Val di Sole has always been an intimidating track. The technical level required is just unbelievable but it takes more than that to slow our riders down!
Myriam, Gaëtan (Vigé) and Rémi were part of team France and George included in the New Zealand squad. They were super lucky to get the sickest bikes and kits for this race thanks to our partners who worked hard to make it happen!
Lets also mention that the previous weekend the Masters World Championships took place where Myriam’s 2 brothers competed. Olivier became World Champion in the 30-35 year old category, and Guilhem took 5th! Both on COMMENCAL bikes of course, congrats!
During the 4 long days of practice, they all showed promising ability. Rémi was without any doubt one of the best to watch and fastest riders. George, always smooth, didn’t disappoint either! Gaëtan and Myriam built up their speed during these practice days to come strong in the race…
It was a nervous long wait until the races started on the Sunday and everyone just couldn’t wait for it! The juniors race was the first as usual. Gaëtan, winning the last 2 World Cups was under some pressure for sure. He had a good run but felt too stiff on his bike on a track that required flexibility and fluidity. He would eventually take 3rd place/a bronze medal in the juniors.
Next up it was the womens race. Myriam started way down the field and well before the top women because of her high UCI ranking (for not having raced much this season). She flew down and set the fastest time by more than 25 seconds! We all hoped for the best until Rachel Atherton came down and beat her time by only 3 seconds. Myriam is Vice World Champion! What an incredible and unexpected end to the season!
The men’s race was going to be really exciting. George had a good run but was regretting being a bit too conservative. He still finished a great 13th place. We were all waiting for Rémi’s run because we knew he could be in the mix, he had an amazing run but a mechanical cost some precious time over the last 45 seconds. He will ended up 6th, only 1.5 seconds off the podium which was a great performance but still disappointing to know that it could have been!
We came home from these World Champs with 2 medals, silver for Myriam, bronze for Gaëtan, Rémi in 6th and George in 13th. A good and satisfying weekend but we always hope for more… Onto next year with more work and dedication than ever to reach the top steps again!
Finally, the team, staff and riders can’t thank all of you enough. Partners, fans, friends and family make all of this possible. THANK YOU and see you all next year!
Time flies when you’re having fun and the 2016 season is already over!
The end of season races are always so exciting and Vallnord’s World Cup final plus Val di Sole’s World Championships were no exception. Both were true downhill tracks; natural, steep, dusty, rocky and above all, the most brutal we have ever seen!
Vallnord World Cup was awesome once again! We are lucky to be so welcome each time we head there by COMMENCAL and Vallnord staff and officials!
It was also great to have the full roster back in action, especially Myriam since her ankle injury in Mont Sainte-Anne 3 weeks earlier as it was quite unexpected to have her back so quick after her injury. But she wanted to be part of these last 2 races so bad after a tough season that we think it was her mentality that pushed her through.
Qualifying runs went pretty good. Gaëtan (Vigé) came 3rd in juniors, Myriam went down a few minutes after the top women and put down the fastest time, surprising everyone! Rémi also had a solid run coming in 5th. It’s been a tougher one for George who was sick all week, 55th. Thibaut also had a bad one, 84th and not making the cut, and for Gaëtan (Ruffin) a front flat tyre at the top ruined his chances.
We were hoping for the best in the finals to make our partners in the crowd proud. Gaëtan (Vigé) had a solid and smart run, he claimed his 3rd win of the season and locked a really a good 2nd place in the junior World Cup Overall.
Myriam felt a bit tired towards the end of her run and didn’t manage to repeat her achievement of the previous day but she ended up a brilliant 3rd.
George took the 36th spot but still scored a few points to come in 18th in the World Cup Overall.
It was the biggest disappointment of the season for Rémi when a rainstorm started before the 6 last riders, making the conditions much harder for these riders. He was not able to do better than 26th because of this. He ended the season 8th in the World Cup Overall, his best finish to date!
All the men in the team ended the season in the top 80 overall with Thibaut in 63rd, Gaëtan (Ruffin) in 80th. COMMENCAL/VALLNORD DH Team also finished in 5th in the team World Cup Overall.
Mont Sainte Anne is a classic stop on the UCI World Cup circuit and one of the best tracks. This venue has always been characterised by its high-speed sections mixed with super technical woods and rock gardens. We honestly think that for most of the riders never rode a bike as fast on dirt as this past weekend. The speed trap was clocking over 75 km/h, so needless to say, considering that section and the condition of the dirt our SUPREME V4s were flying!
On Thursday, all the team were excited to head for practice after track walk. Myriam had her practice earlier than the boys. She was feeling great until her last run of the morning when the wind caught her on the last jump and she landed too short, injuring her ankle. Unfortunately, her hopes of racing 2 days later where dashed. Thankfully, she knows from her studies what she has to do to in order to recover as fast possible from a bad strain and hopefully she will be back for the last World Cup and World Championships. While the team is now in Whistler for Crankworx, she headed back to France for more tests and a lot of physiotherapy.
For sure, the rest of the team has been disappointed to see Myriam injured again, but the weekend had to go on. Practice went well for almost everyone, except for Thibaut who also had a big off at the end of the day just before the second to last step down. It threw him down hard, 3 metres down the hill.
After a few more practice laps on Friday morning, it was time for qualis’. The track was super dry and totally blown out. We’ve never seen it like this in the past; it was destined to be really physically tough.
Gaëtan (Vigé) put a solid run together for 3rd place in juniors, loosing some time on the last 2 splits after being 1st on the first 3. We were excited to see what he had for the finals.
Rémi had a bad time during his run, sliding on the take off of a jump mid track and landing outside the tape in some big rocks. Unfortunately he injured himself slightly on a part of his anatomy none of you guys would like to hurt… He even got a few stitches…
George was sitting in 14th position, but was not satisfied with the top half of his run. He knew he had some time left in him for the finals.
Thibaut qualified 46th, with a good top half but his sore back due to his crash prevented him from pushing hard until the end.
Gaëtan (Ruffin) had a pretty bad run with a lot of mistakes and issues but still came 62nd.
Thankfully, strong storms hit the mountains during the night and that meant the track was in perfect condition for the finals. Even if slippery for the last 2 practice runs in the morning, it couldn’t have been better for the finals.
As usual, Gaëtan (Vigé) was in the first race of the day with the juniors. He didn’t make the same mistakes and kept his power for the low half of the track, even death gripping in the legendary rock garden. He crossed the finish line with a 5 second margin over the leader. He will eventually keep the best time until the end with only Finn Iles getting close. He won his second World Cup and is still in the battle for the overall, sitting in 2nd position.
In the men’s race, Gaëtan (Ruffin) had a mechanical mid track which made him lose time but he still got a good 59th place and is back in the top 80 overall sitting in 76th position.
Thibaut had pretty much the same story as the day before, even if he was feeling better, his crash cost him some energy over the weekend (and a lot is needed on this track) and he ended up 43rd, winning a few spots in the overall, currently 54th.
George was the next up (Rémi was re-ranked as a top 10 rider) and his top half was average, but he put on a crazy show towards the bottom with incredible speed in the last woods section. He took the hot seat by more than 3 seconds and he held the place for a while, eventually bagging a great 7th place. He’s now back in the top 20 in the overall and protected for Vallnord.
Rémi unfortunately had the run we all dread. He felt like he was fast and on a good run but he just must have had the wrong rhythm. He ended up 24th. He lost a few spots in the overall but still sits in a respectable 10th position. This will definitely motivate him for revenge for the final World Cup of the year.
COMMENCAL/VALLNORD team placed 3rd best team of the weekend!
We are now in Whistler for Crankworx. We are going to take part in a few events such as Whip-Off, Garbanzo DH, A-Line and Canadian Open!
We will also do a few laps for you guys and hopefully we will see some of you there!
Thanks again for your precious support!