If one hundred riders are on the Lourdes track during practice, of those one hundred, how many have their wheels touching the ground beneath them at any given moment? The rough answer, we suspect, is 'not many', because up on that mountain crazy things are happening and happening non-stop. Gaps are being pioneered, turns are being hucked, drops doubled, rocks hopped and unmistakably, bodies and bikes are getting well and truly blown up. Welcome to the hallowed Lourdes World Cup for one last day on the most ferocious brand of downhill track to bare it's ugly teeth in many seasons. Join us on the great crusade to find the holy grail... the perfect line.




Crisp morning air and the first World Cup race day of the season. That s a lot to smile about.
Crisp morning air, and the first World Cup race day of the season. That's a lot to smile about.

Mick Hannah focused on the job ahead. It just wasn t Mick s day here in Lourdes.
Mick Hannah focused on the job ahead, but it just wasn't to be Mick's day here in Lourdes.

Rachel Atherton knew what she needed to win today. In the end Emmeline Ragot would best her by 2.06 seconds.
Rachel Atherton knew what she needed to win today. In the end, Emmeline Ragot would best her by 2.06 seconds.
Cool calm and collected fastest qualifier Tracey Hannah started the day in the right mindset and full of confidence.
Cool calm and collected, fastest qualifier Tracey Hannah started the day in the right mindset and full of confidence.

Rat Boy was on a charge today but couldn t match the pace of his qualifying run.
Ratboy on the morning rampage into the gully with carnage gap.

Okay everyone this morning we re going to team up with a friend and pick something horrible to jump over with very severe consequences.
Okay everyone, this morning we're going to team up with a friend and pick something new and horrible to jump over with very severe consequences.
Josh and Brendan dance the downhill dance of life.
Josh and Brendan dance the downhill dance of life, looking for a few extra seconds in the rocks.

Josh described his first rides back as agony and has felt significant pain from his metal foot this week. But like a true soldier he sent all the biggest lines anyway and came home in 7th. Ratboy or Ratboss
Josh described his first rides back as agony and has felt significant pain from his metal foot this week. But, like a true soldier, he sent all the biggest lines anyway and came home in 7th. Ratboy or Ratboss?

Fancy yourself as a committed rider When was the last time you clipped in...with your hands Minnaar straps his broken body to the handlebar and prepares to dive into the gully.
Fancy yourself as a committed rider? When was the last time you clipped in...with your hands? Minnaar straps his broken body to the handlebar and prepares to dive into the gully.
Where there s a corner there also a huck. That s lourdes. Dirt s Jacob Dickson boosts a mossy one into the turn
Where there's a corner, there's also a huck. That's Lourdes. Dirt's Jacob Dickson boosts a mossy one into the turn.

Lourdes may have been a hit for the young-guns but Jack Iles first year in elite began with a snapped crank. This is a track that doesn t play fair.
Lourdes may have been a hit for the young-guns, but Jack Iles' first year in elite began with a snapped crank. This is a track that doesn't play fair.

A picture of what could have been from morning practice. The threat from Neko is real.
A picture of what could have been from morning practice. The threat from Neko is real.

Allez Allez Allez
Allez! Allez! Allez!
Protect yourself before you wreck yourself... Lourdes is dangerous both sides of the tape.
Protect yourself before you wreck yourself... Lourdes is dangerous both sides of the tape.

How loud were the crowds today Photogrpher Matt Delorme resorted to using the native moss track side for earplugs as the air horns and cowbells screamed and chimed just a meter away.
How loud were the crowds today? Matt Delorme resorted to using the native moss track-side for earplugs as the air horns and cowbells screamed and chimed just a meter away.

Sometimes it takes a moment to tell Myriam and Remi apart... Third place and just 2 seconds back shows she is right back in the mix after an injury riddled 2014.
It's getting difficult to tell Nicole and Thirion apart... Third place and just 2 seconds down shows Myriam is right back in the mix after an injury riddled 2014.

Fans showed their love for Pom Pon. It was a good day for France with two women and one man in the top three.
Fans showed their love for Pom Pon. It was a good day for France with two women and one man in the top three.
Commencal Boss man Max Commencal congratulates Myriam Nicole on a job well done.
Commencal Boss man Max Commencal congratulates Myriam Nicole on a job well done.

Tahnee would have liked better than 7th but sometimes in this business you have to be glad just to get out alive...
Tahnee would have liked better than 7th, but sometimes in this business, you have to be glad just to get out alive...

Tracey Hannah s qualifying time was 3 29.78. In finals she was pushing and hungry for the win but crashed hard in her race run and separated her shoulder. She still managed the 3rd fastest split in the bottom section - expect to see her ready for Ft. William. To put things in perspective Ragot s winning time was 3 32.62.
Tracey Hannah's qualifying time was 3:29.78. In finals, she was pushing and hungry for the win, but crashed hard in her race run and separated her shoulder. She still managed the 3rd fastest split in the bottom section - expect to see her ready for Ft. William. To put things in perspective, Ragot's winning time was 3:32.62.

Pinned all weekend and everyone s pick to win Tracey Hannah hit the floor hard on the last technical section of the track. Pushing to the very end she still managed to salvage a 5th place and a spot on the podium.
Pinned all weekend and everyone's pick to win, Tracey Hannah hit the floor hard on the last technical section of the track. Pushing to the very end she still managed to salvage a 5th place and a spot on the podium.

Rachel Atherton hucking the man line in the gully. Rachel finished second today.
Rachel Atherton, hucking the man line in the gully. Rachel finished second today.
Try as she did Manon Carpenter just didn t find the speed to take the win today. She finished fourth almost eight seconds off Ragot.
Try as she did, Manon Carpenter just didn't find the speed to take the win today. She finished fourth, almost eight seconds off Ragot.

Emmeline Ragot never really looked comfortable in practice but she is one of those racers who always lifts her game on race runs. SHe wason the limit the whole time and it paid off today in a big way.
Emmeline Ragot never really looked too comfortable in practice, but she is one of those racers who always lifts her game on race runs. She was on the limit the whole time and it paid off today in a big way.

The 2015 leading ladies Ragot Atherton Nicole Carpenter and Hannah.
The 2015 leading ladies: Ragot, Atherton, Nicole, Carpenter and Hannah.

Emmeline starts the party proceedings here in Lourdes seeing off her bottle of high quality champers on the top step
Emmeline starts the party proceedings here in Lourdes, seeing off her bottle of high quality champers on the top step

bigquotesOn the qualy I was not full on and was a bit steady, I didn't want to mess it up. I was mad at myself after that because I have been braking too much, but at the same time I was thinking 'the race is tomorrow so I will see'. But at the same time if you do it you are a bit scared because if you mess up people think you are not in good form... I started with two big mistakes and I had to do something and then I opened it up a bit and did what I could! to win in France is amazing with my familly here too. It's also amazing for the people at the club of Lourdes. They have been working so hard this weekend to organize the race. I know them from when I was younger and I came here to ride - Emmeline Ragot - MS Mondraker DH

Not something you would see in every sport. Today s winner Emmeline Ragot who holds a physical therapy degree taping up her rival Tracey Hannah s separated shoulder just after the podium presentation.
Not something you would see in every sport. Today's winner, who holds a physical therapy degree, taping up her rival Tracey Hannah's separated shoulder just after the podium presentation.

Laurie Greenland attacks the top section of the track en route to 2nd place in the Jr. Men s race
Laurie Greenland attacks the top section of the track en route to 2nd place in the Jr. Men's race

Laurie Greenland took second in the junior men. While he qualified first by a substantial gap a race run mistake cost him a win by three tenths of a second.
While he qualified first by a substantial gap, a race run mistake cost him a win by three tenths of a second.

Andrew Crimmins took the win for the junior men today besting Greenland by 2.937
Andrew Crimmins took the win for the junior men today, besting Greenland by 2.937.
Today s Jr Men s winner and now leader of the 2015 World Cup Series
Today's Jr Men's winner and now leader of the 2015 World Cup Series

Guillaume Cauvin gets things started for the top 20 men as he drops into a capacity finish line crowd in Lourdes.
Guillaume Cauvin gets things started for the top 20 men as he drops into a capacity finish line crowd in Lourdes.

Luca Shaw took eleventh place today. His first year as an elite rider and a solid result at the opening round.
Luca Shaw took eleventh place today. His first year as an elite rider and a superb result at the opening round.
Introducing your new hero Rudy Cabirou. 20 years old Group B plate 127 hucking the lot and destroying the big names to come in 10th. On a track this burly.
Introducing your new hero, Rudy Cabirou. 20 years old, Group B, plate 127, hucking the lot and destroying the big names to come in 10th. It was a fine day for team France with Faustin Figaret also hitting the giddy heights of 9th.

The Bulldog making the carnage gap look easy. Brook finished twelfth today.
The Bulldog, making the carnage gap look way too easy and finishing a solid twelfth place today.

First year Junior Remy Morton had a massive crash today in practice.... Let the neck brace debate rage on in the comments below.
First year Junior, Remy Morton had a massive crash today in practice.... Let the neck brace debate rage on in the comments below.
Greg Williamson took the gnarliest crash of the weekend blowing the final corner and rolling from the bridge to the road a few meters below. Shaken but not broken he would make his way to the bottom under his own power.
Greg Williamson took the gnarliest crash of the weekend, blowing the final corner and rolling from the bridge to the road a few meters below. Shaken but not broken, he would make his way to the bottom under his own power.

Wyn Masters pushing over the finish line.
Wyn Masters, pushing over the finish line.

2nd place qualifier Remi Thirion was cheered on by the massive French crowd the whole way down the track but some mistakes in the middle of the track would push his just off the pace and off the podium today.
2nd place qualifier Remi Thirion was cheered on by the massive French crowd the whole way down the track but some mistakes in the middle of the track would push him just off the pace to 4th at the splits and off the podium today.

X-Ray confirmed a broken wrist for Gee Atherton but he toughed it out and made a go in the finals anyway.
X-Ray confirmed a broken wrist for Gee Atherton but he toughed it out and made a go in the finals anyway.
Gee Atherton broke his hand yesterday and managed to pull off a quick run with his hand strapped to the handle bar. Tough as nails.
A top 50 run with a broken bone is bordering on the insane.

We haven t seen Fairclough in the top ten since Champery 2011. Today he wasn t just sneaking in the back door but claiming 6th and on the same second as Jones in 3rd. Very exciting times.
We have seen Fairclough in the top ten only once (Mnt St Anne 2014) since Champery 2011. Today he wasn't just sneaking in the back door, but claiming 6th and on the same second as Jones in 3rd. Very exciting times.

Sam Dale took many by surprise today to nail down a podium spot.
Sam Dale looked in fine form on track, but still took many by surprise today to nail down a podium spot.
Sam Dale took his first podium here in Lourdes finishing fifth.
Dale firing his Saracen off the metal bridge sender to the lazer beams.


Mike Jones finally made the podium appearance we have all been waiting for. A winter training with Sam Hill has certainly paid off and he was full of sneaky lines like this one in more than a few spots.
Mike Jones finally made the podium appearance we have all been waiting for. A winter training with Sam Hill has certainly paid off and he was full of sneaky lines like this one in more than a few spots.

Mike Jones first year as an elite racer first race first podium. He is clearly one to watch this year.
Jones sweeps under the arch at the first race, for his first podium. He is clearly one to watch this year.

This track clearly suited Danny Hart s riding style. Danny rode to a solid fourth place. It s been a while since we ve seen Danny on the podium and it s good to see him back.
This track clearly suited Danny Hart's riding style riding to a solid fourth place. It's great to see him settling in to his new team with the same top results.
Well off the pace in qualifying Danny Hart dug deep and found more than a few seconds today to put his Mondraker on the podium to kick of 2015
A flat in qualies and a flat in morning practice meant Danny Hart didn't have much time on this track compared to most. He dug deep to put his Mondraker on the podium to kick of 2015.

Gwinn has pushing the pace all weekend and taking all kinds of creative inside lines. After crashed from holding too much pace yesterday he found the fine line when it counted and threw down an unstoppable run to take the win in Lourdes.
Gwin was pushing the pace all weekend and taking all kinds of creative inside lines. After crashes from holding too much pace yesterday he found the fine line when it counted and threw down an unstoppable run to take the win in Lourdes by almost 4 seconds.

Loic Bruni gave Gwinn a hard fight today and his 2nd place secured him the overall lead for the World Cup after round one. Unfortunately the UCI screwed up the math on the podium and originally awarded Gwinn the leaders jersey on live TV and in front of all the media.
Loic Bruni gave Gwin a hard fight today and his 2nd place secured him the overall lead for the World Cup after round one. Unfortunately the UCI screwed up the math on the podium and originally awarded Gwin the leaders jersey on live TV and in front of all the media.

One small step for Loic one giant leap for French-kind.
One small step for Loic, one giant leap for French-kind.

Bruni congratulates Gwin on one unbelievable ride in front of the packed grandstand of downhill fans.
Bruni congratulates Gwin on one unbelievable ride in front of the packed grandstand of downhill fans.

Aaron Gwin Loic Bruni and Mike Jones. Things surely got shaken up here in Lourdes. It s going to be an exciting season.
Aaron Gwin, Loic Bruni, and Mike Jones. Things surely got shaken up here in Lourdes. It's going to be an exciting season.

QUOTE

bigquotesI'm happy for sure, it's only the first race and it's a good to start with a solid result like this. I am calming down for the rest and trying to stay consistent to have qualies and finals like this, it's the best I can do, All I could hear was the fans on the way down it was amazing - Loic Bruni - Lapierre Gravity Republic

The 2015 leaders of the pack Gwin Bruni Jones Hart and Dale.
The 2015 leaders of the pack: Gwin, Bruni, Jones, Hart and Dale.

The crowds today were immense to say the least.
The crowds today were immense to say the least.
It s not Holy Water but I m sure Champagne will work just fine.
It may not be Holy Water, but we're sure Champagne will work just fine.

QUOTE

bigquotesI felt good all the way from Friday... even trackwalk on Thursday I kind of had all my lines in my head and then made them all happen in my first run and was getting up to speed and maintaining it, trying not to blow up like in qualifying. It's an awesome track man, fans are cool, everything was great, I felt really good so it was just a fun weekend. We put a lot of work in the off-season, but I haven't changed my routine at the races, I'm just feeling comfortable - definitely feel more so than I have in a long time, with the bike and everything going on. Everyone at Specialized has put in a lot of work in the off-season and I am really thankful for all these hours and I think it starts to show. I'm really excited to keep it going now - Aaron Gwin - Specialized Racing DH

That s round one in the history books. Thanks Lourdes for the awesome track and the incredible memories.
That's round one in the history books. Thanks, Lourdes, for the awesome track and the incredible memories.
It s not over till Boris burns down the media center.
It's not over till Boris burns down the media center.

After Hart s flat and Pekoll s broken ribs yesterday things started to perk up this afternoon for the MS Mondraker crew awarded best team with only two riders with Ragot s win and Harts 4th place podium.
After Hart's flat and Pekoll's broken ribs yesterday, things started to perk up this afternoon for the MS Mondraker crew, awarded best team with only two riders with Ragot's win and Harts 4th place podium.

Farewell Lourdes the bike-eating track out of hell.
Farewell Lourdes, the bike-eating track out of hell.




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151 Comments

  • + 149
 Talking seriously, kudos to the TV production guys. The cameras did a great job catching most of the track's technical sections. So bad they didnt realise Gwin had an early start. I really enjoyed the view from the top of the gully where the camera was pretty much gliding over the riders. Quite impressive.
  • + 17
 Shame they didn't have any cameras on "the wall" and only barely caught the "to huck or not to huck" corner. Personally thought those would be two of the most exciting areas of the track. Still a good effort tho.
  • + 7
 Didn't know if you knew but Redbull posted his run on their facebook wall, thought I'd share if anyone didn't see it

www.facebook.com/RedBullBike?fref=nf
  • + 2
 moving comment to post below
  • + 1
 i agree, i thought the coverage was sweet, cheers!
  • + 1
 Anyone know did Gwin win on the new Air Can Shock or Spring Shock?
  • + 3
 air shock! @Kre1985
  • + 2
 true, live stream was one of the best. BY FAR the worst last season was Cairns,btw, where they actually capured amazing footage on top but mostly showed the last 50s of pedalling...Especially of the riders outside the top10.
  • + 3
 live stream was so good that we only missed a couple parts. like the wall.
  • + 1
 I think those videos that came up after the practice and quali covered the track way better than redbull did
  • + 104
 Emmeline Ragot and tracey hannah's photo says a lot.......both true champions on and off the bike
  • + 36
 Such an amazing photo of two great ladies. That pic sums up why the bike community is so rad.
  • + 9
 Agreed. I saw it and thought "THIS is downhill!". One of the few sports riders get to connect the way they do. It's good to know there are some REAL, TOP QUALITY Athletes out there. Kudos to both women for their efforts on and off the bike.
  • + 3
 Indeed. Sportsmanship in the DH community is something that stands out and Emmeline and Tracey are a leaving proof of it.

P.S. Maybe the secret to good sportsmanship is a pan of asparagus ?
  • + 2
 I believe the key is the iron skillet. Of course now all I want is roasted Asparagus (Organic, of course). The real trick is when to add the truffle salt (3 or 5 minutes before serving? )

On a more serious note proper diet is of tremendous importance. Especially at this level. I don't blame these ladies for opting to chow on some quality eats. Perfect post race/workout grub in my book.
  • + 63
 Great write up and amazing pics as always, thanks Pinkbike! Just to note though, Fairclough did make the top ten with a 7th at Mont Sainte Anne in 2013. If there was a podium for radness however he'd be on it every time, which is equally important in my book...
  • + 28
 Very good @Tuckshop, just a test... Wink
  • + 4
 Yeah, great write up. Related the feelings and craziness of the event quite well.
  • + 33
 I'm really happy to see Fairclough finish 6th.
  • + 9
 Ratboy no longer on Monster?
  • + 75
 I believe the truth is Josh left Monster as he just didn't want to endorse a product he did not use. Classy if you ask me.
  • + 17
 @davetrump what's classy are your banger photos. Amazing shots!
  • + 9
 Jack Daniel's and Marlboro sponsorship TBA shortly... I'm happy for Brendog getting back to the sharp end. Gwin was on fire. He would have won even if he was last man down, riding that totally rooted track that was getting looser and looser. Sure, the top ten had to ride a much harder track but Gwin was on fire. No one will beat him this year I don't reckon, He's going to win every round of the world cup. Hill will win the world championships. 2011 will no longer be remembered as the most boring season in history... 2015 will assume that title.
  • + 10
 @jaame same track for everyone. Gwinn Ran with top 25 and tracks don't change that quick if the weather isn't an issue.
  • + 3
 captions on this write up were too much! mike jones's first race as elite, places 3rd. what do you mean finally on the podium? and Danny Hart was on the podium last year. Bredog's seen podiums since 2011? wtf guys!
  • + 8
 also Remi Thirion got a flat, I guess you could say he made a mistake but the flat was what pushed him off the podium
  • + 0
 @jaame @davetrump im guessing somewhere on the wall section, before or after there was a big course change. like a blow out corner or gap developed a huge bombhole in the landing. all possible with the amount of dust and bombholes. I agree 100% with you. coming from a dude who races sometimes.
  • + 3
 @makripper Maybe check your info instead of just re-hashing what Warner and Claudio said (they were also wrong). This is Mike Jones 2nd year in Elite, though I agree an amazing result for him. www.rootsandrain.com/rider8388/mike-jones-elt/results
  • + 0
 yea your right @DirtyDee i vaguely remember something about him racing in SA and even tho injured wanted to race because it was his first year as elite or somthing. my bad. memory isn't perfect all the time ahha he wasn't too memorable last season me thinks
  • + 1
 I'd say 6th last year at Windham, just off the box and just ahead of Sam Hill would have been memorable for him! Only Troy and Loic have got close to that first year Elite and look at them now...Mike Jones is now another wildcard contender in the mix. This season is going to be a belter!
  • + 1
 redbull have shown quite a bit of josh over the winter, i wouldn't be surprised if they did a deal with him.
  • + 50
 Gwinners deserved every bit of that win. The track was mental and he braaaped liked no one else in field. He was visably more dedicated in every practice, only Bruni came close. From top to bottom there was no letting off. Reckon the results shook down pretty well, shame about all the injures though, plenty of time to heal up for Fort Billers though!
  • + 28
 Gwin was brutal on the bike. Watching the replay of him punching through the rock garden as the top, it was clear he had no regard for his own safety. It looked like he may as well have ran a hardtail. Well deserved win.
  • + 9
 well gwin put down insane run, but it might be different if rest of the big guns wouldn't have been injured (gees wrist, minnars fingers, ratmans foot and well, this track looks like sam hills type), but overall, great racing and would love to see more tracks like this in callendar.
  • + 2
 agreed. Seeing more of the big names race would have been a bit of a different outcome ( I'd assume). Still, Great opener for the 2015 season.
  • + 8
 Gwin didn't do anything, Christ gave it to him. So Jesus I'm warning you, if you make this season as boring as 2011 I'll have to burn a few churches !
  • + 8
 She can tape me up or down any day of the week.
  • + 25
 I see Sam Hill's shadow inside Mike Jones. Good to see he's catching up.
  • + 28
 @iamluke it might also have been different if the rain showed up. It might have been different if gwin was sick, if it was in Cairns, if ... etc
Gwin won, because yesterday he was the best. That's all.
Taking care to stay un-injured is a part of the game.
  • + 9
 @OzMike sam hill is about the only person i could see ahead of gwin here, maybe rat at %100, that run was crazy fast(pure armchair shit talk of course)
  • + 1
 When did Gwin start as a dqued rider? Was he the first? I think that's a pretty good advantage considering the track deteriorates significantly with 70 guys going down afterwards. But that 4 seconds win is clearly Gwins best. I just hope the other guys get healthy for the next race and they give him a run for the money.
  • + 2
 @tabletop84 see what davetrump said few comment Under.
Gwin started in the top 25
  • + 16
 Lots of ifs ands or buts. Gwin stayed on 2 wheels. Gwin blistered some of the biggest names in the sport away. He made them look like they just came off training wheels. I am not biased because I'm equally of fan of Stevie Smith, Sam Hill and Aaron Gwin. But I think pulling 4 full seconds on the next closes rider is a well put testament of just how fast he went, and how much he deserved the win. I seem to recall him dominating everyone healthy or not just one year ago, along with 2012.
  • + 6
 The Gwin Reaper is back!!
  • + 1
 If the track is less beat up for the first rider, why wouldn't the top riders 'accidentally' get dq'ed in qual like gwinn did? I realize its nice to know what time to beat, but if you go balls out and give it your best run on the best track conditions (like gwinn did) wouldnt that be an advantage? Maybe i am missing something though..
  • + 6
 Unless bad weather comes in (which has happened), the argument that an early run provides better course conditions is totally bogus. Between men, women, and juniors there were 241 racers signed up for the track. At a minimum, each rider does two training runs on Friday and a qualification run on Saturday for a total of roughly 750 minimum course runs. Factor in extra runs during the additional training periods allowed on saturday and you are looking at at least 1,000 runs down the course before finals even begin. So, unless a weather event hits during the middle of finals, I find it really hard to believe that the course that the last 25 runs are the proverbial straw that broke the camels back, blew the course out, and caused the last 10 riders to lose 4-10 seconds.
  • + 1
 On the other hand it's possible that tackier dirt could dry out over time (regardless of if it's being ridden or not).
  • + 1
 The protected riders in the top 20 qualify automatically and the Quali run is really just a seeding run for them and a chance to get points. If the flat, get DQ'd, etc and finish off the back they are reseeded right before the top 20 in the final. This is so the top riders all race the se track on race day regardless of weather and deteriorating conditions. Gwinn, Gee, Hart, etc who had horrid Quali runs came down together with the rest of the front runners.
  • + 0
 I'd like to point out that Gwin did not stay on two wheels, he crashed in qualifying, as did Gee. Gwin was lucky he didn't get hurt, Gee wasn't. Not to say Gwin didn't earn that victory, or that another rider would have beat him though; his race run was crazy fast.
  • + 5
 Gwinn was the fastest on track all weekend. We were calling him for the win the whole time. He crashed a bunch in practice pushing too hard, but a handful of us photograohers were in agreance if he stayed on he'd win by 3 seconds.... He stayed on and won by 4.
  • + 40
 I lost count at how many times Neethling has had a flat. We really need to stop calling him Needles, maybe that oughta fix it.
  • + 37
 Poor Tracy, I know only to well that it sucks separating a sholder. Hard as nails riding down to the finnish after the crash. Hope all is well to the next round. That sholder will hurt for a couple of weeks.
  • + 14
 you got that right. What a boss! Also Gee riding with a broken wrist, that is crazy!
  • + 3
 She looked shaky getting up from that too. Maybe it was just loose footing, but it's good to see she didn't get a concussion.
  • + 6
 It looked like she tried to push herself up and found her shoulder injury, still decided to get back on the bike and finish the run. Tough as nails.
  • + 4
 She's a total badass! Crazy that her qualifier was faster than the winning run as well
  • + 3
 I know from personal experience the pain of shoulder seperations the pain really starts once the adrenaline fades and you settle, but for her to get back on her bike and continue her run with such a competitive time speaks volumes about her toughness. chapeau!
  • + 33
 Man I love this sport.
  • + 2
 so wild!
  • + 30
 Marzocchi on a podium... it has been some time
  • + 13
 On the podium in men and women's
  • + 8
 Suntour Top ten!
  • + 6
 and overall top team, theyd have to be pretty happy with that. Hart was motoring!
  • + 3
 I REALLY want to try the new marz dh fork
  • + 4
 Hasn't been that long for Marz though. Neil Stewart had a few podiums last year and tahnee seagrave podiumed at world champs and 4 out of 7 world cups in 2014. Let's not forget about FMD! Wink
  • + 21
 Shame tracey has injured herself again , when I seen her go down I had a feeling there would be an injury from it , so sweet of ragot to patch her up to
  • + 5
 she hit her shoulder hard, was surprised she got up so fast
  • + 11
 Her crash was mental. She seems to have bad luck with injuries, but 95 per cent of the non-blessed would not get up from that eject unscathed. Heal up and come back strong for the next round! A shame so many riders were injured, but it sure is fine to have Downhill racing back for the year!
  • + 2
 at least she will be fine for the next round, she is riding so good - fort william will be epic!
  • + 14
 Mike Jones was elite all last year, still super impressive run though, you would think it was Sam coming down on the live feed other than the clips. Should be an exciting year. Too bad Gwin dominated before the cameras were rolling, a little anti-climactic. New real dh tracks are very exciting to watch. With a lot of the big guns out of the top ten, could still be a chance for some of the big names that had to skip this race due to injury.
  • + 16
 I still want to see a helmet-cam run from Gwin - the rest of the pack were not even close, amazing riding.
  • + 8
 Yea I want to see what kind of magic he was up to between split 1 and 2.
  • + 17
 Eddie Masters' tape jumping wizardry is spreading...
  • - 4
flag cridavies (Apr 13, 2015 at 1:11) (Below Threshold)
 No helmet cams allowed anymore bro.
  • + 11
 he says he took split 1 cautiously because of his crash in qualies...goodness knows what his time would have been if he had hit that as hard as the other two splits...
  • + 14
 I wonder if Kenda supplies the sharpies for Neethling to use on those schwalbe tires..?
  • + 11
 So when the tire fails on a bike that should be running your brand of tire do you :
a/ Say your tires are so bad that even when you pay these guys to ride them they won't, but that tire that punctured wasn't yours!
b/ do you shut up and let people think it was your tire that crapped out and cost a good result?

Either way just looks terrible, I just don't get why kenda can't get their act together, HUGE company loads of cash they could hire some good R&D
  • + 0
 In general, its kind of pathetic that flats are still such a common mechanical. Ever seen a flat tire in a supercross main event?
  • + 20
 Ever seen massive sharp rocks in a supercross main event?
  • + 3
 Flats do occur often in motocross...outdoor (hare scrambles, enduro, baja500/1k)
  • + 11
 GWIN smart setup
The firmer setup did help him loads to win this so hats off for the setup . Brave to run that firmer setup but smart as the bike clearly wasn't getting bogged down in holes and stomping on the pedals gives better drive . You have to be fit to run that kind of setup on that track but fairplay
[Reply]
  • + 9
 Thats his full time setup. I think he has the firmest suspension out of anybody on the WC. Coming from MX racing he has the iron grip to hold on.
  • + 14
 Amazing run by the young charger, Rudy Cabirou! This is one privateer who I'd imagine will get decent sponsorship for 2016.
  • + 12
 he should get sponsorship now, not in 2016. 10th on this track - way to be a privateer!
  • + 27
 He is sponsored (VoulVoul Racing), for sure we are a small team with probably one of the smallest budget but definitely here Wink
I simply prefer to spend money on proper appartements, food, testing, good pit... rather than sending 2k€ juste to have the UCI accreditation Wink

Anyway, Rudy did a great job as well as Marine (her sister who win the junior Lady and did 9th scratch), many thanks for all your support, we will do our best for the next round ! Keep in touch

--Pat (Team Manager)
  • + 6
 @laric nice to hear about that, Pat, just make sure your riders have the proper support, because we would all like to see more of them!
  • + 14
 Props to red bull, great race with a great coverage of the camerass...much better than past years
  • + 6
 Only less time and less riders, which sucked...
  • + 2
 well call me crazy, but i prefer to watch less riders but with a decent coverage than 30 with start sequence - finish sequence only, like past years.
  • + 14
 Emmeline Ragot = class act!
  • + 6
 What a catch she would be! Kick ur ass ridn, then fix u up after...
  • + 9
 Can we please talk about how Gee raced with a broken f*cking wrist and still placed in the top 50?! Straight up animal.

But Gwin, goddamn. Amazing work there. 4 seconds up is not a small gap by any means. Gaaaaah! What an insane race weekend! Thanks for sharing the joy with us, PB (along with all of you, you brilliant photographers)!
  • + 7
 Or rather Minnaar getting 22nd two weeks off surgery from a torn tendon and a custom cast taped to his bars?
  • + 6
 Agreed! Minaar is a beast! There were a lot of incredible riders out there this weekend who raced on injuries and did rather well, despite clear disadvantages. Tracey, for example -- still 5th with a wreck and separated shoulder.
  • + 12
 No close up of Neko's catastrophic procore failure?
  • + 9
 Thought I read on Vital that his wheel failed?
  • + 8
 We need a procore plus with extra 2mm for additional tube inside xD
  • + 15
 I will wait for the procore plus with BOOST technology.
  • + 3
 Where can I see the Pro Core Failure?
  • + 18
 It was more a catastrophic wheel explosion more than it was a flat tire on Neko's bike. Same goes for Neethling who blew up a shell in the same spot. The track was brutal plain and simple.
  • + 1
 Watched the runs a few times (the entire race twice) and in both instances it seems as though the tire gets ejected before the rim gets destroyed. Obviously a tough track on parts, as I'm used to seeing guys at least being able to roll down on a rim, not so much here.
  • + 2
 I know it was a brutal track, and we have had brutal tracks before but this race (the first that pretty much 96.7% of teams are running 27.5 wheels) I've already seen more tyre blow offs and wheel explosions than you normally do in a season! Could the tyre and wheel tech for the bigger wheel size not be up to scratch yet...
  • + 8
 Great to see Dale on the podium, stoked! But man, Gwin! Just perfection. It's going to be a great season. I reckon only a couple of riders can beat Gwin on his day as long as those riders are on an amazing day too. Loic can do it, Ratty did do it in Windham, can't wait for the rest of the season!
  • + 7
 E. Ragot is a true athlete and a dear friend in my book, she deserves the best of luck this season, my loving kisses "Smile "
to T. Hanna she needs to be back stronger then ever for F. William
Mondraker FTW!!!!!!!
  • + 9
 Correction: it's Mike Jones' second year in elite
  • + 6
 Quick question... The Syndicate were not approved as an Elite Trade Team due to the riders not having similar kit. How did the Specialized boys get around this as there kits are far from similar?
  • + 8
 Only the XC team is a uci trade team. The downhill team is not.
  • + 7
 Whats the low down with Ratboy and Monster ? clearly not sponsered by them anymore.
  • + 13
 Thats a good thing. He doesn't have to poison himself for a paycheck anymore.
  • + 4
 Love the picture of Emiline strapping up Tracey's shoulder, what other other sport would you see that...No1 on the podium helping out a battered competitor. Props to both of them...epescially Tracey for getting up and riding on with such a painful injury...some premier league managers might want to show that to their players.
  • + 7
 Rachel never fales to pick the ugliest sunglasses...
  • + 7
 Discounted ProCore... Anyone?
  • + 6
 Really glad Emmeline didn't retire at the end of last year
  • + 5
 I feel this is an appropriate time and place to ask:

WHAT THE (...) DID GWIN DO BETWEEN THOSE SPLITS??
  • + 24
 Boost fart ® SRAM
  • + 6
 Emmeline Ragot = Class
Tracy Hannah = Fighter
  • + 6
 Does anyone knows the brand of Ratboy's neckbrace? looks very fluffy Smile
  • + 4
 Ha ha! Where can we buy rat boy go faster hair pieces ?
  • + 2
 Respecto to Gee.. here in my country we call that "que duro!".. and LOL about that comment "something new and horrible to jump over with very severe consequences"
  • + 4
 Thanks to Claudio and Lord Warner.
  • + 2
 Thank you Pinkbike for the great pictures. Keeps us pumped to keep riding. Cheers
  • + 2
 Well that was just a nutty track for round one! Props to AG and Tracey for finishing 5th unbelievable!
  • + 1
 So even though Gwinn won the freaking race, he didn't come out of the event in 1st place?
WTF?!?
That rule obviously needs to change, A YEAR AGO
  • + 2
 Mad respect for Gee and Greg
  • + 1
 You ever race with a separated shoulder? I have, with just a partially separated shoulder... Amazing. Very Amazing.
  • + 2
 Very first pic. ..rider wears his beenie like a condom! Lol
  • + 2
 why do people hate on neck braces?
  • + 4
 Usually the hate is directed at the non neck brace wearers by the " OMG the neck brace obviously saved him" camp ;-)
  • + 2
 Fantastic images. What I would give to be a photographer for PB!!
  • + 1
 Great atmosphere coming from these photos,
must have been amazing for those who were able to attend and participate Smile
  • + 1
 Well that was a fun spring fling! Now its off season again.. looking forward to the summer season!
  • + 1
 Lourdes crash compilation, ouch! -->
www.zapiks.fr/butee-magazine.html
  • + 2
 how fitting Giwnny wins in Lourdes, god bless amarica. ahahahaha
  • + 1
 Wow, one picture, ONE, of Arron Gwin's race run....and not even a good picture. What is wrong with you????
  • + 2
 He was too fast !
  • + 8
 @mtnbkmaniac thanks for the tip. Next time we will not include a photo of the winner taking a ballsy inside line no one else rode to shave valuable time. Those kinds of photos are obviously crap and not relevant to telling a story of his winning run. We will only post dirt skids and omg brownpow shots of the winner from now on.
  • + 1
 @davetrump Sorry for critiquing your photo, now that you mention it was an inside line, I went back and had a look at the shot, cause it wasn't apparent at first glance that it was the inside line. I just expected more photo's of the race winning run, maybe some gratuitous shots of Gwin 'airing it out' like your Mike Jones shot. And hey man, thanks for the sarcasm, dirt skids and omg brownpow, duly noted!
  • + 2
 @mtnbkmaniac we often have to shoot at or near the finish for race runs in prefer to capture the aftermath of a victory so the number of unique photos from race runs are pretty minimum and we try to keep from repeating shots/angles in the photo stories. The photo of Mile Jones made the cut because he was the only one taking that unique line. We often try to balance the raddest photos with he photos that help tell a story so some riders get featured more than others in action vs. lofestyle photos.... Over the three days there were plenty of rad action shits of Gwin ;-)
  • + 1
 Matt Delorme had weed in his hears not moss :-)
  • + 1
 Awesome riding and camera work.
  • + 1
 Maybe Sam Hill can coach Jones on smiling too.
  • + 1
 Gutted when Tracey crashed and Neko's wheel crumbled... Here's to Ft Bill.
  • + 1
 WHAT HAPPENED TO SAM HILL?
  • + 1
 Yeah Gwin dog!
  • - 3
 Amazing win by Gwin. I'll even forgive him for having a little wee on his pants on the podium...
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