Words by Saskia Dugon
All Photos by Saskia Dugon Photography
For the 3rd year, the Downhill World Cup season has kicked off in the southern French region of Lourdes. Situated just a couple of hours away from the Pyrenees and Andorra, the Pic du Jer lift is situated on the outskirts of this religious town.
With a start time later in the year than in previous years, we had hoped that the weather would be kinder than last year’s washout, making the track almost perilous for the riders. However, after a drastic drop in the temperature and lack of dry weather conditions in the days leading up to the World Cup, there was already worry about the likelihood of rain attempting to dampen spirits on race day. But nonetheless, riders got underway in practice and loved the opportunity to kick up some dust clouds before the storm clouds descended.
Thursday and Friday saw the team pits being fairly secretive over what new tech they may have, although, this did not stop loyal fans attempting to nosey their way in to see their heroes come to town. There was a lot of talk over the arrival of the 29’er downhill bike as possibly becoming the new commonplace wheel size, however it appeared that only Santa Cruz decided to go for the extra 1.5″, of which was less about introducing a new wheel size standard to the world cup scene, but rather to make a bike that would comfortably fit both Greg Minaar and Loris Vergier.