2017 Pinkbike Awards: DH Race of the Year Winner

Dec 12, 2017 at 4:33
by Nathan Hughes  
PB Awards

Quebec you cruel cruel SOB.

DH Race of the Year: Mont-Sainte-Anne

Talk about a no brainer... it had to be. The Quebecois classic already holds the well-deserved reputation as the benchmark of what is considered rough and physical on the World Cup circuit and it never fails to thrill both sides of the tape. This year was different only in that it was wetter and better than ever before. Quite literally ever. Bearing in mind Champery 2011 was a World Championship event, it doesn't seem unreasonable to stake the claim that this was the greatest World Cup race in DH history.

Luca Shaw putting style first on a run from hell.

It's not every day you see the impossible become possible. Once a year would be too often... that's more once in a lifetime territory. In Mont-Sainte, we saw panic and despair in the driving rain turned into pure heroics and nothing less than a super-human performance from Aaron Gwin. Of all the legendary performances we've seen from the man-myth over the last 9 years of his career, we had a new and very clear winner. A man once turned water in wine and it impressed a lot of people for centuries. Well, Gwin turned water in champagne and that was pretty damn cool to see as well. Ironic, really, as he isn't much of a drinker.

More than just one terrific run, MSA had it all. Tahnee Seagrave took a decisive win of more than 5 seconds in the women's, Finn Iles saw off the danger-man, Matt Walker, in the juniors and across all categories we were treated to signature foot-out, flat-out on those ragged high-speed straights and full-commitment, rock-slab sections like only MSA can provide. The rain came down just in time for the men's finals and we thought it was all over until a couple of tenacious Aussies proved us wrong, opening the door to unthinkable performances from the likes of Brosnan, Bruni and Hart to boot. The live-feed went back up the hill, zooming in through the fog towards the red goggles and piercing eyes of Gwin spinning the cranks backwards before the countdown and the rest was history.

So there we have it; one quarter of a century in the business of hosting downhill racing at the highest level and Mont-Sainte-Anne soars above the competition to clinch Pinkbike's coveted award as 2017 DH race of the season.

Tahnee Emile and Tracey watch as Myriam Nicole goes slower at the final split.
What a twist f fate for Aaron Gwin. After a puncture ruined his winning run last round in Lenzerheide it looked as if the weather was going to derail his plans again in Mont Sainte Anne. Gwin however was having none of it and put down one of the greatest runs of all time to do the impossible.

Pinkbike’s Take:

bigquotesAlready an extraordinary race before the last man left the start gate, Aaron Gwin laid down a run of sheer bicycle genius that played no small part in cementing MSA 2017 very prominently in the DH hall of fame, not just for this season, but for years, even decades to come.Nathan Hughes


  • + 102
 Rachel's save was heart-stopping, too.
  • + 25
 Best Save of the Year Award goes to Rachel fo sho
  • + 2
 yup, awesome save!
  • + 4
 Never has there been a race with such a dramatic build up. As the top riders started to go down, one could feel the pressure and excitement building. The track was now dripping wet and much harder as Jack, Troy, Loic and Danny were all within reach but denied the teasing prize. As the last man standing everyone knew Aaron would do his best to ride that slippery beast, and as he mounted his bike, adjusted his gloves, sorry I meant goggles, he thrusted forward, pounding his way through the slop at over 70kmp, with each moan and scream getting louder and louder and louder until he finally came down the mountain in a climatic frist place finish, then he was hungry, ate some crackers then took a nap. Hell of a race.
  • + 2
 That was amazing
  • + 29
 So glad I went! After the rain started coming hard I was so disappointed that my first world cup experience was going to be a let down. Blew my mind when Gwin turned it around at the end! Being at the finish line when he crossed to see the crowd go crazy was about the best experience I could have hoped for. Got a picture with the Gwinner to cap it all off. Not a bad day!
  • + 1
 Damn. Wish I were there too.
  • + 1
 Awesome man!!! Amazing track isn’t it? I was there a few years ago when Stevie Smith won! Full of great memories
  • + 25
 Gwin's run was so iconic. I think the level of talent has inched higher and higher each year. The combination of talent, athleticism and luck in Gwin's run really situated him on a whole other plateau on the day. Sorry Gwin, I've tried not to be a fan in the past because a) I'm Canadian and a few years ago you were pitted against a young guy from the island I was living on and b) I have historically been a bit reactive to the Jesus speak as a post-christianity atheist... but there is no denying that you ride a bike better than most humans on this planet will ever. I also appreciate the professionalism and confident-humility with which he presents himself. Well played sir and this race really highlighted your class and skill.
  • + 1
 Accidentally neg prop’d ya. Well said Sir.
  • + 23
 I have to agree. Maximum levels of stoke were achieved during Gwin's run at Mont Sainte Anne.
  • + 7
 As of this moment, zero complaints. Total pinkbike comments solidarity. This must be what it feels like to see a unicorn in the wild. Gwin's run was amazing.
  • + 7
 When everyone thought the conditions had gotten too bad to pull off a win in a downpour, down comes Gwin. Holy shit, such an amazing run! Well earned win.
  • + 4
 Mont-Sainte-Anne is for DH exactly like Monaco is for F1, the classic of classics.
I know rocks by name and roots by scars.
In my life, i've talked to them all, from Missy to Gee, to Stevie to Sam, etc.
My heroes…
Merci for everything!
  • + 1
 St Anne always brings the goods. Even when it was 'tame' it was harder than most of the circut. For the entire life of DH, St Anne has been that place where only the best manage to win. No flukes, no luck, just the best.
  • + 4
 If only this would have been a highlight before
  • + 2
 2017 Pinkbike Awards: Ham Sandwich of the Year Winner
  • + 1
 And props to the photographers for the great photos in the rain. Not too easy!
  • + 2
 Who would have thought?
  • - 3
 Bullshit it was a fairly dull race until the last few runs. Andorra shit all over this race
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