PIETERMARITZBURG – CAIRNS
The 2014 UCI World Cup has kicked off 3 weeks ago in South Africa. The team was really excited to start this new season. Myriam, Rémi, Cam, Thibaut and Gaëtan were motivated to have a good launch into this new season.
It’s always good to be back in South Africa, great atmosphere, wonderful landscapes, even if the track is not the most adored one : Everyone knew it would be one of the most physically demanding track of the season and this year track builders built some interesting new features to make it more technically. Adding this, dry and dusty conditions, it resulted a pretty tricky combo.
Myriam offered us the best surprise, usually not at her best on this track, she managed to get a really good 4th place.
Cam was in the pace too with a promising 12th place, he had a clean run but admit with more confidence he could have been faster.
Rémi had a really good top part split, which ranked him 6th, but he lost a lot in the pedaling section, he ended up 20th.
Thibaut was further in the ranking with the 45th spot, disappointed with his run which missed a lot of rhythm.
Gaëtan had a good come back in the top 80 with a 67th place, 1 month and half only after his collarbone surgery.
Check the link for watch the video report :
After a few more days training, riding, safari-ing, beach-ing in South Africa we headed to Australia, for the most of the team, the first time !
We spent a few days in Cairns before the race start to get acclimated : some good trainings along the beach, good DH runs in the mountains with Cairns MTB tours, and a great day cruising on a reef island, snorkeling with amazing fishes.
After that, it was time to get back into business, we walked the track in this incredible tropical forest (saw many terrifying beasts, some dangerous trees along the track !), it was looking awesome : dry (at this the moment), some fast and gnarly sections, good jumps, and tricky technical parts, except a useless 25 seconds flat pedaling highway section to reach the finish line.
Girls and juniors only had the chance to do a few run on the dry course, but at the beginning of the first men practice session, it started to rain and we quickly understood why it was called “rain forest” ! It rained heavily during 2 days, pits were progressively looking like Woodstock and the track like the 2 world wars combined…
The race was one of the hardest in everyone career, the mud became really sticky and incredibly slippery and the track was not specially made for muddy conditions.
Myriam showed us we could rely on her one more time, getting 3rd despite the worst feeling she never had : “During my run, I wanted to stop because I was sure I will ended up last !”.
The boys wasn’t as lucky, Cam qualified 12th and unfortunately crashed in the top rock garden and ended up 49th, his 8th time on the bottom split showed he had the speed though.
Rémi definitely wanted to get back on the top spots but he got a front flat tire in the first corners and then crashed due to this flat, a nightmare for him.
Thibaut had a bad crash at the end of the first day practice, he carried a bad pain on his ribs the next days and another crash in the rock garden kept him far in the ranking with a 58th place.
Gaëtan wasn’t more lucky in qualifying, he crashed in the rock garden too and broke his rear brake, he tried to carry on despite this but wasn’t able to make it in for the finals.
It was a tough few days racing in Cairns but still a good experience. Riders are back at home now and are looking forward to the next world cup in Fort William on June 7th and 8th where they hope and will do their best to take their revenge.
A thumb up goes to Myriam for her consistency over these 2 rounds and to the boys for their commitment !
A huge thanks to all our partners for making this possible and for the great support, you guys rock !
Another one goes to the Bentley Family for their wonderful welcome in their wonderful place in South Africa !