Words by Dean Lucas
When it comes to all out speed on a mountain bike who is the first person that comes to mind? Would it be Sam Hill? The man that could crash and still find himself on a World Cup and World Championship podium. Maybe it’s Aaron Gwin who seemed to do the impossible more than once by winning a World Cup without a chain and winning in horrendously wet conditions while the person in second (myself) came down in much more favorable conditions.
Even Danny Hart could have his name thrown in that hat, with him winning a World Championship by almost 12 seconds! He’s shown when he’s on he’s on.
I think five years ago, these would have been the clear choices for all out speed, but now I think there’s a new kid on the block that is hard to look past and has made a real claim to get his name firmly cemented alongside some of the best to ever have done it, his name is Amaury Pierron.
The young Frenchman first busted onto the sense back in 2013 where he started his World Cup campaign as a junior, he didn’t come out of the start blocks firing on all cylinders but instead slowly built into the season with a string of mid place results, he stayed consistent but didn’t set the world on fire like he does in the present day.
I really think this is a good example of, “just because you’re not winning now doesn’t mean you won’t be winning later, so don’t give up.”
Heading into the second year in juniors Amaury knew he had a good chance to be right at the pointy end of the field and that just what he was, securing his first junior World Cup podium at the first round in South Africa. Along with that, he was also was able to sand on top of the box at Leogang and take out his first World Cup win as a junior.
As Amaury entered the elite category, again, like in the junior field, he didn’t set the world alight, but instead dished out a solid tally of consistent results that saw him land himself on Commencal 100%.
From here, the consistency continued until he was able to have his break out ride at the end of 2017 where he saw himself come away with 2nd just behind one of the greatest of all time, Aaron Gwin in first.
This got a few heads turning, including the Commencal factory team which decided to put Amaury on for the up coming 2018 season.
Going onto the first round in Croatia Amaury was setting himself up for success riding off the confidence from the past season and joining the top team, it all looked like it was going the right way.
Amaury looked like he was on for a sure podium until an unfortunate flat tire deflated his goal of being back on the podium just before the finish, he was sitting 3rd up until that point.
I seemed like this would be the only real set back from the season though as after that race Amaury was able to show is all out speed and take out his first ever win at Fort William in 2018, after this he was able to string together another two wins and along with more podiums that saw him wrap up the overall with a race to go. An impressing feat for someone that started the season out with a flat tire.
Think it shows you, it doesn’t matter how you start, what matters is how you finish.
From this point on, Amaury has shown in spectacular fashion he can push the limits past any other competitor on the hill in, you don’t have to look much further than his 2019 Les Gets race run, which I personal think is one of the best race runs of all time. You could see just by the way he pedalled out of the gate that he wanted if more than anyone else that day.
All that speed though can come with a cost, injuries are all a part of this sport and when you are pushing as hard as Amaury does things can go wrong very quick.
Going into the strange covid year that was 2020, Amaury had to overcome a new challenge of getting health again after a serious crash at a French Cup. Like in true Amaury fashion though, this didn’t seem to hold him back and he still came out swinging at the 2021 opener at Leogang see him land in 3rd place. After this though, another injury would see him have to sit out the next two round along with the 2021 world championships. Coming back, again he didn’t seem to be slowing down, with his first race back seeing right back on the podium.
He went onto finish off the season with another podium in Snowshoe, USA less than a second off the win, showing that he’s back up to his old tricks and pushing the limits of what’s possible on a mounting bike.
Now going into round one in Lourdes France he is coming in injury free and ready to battle with the world’s best! If I was a betting man and going his past performances on French soil, I think he would be a hard man to bet against.
Let’s see what unfolds come March 27th.
See you there!