After the 7 months of ‘off season’ the mountainbike world waited in feverish anticipation for Rd 1 of this year’s UCI Downhill World Cup which took place in Lourdes, France.
Qualifying was sensational with 3 of the top 6 spots taken by riders aboard the new 29” wheel size machines in development for 2017. Expect this to be the new standard by the time we arrive at Rd 2 in Fort William, Scotland in June.
Race Day – This was the most hyped up race in years, but, the showdown, the reveal, the fight we all wanted to see amongst the world’s fastest, never materialised.
The hill, the conditions, the opportunities available, were not the same for all.
As the process dictates, the fastest qualifiers come down the hill last. Ordinarily this guarantees, the amazing spectacle we have come to know and love, with the thousands of a second becoming more crucial as the afternoon rolls on.
Not wanting to take anything away from Frenchman Alexandre Foyolle’s win, it was spectacular, it had commitment that was unmatched in dry conditions and was within 0.1 seconds of the fastest qualifying time 24 hours before.
But the storm came in early, the wind picked up to gusts of 140kmh, the clouds descended and the rain came, just as the fastest men started their runs.
For a season opening event with so much expectation, the fans, the teams, even the riders themselves we were all robbed of ‘what might have been’.
In the end WD-40’s Danny Hart crashed near the bottom of the course and finished 76th. In the end WD-40’s Danny Hart crashed near the bottom of the course and finished 76th. Not a fair reflection of the skill he rode with, or the form he was in. (4th in Saturday’s qualifying). The conditions were abysmal – the riding was exceptional – yet the result will never show the bravery he displayed.
With the weather playing such a big part in proceedings – the quote from many was “With what happened with the weather here today – Rd2 effectively becomes Rd1.”
So, on to Fort William and Rd2 on the 3rd & 4th of June, that’s when we’ll get our true 1st race of the year. #WD40Bike
1st Alexandre Foyolle
2nd Mark Wallace
3rd Marcello Gutierrez
76th Danny Hart – (In the Rain)
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