The Essential Guide to the Vallnord DH World Cup 2018

Jul 10, 2018
by Farah Ahmed  


“The world breaks everyone
and afterward
many are strong at the broken places.”

- Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms, 1929





2.5 seconds back for Gwin on a track so steep it seemed tough for him to really shine and attack with the venom he usually brings to finals.

Myriam Nicole riding the rollercoaster of berms to a second place qualifying.
Hannah takes the plunge down one of so many gnarly chutes that make up the Andorran course.

Ding! Ding! Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Round 5 of the 2018 UCI Downhill World Cup.

What a fight for the overall season we’ve got going on. With one of the main contenders Aaron Gwin gracefully withdrawing himself from Vallnord this weekend in order to get his thumb properly fixed, Amaury Pierron snatching a hat-trick of back-to-back wins, Minnaar due for a comeback after nursing an injury from Fort William, and the rise and rise of the young new talent of riders; who could have guessed what the Elite Men’s battle was going to be like just past the midpoint of the season?

It’s not just the Elite Men who are seeing the sands shift; Tahnée Seagrave has regained her momentum towards fighting for the season overall despite it all looking hopeless two races ago, Myriam Nicole suffered a bruised back after a crash in practice on a treacherous Val di Sole track and might be out for a while, and are we seeing Rachel Atherton finally lose her grip on her historic domination over the last few years? There’s no time for Seagrave to relax though; the young guns are waiting in the shadows and we’ve already seen a glimmer of that in the form of Monika Hrastnik, and of course a certain Valentina Höll - the latter a Junior who has yet to race against Elites...

Onto the Pyrenees and onto Vallnord in Andorra. This track is fast and thrilling, and Andorra is the home of Commencal. Their bikes have been doing pretty well this season, so at least in the Elite Men’s field, are we going to see a hometown domination?





The Track


From the wild Val di Sole to the just-as-wild Vallnord. This track is loose and technical, especially in the lower half of the course.

Unusually for most DH World Cups, the team pits are at the top of the track in Vallnord. The track itself starts from the all-weather ‘bubble’ gate, and from the down-ramp riders are straight into the woods and into what is a relatively flat section. A few jumps start appearing to break up the pedalling, and a few wide turns later, riders are out of the woods and onto a high wooden bridge that towers across the tarmac road underneath.

Off the back of the bridge and a couple of sharp turns later, riders are back in the woods where things start to get a little steeper. Another bridge, and then things start to get faster as well. Riders are then faced with the first rock garden which is long and a taster of things to come. Dotting in between trees, we’re now in a more technical section with roots, rocks and jumps to overcome at speed. An off-camber section then follows, with a few tight drops down another steep section of the track.

Still in the trees and still off camber, the trail wallows and throws riders around until it opens up to a couple of bigger turns and out of the woods. Last year we saw the introduction of a new gap jump here, followed by a couple of tables and then some high-bermed switchbacks.

Finn Iles hunkering down in the open turns searching for yet another win. He ll be a tantalising prospect in elites next season.
Stefan Garlicki getting angry in the gravel filled holes of the open section.

Around this halfway mark, it’s then back into the woods and the rugged roots and rocks, where the track winds itself ever downwards. It doesn’t last long though and riders are soon out of the woods and into another open section featuring a couple of turns and jumps. Riders enjoy the last bit of smooth riding before they head back into the trees and the real rough stuff Vallnord is famous for.

The lower section is full of different lines, but there’s little hope of avoiding the exposed roots of the forest, or the rocks that often have sharp edges. The track twists and turns and there’s little let up for even the fittest of riders. The section gets steeper and more technical as riders progress, with a few twists and turns thrown in too. There are plenty of trees around the track as well as in them - thankfully most of them have nice cushioning strapped to them - but that doesn’t mean riders can relax. Far from it. Tiredness will be kicking in by this point, right before they shoot out of the woods and down across a totally off camber field with a left-hand berm to catch riders before another right-hand turn into another steep off-camber section. Shooting down the field, a massive drop and a tight right-hand turn later, and the Vallnord track is done.

4th place for the fastest woman on earth 8.6 seconds back nursing her shoulder injury down the steeps.
Laurie Greenland cutting inside and avoiding the big holes opening up.





What Happened At The Last Round

In the Elite Women’s race, with Myriam Nicole out of the running, it was Veronika Wildmann who wowed the Italian crowd by getting a strong time in that secured her the hot seat for a good while. Neither Eleonora Farina or Marine Cabirou could match her time, although it was close, and for Cabirou it came undone as she crashed out, giving away her five-second advantage.

Next up was Atherton who had qualified poorly the day before. Atherton was up by 10 seconds by the fourth split and crossed the line moving Wildmann off the hot-seat. Hannah and Siegenthaler were unable to get down the mountainside faster than Atherton, so it was down to Tahnée Seagrave and Monika Hrastnik - the last two remaining riders able to topple Atherton.

Seagrave blasted down the track bristling with confidence, and appeared to be on par with Atherton’s time. It was a close run, with Seagrave crossing the line just 0.12 seconds up from Atherton, knocking her off the hot-seat with one rider left to go. Slovenian rider Hrastnik had surprised everyone by taking a confident first place qualifying time the day before. For race day she didn’t let up either and was breathing down the neck of Seagrave’s time split after split. Crossing the line, Hrastnik was down by 1.6 seconds and slotted into third place behind Atherton, making it her best ever World Cup to date, and keeping Seagrave in the running for the overall.

Credit: Red Bull

Amaury said he went slow to go fast in these conditions... Seemed to work out just fine
The fastest men popping bottles on the podium in Val di Sole.

After Aaron Gwin re-injured his thumb in practice on Friday, the pits were awash with talk as to whether he would battle on for those all important points for the overall championship. In between talk about the American, it was the in-form Frenchman Amaury Pierron who also got tongues wagging; could he win yet again and make it a three-in-a-row?

It was Commencal 100% rider Thomas Estaque who was seventh in qualifying and come Saturday afternoon, the first rider to make a real dent in the hot seat. He watched on as a nail biting battle commenced in front of him.

Then came Gwin who decided to risk damaging his thumb further for those extra points. Gwin’s ride was steady but lacked the usual gutsy pace we’re so used to. Gwin crossed the line without getting in any kind of position worthy of his courageous and painful ride down the Italian mountainside. Up next was Wallace and then Bruni, but neither of them could reach Estaque’s time, especially not for Bruni as he ended up getting his whiter-than-white race gear all muddy after slipping out in a pile of dust in the woods.

With five riders to go Estaque looked like he couldn’t quite believe it. Greenland entered the foray though and despite a bit of a rocky start, the young Brit raced to the finish line with 2 seconds to spare ahead of Estaque. Vergier and Shaw couldn’t do any better than Greenland, and it was left to Danny Hart to show his old teammate he is still a rider to be respected. Hart put in an exceptional run but lost out on time in the lower half of the track and slotted into second place behind Greenland.

Last but not least was Pierron. After clinching pole position in rain-swept conditions the day before, Pierron now had to do the same but on a dry track. From the get-go Pierron looked confident and made Warner and Claudio go wild in the commentary box thanks to the impressive line choices and flow. Soon it was clear Pierron was gaining on Greenland and it was at the last split he was just ahead. Pierron crossed the line and the timing lights showed green with -0.5 seconds brightly displayed. The Frenchman knocked Greenland off what would have been his first ever podium in Elites - and although that time will undoubtedly come for Greenland - Val di Sole belonged to Pierron who secured the triple.

Credit: Red Bull

Full gas and lots of aggression first thing in the morning Tahnee Seagrave meant business today in Val di Sole.
Tahnee was in disbelief as she made her way to the hotseat and later to the top step of the podium. A winning time just 0.12 faster than Rachel Atherton and some of the closest racing we have seen in the women s field this season.





Rider Standings

ELITE MEN
1st /// Amaury PIERRON // FRA // 753 // No change
2nd // Laurie GREENLAND // GBR // 491 // -262 // Moves up from 5th
3rd // Troy BROSNAN // AUS // 488 // -265 // No change
4th // Aaron GWIN // USA // 481 // -272 // Moves down from 2nd
5th // Danny HART // GBR // 451 // -302 // Moves up from 8th
6th // Luca SHAW // USA // 448 // -305 // Moves up from 7th
7th // Loris VERGIER // FRA // 439 // -314 // Moves down from 4th
8th // Samuel BLENKINSOP // NZL // 357 // -396 // Moves down from 6th
9th // Brook MACDONALD // NZL // 327 // -426 // Moves up from 9th
10th // Mark WALLACE // CAN // 277 // -476 // New to top 10

ELITE WOMEN
1st // Rachel ATHERTON // GBR // 776 // Moves up from 2nd
2nd // Tahnée SEAGRAVE // GBR // 676 // -100 // Moves up from 3rd
3rd // Myriam NICOLE // FRA // 610 // -166 // Moves down from 1st
4th // Tracey HANNAH // AUS // 560 // -216 // No change
5th // Monika HRASTNIK // SLO // 496 // -280 // Moves up from 7th
6th // Emilie SIEGENTHALER // SUI // 426 // -350 // No change
7th // Marine CABIROU // FRA // 401 // -375 // Moves down from 5th
8th // Katy CURD // GBR // 289 // -487 // No change
9th // Veronika WILDMANN // ITA // 274 // -502 // New to top 10
10th // Mariana SALAZAR // 252 // -524 // No change




What Happened Here Last Year

Last year in Vallnord we were treated to a classic day of racing despite heavy grey clouds ever threatening overhead.

In the Elite Women’s field Rachel Atherton was still trying to overcome her shoulder injury. After four weeks off the bike since Fort William, she qualified down the field in eighth and took to the track a lot sooner than she had become accustomed to. Atherton put in a courageous run but wasn’t able to put in a good enough time to dent the top steps. Meanwhile, Marine Cabirou and Eleonora Farina looked impressive on the steep Andorran mountainside and secured their place on the podium in third and fifth place respectively. Seagrave took to the track and made a run full of interesting line choices that we hadn’t seen so far. She took the fastest time with two more riders to go.

Next up was Myriam Nicole who was desperate to break the bad luck of not having secured a first placed finish since Val di Sole in 2011. Nicole excelled in her race run, crossing the line in front of Seagrave with three seconds spare. Last woman up on track was Hannah who lit the timing screens green for the first two splits, but the track hit back and out the front door the Australian went. Rushing to get back on the bike she soon discovered completing her run would be futile; her brake levers were bust and she had to limp home. Down in the finish line area, the crowd went wild as Nicole took her first UCI World Cup win for a long while, and did so in the hometown of her team.

Credit: Red Bull

Myriam Nicole sprints along the pedally top section in the golden morning light before a lengthy wait until her race run later that afternoon.
4 from 4 in the women s category. Its been a while since we ve had such great and wideopen racing.

In the Elite Men’s race, the track dished out more pain for the likes of Pierron, Fearon and Moir. Meanwhile Mark Wallace was sitting pretty in the hot-seat until Danny Hart took to the track and made the timing screens go green. Hart was looking dominant out on track and sometimes right on the edge of falling victim like others had done before him. Hart would cross the line a mighty five seconds up from Wallace. Other riders came and went; Bruni would miss out beating Hart by a tenth of a second, and the same fate was dealt to Gwin and Loris; all looked fast but they just didn’t seem to be able to piece it together all the way down like Hart had done.

Last riders on track were Minnaar and Brosnan. With Minnaar up first and wearing the leader’s white jersey, he looked his usual supreme self; gliding down the track and slowly gaining on Hart’s time, until the mid-splits where he was up. Minnaar would cross the line two seconds up from Hart. Punching the air, Minnaar knew he had put in a great time. All eyes then looked towards Brosnan who was the last man down the track.

Having been first in qualifying but failing to deliver in finals, what would it take for the Australian to break the cycle? He took to the Vallnord track and started to eat into Minnaar’s time as he pinballed his way down the top section of the track. In the bottom of the track, Brosnan seemed to be losing time to the South African; could he still push through to the finish line? He crossed the line and looked at the screen but the roar of the crowd told the story; Brosnan was fastest by 0.22 seconds. Brosnan would take his second ever DH World Cup win in Elites, and the first ever win for the new Canyon Factory Racing team.

Credit: Red Bull

Troy Brosnan had been in this position before last year in Andorra only for the rain to ruini his chances. It almost looked liked a repeat might be on the cards but at the end of the day the fastest man on the hill one.
Toe to toe racing the whole way down but ultimately Troy Brosnan edged it by a whole two tenths...





Previous Winners

ELITE MEN
2017 // Troy BROSNAN // AUS
2016 // Danny HART // GBR
2015 // Loic BRUNI // FRA*
2013 // Remi THIRION // FRA
2009 // Steve PEAT // GBR
2008 // Gee ATHERTON // GBR
ELITE WOMEN
2017 // Myriam NICOLE // FRA
2016 // Rachel ATHERTON // GBR
2015 // Rachel ATHERTON // GBR*
2013 // Rachel ATHERTON // GBR
2009 // Sabrina JONNIER // FRA
2008 // Rachel ATHERTON // GBR

Note: * denotes World Championship race.





The Weather Forecast

The early morning clouds lifting off the valley s contours.
Thursday 12 July - Practice
Some sunshine, a few showers and a thunderstorm. // 21°C // 59% precipitation // wind 9km/h // 13m/h gusts

Friday 13 July - Qualifying
On the whole it’ll be sunny. // 25°C // 12% precipitation // wind 11km/h // 17km/h gusts

Saturday 14 July - Finals
All the sun. Nice and pleasant // 23°C // 1% precipitation // wind 9km/h // 17km/h gusts

Weather forecast as of Monday 09 July. Live updates from Accuweather.





Watching It In Person

Vallnord

Just turn up. Yes that’s right, it’s free to watch. If however you want to get the gondola up to save on walking up the mountain and back down again, tickets for the gondola are available to buy at the ticket office at the resort. There’s a special rate on for the weekend, with tickets starting at €6 for a one-day pass, €12 for a four-day pass, or €20 for a seven-day pass.




Must Know, Must See, Must Do

Vallnord is the overarching brand name of what constitutes two big ski resorts in the Principality of Andorra; Vallnord Pal Arinsal and Vallnord Ordino Arcalís. La Massana is the main town that serves the Vallnord Pal Arinsal resort and is one of the most well known Andorran locations for outdoor sports in both the summer and the winter.

Andorra itself holds its own uniqueness. Used as a seasonal hunting ground by us humans as far back as 9,500 BC, only beginning to settle a few thousand years later around 6600 BC. The Romans came and went, then the Visigoths, who brought with them Christianity. Their rule lasted for 200 or so years until the Moors turned up and invaded the region of the Iberian Peninsula. Due to its remoteness, the Andorrans remained unconquered and in return, it is fabled that Emperor Charlemagne granted Andorra a small army to continue to preserve its independence.

It wasn’t long until Charlemagne died and his legacy spread across Europe, with the Frankish Empire dominating what we now know as France and Germany, and the region around Andorra. Under the Empire, Andorra was bestowed to the Count of Urgell where it lasted throughout the Medieval Age. It wasn’t until 1601 with the various royal families of Europe flexing their muscles was Andorra handed to what turned out to be King Henry IV of France. Henry IV would proclaim Andorra a co-principality between the French Chief-of-State and the Spanish Bishop of Urgell.

Things didn’t really change that much in Andorra from then up until the early 18th century when a series of reforms from Napoleon meant that Andorra would see a conflict between those who wanted to keep the status quo of medieval-like laws and administration, to one more in keeping with a modern democracy.

Andorra however was generally left to its own devices, although when World War I broke out it proclaimed war against Imperial Germany (although didn’t stand up an army to do any fighting), and pre-World War II up until 1940, part of the French army was garrisoned in the principality to secure it and France from the bloody goings-on of the Spanish Civil War and Franco’s Spain. Andorra was never attacked but it did become a smuggling route between Franco’s Spain and Vichy France.

In modern times, Andorra has benefited from being more open, and with better transport has seen its economy flourish thanks to its tourism-centric economy, especially with residents living tax free.

No such thing as a bad view high above La Massana.
Some upmarket Andorran real estate with a fine view of the DH action.

If you’re staying in Vallnord Pal Arinsal then there’s lots to do apart from exploring the Vallnord Bike Park. There’s go-karting, ziplining, quad-biking, horseback riding, via ferratas and of course hiking and climbing, enabling you to enjoy the epic scenery this unique part of the world has to offer.

Not content with enjoying the mountain lifestyle, there are plenty of landmarks and historic buildings to visit. You can see the replica statue of Andorra’s patron saint ‘Our Lady of Meritxell’. The original 12th century Roman Catholic statue dedicated to the Virgin Mary was sadly destroyed in a fire in 1972 but lovely recreated. There are also lots of really old buildings still in good shape to see, including the 9th century church of Santa Coloma d'Andorra, located outside of Andorra la Vella.






Aston’s Predictions

“With Gwin out until MSA after re-injuring his thumb, and Minnaar still out with a broken arm, betting against Pierron and his recent charge would be foolish; his only enemy at this point is his psychology, and that looks to be in good form. Second and third are wide open Andorra's topography is similar to Val di Sole and there are a bunch of steep specialists that can pull one out the bag – I think last years winner Brosnan will be close, and last weeks 2nd place, Greenland, will take 3rd.

Tahnée's VDS run was a true victory – the first time she has beaten Rachel in what looked to be a completely fair and square race – no mechanicals, weather, crashes or nagging injuries, Tahnée can carry this form to Andorra and stamp her second real mark. Now Rachel knows that she is beatable,

Paul Aston
Pinkbike's World Cup Predictionator
she will be digging deeper to her limits, but I think we will see another second place. Nicole will surely be out after her back injury, and will be gutted to miss the Commencal home race, leaving third spot open to Hannah. The unknown Hrastnik, though, did put down an incredible run last week, proving that qualifying first was no fluke – hopefully, she can surprise us again."


ELITE MEN
1 // PIERRON, Amaury
2 // BROSNAN, Troy
3 // GREENLAND, Laurie
ELITE WOMEN
1 // SEAGRAVE, Tahnee
2 // ATHERTON, Rachel
3 // HANNAH, Tracey





#vallnordworldcup







The Schedule

Tuesday 10 July
• 15:00-16:00 Downhill Course Walk by Broadcaster

Wednesday 11 July
• 08:30-11:00 // Downhill Course Inspection by UCI
• 11:00-12:00 // Downhill On Board Course Preview
• 13:00-14:00 // On Foot Downhill Course Inspection - Elite Teams
• 14:00-16:00 // On Foot Downhill Course Inspection - All Riders

Thursday 12 July
• 08:00-11:30 // Official Downhill Training - Group B
• 11:45-15:15 // Official Downhill Training - Group A
• 15:30-17:00 // Downhill Timed Training Session
• 17:00-17:45 // On Foot Downhill Course Inspection - Riders and Teams

Friday 13 July
• 08:00-09:45 // Official Downhill Training - Group B
• 10:00-11:45 // Official Downhill Training - Group A
• 12:15 // Seeding Run - Junior Women
• 12:30 // Qualifying Round - Junior Men
• 13:30 // Qualifying Round - Elite Women
• 14:00 // Qualifying Round - Elite Men
• Followed by // 30 minutes On Foot Downhill Course Inspection - Riders and Teams

Saturday 14 July
• 08:00-09:00 // Official Downhill Training - Junior Women, Junior Men, Elite Women
• 09:45 // Final - Junior Women
• 10:15 // Final - Junior Men
• 11:00-12:00 // Official Downhill Training - Elite Men
• 12:30 // Final - Elite Women
• 13:30 // Final - Elite Men

Note: All times are local and subject to change by the UCI/event organiser.





The Coverage

Live on air it s Wyn TV....

Racing across Europe the world’s mountain bike media - including our very own crew - will soon be arriving in Vallnord (unless they’ve beaten this article to it), and ready to provide you with photos epics, tech sneak-peeks, and results as they come in. We’ll also have WynTV and last but not least, Inside The Tape from Ben Cathro.

For the Elite Women and Elite Men finals, you can watch the action on Red Bull TV on Saturday 14 July at 12:30 CEST (Elite Women coverage) and 14:00 CEST (Elite Men coverage).

Here’s a breakdown of what these times mean in these main locations (w = Elite Women’s coverage, m = Elite Men’s coverage):

• 03:30 (w) // 05:00 (m) // Saturday // Vancouver, Canada (PDT)
• 06:30 (w) // 08:00 (m) // Saturday // Washington DC, USA (EDT)
• 11:30 (w) // 13:00 (m) // Saturday // London, UK (BST)
• 20:30 (w) // 22:00 (m) // Saturday // Sydney, Australia (AEST)
• 22:30 (w) // 00:00 (m) // Sunday // Auckland, New Zealand (NZST)

Note: These times are subject to change. Please check with your local provider.





Click here to enter Pinkbike's Fantasy Downhill presented by Trek.

Pinkbike s DH Fantasy League Fantasy Downhill Presented by trekbikes



MENTIONS: @Fahhhmed / @paulaston / @davetrumpore / @natedh9 / @rossbellphoto / @tahneeseagrave / @AaronGwin1



66 Comments

  • + 15
 Did you guys see Cédric Gracia's trackwalk?
www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7yQtlAPaXQ

It's very insightful.
Lots of good tips to pick up for the rest of us, very much non pro riders
  • + 1
 super insightful perspective by Cedric!
  • + 16
 Roy Brosnan for the win!
  • + 13
 Who's Roy Brosnan ? Wink
  • + 4
 Where is Roy Brosnan?
Why is Roy Brosnan?
  • + 2
 Nice catch, edited!
  • + 4
 Siegfried und Roy?!
  • + 8
 Troy Brosnan’s mustachioed, swanky, smoking jacket wearing, kitty petting, bourbon drinking alter ego.

I thought everyone knew?
  • + 2
 Its how frechie pronounce Troy .. Roy Brosnan
  • + 9
 Father of Boy Trosnan
  • + 8
 @ButtersNZ: Brother of Pierce Brosnan
  • + 0
 "Make no concession to the elements" R.I.P. Joe Smith
  • + 2
 @HansvonStoffeln: nah that'd be Peace Brosnan.
  • + 3
 I feel Seagrave for the win is a bold prediction. Rachel will be on a mission after the thin loss a Val di Sol. Either way, glad to see women have stepped up to the challenge and the racing is interesting on their side.
  • + 2
 Don`t fall Amaury, stay on your bike and smash the score!!!!... and wishing a good recovery to Pompom. So bad that she cannot race in Vallnord. It would have been great to see those 2 frenchies on Commençal rockets winning there... Allez allez!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-)
  • + 2
 Awesome to see some coverage on Andorra itself - not just the track/event. If anyone's visiting and you're looking for some riding outside of the park, check out Beixalis, the trail starts here: goo.gl/maps/k2t3C3LgtWU2

For what it's worth, those of us who live in Andorra do pay taxes, but they aren't very high. Smile andorraguides.com/tax/system
  • + 1
 I finally couldn't resist the fun and joined the fantasy DH contest. I don't do fantasy sports so this is new but I'm hoping to win some swag. I got my man Luca Shaw on the roster. He is a rider that can never be counted out and he's looking for the world cup win. The season is really great. I love that all the new, young riders are shaking things up. These kids are beyond fast and they have that FIRE that makes them so exciting to watch.
  • + 6
 Who's this Roy geezer?
  • + 3
 Good catch Wink Edited.
  • + 3
 @sarahmoore: also it's Veronika Widmann not Veronica Wildmann
  • + 5
 @juicebanger: We're on a roll with this one. Thank you - edited!
  • + 7
 @sarahmoore: your essential guide is awesome.
Thank you
  • + 3
 A hat trick of back - to - backs would be 6 wins. Wouldn't it? Gwin should have rested last race too instead of pushing himself IMHO.
  • + 2
 Well he crashed in practice and that did him in again :/
  • + 1
 @mtbmaniatv: I'm aware of that. Hence why I said what I said Big Grin
  • + 2
 I can't wait to watch this one. World old guys is on a few days later and heading over early. I wonder if the rest of the park is open during the weekend for mortals to ride.
  • + 1
 The Women's coverage was amazing in Val di Sole. It's great to see more women stepping up the competition and so awesome to see more shots of the top 10 women coming down the track! Keep it up Red Bull!
  • + 3
 Edited to cover up my own stupidity.
  • + 8
 I wish I could do this in regular conversation sometimes.
  • + 2
 @Linkpin: I’m just grateful I don’t Pinkbike comment in real life.
  • + 3
 Cathro's videos are the new highlights of the weekend.
  • + 3
 Where's the best pint in Vallnord? This is the important question.
  • + 1
 Price of a pint in Andorra is the most important question.

It's less than 2£ ;-)
  • + 3
 I'd be happy to personally undertake the research for you if Pinkbike were to fly me out there Smile
  • + 6
 @Fahhhmed: it's my home!
If you come by one day, I would gladly show you around.

PS : WC party is at Commencal Spot, right across the finish line.
  • + 1
 @Spadluv: I was thinking about going to Andorra to see the race but it turned out that it's quite complicated to get there, with transfers from distant airports and stuff...
  • + 2
 @Slabrung: Yes, if you're relying in public transport, this one isn't the easiest to attend. In terms of ones in Europe, I'm thinking Lenzerheide would be the best. You have to love the Swiss and their transport system!
  • + 2
 It always feels strange to be watching the finals on a Saturday to me. I wonder what the reasoning behind it is?
  • + 5
 XCO takes place on Sunday
  • + 0
 @Spadluv: Yes, but if my memory serves me correctly it used to be the other way round (going back maybe 4 or 5 years) when both formats were racing, DH always used to be on Sundays
  • + 2
 SAME! I work saturdays and Sundays were made for racing. Now I have to go hide at work and bring up the Red Bull app on my phone and try to watch it without being interrupted. I managed to watch the final 5 racers last Saturday without being bothered.
  • + 1
 @metaam: I guess Cross Country brings more people.
Otherwise, I can't see why they would move it.
  • + 2
 @DaveJube: Well, it was the right bunch to watch
  • + 2
 It’s awesome if you live in the Southern Hemisphere! Means you can watch it on a Sunday here instead of a Monday. Long live the Saturday racing!! Also means everyone actually at the race can get hammered and not have to work the next day ????
  • + 1
 Isn't it because DH only takes place on 1 day, but XC finals take place on 2 days? On saturday there are U23s and on sunday the elite category.
  • + 1
 XC is now 2 events, with the short course happening first. Recovery day in the middle - so we get 3 televised events over 3 days.
  • + 1
 It's so the downhill blokes can party and that's how they make money there!
  • + 2
 I REALLY REALLY hope Pompon is well enough to race! also hope she comes back and wins!!!
  • + 2
 She is the queen of Vallnord.
  • + 1
 @Spadluv: YA BUDDY!!!!!!!
  • + 2
 She said on her instagram that she won't race.
  • + 1
 @vid1998: NNNNNOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! but thank you for the update!
  • + 2
 Glad to see brook move to 9th from 9th
  • + 1
 excellent race guide!...and cedric's take on the lines and terrain was awesome.
  • + 1
 I'm still picking gwin, he called me and said its a bluff. Please don't pick him so I get more points
  • + 2
 That Veronika Wildmann, she's wild, man. Razz
  • + 2
 What a great article. I'm pumped for this weekend!
  • + 1
 Favorite race of the Year. So stoked.
  • + 0
 Are course previews a thing of the past? That was most people's official 'start to pay attention' for the upcoming race
  • - 1
 uci is corrupt, could totally be covering up pierrons positive doping test to get glory for france. id like to think its not true, but uci has a history of this.
  • + 4
 Donald is it you?
  • + 5
 Nailed it. The UCI actually hired Cobra Commander to break Gwin's thumb to help Pierron.
  • + 1
 @t1000: heck. i thought this alias wouldn't be found out, but im a closeted mtb fan, and fan of paranoid fake news lol
  • + 2
 UCI need to hire Jeff Novitsky.
  • - 1
 STEVE PEAT!

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