June 26/05 1:22 am - Mont-Ste-Anne World Cup: DH Preview
Posted by Editoress on 06/26/05
MTB World Cup - DH Preview Mont-Sainte-Anne, QC
By Mike Badyk
Reports brought to with the support of Gestev
Its been 3 years since we've had a World Cup Down Hill that started at the top of the MSA. The easiest way to describe the hill is last week's Nationals course, with the upper 1/3 of the hill added in. Total length is 3.5 km.
The fastest qualifier for the women was Sabrina Jonnier (Fra) at 5:52.62 and for the men it was Greg Minnaar (RSA) in 5:05.22. It is a very long course compared to what we have seen here in the last 2 World Cups. It is really a return to old style downhill. There is lots of pedalling required, especially on the upper part of the course. Those that are really fit will have the advantage over the pure technical specialist.
The start is under the lift building at the top and goes into a long, long high speed section on the open ski run. It then dives into the woods for the first section of many rocky technical sections. All of the technical sections are in the forest. When were walking the course during training there would be hardly any spectators out on the open ski runs, but head into the forest and there were some really large crowds. The course has dried considerably from last week, with the really boggy traverse through the woods (see the Nationals DH photos) about 1/2 way down the course is now doable at speed. The nice section of rock ledges that has been featured for so many years is of course included. Photographers were already staking out prime locations at this spot early this morning. As usual, the bottom of the course comes out on to the 4X where it uses some, but not all of the jumps.
Other Race Notes
- Guido Tschugg (Ger), who was second in the 4X last night, was unable to compete since his DH bike only arrived last night. According to the rules, a racer has to complete mandatory training runs 2 days prior to the event. That left Tschugg outside of the rules.
- Steve Peat (Gbr) who had an impressive string of 3 consecutive World Cup wins here at MSA is not in attendance. He is still recovering from an injured arm he damaged at the British Nationals about a month ago. He will be missed.
- Specialized racer Sid Taberlay didn't race yesterday since he crashed at the Marathon World Cup here last week. His manager Gary Foorde told us today that he has damaged his collarbone but has not broken it. He is hoping to race next week in Brazil.
- We have some attendance figures from yesterday's cross country. For the women's race there were an estimated 10,000 spectators and for the men 6,000. At most races this is the other way around, but the sheer drawing power of Marie-Helene Premont obviously made the difference.
- We had a good chuckle this morning getting on to the gondola for the ride to the top of the DH. A team support person with a DH bike and a trainer got off of the gondola before we got on. We didn't think anything about it until we got on the gondola and met the unmistakable smell of marijuana. Ah, yes the cliche of bicycle+marijuana=downhill still lives. The large bong seen along the 4X course last night just added to the atmosphere. Hopefully the racers weren't tempted because WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) is here in force and doing lots and lots of random testing. For example, in a bit of a surprise all 7 women in the 4X were tested. We'll just have to wait and see.