Speed Freaks: Practice - Mont-Sainte-Anne DH World Cup 2016

Aug 5, 2016
by Nathan Hughes  


Do you feel the need... the need for speed? Speed freaks of the word unite!

The longest-running WC venue on the circuit today produced yet another rip-roarer out on the hill as riders found themselves in one of the driest and dustiest sessions in many a season. First runs on the Quebecois classic began to transform themselves into a beast quite unlike anything the riders had spent the day prior scoping and doing their best to memorize, as the turns blew out and the holes grew fat. There's no doubting the tremendous variety of pitfalls ready to claim bikes and bodies out here, with technical wood sections interspersed with slippery slabs, monster gaps, grassy off-camber sections, not to mention multiple 'balls to the wall', boulder-strewn highways.

Rachel Atherton and Manon Carpenter were the only women to lay down a sub 5-minute lap during the timed session, while Jackson Frew stomped the quickest junior time of the day. In the men's, Troy Brosnan was followed by an incredible come-back 'warm-up' from the rainbow wonder himself, Loic Bruni, with Gee Atherton, Brendan Fairclough, and Danny Hart all in touch with possible race times pushing 4 minutes flat. If it stays this dry, the course is only likely to get tougher and more loaded with the potential for drama as we head towards total dustmageddon this weekend.


Brook taking it easy before turning up the mental out on the crazy loose course.
Brook taking it easy before turning up the 'mental' out on the crazy-loose course.

Jack makes the finishing touches to Loic s red hot ride in the Gravity Republic pit.
Jack makes the finishing touches to Loic's red-hot ride in the Gravity Republic pit.

Old team mates and chums Tahnee and Mike talk after the close of the women s practice session.
Old teammates and chums Tahnee and Mike talk after the close of the women's practice session.

Loris Vergier is a fan of ultra high brake lever positioning... like crazy high.
Loris Vergier is a fan of ultra-high brake lever positioning... like crazy high.

Prepping for another day of thrashing.
Prepping for another day of thrashing.

Needles gets the all-clear on his Canada bike build from bro Jonty in the Polygon pit.
Needles gets the all-clear on his Canada bike build from bro, Jonty, in the Polygon pit.

Tegan Malloy heading into the light.
Tegan Molloy heading into the light.

Number one... so why try harder
Number one... so why try harder?

Sam Hill has is one of the winningest riders here at Mont St Anne most recently World Champs in 2010 and the WC in 2014.
Sam Hill is one of the winningest riders here at MSA, most recently World Champs in 2010 and the WC in 2014.

Miranda Millier was smashing it after a long week at altitude in Aspen. Miller qualified 5th.
Miranda Miller was smashing it after a long week at altitude in Aspen. Miller qualified 5th.

Jackson Frew went quickest today amongst the juniors in timed training.
Jackson Frew went quickest today amongst the juniors in timed training.

Mark Wallace will no doubt be giving it his all in Steve s memory come Saturday.
Come Saturday, Mark Wallace will no doubt be giving it his all in Steve's memory.

Rachel Atherton makes a final adjustment to the pins in her pedals before heading out for her first lap.
Rachel Atherton makes a final adjustment to the pins in her pedals before heading out for her first lap.

Pekoll was on the attack this afternoon rebuilding some good confidence after a season of misfotune so far.
Pekoll was on the attack this afternoon, rebuilding some good confidence after a season that's been riddled with misfortune.

Sylvain Cougoureux has been moving up the ranks in the junior series each race and is looking fast here in MSA.
Sylvain Cougoureux has been moving up the ranks in the junior series each race and is looking fast here in MSA.

Bernard Kerr through the modified rock section towards the bottom of the lower woods. More than a few riders went off course here out of habit as the old track used to continue straight ahead at full speed for another 20 meters.
Bernard Kerr through the modified rock section towards the bottom of the lower woods. More than a few riders went off course here out of habit, as the old track used to continue straight ahead at full speed for another 20 meters.

Loic is more than pumped to be back racing. He said the shoulder wasn t a problem but he was having a harder time finding his speed again.
Loic is more than pumped to be back racing. He said the shoulder wasn't a problem, but he was having a harder time finding his speed again.

Remy Thirion is always one of the fastest in practice but has yet to put together that perfect run this season.
Remi Thirion is always one of the fastest in practice, but has yet to put together that perfect run this season.

Troy making shapes through the chicane.
Man of the match today - Mr. T. Brosnan with a 4:07.

Remi Thirion slashing his way through the berms in the upper woods.
Remi Thirion slashing his way through the berms in the upper woods.

Mick Hannah was looking on point in practice. Will the Aussie have a good weekend here in MSA
Mick Hannah was looking on point in practice. Will the Aussie have a good weekend here in MSA?

Connor Fearon throws it into the lower half of the big midway woods section.
Connor Fearon throws it into the lower half of the big, midway woods section.

Danny and Needles ran some laps today throwing back to the Giatn Factory days.
Danny and Needles ran some laps today throwing back to the Giant Factory days.

Manon Carpenter gets ready to drop in on her first run of the day.
Manon Carpenter gets ready to drop in on her first run of the day.

Manon Carpenter went second fastest in timed training.
Manon sending the rock hip in the woods to go second fastest in timed training.

Tahnee Seagrave tweeking it during practice. She wasn t quite up there in timed training but rest assured she s going to bring the fight come Saturday. Rider choreography by Sven Martin.
Tahnee Seagrave tweaking it during practice. She wasn't quite up there in timed training, but rest assured she's going to bring the fight come Saturday.

Newly crowned brittish national champ Greg Williamson hucking to his way to the speedway.
Newly-crowned British national champ, Greg Williamson hucking to his way to the speedway.

Podiuming at MSA for the last two years Troy wants to go all the way this time round.
Podiuming at MSA for the last two years, Troy wants to go all the way this time round.

Aaron Gwin hasn t won here since 2012 but with Danny Hart breathing down his back in the overall points chase you know he ll be on it this weekend.
Aaron Gwin hasn't won here since 2012, but with Danny Hart breathing down his back in the overall points chase you know he'll be on it this weekend.

Is Blenki back to former brilliance We sure hope so
Is Blenki back to former brilliance? We sure hope so!

Third fastest in the TT is Gee ready to pounce on the MSA win that has elluded him all his career
Third fastest in the TT, is Gee ready to pounce on the MSA win that has eluded him all his career?

The calm before the storm under blue skies.
The calm before the storm under blue skies.

Laurie Greenland showing no signs whatsoever of the13 plate curse out on track .
Laurie Greenland showing no signs whatsoever of the 13 plate curse out on track .

Shark Finn Iles hanging loose.
Shark Finn Iles hanging loose.

Luca Shaw takes a look at how the lines have changed.
Luca Shaw takes a look at how the lines have changed.

Amaury Pierron was out doing damage to the course today. After crashing out of his come-back run in Lenzerheide the Commencal Lac Blanc has a score to settle.
Amaury Pierron was out doing damage to the course today. After crashing out of his comeback run in Lenzerheide, the Commencal Lac Blanc rider has a score to settle.

Greg Minnaar was eighth fastest in timed training but because it s Greg you could expect to see him on the podium come Saturday.
Greg Minnaar was eighth fastest in timed training, but because it's Greg you could expect to see him on the podium come Saturday.

Connor Fearon and Bernard Kerr take a break before the high speed chunder.
Connor Fearon and Bernard Kerr take a break before the high-speed chunder.

Marcelo Gutierrez is back and was on a good pace today going 14th fastest in timed training.
Marcelo Gutierrez is back and was on a good pace today, going 14th fastest in timed training.

By far the most aggressive rider on track today was the Bulldog. His powerful style manhandling even the rowdiest of sections.
By far the most aggressive rider on track today was the Bulldog; his powerful style, manhandling even the rowdiest of sections.

In past years riders barely needed to brake into this right hand turn but now that the section above has been straightened out down steep ski piste it s a handful getting things back under control.
In past years riders barely needed to brake into this right-hand turn, but now that the section above has been straightened out down steep ski piste it's a handful getting things back under control.

Today we welcomed Gstaad Scott s Neko Mullaly back to the gnar of the WC circuit.
Today we welcomed Gstaad Scott's Neko Mullaly back to the gnar of the WC circuit.

Tahnee Seagrave is sitting sitting 2nd in the overall and so far this season has been the only riders who look up to the challenge of beating Rachel Atherton.
Tahnee Seagrave is sitting 2nd in the overall and so far this season has been the only rider who looks up to the challenge of beating Rachel Atherton.

drifting loose dust and smashing rocks was the name of the day here in MSA.
Drifting loose dust and smashing rocks was the name of the day here in MSA.

Finn Iles fully committed around one of the fastest corners the WC has ever seen.
Finn Iles, fully committed around one of the fastest corners the WC has ever seen.

Tracey Hannah had a massive crash in her last practice run of the day and was pretty shaken up. We are unsure what her status will be for the rest of the weekend.
Unfortunately Tracey Hannah took a huge slam in the dust on her last practice run of the day and was pretty shaken up at a minimum.

Loic Bruni is back and while he said he is just treating this race as a warm up for the remainder of the season he still managed to smash out the second fastest run of the day in timed training.
Loic Bruni is back, and while he said he is just treating this race as a warm up for the remainder of the season, he still managed to smash out the second-fastest run of the day in timed training.

Wyn Masters off the diving board rock in the upper woods.
Wyn Masters off the diving board rock in the upper woods.

Last years winner Josh Bryceland seems to be all about having fun these days and has switched back to flat pedals for maximum drift.
Last year's winner, Josh Bryceland, seems to be all about having fun these days and has switched back to flat pedals for maximum drift.

PomPon enjoying one last moment of calm before dropping into the mayhem.
PomPon enjoying one last moment of calm before dropping into the mayhem.

Myriam Nicole cased the final jump pretty hard in timed training and suffered a pretty serious ankle injury. Possibly broken and if not seriously sprained. Regardless her weekend is over.
Nicole cased the final jump pretty hard during TT and suffered a pretty serious ankle injury... possibly broken, if not seriously sprained.

The Keswick Kestrel is once again on pace and the season of a lifetime continues.
The Keswick Kestrel is once again on pace and the season of a lifetime continues.

Brendawg in his absolute element amongst the savagery of St Anne.
Brendawg in his absolute element amongst the savagery of St Anne.

Brendan wasn t looking too stylish today. This dog pisser was a rare moment. It was brought about by the encouragement of a silverback. The rest of the day he spent absolutely hauling ass. Fourth fastest in timed training.
Brendan wasn't looking too stylish today; this dog pisser was a rare moment before absolutely hauling ass to fourth fastest TT. Choreography by Sven Martin!

The number two in the series does well here in Quebec every year without fail. A big result is a must if he s to claw those valuabe points back from the Gwizard.
The number two in the series does well here in Quebec every year without fail and a big result is a must if he's to claw those valuable points back from the Gwizard.

Tahnee and Ted now immortalised on her seat-tube.
Tahnee and dear friend Ted, now immortalized on her seat-tube. Could this be the biggest weekend of both their lives? Only time will tell of course.

All business in the pits for Aaron Gwin this morning.
Another World Cup, another super low-profile practice session from AG. He hasn't managed to nail it here since 2012, but you wouldn't exactly want to doubt his dust game, now would you?


MENTIONS: @natedh9 / @mdelorme / @davetrump




94 Comments

  • + 100
 "Last year's winner, Josh Bryceland, seems to be all about having fun these days and has switched back to flat pedals for maximum drift."

Doesn't seem to be all about winning. Miss seeing him up amongst the best.
  • + 37
 www.uci.ch/mountain-bike/ranking He's not exactly been going slow though it would appear.
  • + 17
 Would be great to see him back up there but think he has lost that edge that makes a top 10 rider into a top 3-5 rider this season which is a shame. Would also like to see him on a bike that fits as he looks so gawky on that V10 while his team-mates ride bikes 2 sizes larger but it must work for him - You would think though that a longer bike would be perfect on this kind of ultra fast track. Of course all of the above is not relevant if too much bong shed.
  • + 17
 @Racer951: He said on Wyn TV he went up a frame size for this round.
  • + 2
 @sicmoto: Aah good stuff, I missed that.
  • + 1
 what time do qualifications run?
  • + 8
 I love watching him ride regardless of his results. Its the nature of the Rat to ride for fun. I'm glad there are people like him and Brendog racing DH with style.
  • + 2
 Well... Maybe flat pedals win medals in MSA... Chris Kovarik in 2006, Sam Hill wins in 2010 and 2014. If you take a count of how many riders use flat pedals these days...
  • - 1
 He's on da erb!
  • + 1
 @slayerdegnar: Neither finished qualifying... hope they can race!
  • + 2
 @Racer951: I'm a big fan of Ratboy's and I'm surely bummed to see him not at his 2014/15 performance levels.

I don't pretend to know much about Josh but it does annoy me that because of his casual style people assume that he is a stoner, he could be, BUT if people not just yourself don't 100% know if he is or isn't I think comments like that which can be quite detrimental to his reputation should be kept themselves.

I'll be honest I wrote Sam Hill and Mick Hannah off last year only for Sam to do really well in the EWC (unfortunately not in the DHWC) and Mick seems to have gotten over what ever was happening with him. I'm sure Josh will bounce back
  • + 1
 @Cashman39: he has "high performance" tattooed on his thigh, I'm pretty sure he's not referring to his height
  • + 2
 5th overall isn't exactly sitting around. And comments like this are stupid, how long have you been a fan of World Cup DH? I see you've been a member since 2012, so you should know this stuff. Danny won the World Champs in 2011, that means he hasn't won in 5 years. And then he rips out two back to back like it's nothing. Josh won less than 2 years ago, and had an absolutely catastrophic injury at the end of the season. He's not done yet, trust me. That's why this sport is so f*ckin awesome, anybody who has ever finished in like the top ~40 can win at any given time, with no warning.
  • + 1
 @csermonet: I was specifically saying I'd like to see him back up on the podium. He simply hasn't been on speed all year. It wasn't a personal attack or something. Chill out like the rat.
  • + 41
 Please don't ever post a picture of Danny Hart's nipples again... Seriously... don't.
  • + 6
 #freethenip
  • + 1
 Still the best was when Rob Warner asked Danny if he was 'sucking it in' during an interview 1-2 years ago talking about a crash; pic had belly in full effect. Danny didn't flinch but Rob couldn't keep a straight face. Looks fit this year.
  • + 3
 At least they followed the shirtless Danny picture with a Tahnee picture... to sort of sooth our wounded eye balls!
  • + 40
 I have a feeling in my waters that Sam Hill is going to podium
  • + 4
 My waters fells the same
  • + 6
 Long physically demanding track requiring experience and endurance?
I think you might be on to something. Doesn't hurt that he won here two years ago either.
  • + 7
 I hope you are right
  • + 3
 @Wamprat: That ews he just did will help his endurance for MSA
  • + 7
 Would love to see that too, I just wish they would stop making tracks more 'simple' and bike park like and leave the blow out flat corners in there.
  • + 1
 I'm buying that after he ducked the EWS
  • + 37
 whaaat!? black and white picture of loic s new bike paintjob ? is that a joke
  • + 31
 PomPon nooooooo!!!!!
  • + 1
 Yeah, sad... Just back from injury and now... Frown
  • + 3
 What a tragedy! Stay strong, Myriam!
  • + 1
 Another jump takes out another female downhiller; it sucks! I hope she's okay!!
  • + 24
 Exceptional photos.
  • + 2
 Agreed. That is some amazing coverage
  • + 1
 Stunning shots - major kudos to photographer and kit!
  • + 12
 Disappointed not to see Steve Peat there dressed as a Canadian Mountie with a horse painted V10
  • + 12
 After Brosnan's space dog shirt last time, red just seems a little underwhelming.
  • + 1
 True story. Big Grin
  • + 2
 He could be saving it for the race?
  • + 11
 so glad to see Loic back!
  • + 9
 Fantastic coverage! Can anybody fill me in on why Neko hasn't been racing this year? I've been living under a rock.
  • + 0
 He has been racing pro grts and other races if I remember right just not world cups. Not sure why he hasn't been.
  • + 8
 injured i believe, severely broken arm?
  • + 9
 @hadenmtnbiker: some kind of injury to his arm he posted on Instagram not long ago that after 8 weeks of healing the doc gave him the all clear
  • + 1
 Double post. DAMN!
  • + 0
 @westrm: good to know! I have been wondering why he's been out from racing world cups!
  • + 1
 Just was gonna post this, they do an amazing job Smile
  • + 1
 Thanks for this!!
  • + 7
 that young Finn Iles is a animal soooooooooo much style and he aint even 18
  • + 0
 He is still 16 for a few weeks
  • + 1
 Dude is definitely the future. Crazy fast.
  • + 6
 Looks like a Minion on the front of Gwin's bike..
  • + 8
 It is. They are using maxxis right now. They are also developing a line of dh tires with onza.
  • + 6
 Oh noo Tracey,hope she is ok!
  • + 6
 I hope so too. Tracey and Pompon out would be sad...
  • + 4
 Like the black-background rider portraits. Was that just a great use of the start hut?
  • + 3
 Plan on designing my office to replicate a start gate - roll in included. I mean, what other space gives one the desire to crush the day like that start gate?
  • + 5
 That photo of Wyn is awesome
  • + 3
 Does anyone ever rock lycra for the WC downhill races? Seems like you could shave at least a few hundredths with it. Or is shaving time just not worth the uncool factor?
  • + 8
 It's actually against the UCI rules. There's a "pinch an inch" type rule. All the riders running super tight jerseys though. Size small for even some of the biggest guys to skirt it though. Look at the pic of Fearon up top.

Lycra and aero went way overboard years back and Peaty, etc started a petition to keep DH more true to it's marketing image. Plus the benefit of having ad space, etc.

DH is similar to moto, but still the kit is drastically different in terms of fit, cut and materials now to where we literally have our own "kit". I like where we are and if lycra were still the staple, we'd just be skiers with big helmets.

Google Sam Hill Worlds wreck. Awesome run...goobery looking kit.

ep1.pinkbike.org/p4pb9047469/p4pb9047469.jpg
  • + 4
 @bizutch: funny and interesting stuff. Thanks for the history lesson. Almost seems like lycra would be bigger on DH than it would XC because the speeds are so much greater for creating drag. Sorry for offending people that downvoted me, I was honestly curious as I just started following the UCI a bit.
  • + 3
 @iantmcg: I was told the rule was also a way of ensuring that riders didn't get so stuck on going aero they'd skip out on protection without having to get super complicated with rules governing what types of protection and how much were required. I don't know how true that is, though...
  • + 0
 Double post
  • + 5
 That gash on Brook's shin...........
  • + 3
 Love the pictures of Tawnee and Finn throwing shapes! Look out Brendog - you have some competition.o
  • + 3
 Wish I was there to watch it all but here I am dreaming at work about it... Gwin for the win!
  • + 3
 Looks like Williamson is about to get fined by the UCI for not wearing the national champ's jersey
  • + 2
 Can't wait for tomorrow. Rain or shine i'll he there to encourage every athletes !
  • + 3
 Great images. Love the use of natural lighting in the starting gate.
  • + 3
 Tahnee
  • + 3
 Home sweet home.
  • + 2
 That orange Fox 40 is killing me... love the riders though.
  • + 1
 Track is insane new parts and lines are very nice. Will be an amazing race. Riders are flying in the track
  • - 2
 I wonder if Gwin had a mechanical issue during TT. he ended up in 58th. split 1 and 2 he was on top then way down. Haven't seen any info on it. Maybe he just took it easy after spit 2. then in his second run his split times were in the 13, 15, 16 and finished 17+ minutes. WTF is up with that?
  • + 5
 He probably stopped to look over lines and stuff since timed training is only optional
  • + 12
 @will-dalley: or he stopped to pee in the woods...
  • + 4
 @zede: hahaha, if an American pees in Canadian woods, does he get a fine?
  • + 2
 @CJSelig: no, he just needs to say "i'm sorry sir" and its all good
  • + 2
 poor remi, always the bridesmaid never the bride
  • + 0
 PB you have boots on the ground? How about some video coverage you r missing out on the action.
  • + 1
 Those sure look like Minions on Gwinner's bike...
  • + 0
 "'Tis but a scratch on my shin". Looks like an owie. Plus SS memorial plaque for respect..
  • + 1
 Insanely GOOD Photos...
  • + 1
 I can't wait ????
  • + 1
 amazing set of photos.
  • - 1
 Brendog need less than a sec to a one-footer .. that's about 80mph
  • - 2
 Aaron gwin is sponsored by onza tires, yet hes using maxxis tires????
  • + 3
 I know right?! Like, that's never happened before...Weird.

#sharpie
Below threshold threads are hidden

Post a Comment



Copyright © 2000 - 2019. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv65 0.042248
Mobile Version of Website