Photo Epic: French Lines - Lourdes DH World Cup 2022

Mar 25, 2022 at 18:06
by Andy Vathis  



Welcome back to Lourdes, the old French city nestled in the foothills of the Pyrenees just a couple hours from Toulouse. It’s been a long five years since the last time the funicular was filled beyond capacity, taxiing riders to the top of what is considered to be one of the best courses the circuit has seen. It’s steep and relentless as riders must absorb hit after hit at top speeds.

The final back in 2017 was one to remember, especially once the weather decided to turn it up a notch. This year, however, the sun has been playing favourites and so far, it’s hung out with us most. The early summer-like forecast is a nice bonus considering it’s still March. That being said, the ideal track conditions will not translate into an easy going weekend. The course is a brutal one from start to finish - a rude awakening for the first test of the year.

Long lift lines, meaning 1.5 hours long, put a massive damper of the day, unfortunately. The funicular isn’t the most efficient way to transit 100 plus riders and staff up the hill. Feeling the stress of very limited laps, many riders opted to hike sections while a few had sizeable spills trying to learn each section quick. Still, the top contenders kept their cool and proceeded to pick up from where they left off last year. Extended practice ended with Myriam Nicole and Finn Iles going fastest in the TT.

The weather seems to be holding just a little longer here. If history repeats itself, the next few days are going to be mental.

Blessed with a stint of summer weather this early on in the season is a very nice suprise.
Blessed with a stint of summer weather this early on in the season is a very nice surprise.

Lourdes fortress standing tall in the middle of the city.
Lourdes' fortress standing tall in the middle of the city.

Lourdes makes a return to the downhill World Cup circuit for the first time since 2017.

The haze build over the afternoon and wildfires on the mountains opposite likely didn t help.
The haze built over the afternoon and wildfires on the mountains opposite likely didn't help.

AP scary fast from the off today.
AP: scary fast from the off today.

The reigning World Cup overall winner Vali Hoell excited to get the action underway here in Lourdes.

Last one to make the cut for the train. Nina s earned that spot.
Last one to make the cut for the train. Nina's earned that spot.

Warm ups at the Mondraker pits this am.
Warm ups at the Mondraker pits this AM.

Lots of waiting around as the furnicular line was massive. Sometimes close to 1.5 hours of idle time.
Lots of waiting around as the furnicular line was massive. Sometimes close to 1.5 hours of idle time.

Finally up top the precious laps began to roll.
Finally up top, the precious laps began to roll.

Tahnee Seagrave getting stuck into her first lap under blue skies.
Tahnee Seagrave getting stuck into her first lap under blue skies.

Brook MacDonald out of the gate and under the arches.
Brook Macdonald out of the gate and under the arches.

Vali Holl was up to speed in no time.
Vali Hoell was up to speed in no time.

Phil Atwill wasting no time airing into the bedrock.
Phil Atwill wasting no time airing into the bedrock.

Benoit Coulanges aiming to start 2022 like he ended 21 comfortably inside the top 10.
Benoit Coulanges aiming to start 2022 like he ended '21, comfortably inside the top 10.

David Trummer cutting hit own rut in the open.
David Trummer cutting hit own rut in the open.

Angel Suarez had an amazing 2022 season and will be wanting to build on that this year.

Myriam Nicole banking it over. She certainly looked like the one to beat today.

Iles is on it just like he ended his season out in Snowshoe. Top TT session this afternoon for the Canadian.
Iles is on it, just like he ended his season out in Snowshoe. Top TT session this afternoon for the Canadian.

Mark Wallace getting angry with turn after the wall section.
Mark Wallace getting angry with the turn after the wall section.

Luca Shaw warp speed aboard his new ride.
Luca Shaw warp speed aboard his new ride.

Andreas Kolb steezing at speed through the forest traverse.
Andreas Kolb steezing at speed through the forest traverse.

Jackson Goldstone weaving his way through the lower forest stripes and all. He ll be the one to catch this season.
Jackson Goldstone weaving his way through the lower forest, stripes and all. He'll be the one to catch this season.

Greg Minnaar bracing for the harsh landing off the rock drop in the lower woods.
Greg Minnaar bracing for the harsh landing off the rock drop in the lower woods.

Oisin O Callaghan was fast and stylish as ever starting his first year in elites.
Oisin O'Callaghan was fast and stylish as ever starting his first year in elites.

Kade Edwards deciding one wheel is better than two in one of the open sections of track.

Ronan Dunne ripping through one of the fresh loamy sections in the middle of the track.

Loic Bruni has never won a World Cup on French soil. Can he break the curse in Holy Lourdes
Loic Bruni has never won a World Cup on French soil. Can he break the curse in Holy Lourdes?

Marine Cabirou will hope to get back to winning ways here in Lourdes.

Dakotah Norton looks comfortable and confident on his new Intense prototype.

One of the many French favourites for the win this weekend.

Thibaut Daprela will be looking to turn that 2 into a 1 this weekend.

Jacob Dickson aboard his new Mondraker hig above town.
Jacob Dickson aboard his new Mondraker high above town.

Number two in timed training today and of course a main contender for the French win monsieur Vergier.
Number two in timed training today and of course a main contender for the French win, monsieur Vergier.

Amaury Pierron was making quick work of the few laps he was able to do today.
Amaury Pierron was making quick work of the few laps he was able to do today.

You can always rely on Brendan Fairclough to turn the style up a notch.

Lourdes is one rampant kind of race track.
Lourdes is one rampant kind of race track. The real fun starts tomorrow.







Pinkbike Fantasy Downhill League in Association with Specialized




27 Comments

  • 40 0
 #LongLiveChainsaw
  • 33 0
 Let's fucking go Finn!
  • 2 0
 FINN FTW BABY!!!
  • 2 0
 gotta feeling he's gonna be up there....love to see him take a win.
  • 12 0
 Wow... these pictures are incredible!
  • 7 0
 Some incredible photos, as already mentioned.

Question for the Pinkbike team if anyone is out there, not sure if this has been done before, but any thoughts to taking the best photos from the season - not it for having to pick what's out - and publishing a coffee table photo book to help fund the racing team / Henry for next season? Just make sure it's available for sale outside of Squamish! Actually, if you decided to do something like that I'm sure I wouldn't be alone in saying I'd happily pre-order to help fund the team this year.
  • 6 1
 Awesome photos. Every update i keep worrying i will hear that the intense team has had a shock rocker fail at the middle pivot. So it is good to see it is surviving use in anger. Still worried down the stretch. Hope my concerns are unfounded.
  • 1 1
 I hear ya!
  • 8 2
 It’s the time of the year again!
  • 5 0
 Beautiful gallery, thank you to all the photographers!
  • 5 0
 Agreed. Thank you to the photographers.
  • 4 0
 is it possible to take a photo of Dak where he's not doing something insanely steezy?
  • 1 0
 No.
  • 5 1
 I wonder how many of the riders make fantasy teams.
  • 4 0
 That pic of Mark Wallace is fierce.
  • 3 0
 These are so good. Video is better from an action stand point but these look into the rider's souls.
  • 2 0
 So Angel had a good 2022... Future knowledge. Time to update the fantasy team
  • 1 0
 Haven't seen any clips of Neko out on course, not in any videos, or photos, hoping to see it in action before the next frameworks video
  • 1 0
 Damn Zlatan Ibrahimović is so versatile. Football, downhill... what's next?
  • 1 0
 "Angel Suarez had an amazing 2022 season and will be wanting to build on that this year." changes fantasy team quickly Wink
  • 1 0
 These guys and gals are incredible. Great photos too. Glad racing is back.
  • 1 1
 I haven’t seen a single atherton bike photo in any media from the last few days?..
  • 6 0
 There's literally a picture of Andreas Kolb riding one about half way up the page..
  • 3 5
 I for one, think it's great that they are allowed to wear lycra again. I mean it's a touch baggier in the crotchal region, but other than that - much the same......sheesh. At least it's fast
  • 1 0
 Last picture - new Conti tire?
  • 2 0
 Is that the new Conti Aggratherton?
  • 1 0
 Where's Gwin?





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