The UCI World Cup Downhill season kicked off with a wet slip n’ slide weekend at the 1st round in Lourdes, France at the weekend.
Not even the downpour could deter the buzzing enthusiasm of the downhill fans who descended upon Lourdes in their masses.
With the Lourdes track being notoriously steep and technical, the weather didn’t help calm the nerves of the athletes ready to charge down to the finish line.
Heavy rain made the track slick, slippery and constantly changing. Practise rounds and qualifiers saw many falls and fails with hopeful riders giving it their all.
Qualifiers on Saturday saw young Tahnée Seagrave take first place over Rachel Atherton and Manon Carpenter. Having signed with Transition bikes earlier this year, this looked to be a promising start to the race season for her. With the top time in qualies, Tahnée was last out of the gate in the final run on Sunday.
With the track having dried out somewhat, although still incredibly churned up, the women’s Elite races began.
Not deterred by her qualifying run, Rachel Atherton exploded through the gate and ripped down the track, passing through the finish line taking the top spot with a time of 3:50.383. Riding her new Trek Session, Rachel looked to be focused and in control throughout her run.
Playing it safe, Tahnée was unable to maintain her qualifying win and sailed into 2nd place, 4 seconds behind the World Champion.
Hot on her heels was Manon Carpenter, who took third place.
1) Rachel Atherton – 3:50.383
2) Tahnée Seagrave – 3:54.855
3) Manon Carpenter – 4:00.641
4) Tracey Hannah – 4:03.974
5) Emilie Siegenthaler – 4:12.191
A great start to the World Cup season this year. Let’s see if Rachel can hold onto the top spot, or if Tahnée will knock her off.