Photo Epic: Track Walk - Les Gets World Cup DH 2021

Jun 30, 2021 at 13:33
by Dave Trumpore  



A familiar venue and an unfamiliar track greeted riders in Les Gets for the second round of the UCI World Cup Downhill. On race hill that for years has been synonymous with open grass corners and high speeds, often mimicking the layout of an alpine ski race, the organizers have none a near-complete 180 and designed a layout almost entirely in the trees. There are few open sections that pay tribute to the classic image of Les Gets, but they are mostly straight traverses with jumps and step-downs, not the drifting off-cambers we've come to expect here. In their place, riders will tackle some extremely steep woods, nearly all freshly cut and littered with hundreds and hundreds of roots. The surface is fresh loamy dirt that will surely be scrubbed off during the first day of training, and what lies beneath is really anyone's guess right now.

The biggest variable on top of the fresh and surely ever-changing track is the weather. Like in the previous round at Leogang, it has been raining in this region of the French Alps on a near-daily basis, and the ground is beyond saturated. It is soft and muddy and quite wet in many spots, and as soon as tires hit the dirt here there is going to be carnage. Once fast racing lines emerge, the topsoil pushed to the side and becoming rutted through the corners, the track should hopefully take shape for riders to find the speed and flow they are after. But right now, where those lines will form is anyone's guess. It might dry out a bit and be insanely fast, it may rain some more and be a sloppy mess, but regardless it will be anything but straightforward and will reward the riders who can attack with risky and creative lines and adapt on the fly, run after run, to changing conditions. Don't be surprised to see a few surprises in the finish order when the clock starts ticking in a few days' time.

Les Gets... Les Go
Les Gets... Les Go!!!

Les Gets a little damper and fresher than the ideal but beautiful all the same.
Les Gets a little damper and fresher than the ideal, but beautiful all the same.

When things start muddy and are predicted to stay muddy the spike come out and mechanics are kept busy trimming them knob by knob to each riders preference
When things start muddy and are predicted to stay muddy, the spikes come out, and mechanics are kept busy trimming them knob by knob to each rider's preference.

This will likely be the daily sight on the floor of the pits each day as the track may never fully dry
This will likely be the daily sight on the floor of the pits each day as the track may never fully dry.

Suspension service is always busy before a World Cup but today s volume leading up to the first practice session was at a level rarely seen.
Suspension service is always busy before a World Cup, but today's volume leading up to the first practice session was at a level rarely seen.

It s the details that count when looking for that little extra love in the suspension tuning department
It's the details that count when looking for that little extra love in the suspension tuning department

John Hall getting Aaron s bike ready to slow down to go fast.
John Hall getting Aaron's bike ready to slow down to go fast.

Dakota Norton is feeling fine after a couple of weeks bombing the Portes De Soleil classics to get used to the French Alpine riding.
Dakota Norton is feeling fine after a couple of weeks bombing the Portes De Soleil classics to get used to the French Alpine riding.

Big views dropping into a huge machine-cut first berm.
Big views dropping into a huge machine-cut first berm.

Jamie Edmondson pokes a tentative head out the gate after a tough race in Austria to start his season.
Jamie Edmondson pokes a tentative head out the gate after a tough race in Austria to start his season.

The start is one of the only sections reminiscent of previous track in Les Gets out in the open on the grassy ski hill
The start is one of the only sections reminiscent of the previous track in Les Gets, out in the open on the grassy ski hill

An all new start beginning across and some way above on the hill from the P2V invitational.
An all-new start, beginning across and some way above on the hill from the P2V invitational.

Eyeing up the first of many big gaps that come at riders right out of the gate
Eyeing up the first of many big gaps that come at riders right out of the gate.

A large step down into a second very fresh and soft berm.
A large step down into a second very fresh and soft berm.

The start is a bit basic and flat out but once riders reach the woods things get spicy in a hurry
The start is a bit basic and flat out, but once riders reach the woods things get spicy in a hurry.

Fresh as... A brand new track nearly top tp bottom has been fresh cut in Les Gets.
Fresh as... A brand new track nearly top to bottom has been fresh cut in Les Gets.

Nina Hofmann scopes the first of several road gaps up top.
Nina Hofmann scopes the first of several road gaps up top.

These will me the nemesis of many a rider this week in Les Gets
These will be the nemesis of many a rider this week in Les Gets.

Old school steep off camber and raw
Old school, steep, off-camber, and raw.

atcha out for the French Anaconda know to hide out right on the racing line
Watch out for the French Anaconda know to hide out right on the racing line.

One of the rare sections that look man made and manicured
One of the rare sections that looks manmade and manicured.

A couple of normal-sized Giants make their assessment of the fearsome final steeps.
A couple of normal-sized Giants make their assessment of the fearsome final steeps.

3rd place here last time around Laurie will only be looking to up the ante.
3rd place here last time around, Laurie will only be looking to up the ante.

Natural off-camber heather and loam sections high up due to get thoroughly ripped up in the morning.
Natural, off-camber heather and loam sections high up, due to be thoroughly ripped up in the morning.

Deep forest for a good 80 of this fresh track.
Deep forest for a good 80% of this fresh track.

Luca Shaw still awaits his inaugral win - could this be a track to suit his tastes
Luca Shaw still awaits his inaugural win - could this be a track to suit his tastes?

The Goat out for a few parallel turns on this steep black run.
The Goat out for a few parallel turns on this steep black run.

Don t let the camera fool you. This section is extremely steep and fresh cut with roots a plenty hidden just below the surface
Don't let the camera fool you. This section is extremely steep and fresh-cut with roots a plenty hidden just below the surface.

Lots of lines none obviously better than the other and none a particularly safe bet either
Lots of lines, none obviously better than the other and none a particularly safe bet either.

A rare moment of calm
Another rare moment of calm.

Mind the off camber roots as you bomb into the steep woods
Mind the off-camber roots as you bomb into the steep woods.

Steep slick and no obvious direct line to carry speed. It will be interesting to see how these fresh sections cut up and cut on over the first day of practice
Steep, slick, and no obvious direct line to carry speed. It will be interesting to see how these fresh sections cut up and cut on over the first day of practice.

Slick and pretty damn nasty even before any tyres have touched the ground.
Slick and pretty damn nasty, even before any tyres have touched the ground.

Cameras have a way of flattening trails out so we will let the skip marks from peoples feet do the talking here. The last section of woods is an extremely steep slip and slide.
Cameras have a way of flattening trails out so we will let the skip marks from people's feet do the talking here. The last section of woods is an extremely steep slip and slide.

Roots on roots on roots. There is almost no section of woods not littered with them
Roots on roots on roots. There is almost no section of woods not littered with them.

A huge jump out of the woods but only manageable if riders can carry speed through the steep muddy off camber above
A huge jump out of the woods is only manageable if riders can carry speed through the steep muddy off-camber above.

The new finish section is a bit basic in comparison to the road gaps creek jumps steps downs and corners of years gone by.
The new finish section is a bit basic in comparison to the road gaps, creek jumps, steps downs, and corners of years gone by.

Spin it to win. Kade getting limber for first rides tomorrow.
Spin it to win. Kade getting limber for first rides tomorrow.



30 Comments

  • 105 0
 @dave trumpore - please take of the same photos after the race for comparison. Would love to see how the track evolves.
  • 27 2
 I would like to see Luca win one. He's was on such a good pace a couple years ago.
  • 23 0
 Never understimate an old man with treking poles
  • 21 0
 I just hope they all have fun and nobody gets seriously injured this coming weekend.
  • 19 1
 If you ride Maxxis why would you cut down Wetscreams when you can just run the Shorty ?
  • 2 0
 Ramps for rolling speed
  • 2 0
 Wetscream is narrow isn't it? perhaps to slice through the mud better?
  • 15 0
 Mind those guys don't do the same sport as 99% of us
  • 2 0
 @mtbforlife4: yeah this is the reason, I saw it on an interview about Troy's bike from round one where he had cut wetscreams on, they come up a bit narrower that the shorty so cut into the mud a bit better, plus a cut wetscream has bigger side nobs than the shorty.
  • 2 0
 @pasteque51: Good point.
  • 11 0
 The dh gods have answered
  • 3 0
 YAAAAS!
  • 5 0
 13th pic from top. Acid house party
  • 4 0
 Should have called themselves the Canyon [FSHN PLCE]
  • 3 2
 Why do the spikes come out of the tires when the conditions are muddy? What is the purpose of those "spikes" anyway?
  • 6 1
 The longer the spikes the more likely they are to hold and keep mud stuck on the tire, making them slick and slippy. However the tread pattern of a mud tire is better than a dry tire so they cut them down so they have a good tread pattern but not long spikes Smile
  • 11 0
 @ekduerden: also the full length spikes can fold over when cornering on hardpack and feel less predictable on roots and rocks
  • 6 0
 @NicoOfner: So what are the purpose of those "spikes"? Why have them on the tire at all? Is it left over from manufacturing? I'm not trolling, I'm honestly just curious.
  • 3 0
 @earache: For survival in the worst conditions possible.
  • 12 0
 @earache: mud tyres are known as "spikes" because of the tall spiky tread designs.
For deep mud with little rock, root or hard pack the full spike will grip better but often conditions are mixed so cutting them down to individual preferences gives a better all round tyre as the shorter knobs will than be better.
  • 1 4
 Rotating mass.
  • 1 0
 @NicoOfner: why not just run a shorty though? Any world cup pros able to explain why the cut down wetscream is preferable to a shorty?
  • 3 0
 @bthomson84: wet scream or other true mud tires are skinnier than a shorty. This makes them more like a pizza cutter and increases bite. They are like cheating in correct conditions. They are cut down to roll faster and not squirm on harder surfaces.
  • 4 0
 to cut up the course and get rid of the grass
  • 1 0
 @bthomson84: they seem to be running the wetscream mostly in the rear. Could be better clearing or narrower tire for better clearance in the frame.
Honestly don't know what else it could be
  • 1 1
 @bthomson84: simply a cut wetscream will still give better grip in the mud and clear mud better than a shorty.
But tbh I think the wetscream is really outdated old tyre design reminiscent of those Michelin dh tyres from 90's. Hardly see anyone running wetscream's unless sponsored by them, Schwalbe Dirty Dan is a much better tyre.
I'm not a fan of the original shorty either but the new version seems a better tread pattern
  • 2 0
 Spin to win!
  • 1 0
 if I only had these pics to go by i'd say they need more rocks
  • 1 0
 Yeah! Looks sick!
  • 6 5
 Kade's such a badass

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