Sunday the 27th of March is race day at Lourdes, the first Downhill World Cup of the year! It is a track that is notoriously treacherous to ride with dirt that can quickly become slippery as glass with some moisture thrown in, having potential for freezing temps as they come out of winter season, and a rough trail surface of gnarly looking rocks! Cracker start to the season!
The last time Lourdes was raced was back in 2017 and wet weather halfway through the day made for some spicy results in the men’s field! Alexandre Fayolle took the win in the men’s race and the dominant Rachel Atherton won the women’s. Big news is that Rachel is back on the World Cup Racing scene this year after some time learning to be a parent to baby Arna with her husband Olly! Win has won here before and is set to be racing aboard a wild looking prototype bike from Intense that can be seen in the video at the bottom of the page!
The Lourdes track is very fast (average speeds of over 40kph), very rocky, and as mentioned can get rather slippery! The same course raced from 2015-2017 will be used this year but with a few tweaks here and there. The track is just under 2km long and drops 900m approximately. Check out the track walk below.
Who To Watch
Men: Amaury Pierron won the “mini World Cup” downhill race in Portugal a couple weeks back on an absolute blinder of a run. He has been a bit sick the last week though and that could slow him down from race winning pace. The GOAT Greg Minnaar is back for more in 2022! He finished last year with a let down at the Lenzerhiede and Snowshoe races after his World Championship win. We see fire in the eyes and dangerous potential from the evergreen man this year. Laurie Greenland is joining Greg on the Syndicate team (along with Nina Hoffman and Jackson Goldstone) and is looking uber confident and quick on the new setup.
Bruni didn’t feature so well in the Pre-World Cup races but we know that he needs the high pressure environment of a World Cup to unlock his true potential. With a crash in 2017 on this track, we smell unfinished business. Anyone else with a French flag next too their name on the start list can be expected to move swiftly.
Women: Myriam Nicole was calculated (roughly) to be riding as fast a women’s downhill racer has ever gone (according to her time comparison with Amaury’s) at the Tarouca race in Portugal. If that isn’t saying something about her potential to win this weekend, we’re not sure what is. As we mentioned, Rachel Atherton is back at the races and being the second most winningest racer of all time, she’s not one to count out even after a hiatus!
Nina Hoffman is riding with composure and confidence. Previously known for being on the ragged edge, this new groove may have her on race winning pace. Sunday will reveal how she stacks up being on a factory team for the first time. The young gun Vali Holl took some time to put things together in 2021 and can hopefully pickup where she left off for a hot start to the season!
Where To Watch
This is the final year that Red Bull will be in charge of broadcast for the UCI World Cup before Discovery take over that duty but for now, you can watch live on Red Bull TV.
Women race at 12:25 on Sunday and the men at 13:45.
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