Your Essential Guide to Lourdes - World Cup DH 2017

Apr 25, 2017 at 14:53
by Fraktiv  
20,736,000 seconds
345,600 minutes
5760 hours
240 days

However you slice it, we've waited what seems like forever for the World Cup to return.
We can't wait until racing kicks off again this weekend.

After being almost 3 seconds up at the last split it was a shocker to everyone to see Loic cross the line more than 7 seconds behind Gwinn.

How we’ve managed to survive without the Formula 1 of mountain biking for so long is mind-boggling, but one thing’s for sure; this weekend’s action in Lourdes is going to throw up all sorts of surprises for riders and fans alike.

The 2017 season opener in the miracle-making town in the foothills of the French Pyrenees will put to rest the big questions around how the well that pre-season training and testing had worked out, how new riders and new teams have got on with their new set-ups, and last but not least, whether all if not most of the teams have adopted the bigger wheels, and if so, how they’ll do against the 650b crew.

The track

Corner number one. It gets wild from here on out.

The scary death chute with it s horrendous-to-ride flat shelves half way down.
Rocks. Lourdes has just about as many of them as it does rosary beads. And they all want to shred tires.

The Pic du Jer is ultrafast, technical and full of surprises. It's seen many victims under its feet, with many riders crashing out and retiring due to injury even before finals had a chance to get underway.

It's the third consecutive year at Lourdes and with the track being next door to a town with a population of around 15,000 and the global centre of the Marian pilgrimage, its transport links are pretty good, meaning there's always a healthy and often rowdy crowd for the race weekend. Spectator entry is what are you waiting for?

As for the track itself, it's steep and slippery, and when it rains (which it often does a lot of in April) you can amplify that steep and slipperiness ten times over. The top section is full of rock-infested berms and then onto a fast and big jump section. Once riders have had time to take their first breath, they're into the now famous steep section where these past two years we've seen all sorts of creative lines being taken. There are even more jumps after that, and the following wooded section provides no shelter, with exposed roots being just as slippery as the rock sections earlier on. Lower down the track opens up, giving riders even more line choice before it closes back up again and becomes an off-camber nightmare. A bridge-sender at the end of the track sees riders shoot into the finish line and the cheering crowd.

What happened last year?

Despite only having qualified in 10th spot, Aaron Gwin took the top step in last year’s final much to the home crowd's disappointment. Gwin's run was insanely good and let's not forget it was his first UCI-level outing on his YT Tues, and as we know that partnership turned out quite nicely for them both.

Naturally, the French crowd had come to see their most gifted homegrown talent take the win, but it wasn’t to be Loic Bruni’s day even though he had qualified first and was therefore the last man down the track come race day. As the video below shows, Bruni had a wild run, eventually crashing out spectacularly in the woods, but he quickly got back on his bike and crossed the finish line, muddy and in 14th place.

However, the local crowd can’t have been too disappointed after seeing Frenchman Amaury Pierron take fifth, and let’s not forget Stevie Smith taking second spot, just ahead of Danny Hart and Troy Brosnan.

Welcome to the podium Amaury Pierron.

Over to the Elite Women's race and we were seeing a sign of things to come when Rachel Atherton took the win last year here. However, it's worth remembering that Tahnee Seagrave had qualified first but with the track conditions having dried up overnight, Atherton was able to take advantage over Seagrave who eventually crossed the finish line 4.4 seconds in second place behind Atherton.

The weather forecast

WC R1 Lourdes Weather 2017

The fans

They clearly love Loic. And they appear to enjoy dressing up as Smurfs. We can wholly understand the former but we're struggling to get our head around the latter.

Logic s fans will stand by him no matter what and he was greeted at the finish line by a hero s welcome.
Images from Lourdes DH finals 2016

Aston's Predictions

WC R1 Lourdes Predictions 2017

bigquotesWe're in for one hell of a showdown this weekend. In all contending fields it appears that everyone is fit, strong, healthy, and on top form. There's also the strong chance that we'll see some big wheelers steamrolling the hillside. Will that give some riders the extra seconds they need to jump to the top step, leaving faster riding but disadvantaged rollers in their wake?

Rachel Atherton won't have been slacking during the winter but the fish that were nibbling at her heels last season have had nearly seven months to iron out any weaknesses and work out how to catch the unstoppable Atherton. Tahnee qualified first here last year and finished second in the final. I have her down to build on that and take her first Elite-level World Cup win, with Atherton second and Myriam Nicole in third. Two years ago in Lourdes was the last time Rachel didn't win a race...

In the Elite Men's field, we're going to see a sacred war. The third consecutive year this slippery and hol(e)y track will be raced, everyone knows the score before they descend on-site. Aaron Gwin has been injured, singing, playing guitar and making inspirational YouTube videos all winter, but don't that let you think he's been avoiding the gym. Taking last year's results in hand, Danny Hart is the fastest man in the world right now, and has been training at his very own bike park all winter, and possibly prays to the lesser known religion of Summum, oversized halos. Loic Bruni was up by 1.5 at the second split last year, before berm destruction laid him down - the Pope of Downhill has his country on his side, but Gwin has God. It's going to be wild!
Paul Aston - Pinkbike's World Cup Crystal Ball Gazer

Time to tune in

Pinkbike will be providing you the best daily coverage from our awesome team of photographers and tech gurus in Lourdes as soon as the teams begin to turn up from Wednesday. Undoubtedly there'll be plenty of tech First Looks to supplement our Photo Epics from Track Walk on Thursday, Practice on Friday, Qualifying on Saturday and Finals on Sunday.

If you want to tune to the live timing, Pinkbike will be posting them on the front page for Practice, Qualifying, and Finals. A full run down of the programme is downloadable here. For the finals you can also watch the action live on Red Bull TV from 13:00 local CEST (12:00 BST // 04:00 PDT // 07:00 EDT).

Previous podiums

Rachel Atherton started off another year with a bang. Tahnee Seagrave has made great strides forward and took second. Manon Carpenter was third followed by Hannah and Siegenthaler.

Elite Men – 2016

1st // Aaron GWIN // 03:09.131
2nd // Steve SMITH // 03:11.602
3rd // Danny HART // 03:11.87

Elite Women – 2016

1st // Rachel ATHERTON // 03:50.383
2nd // Tahnee SEAGRAVE // 03:54.855
3rd // Manon CARPENTER // 04:00.644

Elite Men – 2015

1st // Aaron GWIN // 02:58.691
2nd // Loic BRUNI // 03:02.646
3rd // Mike JONES // 03:05.096

Elite Women – 2015

1st // Emmeline RAGOT // 03:32.625
2nd // Rachel ATHERTON // 03:34.685
3rd // Myriam NICOLE // 03:35.133

MENTIONS: @fraktiv / @natedh9 / @davetrumpore / @mdelorme / @YTIndustries / @trek / @paulaston / @ms-racing2 / @Specialized / @redbullbike

Author Info:
fraktiv avatar

Member since May 14, 2008
227 articles

  • 212 9
 Sad that Stevie Smith won't be able to try for the top step this year after his second last year. RIP Chainsaw.
  • 51 7
 Kinda lame to mention the guy, yet post a podium photo below where he's cut out of the frame! RIP Chainsaw
  • 8 17
flag WAKIdesigns (Apr 27, 2017 at 11:08) (Below Threshold)
 @dionne44: so the photo was cropped? Didn't know Alex Jones comments on Pinkbike... so much tact mate. Is this how you pay respect to Stevie - by building up cheap online outrage?
  • 4 1
 @WAKIdesigns: I agree that it's a somewhat strange choice to mention Stevie's 2nd place and then crop him out of the photo...but not as strange as the Pinkbike comment section's very own outrage machine calling out a pretty benign observation as Alex Jonesish.
  • 9 9
 @Vaclav: even IF the photo was cropped out, wouldn't it cross some dumb fk mind that maybe it was a sensible thing to do? But no, let's spot something to be outraged about and then toss shit at Pinkbike as an evil force, making yourself into a compassionate hero calling out a giant.

We all miss Stevie, and express it in our own ways but this is horse shit.

No worries no more from me in this topic... deal with it with your neg props, that's as much as you can do about me, or rather your own issues.
  • 9 1
 Cropping the photo? The photo was taken before Steve Smith passed away. It was taken in the moment to celebrate Pierron's podium which was the point of its placement in the article.
  • 2 1
 Post whatever everyone wants to hear and reap in the upvotes. Good job.
  • 12 0
 @WAKIdesigns: You must realize that you are the only person here "building up cheap online outrage." Nobody is looking to be a compassionate hero or be outraged at all besides you...or talking shit about Pinkbike.

One dude said it was "kinda lame," I said "somewhat strange" and you have come back with a very manufactured piece of personal outrage in the exact way that you have accused others of manufacturing outrage.

"We all miss Stevie, and express it in our own ways but this is horse shit." What is? What are you even talking about??
  • 2 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Nope, didn't think it was cropped. Just the wrong photo to display given the caption. An oversight. But a fair observation I thought. Not hating on pinkbike. Its my homepage, love the site. As a Canadian, BC downhill rider/racer I was a huge fan of Stevie. I don't even know where to begin with your comments.
  • 89 1
 we all know what we are really waiting for, in order to declare the season officially open: Claudio's preview is much needed, right now.
  • 5 0
 + Wyn TV!
  • 3 1
 and Pinkbike coverage
  • 55 2
 Bring on the late nights swearing at the redbull player! Hopefully I dont put my hand into the ceiling fan jumping with excitement this time.
  • 29 1
 Excitement at the close racing or at the fact that the video player was finally working?
  • 7 6
 Buy an apple tv box, hd, no buffering win win
  • 3 1
 Nah I'm gonna try it on the Xbox redbull app for the first time
  • 2 2
 @jimmythehat: or kodi. Wait, no buffering? Hows that?
  • 1 1
 @velociraptor-clintthrust: My kids PS4 works great.
  • 2 1
 We can't even get redbull TV on PS4 in aus for some reason. Either way it depends on the internet I guess, it's been good enough to stream the supercross so should be all good
  • 1 1
 @velociraptor-clintthrust: Another way that always works is connecting my laptop to tv with hdmi cable
  • 35 8
  • 4 3
 Is that sarcasm?
  • 27 2
  • 10 1
 I really like these guides, sick job on these!! Big Grin
Is the picture from the Weather Forecast available for download somewhere?? Smile
  • 10 1
 Claudio Track preview on ski this year ?
There is snow on top this morning ????
  • 6 1
 Does anyone know, if this track is open to the public? I'm down that way (Hossegor) in a couple months, would be pretty cool to ride in Lourdes.
  • 7 1
 Yes its usually open to the public. When I was there last August it was closed for some maintenance, but it was only the first couple of turns, and they where happy for us to ride the rest of the track. Defo worth a visit, good one to hit up on the way back home from Valnord and Les Angles. Its a fooking wild trail!
  • 2 0
 @hookso: Thanks buddy, couple more questions, did you take the funicular tram up with your bikes in, and do you know if DH bikes are available to rent in town? YOLO, and I know this would be well worth the trip.
  • 2 0
 @zzRider: Yeah you take your bikes up on the funicular. It only goes 4 times an hour but there is loads of space. Not sure about hire bikes, there defo isn't a hire place by the funicular station. Lourdes isn't exactly a typical bike park/ski town either! So you probably won't be able to hire a decent bike round there.
  • 1 0
 @hookso: Thanks. tup
  • 7 0
 Where is Claudio's course preview?
  • 8 1
 Give him a chance. He's been filming it this morning!
  • 8 0
 He posted a picture from the start hut in snow two hours ago.
  • 7 0
 @fraktiv: Sorry for losing my patience here. Waiting for this to drop for almost half a year, in UCI terms a felt decade for me.
  • 7 0
 @HansvonStoffeln: No worries! I completely understand. Claudio and Laurie Greenland were seen at the bottom of the track about an hour ago so can't be long now...
  • 1 0
 @fraktiv: comeoncomeoncomeoncomeon COME ON! Give me some Wyn TV too!!!
  • 2 0
 @fraktiv: Laurie darkhorse for the win.
  • 2 0
 Refresh, Refresh, Refresh
  • 5 1
 Thanks the Lourd the World Cup is back
  • 3 1
 will they run 29'er or fat bike.... DH you have changed Smile Smile Smile
  • 1 1
 Snow! Hopefully its dried up by the weekend...surely not though?
  • 1 0
 @russthedog: weather forecast tells us the area will warm up over the weekend. No snow-race this time...
  • 1 1
 Nice! It wouldnt be dh without nasty conditions. Loooooooorrrrdddzzzzzz!!!
  • 3 0
 Wondering why they're dressing as smurfs given it is a cartoon from Belgium...?
  • 4 0
 You just need a bit of red to have the colors of the french flag.
  • 2 0
 They probably drink a lot of beer too.
  • 4 1
 Looking at that thumbnail of Bruni's run you realise how short that Demo of his is.
  • 2 1
 Notice how the rear shock is near bottomed? I don't think you noticed that.
  • 3 1
 Aston needs to take those dark glasses off, we all know Hart attack and Rach are going to send it this weekend
  • 5 5
 This is what pinkbike is all about! No new Manufacturing standards, not anything about carbon fiber ,not a damn thing at all, not even reviews. Its the best announcers ever! And the best Racers ever!
  • 7 6
 Yeah, no innovation for anyone!! No news for 8 months in the off season!! Everyone back to full rigids and cantilevers!!
1999 rules!!!
This is exactly not what Pinkbike is "all about".
  • 2 2
 I was hoping to read some more news about new companies releasing new carbon wheels at Lourdes! I heard someone has 27 spoke wheels coming out. It's 14 on the drive side and 13 on the non drive side to even up spoke tension.
  • 3 0
 What fish were nibbling at Rach? She plowed the field
  • 4 0
  • 1 0
 Does anyone know of an end-of-year recap from last year? I have a buddy I'm trying to get into the sport and want to get him caught up to speed on the drama.
  • 6 5
 ..just thinking about that guy who wrote in the past ''this year I'm more excited to wait for the ews races'' w a t???
  • 3 0
 Good Lourdes here we go!
  • 1 2
 You have the tune in times wrong. RedBullTV starts stream with the women's DH finals at 13:00 (1 pm) CEST. which translates to 12 BST, 4 PDT and 7 EDT. // Men's DH Finals two hours later.
  • 2 0
 Squeeeeeeeeal! Next hype level up @ Claudio course preview!
  • 11 11
 Please no more comparisons to F1, it's boring, full of wankers and is a snooze fest. DH is the opposite!
  • 4 3
 It was comparable because like F1, World Cup DH is the elite division of it's class...

Personally I've enjoyed watching the F1 for many years just like I've enjoyed watching the UCI DH World Cup for many years...

Each to their own I guess... Smile

Can't wait for the 2017 World Cup DH season to start!
  • 1 0
 You switched the times of Emmilie Ragot and Rachel
  • 1 0
 FINAAAAALYYYY!!!!!!! all the year waiting for this!!!!
  • 1 0
 well i guess bruni, hart, gwin rachel, tanee, mannon
  • 1 0
 I suspect the Smurfs are the 'Les Bleus' ?
  • 1 0
 Aston must not be a 29er fan... doesn't think they will win.
  • 2 0
 Re-read what he said about Danny Hart and oversized halos...
  • 2 2
 I think it should say elite women, not elite woman, in the world cup prediction bit
  • 5 5
 They failed to mention that nobody on anything other than 29" wheels has a chance in hell...
  • 2 0
 @headshot there was mention of Danny Hart on a 29er Summum, at least that's how I interpret "Danny Hart...possibly prays to the lesser known religion of Summum, oversized halos."
  • 1 1
 Hey Pink Bike you didn't get the timing right. Broadcasts start at 13 CEST (12 BST)
  • 1 1
 "How we’ve managed to survive without the Formula 1 of mountain biking for so long is mind-bottling*"

  • 1 0
 Starting to feel that body is ready!!!
  • 1 0
 So excited DH season is upon us again!
  • 3 6
 Seems like a certain someone can't handle criticism. What a softie.
  • 5 0
 Seems like a certain someone's opened up a PB account just to be a troll... What a twat.
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