Video: A Fresh Look at the New Vallnord World Cup Course

Jun 20, 2022
by Ed Spratt  

At the end of March, it was revealed that Vallnord would have a new World Cup DH course this year with riders now starting at the top of the mountain. The track which had been used for a Copa Catalana DH race had plenty of berms and a few rougher, raw sections but nothing compared to the previous track.

Now with just weeks away from a return to Vallnord next month we have seen a better look at what riders could be racing on and it definitely looks more challenging. Whereas the course we saw last year had plenty of berms all the way down, the updated track now seems to have a few more natural sections with some steep chutes to rival the old course. There are definitely a few line choices for riders on the course and it looks like the track will be constantly changing with ruts and big holes forming throughout a weekend of racing.

The past weekend saw some top World Cup riders get a taste of the course at the Copa Catalana, you can check out some of the action below.










113 Comments

  • 73 3
 Shocking lack of etiquette at 3.04.
  • 3 13
flag mattwragg (Jun 20, 2022 at 3:37) (Below Threshold)
 --
  • 6 30
flag scott-townes (Jun 20, 2022 at 4:45) (Below Threshold)
 Here come the track Karens....
  • 6 0
 Seems to befit the bikeparky track
  • 13 0
 The guy cutting into his line or the POV rider?

IMO you respect your superiors. Look before you start, and if someone is coming in on a heater, you wait for them...
  • 3 0
 @nvranka: The rider deciding to drop in just as our headcam hero approaches.
  • 76 16
 Another high speed high consequence massive berm track. I'm not liking this trend. This isn't about skill, it's about who has the biggest balls to stay off the brakes and risk injury.
  • 12 3
 Unfortunately we ll have some massive accidents
  • 6 1
 @RedBurn: Sadly I think this is inevitable.
  • 9 1
 Agree - looks like it would be sketchy AF at world cup speeds...
  • 21 1
 I wouldn't say it 'isn't about skill' but it does look very high speed and high consequences. As there aren't many line options I'd imagine racing will be very close and people will have to really push it to the limit, furthering the risk
  • 33 32
 LOL so world cup DH is too fast now? PBers find something to complain about on every track.
  • 18 2
 @scott-townes: it’s been a complaint for a few years now, nothing new.
  • 7 16
flag scott-townes (Jun 20, 2022 at 5:25) (Below Threshold)
 @pisgahgnar: Yeah I'm certain the people who have only been paying attention for a few years now have always complained.
  • 11 1
 We need a race like this at least once a season. I love a bit of tech as much as the next person but it’s always exciting to see people go flat out and only win by a faction of a second.
  • 1 0
 Agreed
  • 10 2
 Isn’t every world cup a high speed high consequence track? Every world cup track is about who can stay off the breaks the most and risk the most injury by going fast. Just cause it’s a change of pace from the norm of tech and roots, doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. People get hurt on every track, at this level injury is inevitable. Just cause it’s flow doesn’t mean it requires immense bike handling skill to go insanely fast, like they will need to go. Yes, this will be a close race, but it will be just as difficult and require just as much skill to win on this track than any other track.
  • 3 1
 Looks great to me, I understand it will be insanely fast at WC speeds, however that is inherent to the sport lol... Proper steep chunky track I agree some more tech focused tracks would be cool, just doesn't seem the money behind the sport agrees. Sad really.
  • 4 1
 @Judew: I agree with you that's the point of racing at WC level lol what do these numptys expect.
  • 1 0
 Exactly!
  • 1 0
 @Edendino: Agreed, Exactly. Let’s see some kamikaze runs.
  • 18 0
 May the MTB gods be benevolent and protect Thibault Daprela from killing himself
  • 6 8
 @mhoshal: I guess in the "before times" WC tracks were perfectly safe and didn't allow the riders to go too fast which apparently is the only type of crash that results in serious injury. I love the newer fans who are so blown away by the risk and haven't realized its an inherently dangerous sport and all trails present a risk with the speeds these people ride at.
  • 7 2
 F1 brought in changes to courses and car design to make it safer for drives. DH is going in literally the opposite direction. There's risk with all DH racing, but washing out on a tech corner has very different consequences getting bucked at 75kmph on a long chopped up straight line down a steep hill
  • 2 0
 Which dh world cup track is safe at world cup speed? Just curious About your perspective
  • 5 4
 @TheLongMan: None, which is why you should build them to limit speed as much as possible because the faster you go the bigger the mess.
  • 3 3
 @Judew: Injurys dude. Its not going to be fun to start seeing people paralysed, brain damaged and dead.
  • 2 2
 @scott-townes: You clearly don't understand mechanics of injury.
  • 4 4
 What a bunch of fairdinkum whining.
  • 3 9
flag scott-townes (Jun 21, 2022 at 2:32) (Below Threshold)
 @inside-plus: You clearly haven't been paying attention. Its interesting how every person complaining just joined the site in the past few years, aka new fans. Don't worry, you can watch XC if DH is just too scary.
  • 3 1
 @scott-townes: "It's always been this way so why should we ever change?" - How many times has that sentiment been proven wrong?
  • 2 2
 @inside-plus: how do you limit speed? Even if you slow then down it’s not going to be safe. No matter how you design a course, World Cup riders push it to the limit and ride it at a speed that’s right up the the edge of what’s safe.
  • 2 6
flag scott-townes (Jun 21, 2022 at 3:38) (Below Threshold)
 @pisgahgnar: Its funny you guys think nothing has changed. But I guess that's what happens when you've only been following DH for a few years.
  • 5 1
 @scott-townes: Gate keep some more buddy, it's really endearing.
  • 3 6
 @pisgahgnar: LOL nothing like new fans complaining about inherently dangerous sports when they know next to nothing about said sport. Its almost as funny as when you guys complain about how Rampage is too dangerous and high consequence making it not fun to watch. Don't worry, bucko, XCO is way more safe and fun to watch.
  • 6 3
 @pisgahgnar: "It's always been this way so why should we ever change?" - How many times has that sentiment been proven wrong?


Mate, its DH, not slavery.
  • 2 2
 @ajayflex: I mean...really, that's the first place you go? Let's stick to sports so it is a little more relatable. Helmets in hockey?
  • 2 3
 @inside-plus: shit we better slow motorcycle races down, formula one and Nascar too they drive way too fast and people get killed. The whole point is to make the best racers in the world push the limits of what's possible not bubble wrap them like a bunch of chicken shits all because you're a scared little whimp.
  • 4 2
 @mhoshal: This isn't the winning argument you think it is. F1 and moto GP have implemented many changes to slow down cars/bikes and protect drivers.
  • 2 1
 @Linc: to the sports detriment on some occasions. Like when F1 banned refuelling and the sport stopped being about who was the fastest but who could finish the race without running out of fuel.
  • 3 1
 @sino428: Is that a real question? the faster you crash, the more likely you are to sustain serious injury. A racer cant go around a techy corner as fast as he can go in a straight line, pretty simple.
  • 2 2
 @scott-townes: This makes no sense "new to the sport" go and watch a 2007 run, bikes are hella slow compared to now. The Mt7 Psychosis times a couple years ago were significantly faster than Sam Hills 2007 obliteration of that track, and they did it on enduro bikes.
  • 3 0
 @inside-plus: these guys ride fast no matter what you put in front of them. Trying to put more ‘techy’ sections in isn’t going to make it safer. It’s just going to make it more likely they crash and fall onto a bunch of rocks.

Can you give me an example of a few riders recently who’s injuries/crashes were a direct result of a section of track that was too fast? Still seems to me that most crash still happen in the gnarlier sections of the tracks. I would prefer the more technical track too but it’s because I think they produce better racing. Not because they are any safer.
  • 2 0
 @inside-plus: Yeah, try telling that to Brook MacDonald... And yes riders have gotten faster and they also have more control due to improved suspension, tires and brakes. I'm just glad people like you are not in decision making positions.
  • 1 0
 @sino428: Amary Pierron and Bapiste Coulanges both broke their backs in super fast open & loose sections of French Cup tracks. Of course it doesn't automatically follow that the faster you go the worse the injury, but generally more speed = more energy = more risk. Tech sections are slower, these riders go as fast as a section allows, you put in more rooty corners and you slow the riders down, regardless of how good they are.
  • 1 1
 @ddmonkey: And Brook MacDonald along with Marine Cabirou broke their backs in techy sections on completely different trails.... Good grief, you people are silly.
  • 2 0
 @scott-townes: As I said - it doesn't automatically follow.. there is always risk of course. But good course design mitigates risk, and the general point of this thread was that this track looks more high risk high consequence that others. But whatever, you can paint us all as newbie hand wringing old grannies if you like. By the way this newbie to the sport has been riding DH and following the sport for 20 years - so what do I know.
  • 4 0
 @ddmonkey: There’s a reason old dudes, me included all sold our downhill bikes and now spend our time riding down horrible tech tracks. They might be insanely difficult to ride down but they’re really safe. The chances of hurting yourself are still there but you’re unlikely to as hurt yourself as often or as badly as you would do on much tamer but faster downhill tracks.
  • 2 0
 @inside-plus: Send them down Psychosis on Hill's 2007 Medium 26 inch wheel Iron horse, ask them at the bottom if it felt safer/less risky?
  • 1 0
 @scott-townes: Exactly, there is nothing "safe" about world cup downhill tracks. When riding on the edge like these riders do, they can fall and get hurt anywhere. Can higher speeds result in worse crashes? Yes. But so can falling onto a mess of rocks roots at a slightly slower (but still fast) speed.
  • 1 0
 @fwp39: It doesn't matter they are going slower so the mechanics of injury if they do fall off are also less.
  • 1 1
 @scott-townes: Brook and Marine are alive, brook is riding and Marine is walking around. Yeah I think that's a pretty good arguement. Stevie Smith died from a brain injury, willing to bet he was going really fast when he died. People die at the isle of man TT every year, why? Speed.

You see that chute onto the road in the video, yes thats techy but its generally dangeriously built and fast guys can warp through that no problem, that thing is really piss poor imo.

In general yeah, riders are always going to go as fast as they can, so it makes sense yo build even tech sections as slow as you can without it being too slow, think about brunis crash at lordes, tech af, onto rocks but not so fast that he got wrecked.
  • 3 0
 @inside-plus: Yeah man, use a horrible incident in which you have no idea what happened other than it wasn't MTBing or racing on a WC course as justification for your weird position. Stay classy, bud.
  • 2 0
 @inside-plus: I think DH is the wrong sport for you.

Chess is low risk, maybe bowling?
  • 68 8
 Lame compared to the old one. I want more natural tracks and not big jumps and berms
  • 10 7
 Did you stop watching halfway through?
  • 12 7
 This track is steeper than your typical bike park trail, and will be much rougher by race day. Should make for some great action with those loose berms. All the unfounded negative comments make me think this will be a great race. Seems like a good track for Pierron.
  • 2 0
 @DoubleCrownAddict: I agree that it seems like a good track for Pierron
  • 5 0
 @DoubleCrownAddict: Conspiracy theory, they litterally built a trail that Commencal would be very hard to beat on.
  • 1 1
 @inside-plus: yeah, Because other companies don't have fast bikes and riders, right?!
  • 37 0
 That ending certainly sucks.
  • 6 0
 forreal wtf is that?
  • 4 0
 Terrible anti-climax indeed.
  • 36 4
 Looks like a flow track that went to shit and has crumbled away. Not a very World Cuppish-looking like track. Where is the tech?
  • 8 4
 Not really.. looks like a track that was just built. They don’t dig out the holes and expose the roots and rocks when they build WC tracks. That happens naturally from the trail getting pounded by hundreds of crazy fast riders. Top part has berms and jumps but so does every track, those lower, open, raw sections are going to be nasty come race day
  • 1 2
 clueless lol
  • 1 1
 @PremiumCyclingProducts: Nasty but straight and boring.
  • 24 2
 Those Insta360 cameras are so bad! Just get a 5 year old GoPro...
  • 3 1
 Second that, unlike insta360, GoPro will shoot 1 continuous shot...+ many accessories including wind deflectors/muffs.
Insta360 is all about the wonky fisheye that falsely enhances the feeling of speed
  • 7 0
 You don't realise how good GoPro's have gotten until you see some youtuber shilling anything from Insta360
  • 20 2
 Looks kinda crap tbh. All the massive jumps at high speeds are cool, but there isn't enough tech in it ...
  • 17 2
 I'm sure some will say this looks a bit bike park like, but those jumps at the top look massive, and it's all very loose. I think this is going to get very rough once a few WC riders get down it. Rough, loose and fast it looks like. I think it will make some good racing
  • 10 0
 You can always make the case that any WC track is going to get more difficult once the riders get on it and ruts form and hole bow out etc. I'd just rather see a track that is difficult and challenging because of the track design itself (like the old Andorra track) and not be difficult just because its in shitty condition.
  • 14 1
 the lower section looks goodish, with the geography that they have why couldn't they just use one of the off-piste natural runs they have on bikepark tape in 4m wide and watch the natural skills of the steep riders
  • 15 0
 A dusty shadow of its former self. Eish.
  • 11 0
 Old WC track is much better track, much more technical, more variety of sections, the full time is now much more shorter less than 3 min. vs more than 4 min. for the tops in the old track, more lines in the old WC track and now seems a single track, to narrow, as say Menoyo after win the course. Less artificial woods and more big rocks.
  • 12 0
 I preferred the old one. However it seems odd to complain about a track at a bike park, which is hosting a race to promote a bike park, looking too much like a bike park
  • 13 1
 less bikepark, more downhill
  • 12 0
 Lame. Old WC track was amazing.
  • 9 0
 That there's more (man made) gap jumps than actual (not bermed) corners tells you everything.
  • 6 1
 I start to understand what the Discovery team meant by "learning from skiing" in the following show about next years DH WC: An increase in open tracks (less woods) = easier to film larger parts with same amount of cameras.
www.eurosport.com/mountain-bike/exciting-uci-and-warner-bros.-discovery-partnership-to-showcase-uci-mountain-bike-world-cup_vid1696243/video.shtml
  • 7 0
 I’m not sure what discovery had to do with this particular track. This track was built and planned long before discovery was involved in the sport.
  • 2 1
 @sino428: Right, and you know how long this deal has been in the making?
  • 1 1
 Exactly, they aim to have more of the trail filmed and streamed by making the trail open and easier to film.
  • 1 0
 @inside-plus: doesn’t matter how long it’s ‘been in the making’. Discovery isnt going to have control over anything until they finish a deal.
  • 2 1
 ugah ugah, discovery baaaaaaaaad.
  • 1 0
 @sino428: I also don’t think that this is a result of direct influence from Discovery. However, I do think that the new track might have something to do with easy access and coverage. And looking at the new track - even if it’s not as bad as it looked earlier in the year - in comparison to the old one I hope this is not a trend that will continue under Discovery though I fear this is exactly how it’s going to go.
  • 8 0
 top part should have been grass turns instead of more stupid berms
  • 8 0
 This was the old track: youtu.be/_2tAEA2s_vg
  • 8 1
 1st part Bike park Middle part World cupish End Urban DH Track
  • 7 0
 We still doing corners on DH tracks or nah?
  • 2 0
 I hope they tape the woods off wider and put poles every now and then in the lines that Neko rode; seemed incredibly one lined with lots of pointing and shooting. I'd assume the finish bridge will be different for a world cup. If they tend to those two things I think the track will be absolutely awesome and separate riders a lot more than this race did. The Spanish 19 year old must have been very happy with his result.

I found results here: mtbdata.com/comp/copa-catalana-internacional-vallnord-xco-dhi-17-jun-19-jun-2022-vallnord/men-elite-downhill
  • 2 0
 Slope style-bike parky... Just all looks too man-made. Not bummed by it I just think it is a bit 'meh'. Big gaps might be cool for photos but I feel way safer in the air, especially with a perfect park style laugh and a backside at a perfect 30, than I do over natural drops, jumps, roots and gnar.
  • 4 2
 Looks shit. The old track was so interesting and tech. This one has about 3 corners. The chute at 2:38 is gonna paralise somone if they lose control and get bucked flat onto the road and the leogangesque bonar log at the top is right in a high wind spot.

Ffs , its like another Schladming > Leogang situaton.
  • 3 1
 This track is going to be rowdy! Thought it was bike parky but for sure this is going to be savage to race and will get blown out like crazy! Andorra is no joke. All the keyboard warriors calling out the track and never rode there. Just wait.
  • 5 0
 Old WC track is better in IMO
  • 4 1
 Sam Hill's claim is correct when it comes to this track too- more wide open with more focus on speed and less technical = Boring.
  • 7 3
 Is this a joke ? Bring VERBIER
  • 4 0
 Any scaffold left in Andorra?
  • 2 0
 Cheeser grater scaffold
  • 4 0
 MEH!
  • 4 1
 C´mon! It´s a joke??
  • 2 1
 a part from the random bridges, this track looks rad and is definitely steeper than it looks like on that video
  • 2 0
 Would be great to have some WC riders opinion on the new track
  • 1 0
 Got to say it is a bike park track, totally. It even has a asphalt finish. We'll see how it plays out.
  • 1 0
 It looks like you could link the old (lower) one in very easily from that finish line. Now that... would be something else!
  • 1 4
 I don't know what people are talking about with the "bike park" styled track. There is some big berms and jumps for sure, but there seems to be a lot of pretty high speed tech mixed in as well. Agreed that it is a high risk track but this is racing...
  • 1 1
 It's MTB show apocalypse...
  • 2 3
 Looks a bit short but cool
  • 3 6
 I think it may provide some spectacular racing, so i think like it





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