: Thirion, Fairclough, Moir and Charre, Siegenthaler, Hannah.
It's always nice to wash the mud off with some cool, crisp Champagne.
For king and country... French racers, Remi and Morgane did the business here at Crankworx France! Sante!
Champagne fills the air... signalling the end of a big week for everyone involved.
When it's this filthy, it helps to have a pit by a fresh mountain stream to freshen up in between runs.
Time to get clean folks... Cheers Les Gets, it's been more than memorable!