Your Essential Guide to the Mont-Sainte-Anne DH World Cup 2017

Aug 1, 2017
by Fraktiv  

There is no better than adversity.
Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss,
contains its own seed, its own lesson on how
to improve your performance the next time.
- Malcolm X

Welcome to Mont Saint Anne the longest running race on the World Cup calendar and home to the most classic DH track of them all.

The show rolls on to the historic Mont-Sainte-Anne track in Canada this weekend, hot on the heels of the nail-biting finals in Lenzerheide, Switzerland a few weeks ago. The rest in-between means riders should be refreshed and ready to race this grand old classic.

In Lenzerheide, we saw the weather kick up extreme conditions; heavy thunderstorms the night before the race meant the track conditions on race day went from one extreme to another as the washed out mountainside soaked up the blistering Alpine sun.

For the Elite Women, it was mixed fortunes for those making the most of Rachel Atherton’s road-to-recovery after her shoulder injury a few races back. In contention were the usual suspects, but after Tahnée Seagrave washed out her front wheel lower down the track, it was Swiss rider Emilie Siegenthaler who put down an impressive time to set the bar for the remaining field. Australian Tracey Hannah couldn’t improve on Siegenthaler’s run, but Myriam Nicole could. Atherton was the lone rider at the top of the hill; the last one down the track. It’s a position we’ve seen her in countless times, but could she make the most of the fresh, short track and keep the injury at bay? It seemed it was going to be that way, but nearing the bottom, Atherton seemed to slow against Nicole’s time and crossed the line 0.5 seconds back. Close, but not close enough, and judging by her Instagram post shortly afterward, Atherton was content with the ‘baby-steps’ progress that sees her progressively returning to form at every round.

The Elite Men’s race would be equally dramatic. Laurie Greenland had set the pace and it seemed no one could improve on it—both "Sik Mik" Hannah and Loris Vergier came undone on the now incredibly dusty and fast track - until fellow countryman and teammate Danny Hart crossed the finish line. With a few riders to go, the atmosphere around the track was dialled to 11. After Hart, it was Bruni’s turn, but his usual comfortable and calculated composure seemed ruffled, which told its own story when he crossed the line with a time he’d probably rather forget. Greg Minnaar was next up, and it was like we’ve seen before, a lesson in sublime precision, grace, and speed. Minnaar rocketed straight to the hot seat with two riders to go. Second in qualifying the day before was Australian Troy Brosnan. Still on the charge after his first World Cup win, Brosnan wasn’t that far off the pace of Minnaar; +0.162 seconds in fact, and slotted in between Minnaar and Hart with one rider to go.

So here we are again. Gwin on track, looking like he’s got a pocket time machine lighting up the sectors in green, but suddenly… What? Not another mechanical! After years of domination on this Swiss mountain, the track bit back. Gwin had punctured on one of the freshly exposed rocks and crossed the line in a lowly 51st place.

It seems that for every curveball thrown at him, Gwin gets up and keeps on going. From broken chains to busted tires, the young American dusts off the adversity and focuses on the next challenge with humility. Here lie lessons of courage, conviction, and fortitude in the face of an ever challenging field.

Just a touch of stars and stripes were seen about in MSA.
Stevie Smith you are missed.

Today was Andrew Neethling s Birthday so he decided to act like a kid and play in the dirt half way down the track.

The track

The giant rock roll and hideous time-penalty chicken run.

drifting loose dust and smashing rocks was the name of the day here in MSA.
The old track in MSA contrasts quite a bit against the lush green forest.

When it s this dry in MSA we are likely going to see some of the fastest speeds on the season and hopefully some quality drifting in and out of these flat loose corners.
Mont-Saint-Anne World Cup 2016

Another World Cup and another dominant performance from Rachel Atherton.

Mont-Sainte-Anne is to World Cup Downhill fans, what Westminster Abbey is to tourists visiting London. If you want to know the history behind competitive racing and get to live and breathe it, then this is the destination. Mont-Sainte-Anne is where the best riders love to charge and make their mark. It’s where crowns are placed atop the heads of kings and queens of racing, and where you’ll find racers paying their respects to fallen heroes.

Mont-Sainte-Anne has been on the racing calendar for a very, very long time. This weekend will mark the 25th consecutive year it will have hosted a UCI Downhill round (two World Champs and the rest World Cups). Over that time we’ve seen new tracks like Lenzerheide, Leogang and others trying to figure out how to be pure to the sport, whilst Mont-Sainte-Anne has evolved, yet grown old with grace, often setting the direction for how downhill racing tracks should be. It’s a favorite of many riders; it’s fast, it’s long, it’s rough, and it draws super fans from across North America, so the atmosphere is always fantastic.

With a mix of wide open spaces and dark and rock-infested tree sections, riders are racing down one of the longest tracks on the calendar. There’s no respite, but that’s what makes this venue one of the best there is.

What happened last year?

In the Elite Women’s race, there were no surprises, Rachel Atherton continued her domination taking her back-to-back win tally to 12. At Mont-Sainte-Anne she won in style too, taking over 11 seconds out of Tracey Hannah’s time, as well as being caught doing 73kph in the speed trap. It’s worth noting that Tracey had two sizeable crashes during the week, and one of those crashes had resulted in the Australian sporting a black eye come race day. Despite her determination and pure Aussie grit, Hannah would have to wait a little while longer to take the top step away from Atherton. Close on Hannah’s heels was Tahnée Seagrave who had a tricky run down because she was wanting to secure a trouble-free, maximum points haul after crashing badly the day before.

Last year was a rollercoaster of a race in the Elite Men’s category. Loïc Bruni, who had qualified down the field the previous day due to a puncture, managed a blistering run come race day, especially in the last half of the course. Bruni occupied the hot seat for a good while and somewhat surprisingly, looked close to being unseated by a ferocious run from Adam Brayton. Sadly Brayton’s wildness would get the better of him eventually, and he crashed, squashing his chances of challenging Bruni’s time. Greg Minnaar fumbled in one of the rock gardens, and Troy, despite reeling-in Bruni’s time sector by sector, just wasn’t fast enough.

The penultimate rider down the hill was Danny Hart. With an astounding victory at the last round, Hart looked determined to take another win, and sure enough, his run was just over a second faster than Bruni’s, crossing the line with a time of 3:59.754. The last man down the hill was Aaron Gwin. With his eyes on the prize—if he could take the win and beat Hart he would have the series overall secured for the year—Gwin put in a stormer, but smaller errors here and there meant he couldn’t put a perfect run down, his efforts bringing him in +0.669 slower than Hart but ahead of Bruni. Gwin would have to take the fight for the series win to the next stop, but we know how that story ended.

Tickets please

Troy Brosnan well ahead of Whistler speed and style.

There’s a small charge for those wanting to watch the race. Prices start from $10 CAD for an Adult pass, $8 CAD for 7–17 year olds, and it’s free for those 6 years old or under, season pass holders or Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré residents. Family tickets are $16 CAD.

The weather forecast

WC R6 Mont Sainte-Anne Weather 2017

Current standings


WC R5 Lenzerheide Standings W 2017


WC R5 Lenzerheide Standings M 2017


WC R6 Mont Sainte-Anne Predictions 2017

bigquotesMinnaar will surely podium here. The G.O.A.T. has raced here every year since 1998, and has podiumed 11 times, only falling outside the leading 10, five times. Combine this with recent form and he’s sure to be close to the top. I think we’ll see a solid run from Minnaar but not pushing the limits too far as he attempts to cement the overall title.

Hart also has fantastic form in MSA; four podiums in the last six years and the last man to walk away from the hill carrying a big gold coin.

Another stunning performance from Gwin at Lenzerheide—until his tyre or rim failed—shows that he has unbeatable pace if he can get a clean run in. This seems to be his issue this year. If he can make it down cleanly it’ll be a green light at the finish.

Just like Lenzerheide though, there’s a host of other names that could easily take one of these three spots. With unprecedented form and consistency from so many other hopefuls, it’s one of the most exciting seasons ever.

In the Elite Women, it would be good to see Tahnee take her second win. She has the speed but her form is still building its foundations. Solidifying this foundation will see her build a house that will be stacked with medals in the years to come.

Tracey Hannah is on great form still and will be pushing Atherton. Nicole is also a contender here—without a doubt—but this mountain hasn’t been particularly kind to her in the past.

With four weeks available to rehab her shoulder, Atherton will be back with a vengeance, especially after a slip up in Lenzerheide cost her the return to the top step.
Paul Aston, Pinkbike's World Cup Crystal Ball Gazer

Previous podiums


WC R6 Mont Sainte-Anne Historic Results W 2017


WC R6 Mont Sainte-Anne Historic Results M 2017

Squads goals MSA.
The fastest women in the world celebrate in Mont Saint Anne.

Time to tune in

Pinkbike will be providing you with the best daily coverage from our team of photographers in Mont-Sainte-Anne this week, from photo epics from the track walk on Wednesday, practice on Thursday, qualifying on Friday, and finals on Saturday, as well as a tech news and WynTV throughout the weekend.

For the Elite Women and Elite Men finals, you can watch the action live on Red Bull TV, or via a local broadcaster (e.g. The Bike Channel in the UK) from 13:00 local time/EDT on Saturday 5th August (19:00 CEST // 18:00 BST // 10:00 PDT // 03:00 AEST – Sunday // 05:00 NZST – Sunday).

Nina skills for Rachel Atherton en route to her 12th consecutive World Cup win.

MENTIONS: @fraktiv / @natedh9 / @paulaston / @davetrumpore / @tahneeseagrave / @AaronGwin1 / @ms-racing2

Author Info:
fraktiv avatar

Member since May 14, 2008
227 articles

  • 76 1
 I feel a video of Steve Peat's MSA segment from Seasons needs to be at the top of this post!
  • 13 2
 I forgot how much he dwarfed 26" wheels! With 27.5 he doesn't look as gangly on the bike. Legend!
  • 4 1
 I tried uploading a link to kovariks 2006 win in earthed 4 but failed ????
  • 3 1
 Look how short the wheelbase is! These days people would claim it's near impossible to go fast on that
  • 1 0
 @whattheheel: Even better with 29 Wink
  • 1 0
 @mnorris122: Does he have one yet?
  • 1 0
 @whattheheel: He was interviewed at Ft Bill and said he didn't have one because there simply weren't enough parts spare to build him one (they're still very much works prototypes), but added that he's desperate for a go on one.
  • 1 0
 @whattheheel: indeed. saw some footage of him at a recent National event and he still looks unique on a bike, a recognisable style of his own. Oh, and obvious it was him from the bike and the garb
  • 1 0
 That bar width looks so cramped on him as well haha
  • 44 0
 Rob Warner was on the podium a mere 23 years ago.
  • 36 0
 Imagine riding those woods in the wet. Remember when it started pissing for the last few men and Smith still went fastest? I think he was quoted saying "I just road it like it was dry" legend.
  • 4 0
 Claimed a few necks from riding buddies
  • 3 0
 Remember when Gee crashed in Qualis so his race was earlier in the day in the dry and stayed in the hot seat until the very end?
  • 30 0
 We miss you Emmeline!
  • 13 1
 I'm working in Quebec for the summer and am SUPER STOKED to be able to watch this live. Ill be sporting a B.C. Flag for all my boys back on the west coast. Yeeeeeeeeeeewwwwww!!!!!!!!!
  • 11 0
 Jack Moir must be over the moon to look at those overall rankings getting into the later part of the season with only these 4 in front of him: Minnaar, Brosnan, Gwin, and Vergier.
  • 4 0
 Dude had it coming
  • 9 3
 "So here we are again. Gwin on track, looking like he’s got a pocket time machine lighting up the sectors in green, but suddenly… What? Not another mechanical! After years of domination on this Swiss mountain, the track bit back. Gwin had punctured on one of the freshly exposed rocks and crossed the line in a lowly 51st place." - What? After years of domination on the Swiss mountain - only 3rd year having the race, Gwin had a 2nd last year, and an 8th the year before?
  • 7 1
 Was thinking the same... Leogang is not Lenzerheide! If anyone dominates Lenzerheide it is Minnaar. I am a fan of PinkBike but sometimes the errors are so simplistic it makes my eyes water.
  • 5 8
 Yeah some of these guys take their job for granted and your publish rubbish as quickly as they can without research. They had 1 month to prepare this one and look at that
  • 14 1
 @mollow: seems you took even less time, to proof read this comment.
  • 1 5
flag mollow (Aug 2, 2017 at 11:15) (Below Threshold)
 I wasn't talking about proof reading but whatever gets you upvotes I guess
  • 2 0
 Hello, so you're right, 'domination' is too strong a word and I was obviously getting carried away in the drama of what happened. Looking back at his record at Lenzerheide, Gwin has qualified 1st, 19th, and 2nd, and finished 51st, 2nd, 8th respectively (2017, 2016, 2015). Some might say he's fared pretty well for half of his time on the track if you include both results, but when things have gone wrong they've really gone wrong for him, making it true that 'domination' wasn't the right word to use. ^Farah
  • 9 1
 They racing single or tandem this weekend?
  • 7 0
 I'm going to agree with the predictions for a change
  • 7 0
 Yes - very solid indeed. I'm still pulling for oddball darqhorse MOIR! yeeeeeeaaaah.
  • 6 0
 with that weather report I'm not sure, Gwin rides better through the dust than the muck
  • 3 0
 7 of us are heading to Whistler from the East coast on Saturday. Hoping to catch the Red Bull replay that night at the bar. Anyone know if this will be a thing someplace on the 5th in the village? We caught the 09 World Champs at the Longhorn and made for a good night of beers, racing, beers and I don't remember the rest.
  • 4 0
 Longhorn would prob be the best bet. If you commit to getting hammered by 12, I am sure they would turn on the tube for ya.
  • 5 0
 @probikegeek: Last time around it was a $400+ night for 4 of us. Bringing a few pro drinkers this time so may hit some number way higher than that. #notonmycreditcard
  • 1 2
 The key to the Longhorn is to have a couple of ya' buy sixers and stash 'em away in your pockets. Order a bucket of over priced glacier water, and boom, your own happy hour special. Summer is trickier with out all the pockets and such of winter gear, but I believe in you!
  • 2 0
 @ejflyingeye: def take adv of the exchange rate... another round please.
  • 3 0
 @IOMHENDO if I remember correctly, the course was very short, the "Vidéotron drop" would have been higher than middle course at this time.
  • 1 0
 So stoked for my first time at a World Cup event! Does anyone know if the admissions fee includes a lift up to the summit? Do they charge to watch practice or quailes as well? Any heady advice to a first timer would be much appreciated.

Also, considering I convinced my wife and our 6 month old son to join, I have zero doubt it's gonna flat out rain all weekend!
  • 1 0
 Went last year and wasn't charged anything despite it saying you had to buy a ticket online. Lift ticket costs extra.
  • 1 0
 Good to know, thanks @tjbiker38:
  • 5 0
 Anyone know why the winning times were less than 2 minutes in 2003?
  • 3 0
 Also was wondering this and in 2004.
  • 3 0
 @Porchdick: They shortened the track for those two years. Went to a Windham type race I believe. Rocky and fast the track was much shorter. People weren't too happy about it I don't think.

Long story short: It wasn't the same DH track we all know and love Big Grin
  • 2 0
 @gcman47: Thanks, I thought it was just before UCI banned skin suits.
  • 3 0
 Wet conditions and picking Gwin to win? Hmmmm, not so sure about that. Could be a Danny Hart repeat.
  • 1 0
 Been waiting a while for this !!! I attended the event in 2014 and 2016, don't remember paying $10 for a day pass. I don't remember having to pay at all. Is it new ? Cheers for this awsome event
  • 2 0
 If I remember, admission was free but parking was 10$. Since the destination is far from everything, it is hard to get there without paying the parking
  • 1 0
 @Jo-rides: thank you. I usually get there early and park near the condos at the bottom of the mountain. But in anyway i wouldnt mind paying for having a blast at mt ste-anne
  • 4 1
 I hope this will not end up as Lourdes...
  • 5 5
 Malcolm X also said - Anytime you find someone more successful than you are, especially when you’re both engaged in the same business – you know they’re doing something that you aren’t.”
  • 3 7
flag jrocksdh (Aug 1, 2017 at 22:39) (Below Threshold)
 What's next..hilter quotes?
  • 1 2
 @jrocksdh: You DV a legit MX quote? Are you one of those who say "even Hitler had a girlfriend"? SMH
  • 3 2
 Too bad Windham ain't on the calendar the week before. They're having some kinda lame-assed USAC race there in a couple weeks.
  • 2 1
 I expect to see more 29er to this competition. That's what I would bring.

It gonna be messy Smile
  • 2 0
 dang was that SikMik eating the dirt sandwich up top?
  • 4 0
 because of the rockstar helmet i would say it was Needles
  • 3 0
 It is indeed Needles. It was also his birthday!
  • 1 0
 Actually if you click on that photo you'll see the note below the photo says Needles.
  • 12 2
 You can often see Brandon Semenuk in that position on the bike, but he is like 20ft above the ground
  • 2 0
 Get your mud tires out boys and girls
  • 1 0
 Is that trailforks right?? Does MSA really drop 2500 feet in only two miles?
  • 1 0
 Yes it is. Some sections are really steep!
  • 4 0
 It was the hardest drunk walk of my life last year, spent most of it sliding down the grass on my arse.
  • 3 1
 4/10 Mens overall leaders have raced a Demo 8 in recent years.
  • 7 0
 6/10 Mens overall leaders have not raced a Demo 8 in recent years...
  • 2 0
 Santacruz still the goat team in 8 recent years
  • 1 0
 So rad watching Danny's winning run again. Man the top racers are just so so good to watch and try and learn from
  • 2 0
 Why does no one have any faith in Troy Brosnan! Hes my pick
  • 2 0
 1997 1st Corrado Herin!
  • 1 0
 Does anyone know who sets the spectator prices for these events?
  • 1 0
 don't know, but do know it was way more expensive to go to Fort Bill than Lenzerheide, which given the price of just about everything else in Switzerland compared to the UK, I found odd.
  • 1 0
 oh, and Val di Sole was free in 2010 but started charging in 2011, although it was a pretty nominal amount. And the event was brilliant
  • 1 0
 @john260164: I agree. I paid the £42.00 for Fort Bill and then saw Lenzerheide, 29Euros for the same amount of facilities.
  • 1 0
 I think it's down to the resort, so the Nevis Range for Fort William and so on but I don't know whether the UCI have a say in how it's set across the other venues. For this weekend, 'Velirium' is the name of the overarching event for all the DH, XC, dual slalom, and kids races, but there's a fee that's set by the Mont-Sainte-Anne resort for spectator access, and I assume because it's relatively nominal, it helps to cover things like the extra facilities on the days and clean up costs once the weekend is over.
  • 1 0
 Stay on your bike Danny!!!
  • 2 1
 Phil Atwill for at least #3 on the podium.
  • 3 4
 Is sam hill racing? looks like he was good on that track
  • 4 1
 He's enduro now.
  • 2 1
 Unlikely, as he is racing EWS Round #7 at Whistler the weekend following Saint Anne. Not to mention PB (?) did an interview with him where he mentioned he was having more fun racing Enduro than DH.
  • 7 1
 @juanjcardenas: He's currently leading the EWS series in points and just won Aspen this past weekend. I get where he's coming from. He's winning races and riding fresh trails (as opposed to the same WC tracks every season). I'd be having more fun too...
  • 2 2
 @karoliusz: doesn't mean he can't show up Smile
@juanjcardenas yeah i know, but maybe he likes this track enough to give it a go?
  • 16 0
 @zede: Sam Hill is an actual person who doesn't live solely to fulfil our fantasies, so it's unlikely.

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