The Essential Guide to the Mont-Sainte-Anne DH World Cup 2018

Aug 8, 2018
by Farah Ahmed  

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

- J. R. R. Tolkien, 1892-1973

So far the weather has been saint like in MSA but rumor has that is not to last.

Baptiste Pierron launching onto the sketchy new rock-slab landing.
The dirt storm following Danny Hart down the mountain.

We head to the historic Mont-Sainte-Anne track for the penultimate round of the 2018 UCI Downhill World Cup. The competition in both of the Elite categories is strong, with Amaury Pierron putting down some incredible wins in the last few races, and Tahnée Seagrave regaining ground in the last couple of races to bring the fight to Atherton and a back-to-competing Myriam Nicole, the latter of which secured a third podium place at the French National Championships after having missed the previous World Cup due to injury. Let’s not forget those other riders who are also looking to come back from injury, notably Aaron Gwin and Greg Minnaar, but perhaps for both riders will want to see how their comeback fares given they’re already down on the points battle for the overall. This could very well mean we’re in for an incredible World Championships in Lenzerheide next month.

That aside, Mont-Sainte-Anne will no doubt host another classic weekend of racing, in fact at the time of writing, some riders are out there already, and with Crankworx just around the corner, this World Cup is the start of successive days of mountain biking action. Before we get too far ahead of ourselves though, let’s delve a little deeper into all you need to know about this year’s Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup.

The Track

Mont-Sainte-Anne is the oldest track on the World Cup circuit. Riders have been coming here for decades and quickly fall in love with its high speeds and rough terrain. The track is one of the longest too, and the trail designers and builders are constantly and subtly keeping it challenging and up to date, with a few small alterations thrown in every other year or so. This year there’s a new section of the track called La Tarzan which is reportedly a super-fast technical section through the forest. The final jump at the end of the track has also been modified for spectators’ viewing pleasure.

Credit: Velirium

The fastest track of the year and currently the driest. It s super loose in all the corners and actually in need of rain for a change.
The cliff huck is back in the track once again.

What Happened At The Last Round

We have to cast our minds back a few weeks to Andorra for the last race of the World Cup. The renowned Vallnord venue was baking thanks to the sunshine, which did mean a few surprises for some riders as the loose fine dirt made it tricky to pilot confidently down the four-minute plus track.

In the Elite Women’s race, with Rachel Atherton having qualified first with over 12 seconds to spare, it seemed that the Brit was back in the game, especially with Myriam Nicole out with an injury that weekend. It was, however, fellow Brit Tahnee Seagrave who crossed the line in the finals with a strong time - a time that was a better than Atherton’s qualifying time by a few seconds - but how long could it last? It was a nervous watch for Seagrave as Atherton took to the track and by the first two splits, she was up on Seagrave’s time by 3.9-seconds. However, Atherton somehow went off track and had to push back up to re-enter where she left. She would eventually cross the line close to Seagrave’s time but not enough to clinch the win. This would be Seagrave’s third win out of five races in 2018, and her first back-to-back win to add to her growing collection of achievements.

Credit: Red Bull

Seagrave on the charge through the upper woods her last chance to shave seconds off her qualifying time.
There s not feeling like winning and it s even better when you can do it two weeks in a row.

In the Elite Men’s race, we were all wondering whether Amaury Pierron could maintain his run of podium wins into Vallnord, especially given the pressure of racing on his team’s home soil. The day before Luca Shaw had topped qualifying - would we be seeing him finally take the win he’s been looking ready to take?

Come race day we would see Finn Iles taking the hot seat early on, crossing the line faster than Shaw’s qualifying time the day before. Iles had set the marker. The wildmen of the moment Eddie Masters and Thomas Estaque soon followed, with Estaque riding on the bleeding edge of Lady Luck and somehow managing to get down the mountain in one piece despite a crash halfway through his run.

Iles’s teammate was up next; Loic Bruni wasn’t having the best of runs, no thanks to an injury suffered in qualifying, making small mistakes here and there, eventually costing him valuable time. It was then another Frenchman who took to the track - Loris Vergier carried plenty of speed over some never before seen lines, and soon he was gaining time as he progressed. Vergier crossed the line 4.5 seconds up from Iles… but we’ve seen this before, right?

It was then Amaury Pierron's chance at another first-place finish but after a relatively sluggish top half, he managed to claw back the time in the lower, steeper section but it wasn’t enough to best Vergier’s time. Up next was Macdonald, Greenland and Hart but none of them were able to get close enough to Vergier’s time. It was then left to one solitary man at the top of the mountain in the form of Luca Shaw. Hoping to not come undone again, Luca looked to be on a strong run. But, yet again glory was snatched from under him after he crashed but finally we saw Vergier taking his first World Cup win in Elites. Brook Macdonald finished in second, ahead of Amaury Pierron in third.

Credit: Red Bull

Off the final drop and around the final corner Loris Vergier gets ready to sprint to the line with the fastest time of the day.
Bastille Day the national day of France and the day Loris Vergier finally stormed the castle to take his first World Cup victory.

Rider Standings

1st // Amaury PIERRON // FRA // 933 // No change
2nd // Loris VERGIER // FRA // 653 // -280 // Moves up from 7th
3rd // Laurie GREENLAND // GBR // 646 // -287 // Moves down from 2nd
4th // Troy BROSNAN // AUS // 596 // -337 // Moves down from 3rd
5th // Danny HART // GBR // 586 // -347 // No change
6th // Luca SHAW // USA // 528 // -405 // No change
7th // Brook MACDONALD // NZL // 492 // -441 // Moves up from 9th
8th // Aaron GWIN // USA // 481 // -452 // Moves down from 4th
9th // Samuel BLENKINSOP // NZL // 416 // -517 // Moves down from 8th
10th // Connor FEARON // AUS // 359 // -574 // New to top 10

1st // Rachel ATHERTON // GBR // 986 // No change
2nd // Tahnée SEAGRAVE // GBR // 906 // -80 // No change
3rd // Tracey HANNAH // AUS // 740 // -246 // Moves up from 4th
4th // Myriam NICOLE // FRA // 610 // -376 // Moves down from 3rd
5th // Monika HRASTNIK // SLO // 582 // -404 // No change
6th // Marine CABIROU // FRA // 496 // -490 // Moves up from 7th
7th // Emilie SIEGENTHALER // SUI // 476 // -510 // Moves down from 6th
8th // Cecile RAVANEL // FRA // 375 // -611 // New to top 10
9th // Mariana SALAZAR // ESA // 312 // -674 // Moves up from 10th
10 // Veronika WILDMANN // ITA // 303 // -683 // Moves down from 9th

What Happened Here Last Year

As with this year, Mont-Sainte-Anne hosted the penultimate round of the 2017 championship. In the Elite Women’s race the field was wide open, and with Rachel Atherton suffering from an injury, it was Tracey Hannah, Myriam Nicole and Tahnée Seagrave vying for all important points before going into the final round.

Seagrave was the rider who had managed to put in a blistering time early on - ahead of Emilie Siegenthaler by 12 seconds - giving her prime position from the hot seat to watch her closest rivals try to challenge her. Atherton raced but it was clear she wasn’t at her best as she rode prudently down the track, but her strength still showed as she managed to dramatically save herself from taking a tumble on one of the fast rock sections.

Tracey Hannah was up next but her effort was cut short thanks to a rear wheel puncture. With the determination we know so well from the Australian, she kept on going and would eventually find herself in third place. It was then up to Myriam Nicole to try to topple Seagrave. Her smooth looking run looked like it could be a challenge but the splits said otherwise and she crossed the line in second place, giving the win to a jubilant Seagrave.

Views: 3,594    Faves: 4    Comments: 1

Tahnee Seagrave rode with renewed speed and confidence today and left all of the other women in her wake. Another win for the young British rider who will be one to watch for many years to come.
To the victor go the spoils. Congrats Tahnee Seagrave.

Last year the battle for the overall looked to be going down to three riders; Aaron Gwin, Troy Brosnan and Greg Minnaar. It looked like it was going to be a typical race on the mountain, that was until the heavens overhead decided to pour down what looked like the volume of a nearby lake.

Dean Lucas was the rider who managed to secure the fastest time before the rain came down torrentially, leaving the remaining 25 riders to take to a completely different track. With the track still managing to hold traction, it was hard going to find new lines let alone see what was ahead thanks to the low visibility. It would be 15 riders in when the rain became slightly less biblical and Jack Moir took full advantage, although he crossed the line four seconds back from Lucas, the crowd went wild with excitement as they waited for the upcoming rain-masters like Hart to take to the track. Troy Brosnan shaved 1.5 seconds off Moir’s time, and it was clear the following riders could start posing a real threat to Lucas. Danny Hart and Loic Bruni were up next, with Hart putting down an awe-inspiring run that saw him gain time at the lower section of the track, eventually crossing the line just shy of Lucas’s time and into second place.

It was then the turn of Greg Minnaar, but he couldn’t master the track in the tough conditions and would eventually gain a heart-sinking disqualification which would cost him dear in the fight for the title.

Aaron Gwin was the final rider to go and as he took to the track we all knew it was going to be a wild few minutes. Gwin looked to be on the ragged edge, darting in and over features to find the best grip. It wasn’t long before the splits were on and they were all showing green; Gwin just needed to get down the hill safely, but typically he rode with his all-or-nothing style to the bottom. He crossed the line with a second to spare over Lucas’s time, taking the win and adding a new page to the most amazing race runs in the history of mountain biking.

Credit: Red Bull

The crowd was electric as Gwin roared into the finish arena on what looked to be an impossible and wining run.
What a twist f fate for Aaron Gwin. After a puncture ruined his winning run last round in Lenzerheide it looked as if the weather was going to derail his plans again in Mont Sainte Anne. Gwin however was having none of it and put down one of the greatest runs of all time to do the impossible.

Previous Winners

2017 // Aaron GWIN // USA
2016 // Danny HART // GBR
2015 // Josh BRYCELAND // GBR
2014 // Sam HILL // AUS
2013 // Steve SMITH // CAN
2012 // Aaron GWIN // USA
2011 // Aaron GWIN // USA
2010 // Sam HILL // AUS *
2009 // Sam HILL // AUS
2008 // Greg MINNAAR // RSA
2007 // Sam HILL // AUS
2006 // Chris KOVARIK // AUS
2005 // Fabien BAREL // FRA
2004 // Steve PEAT // GBR
2003 // Steve PEAT // GBR
2002 // Steve PEAT // GBR
2001 // Chris KOVARIK // AUS
2000 // Fabien BAREL // FRA
1999 // Steve PEAT // GBR
1998 // Nicolas VOUILLOZ // FRA *
1997 // Corrado HERIN // ITA
1996 // Tomi MISSER // ESP
1995 // Franck ROMAN // FRA
1994 // Jurgen BENEK // GER
1993 // John TOMAC // USA
2017 // Tahnee SEAGRAVE // GBR
2016 // Rachel ATHERTON // GBR
2015 // Rachel ATHERTON // GBR
2014 // Manon CARPENTER // GBR
2013 // Emmeline RAGOT // FRA
2012 // Rachel ATHERTON // GBR
2011 // Tracy MOSELEY // GBR
2010 // Tracy MOSELEY // GBR *
2009 // Sabrina JONNIER // FRA
2008 // Rachel ATHERTON // GBR
2007 // Sabrina JONNIER // FRA
2006 // Sabrina JONNIER // FRA
2005 // Tracy MOSELEY // GBR
2004 // Sabrina JONNIER // FRA
2003 // Fionn GRIFFITHS // GBR
2002 // Anne-Caroline CHAUSSON // FRA
2001 // Sabrina JONNIER // FRA
2000 // Missy GIOVE // USA
1999 // Anne-Caroline CHAUSSON // FRA
1998 // Anne-Caroline CHAUSSON // FRA *
1997 // Missy GIOVE // USA
1996 // Leigh DONOVAN // USA
1995 // Nolveen LE CAER // FRA
1994 // Elke BRUTSAERT // USA
1993 // Missy GIOVE // USA

Note: * denotes World Championship race.

The Weather Forecast

Postcard MSA views from the heart of Quebexico.
Thursday 09 August - Practice
Some sunshine and humidity. // 26°C // 25% precipitation // wind 22km/h // 23m/h gusts

Friday 10 August - Qualifying
Lovely and sunny // 25°C // 1% precipitation // wind 17km/h // 20km/h gusts

Saturday 11 August - Finals
Some sunshine and generally nice all round // 24°C // 1% precipitation // wind 17km/h // 20km/h gusts

Weather forecast as of Monday 06 August. Live updates from Accuweather.

Watching It In Person

Italy fastest female Farina dropping into the Stevie Smith rock drop.

Good news - it’s free entry to watch all the action all weekend. Just turn up and enjoy! Don’t forget there’s also the World Cup Short-Track XC finals to watch on Friday, and the World Cup XC finals on Sunday, plus a mini enduro, kids race and parties every night.

Must Know, Must See, Must Do

Located in La Côte-de-Beaupré region, the closest town to the resort of Mont-Sainte-Anne is Beaupré. Sitting alongside the Saint Lawrence River, the surroundings are tranquil and vast. Going back in time the region was taken over by the French as part of their ‘New France’ colony in the mid 16th century as part of France’s mighty battle with Great Britain to secure rich bounty held within the New World. The name of Beaupré apparently originating from when French sailors landed decades later and remarked “Oh! le beau pré" which translates into ‘Oh! The beautiful meadow!’

When the traders established themselves the town grew, and with that so did the governing local administration. In doing so, the parish serving Beaupré was formed out of the two oldest in Quebec and it has been relishing in its history and culture ever since. With the establishment of the resort in the 20th century, winter leisure seekers flocked to the highest skiing station in the eastern part of Canada, and its use as a mountain biking location wasn’t too far behind.

There are lots of things to do to keep you entertained when you’re not enjoying watching the race or riding the local trails. There’s karting, paintballing, trekking, brewery tours, and several art galleries to wander around. There are several historical buildings to visit too, including a turn-of-the-19th-century convent that now hosts cultural exhibitions. The building harks back to the French style of architecture and is an imposing sight. There are century old churches to visit too, such as the Eglise de Saint-Joachim, and there’s La Grande Ferme, a house where you can go back in time to see what rural 19th-century life was like in the region.

Aston’s Predictions

“We have no idea what state Gwin’s thumb is in except some Insta-shots of him in the gym and a picture of his hands-free grips at the top of a mountain. Minnaar is also keeping his cards close to his chest about the state of his arm after the fracture sustained at Fort William. Anyway, if those two powerhouses are back at full strength we will see a change from both in an attempt to recover some podium respect and a final speed check before the final World Cup and World Championships.

In terms of healthy riders, it’s hard to bet against Pierron who will truck down the long and rough MSA. Vergier should have a boost he needs after sticking the win in Vallnord, and surely Shaw’s speed will graduate past qualifying?

Paul Aston
Pinkbike's World Cup Predictionator

After Tahnee's stellar performance in Andorra where she undisputedly beat Rachel Atherton on the world stage, I think her time has come and she will roll with it from now on. Atherton for the first time in years will genuinely be playing catch up. With Myriam Nicole returning to racing after an injury, Tracey Hannah will clean up the third spot, and there’ll be a huge distance between the top-3 and the rest of the field."

1 // Luca SHAW
2 // Loris VERGIER
3 // Amaury PIERRON
1 // Tahnee SEAGRAVE
2 // Rachel ATHERTON
3 // Tracey HANNAH


The Schedule

Tuesday 07 August
• 15:00-16:00 Downhill Course Walk by Broadcaster

Wednesday 08 August
• 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 09 August
• 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 10 August
• 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 // On Foot Downhill Course Inspection - Riders and Teams

Saturday 11 August
• 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

Loris Vergier gives the obligatory finish line interviews after qualifying.

Eager to get on with things, most teams are already making themselves at home in Mont-Sainte-Anne, and so too have our media crew. Although there’s no time for getting too comfortable, as Pinkbike will soon be providing you with photos epics, tech pieces, and results as they come in. We’ll also have WynTV and 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 11 August at 12:30 EDT (Elite Women coverage) and 14:00 EDT (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):

• 09:30 (w) // 11:00 (m) // Saturday // Vancouver, Canada (PDT)
• 17:30 (w) // 19:00 (m) // Saturday // London, UK (BST)
• 18:30 (w) // 20:00 (m) // Saturday // Berlin, Germany (CEST)
• 02:30 (w) // 04:00 (m) // Sunday // Sydney, Australia (AEST)
• 04:30 (w) // 06:00 (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


  • + 37
 I see in 2011 & 2012 Gwin was apparently racing for Great Britain.... thanks for that Aaron, jolly sporting of you. Cup of tea?
  • + 2
 And Troy shaved off 30 seconds from Jack Moirs time who was only 4 seconds back. #FakeMaths
  • + 10
 Ahhhh, someone updated it and ruined my post so now it won't get the pinkbike up-vote record. No fair.
  • + 3
 @bigtim: Chin up big fella. I'd join you for a cuppa myself but it's beer o'clock here
  • + 3
 @Chickenwithshovel: Since you are living in the future can you give me the winning lottery numbers please?
  • + 0
 @Boardlife69: er, your point is?
  • + 5
 @ColquhounerHooner: My point? Lets use 1st grade math my son is working on. Jack is 4 seconds behind Dean who is currently in first place. Troy is 30 seconds faster than Jack. Who should be in first place?
  • + 1
 I gave you an upvote just for the eagle eye.
  • + 1
 *hangs head in shame
Although I'm sure we can find some British heritage in him - in fact according to reliable sources the name Gwin originates from Wales ;-)
  • + 2
 @Boardlife69: perhaps, or perhaps my stupid fingers typed it wrong. Sorry :-S
  • + 1
 @Boardlife69: That is true, and the article does not say otherwise so my question remains.
  • + 1
 @ColquhounerHooner: well I guess you missed the typo then. All is good now. Nothing to see, move along.
  • + 1
 @Boardlife69: ahh, there was a typo that had suggested Troy moved into first? Time zones.... Smile
  • + 27
 5 years passed since Stevie's win. Man, what a race it was. What a finish. -We still think about you a lot Stevie! We still love you! Cheers bro.
  • + 2
 I never heard the MSA crowd go this loud since then. Go Finn! Follow the big man's steps!
  • + 1
 Hail, Hail!!
  • + 16
 1993 // John TOMAC // USA
  • + 9
 And Missy GIOVE // USA
  • + 10
 @bigtim: Missy the Missile. We'll never see another one like her again.
  • + 10
 Probably raced it on drop bars...(Tomac)
Rocking the dead piraña carcass...(Missile)

Both legends!
  • + 2
 @Boardlife69: I loved watching her race....always on the edge of control....she would either crash or win big. She would always hang off the side of her bike too.
  • + 2
 Definitely never forget the Missile. It was great seeing a bunch of female contenders in the womens class for USA. Hopefully get that going again to match our new squad on the mens side.
  • + 10
 You might see me. I'll be the race fanatic yelling with a beer or two, maybe three in my hand as the action unfolds. See you in three days MSA!!
  • + 7
 Oui, Oui! Bring it MSA! #LongLiveChainsaw
  • + 2
 Looking at that list of previous winners makes me realize i'm getting old because I have been following DH racing for a solid 25 years. I rode one of my first ever lift serviced trails back in 1993 at Hunter Mtn. in NY and it was a week after a World Cup Race. It was a lot of wide open ski trails and stuff. I was on a Fully rigid aluminum cannondale back then.
  • + 1
 your sugestion from the local guy

noctem in quebec city really good craft brew

not far from msa les beaux prés

nice place to cool down, each year we saw dh rider like aaron gwin, rachel, rat boy and the kiwi. chute jean larose 5-10 minutes by foot from msa
  • + 1
 Even thou we missed last year and all the rain, and can't make it this year so we can go to Whistler and do some Heli access biking I'm super bummed despite the alternative trip we get to take..

It's an awesome trip and place, just riding there is unlike any place I have ever rode. Plus having a campsite with a bike trail 30 ft away that takes you right to all the action is not that bad either.

See everyone there next year for Champs! (booking a campsite in February.)
  • + 3
 @joshua22 that describes me also, except that I will also have an 18 month old DH fan in a back pack as well!!!

This year it looks like it will be a bit drier!!!
  • + 1
 That's awesome, start them off young. He is the next generation of mad man flying DH.
  • + 1
 Hope RedBull TV is going to show more than the top 25 men! Do you even know how hard it is to qualify?.. and even harder now that it is only the top 60 qualifiers ( these guys already have to qualify to even be allow to race there. Not sure about the women criteria )

More difficult for the men then the women ( sorry but true ) and we get to see them all. just sayin
  • + 4
 This will be the race where I move up in the fantasy standings from my current 572,964,832th place. YA BUDDY!
  • + 1
 Anyone else wish their rank was their points? ;D
  • + 1
 All of official camping / hotels near MSA are full Frown Was thinking of sleeping in the back of my truck Friday night and then spectating Saturday. Has anyone does this before and/or have any recommendations on where to park and set up for the night?
  • + 4
 That run by gwin last year was mental!
  • + 3
 I definitely googled "penultimate"

That's what I love about this website, the learning.
  • + 1
 Since that first race in 1993 only women from either France, USA or the UK have won here. Is that true of any other track, I wonder?
  • + 3
 2015 // Josh BRYCELAND // GBR

Make Mont Saint Anne ratty again!
  • + 3
 I'd never count Gwin out, the mans a beast!
  • + 8
 I read somewhere that he's not racing this weekend, so props to you for staying so optimistic
  • + 3
 @wpplayer18: someone in the comments on vital said he met gwin in snow summit last week and he said he wouldn‘t race MSA. but nothing offical from him.
  • + 2
 not sure he's actually running this weekend, but I'm with you...watching his 2017 replay is just enough to make you think he could come up out of a hospital bed and still kill it.
  • + 1
 @striveCF15: sounds like a reliable source
  • + 1
 He is out, he is headed to Mammoth.
  • + 3
 Looking at the previous winners, wishing that Sam Hill would do dh again.
  • + 1
 Hell yeah!
  • + 8
 Raboy, Peaty and Hill should be legally obliged to race against each other once per year.
  • + 1
 @Mugen: The Masters of DH race? I like it.
  • + 9
 @Boardlife69: Wouldn't that be Wyn vs Eddie?
  • + 1
 Bummer, Gwin is officially out. YT just posted on their instagram that he's still healing.
  • + 1
 And driving to Mammoth
  • + 1
 If you're reading this and are cutting through Toronto to get to MSA, I'm willing to pay for a seat!
  • + 1
 The dude rocking the midge net is packing the Spinal Tap ‘cuc’
  • + 1
 Men's Winner: Luca Shaw, Woman's: Rachel Atherton
  • + 1
 Long long time ago a German won this race
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