Solid as a Rock: Practice - XCO World Cup Round 3, La Bresse

May 29, 2016
by Matthew DeLorme  


So here we are in Julien Absalon's back yard for round three of the XC World Cup, La Bresse, France. This course is the ultimate. It starts with a brutal climb before descending back and forth down a rock strewn technical single track on a steep mountain side, which means riders will have to be on top of their game. Julien and Nino had one of the most memorable finishes in recent times last week in Albstadt, with Nino pulling out the win by half a bike length. This time, Julien will want nothing but the top step at home, and he has massive crowds behind him. Jolanda Neff was out in practice, but will she be healthy enough to return to the podium? Will Annika Langvad run away with another win on this technical course? We will have to wait and see.


Georgia Gould and Katerina Nash helping out with team dinner.
Georgia Gould and Katerina Nash helping out with team dinner.

Luna girls keep busy on and off the track.
Luna girls keep busy on and off the track.

There is a lot of cable to be laid for the live feed.
There is a lot of cable to be laid for the live feed.

One of many forks heading through SRAM tech on Thursday.
One of many forks heading through SRAM tech on Thursday.

The SRAM boys were working full tilt to keep riders bikes in top shape.
The SRAM boys were working full tilt to keep riders' bikes in top shape.

Julien is the clear favorite here in La Bresse. Multiple French television crews came through the BMC pits to film before Absalon went out for practice.
Julien is the clear favorite here in La Bresse. Multiple French television crews came through the BMC pits to film before Absalon went out for practice.

Dan McConnell puts his feet up on a rest day.
Dan McConnell puts his feet up on a rest day.

La Bresse serves up heaps of technical riding. It is by far one of the all time best XC courses testing riders skills to the limits.
La Bresse serves up heaps of technical riding. It is by far one of the all time best XC courses, testing riders skills to the limits.

Sergio Mantecon dropping into the front side during practice.
Sergio Mantecon dropping into the front side during practice.

Pauline Ferrand Prevot showing Julien how it s done.
Pauline Ferrand Prevot showing Julien how it's done.

Nino testing out his new dual suspension rocket. Can he edge out Julien once again
Nino testing out his new dual suspension rocket. Can he edge out Julien once again?

Maxime Marotte has had a stellar start to the season can he keep the streak up
Maxime Marotte has had a stellar start to the season, will he be able to keep the streak up?

Julien Absalon having no troubles with the course during practice.
Julien Absalon having no troubles with the course during practice.

Sabine Spitz speeding her way down the mountain.
Sabine Spitz speeding her way down the mountain.

Jenny Rissveds playing a little follow the leader in practice.
Jenny Rissveds playing a little follow the leader in practice.

It s been sunny and 75 the last couple of days but the riders are coming back properly muddy.
It's been sunny and 75 the last couple of days, but the riders are coming back properly muddy.

Maja looks on as the master of La Bresse skillfully navigates a mud river.
Maja looks on as the master of La Bresse skillfully navigates a mud river.

Katarina Nah and Georgia Gould smashing laps in practice one.
Katarina Nash and Georgia Gould smashing laps in practice one.

The track is mainly dry save for the few springs that percolate up and make small sections an absolute muddy mess.
The track is mainly dry, save for the few springs that percolate up and make small sections an absolute muddy mess.

Bec Henderson riding the stairs of one of the old stone walls that perforate the hill side.
Bec Henderson riding the stairs of one of the old stone walls that perforate the hillside.

Catharine Pendrel weaving her way through the lush green on top of the track.
Catharine Pendrel weaving her way through the lush green on top of the track.

Erin Hauk navigating the rough stuff on day one of practice.
Erin Hauk navigating the rough stuff on day one of practice.

Kitty keeps guard of the vintage 2012 Julien Absalon WC board.
Kitty keeps guard of this vintage 2012 Julien Absalon WC board.


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27 Comments

  • + 18
 Out of all the photos, I'm glad to see that Ikea is still making colanders. One of the handles has broken off of mine and I'm in the market for another one. Thanks pink bike!
  • + 7
 It really surprises me that any teams use black race kit (or any dark colours for that matter) Surely a light kit that reflects the suns heat would help the riders stay cool and ride faster as a result?
  • + 5
 i dont even have words...
  • + 8
 "Kitty" .. Dont laugh these are the biggest tigers we got in europe Big Grin
  • + 2
 @Euskafreez: yes I know ... Hope the lynw doesnt extinct in the coming decades ...
  • + 3
 Been waiting for La Bresse since 2012, when Absalon won on a 26er hardtail against a stacked field of 29ers (and some random dude on a 27.5). Now that he (and much of the competition) is on a proper XC-All Mountain mutant bike, I'm curious to see how times compare to the last event, although not sure conditions will be the same...

Also worth noting how some racers are opting for ultra light hardtails, to gain advantage on the long steep climb, while others are going with the heavier 29er, full-suss, dropper post (!!) kits to attack on the big down.

www.redbull.com/us/en/bike/stories/1331574786088/review-show-men-s-xco-from-la-bresse-2012
  • + 7
 75 what?
  • + 6
 Damn, some of those descents look gnarly
  • + 1
 Good to see XC is moving towards allmountain. Knee pads for XC-ALL may be something getting more common into the future too as dropper post are moving in too...
  • + 3
 The weather here today is horrible... It's gonna be EPIC !
  • + 2
 That actually makes me want to try XC racing. Looks like a great course.
  • + 1
 There is always a picture of all the rock shocks getting serviced by the sram guys. Does Fox not do the same?
  • + 4
 Or does fox not advertise as often on Pinkbike? If they both do it, and pb doesn't want to show too much of the same,my guess is they choose to publish pics attached to one of their advertisers as opposed to another suspension company...
  • + 0
 Maybe that's part of the so called Blackbox program, or do they actually service all RS forks of competing athletes? I suppose if you enter a race weekend with a fork in fairly good condition, you'll usually be fine just cleaning and lubing the fork lowers (or whatever it is with these upside down versions). And I consider these team mechanics more than capable to take care of that.
  • - 1
 I love XC and I love gay clothes, but the combination of these two is unbereable for me.
  • + 0
 Julien is seeing how it's done, he's looking at that ass..
  • + 1
 pretty sure he can stare at it all night long at home.....
  • + 1
 Aye Julien's picture is rich in goodies but what do you mean? do you think he has some secret mirrors?
  • + 1
 Kitty FTW
  • + 0
 XC getting rowdy
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