Return of the Holy Roller: Track Walk - Lourdes DH World Cup 2016

Apr 7, 2016 at 13:57
by Matthew DeLorme  
So here were are back in Lourdes, that wonderfully weird little holy town in the French Pyrenees. After what seems like the longest of off-seasons, we are at the start of a new year of World Cup. There has been a lot of shuffling about this year, and things are looking quite fresh and exciting. World Champ Loic Bruni is on a new bike this season, as is World Cup Champ Aaron Gwin. The Athertons have switched to Trek, Bulldog, Sam Dale, and Wyn are on GT, and there are a bunch of other changes we noticed as we took our first foray into the pits. We will get more into the details as the weekend unfolds.

The track here at Lourdes is a real gem - one of our favorites from last year, the rock-studded beast snakes down the Pic du Jer in brutal fashion. Aaron Gwin made it down last year in just under three minutes. So, the big question is, will that time come down? If it does, who will take it down? Too early to tell. Get stoked. It's coming.

The Pic du Jer framed by the one thing Lourdes has in spades. Holy symbols.
The Pic du Jer framed by the one thing Lourdes has in spades: holy symbols.

They have everything a pilgrim needs here on the side streets of Lourdes.
They have everything a pilgrim needs here on the side streets.

One of Lourdes famous candlelit processions... such enormous crowds and they happen every day.
One of Lourdes' famous candlelit processions... such enormous crowds and they happen every day.

Warner topping up the Instagram.
Rob Warner topping up the Instagram.

Ready set... course preview
Ready, set... course preview!

SRAM downsized their rig this year because of the tight pit spaces here at Lourdes. They ve played a good game of Tetris here to make it all fit.
SRAM downsized their rig this year because of the tight pit spaces here at Lourdes. They've played a good game of Tetris here to make it all fit.

She s shaping up. World Cup numero uno is about to begin and we couldn t be more excited.
She's shaping up. World Cup numero uno is about to begin, and we couldn't be more excited.

Some pits have incredibly easy access to fresh eggs for breakfast if they are crafty.
Some pits have incredibly easy access to fresh eggs for breakfast if they are crafty.

It s nice to see team dinners in the pits once again.
It's nice to see team dinners in the pits once again.

Fresh Mondraker frames looking for some finishing touches.
Fresh Mondraker frames looking for some finishing touches.

The all new Gwinning machine on it s way to completion at the YT mob pit.
The all new Gwinning machine on its way to completion at the YT mob pit.

Big changes for both these men. Hopefully the next couple of days give us a sense of where they are at before Sunday.
Big changes for both these men. Hopefully the next couple of days give us a sense of where they are at before Sunday.

Rocks. Lourdes has just about as many of them as it does rosary beads. And they all want to shred tires.
Rocks. Lourdes has just about as many of them as it does rosary beads. And they all want to shred tires.

Fitness fitness. It will be needed to keep speed up on this top traverse section.
Fitness, fitness. It will be needed to keep speed up on this top traverse section.

The scary death chute with it s horrendous-to-ride flat shelves half way down.
The 'scary death chute' with its horrendous-to-ride flat shelves half way down.

Lourdes track walk.

And there lies the problem with Lourdes... Jagged dragons teeth. Everywhere.
And there lies the problem with Lourdes... Jagged dragon's teeth. Everywhere.

Nathan Hughes shows how a media World Cup lunch break is done.
Nathan Hughes shows how a media World Cup lunch break is done.

The Bulldog was looking all smiles today.
The Bulldog was looking all smiles today.

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

Ratty and Peaty sizing up the top rock garden.
Ratty and Peaty sizing up the top rock garden.

Greenland striding out in his new Mondraker colours.
Laurie Greenland striding out in his new Mondraker colours.

Stevie Smith is back and healthy and looking forward to cutting up this track.
Stevie Smith is back and healthy, and looking forward to cutting up this track.

New Year new team. FMD racing will be taking to the track on new rigs tomorrow.
New Year, new team. FMD racing will be taking to the track on new rigs tomorrow.

This man was on it last year. Will the freeracer be making more improvements this season
This man was on it last year. Will the freeracer be making more improvements this season?

Evan Warner was starting off the year with fresh notes in the SRAM pits.
Evan Warner was starting off the year with fresh notes in the SRAM pits.

The illusive and highly mysterious number one plate all wrapped in plastic for safe keeping.
The elusive and highly mysterious number one plate, all wrapped in plastic for safe keeping.

Thirion s Commencal V4 after the course preview. That soil looks quite horrifically sticky.
Thirion's Commencal V4 after the course preview. That soil looks quite horrifically sticky.

Lourdes World Cup

Pom Pon checking to see who s lean and mean coming out of the long off-season.
Pom Pon checking to see who's lean and mean coming out of the long off-season.

The Dread Pirate Rat might be enjoying the body fat test. Pleasure or pain
The Dread Pirate Rat might be enjoying the body fat test. Pleasure, or pain?

Greg Minnaar s bike getting the final touches before she takes to the mud and rocks tomorrow.
Greg Minnaar's bike getting the final touches before she takes to the mud and rocks tomorrow.

No caption needed really.
No caption needed really.

After breaking a bunch of ribs here last year Markus Pekoll will be running protective socks to watch over him on course.
After breaking a bunch of ribs here last year, Markus Pekoll will be running protective socks to watch over him on course.

Tom Duncan is now Sam Dale s mechanic for the GT Factory Racing team. He could have a fair bit of work ahead of him on a track this savage with a smasher like Sambo.
Tom Duncan is now Sam Dale's mechanic for the GT Factory Racing team. He could have a fair bit of work ahead of him on a track this savage with a smasher like Sambo.

Matt Walker and Greg Williamson representing the newly formed green-team the Cube Global Squad on the Two15 downhill bike.
Matt Walker and Greg Williamson representing the newly formed green-team, the Cube Global Squad, on the Two15 downhill bike.

There s nothing better than a bit of a proper French snack whilst watching your favorite activity. Best to stock up on the brie and baguette for Sunday s big show.
There's nothing better than a bit of a proper French snack whilst watching your favorite activity. Best to stock up on the brie and baguette for Sunday's big show.

One canceled flight. One reroute. Five Countries. Three continents. 60 hours. A bottle of Bordeaux and a Pizza. Dave finally made it. He ll be fine in the morning.
One canceled flight. One reroute. Five countries. Three continents. 60 hours. A bottle of Bordeaux and a pizza. Dave finally made it. He'll be fine in the morning.

No one is more excited to crack open the first brew of the season than Boris.
No one is more excited to crack open the first brew of the season than Boris.

George Brannigan is stoked. Are you
George Brannigan is stoked. Are you?



72 Comments

  • 196 0
 Never thought I'd be so excited to see a bunch of people walk down a hill!!! Yyyeeewwwwww!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • 3 1
 ME TOO , no joke...
  • 23 0
 Thank you Pinkbike! Between you guys and RedBull we get out MTB fixes for free! On behalf of the riding community....thank you! Cannot wait for the season to start now! Finally the wait is over!
  • 1 0
 @fasakelene: People seem to like Magic Marys - I'm probably going to give them a try on my next set of rubber.
  • 90 1
 stoked to see the chainsaw massacre on course
  • 10 2
 Agreed. It's good to see him back and healthy, and without the god awful moustache.
  • 11 1
 Stoked to see him too, but who's that girl on his left and why does she look so shitty?
  • 2 0
 But he's not from Texas??
  • 3 0
 @guigui333: You mean the girl between him and Ben AFLAC?

I shouldn't be joking... I've been mistaken for a girl a few times... lol!
  • 62 2
 am i the only one fearing for the safety of the laptop?
  • 9 0
 No... no you are not
  • 6 9
 Its a Macbook.... Its rubbish already
  • 61 6
 Please photograph more Women of DH.
  • 8 0
 +1 to that. Sad enough the Ladies are cut short in the broadcast, at least they should have some nice pics to boost their media presence
  • 6 3
 I think the women that do get shown are the ones that are worth watching. Don't take "worth" the wrong way, but even sometimes the ones I do see in the broadcast are horrendously slow, and are being beat by 30 seconds +.
It is awesome and they are accomplishing much more than I am, but I think the majority of the viewers would like to watch 30 (and many more even) of the top mens close battle. It is very exciting almost every time because it comes down to the wire.
  • 3 0
 @somismtb: OK, I just like em, and think they should get more photo coverage. I'm talking more about the photojournalism here than race runs on redbull.tv.
  • 23 1
 Would be fantastic to get some really good photos of how steep and insane sections of this WC track really is. For us measly viewers and riders at home, we want to know the feels!
  • 22 0
 Agreed! The 'scary death chute' pic gave me a bit of vertigo which I thoroughly enjoyed from the safety of my armchair.
  • 4 0
 I was bummed to see a man in the middle of the photo of something called "the death chute"
  • 23 0
 Neko just won the weekend with that mullet
  • 5 0
 NEKOOOOO! It's your year, tear it up buddy.
  • 27 5
 RIP ENDURO
  • 16 0
 What a weekend (does it get any better?)
World cup DH starts for the year
Racing BMX for first time in 30 years along side my son for his first race
Watch star wars 7 on itunes
My old iron horse sunday is ready for pick up with new formula brakes and raked out front end with new cup reducers ready for whistler later this year.
This too much.....
  • 2 0
 And BMX supercross world cup on!
  • 8 0
 Thank the Lourdes World Cup downhill is back!
  • 2 0
 God will Gwin it.
  • 8 0
 i am clenching my butt in anticipation
  • 14 8
 An American flag doormat ...so sad. Gwin ,take that thing and hang it up.
  • 9 3
 It's a printed mat, not an actual flag
  • 4 3
 Technically also not the flag
  • 6 7
 It is a pretty lame place for a flag. I know, I know, it's not "really"
a flag. Cool, can I through darts at your photo? It's not really a person.
  • 8 8
 Good call, its really bad form;athough i get they wna be patriotic....flag on ground=nope
  • 3 2
 It's not the worst thing in the world but Yea I'd have to agree that they should get a new floor mat. I'm sure the intention is good but it is a little disrespectful to be using an American flag floor mat.
  • 9 4
 when you see the flag on the ground and you already know some butthurt americans are crying down in the comments: priceless
  • 11 0
 @Sethimus: Try being an American who understands how silly it is, & has to watch their countrymen make us all look like idiots.
  • 3 1
 I was going to ask why you never see anyone riding a TRANSITION bike in any events but that one photo up there shows a bunch of them wearing transition shirts.... so what is the FMD team? are they riding for transition?

when is the live event...? there better be a live event!
  • 8 0
 I believe it's the Follow My Dreams team. It's owned and/or run by Tahnee Seagrave's dad. They're sponsored...or partnered, or whatever, with Transition. Tahnee's a proper shredder.
  • 2 0
 Transition haven't had a WC team the past couple of years but have now joined up with FMD racing for 2016
  • 4 0
 that pic through the plastic of Gwin and his bike is wicked!
  • 10 0
 No, it's the Tues. Wicked was replaced by the Capra.
  • 6 1
 Pom Pon is a cutie
  • 2 0
 If Onza tires are going to be ridden in world cup races, then they better increase production - it was hard enough getting them last year!
  • 4 2
 Can't wait for the race!.. But please don't spill the wine on that MacBook Pro!!
  • 3 0
 Awesome
  • 2 0
 Dave will be fine if he doesn't spill that French Bordeaux on his Macbook
  • 2 0
 Did I spy Palmer in the red jacket? Hope he comes to Fort Bil?
  • 1 0
 Yeah that's him, his development team, the Palmer Project, is out racing Lourdes. Not sure about the others, though...
  • 2 0
 Love the "death chute" part of the track...awesome
  • 2 1
 Does Rémy Métailler race WC DH? If not, why not? Guy would rip and be awesome to watch
  • 3 0
 Didn't qualify for both WC's he attended last year
  • 1 0
 damn awesome photography! excited to see all the PB photography coverage for 2016!!
  • 1 0
 Looks like no one in the men's is sitting out with an injury... can't wait to see who places where!
  • 2 0
 Is PomPom doing a research here that will be published? Big Grin
  • 2 0
 man i want to be like the bulldog.
  • 1 0
 Well I can already envision the morning wood come Sunday! Early start for those of us in North Murrica!
  • 1 0
 Green go pro....New shit?
  • 1 0
 It's the reflection off of Remi's helmet
  • 1 0
 Whats with the pussy nike running shoes? Have they seen the mud?
  • 1 0
 Is that Shaun Palmer looking haggard AF in the "Rob Warner" photo?
  • 1 0
 why is danny hart's mechanic brandishing an AK47 in the Mondraker pit?
  • 1 0
 So, what's up with Peaty? How did he make it??
  • 1 0
 Dave won't be fine if he spills his wine of his laptop lol
  • 1 0
 So is Peaty getting a chance to Qualify here?
  • 2 0
 This is real BMX
  • 1 0
 I'm so stoked to see some riders on a brand new team! GO GWIN!!!!
  • 1 1
 2 words. Sum. Mer. Can't wait.
  • 1 1
 why are taheen's pants are the loosest fitting of them all....
  • 1 0
 Listo totalmente!!!
  • 1 0
 cant wait
  • 4 4
 Dale fat guy
  • 1 0
 Ha, thought that was Sam. Funny shit with the fit tester.

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