World Cup 2018 - La Bresse

August 23 — 2018 | La Bresse, France

From one of the longest tracks on the World Cup DH circuit to quite possibly one of the shortest, we’ve crossed the pond from Mont Sainte Anne to La Bresse, France for Round 7.

La Bresse is the last regular season race of the year before World Champs in Lenzerheide. French riders have won the last five races - Amaury with three total wins, followed by Loris in Andorra, and most recently Loic in Mont Sainte Anne, so, we might as well close the regular season on French turf. Amaury secured the overall World Cup title at the last race, but the hunt for second was still a tight battle between Loris, Danny Hart, and Troy Brosnan heading into the weekend.  

Clear skies with a chance of puzzlers.

With the return of Greg at Mont Sainte Anne, the Syndicate was back at full force and looking to disrupt the French winning streak, unless our own Frenchman, Loris, could pull off a win. Santa Cruz has a history of winning here: Peaty took the top step in 2009 and Minnaar won the last time in 2011. Luca is still on the hunt for that first World Cup win and La Bresse would be one of his last chances to claim a victory in 2018.

Twice the action for the track preview this time around.

V10s for smashing and 5010s for thrashing.

P.A. in the driest conditions the boys would see all weekend.

Teamwork at the start house. Fresh goggles were worth their weight in gold.

Timed practice showed off the short-but-sweet course as the heavy hitting riders dropped in and put down times just under two-and-a-half minutes. Unless the weather gods were planning to have a say, this meant that course times would be even faster for finals. From the start house, racers would sprint down the ramp and into the trees, drop in to scrubby, open tables, and then hit the steeper second half of the track complete with deep ruts, loose, loamy corners, and wet roots. After that, it was an old school run to the finish through flat, grassy switchbacks. The short track forced riders to stay on the gas from start to finish, and this meant that even the smallest errors were amplified, so any mistakes on race day would cancel your plans of being on the podium.

Sometimes you're the lanwmower and sometimes you're the lawn. That's racing.

Second race since returning from injury. Greg punching in for Finals.

Rainstorms hit the track after Thursday’s practice and turned the previously dry track into a wet and technical handful. There weren’t any points up for grabs in qualifiers for this round, so as the results stacked up it wasn’t clear if riders were holding back and saving some energy for finals or if the track really was slowing everyone down. Luca would qualify fastest for the Syndicate in 22nd, Loris in 23rd after a spill over the bars, and Greg 115th after a couple of crashes in the mud.

G.O.A.T skills.

Wait, is this La Bresse or French Nationals?

Track conditions played a huge factor in finals, when the rain let up the mud went from straight up wet to slick and unpredictable as most of the dominant riders fell victim to the greasy conditions. Greg was the first to leave the start house for the Syndicate and unfortunately slipped and went down 30 seconds into his run ruining all chances of repeating a win here. Loris was next to drop and down less than half a second at the first split but several small mistakes throughout his run cost him valuable time as he finished 9th with 10 riders to go. All eyes were on Luca Shaw at this point, he was fast out of the gate and up at the first splits seeing green but disaster struck again as he slipped and went down in a wet rooty section of the track.

If the top didn’t get you, there were plenty of flat, slick turns in the grass to help you to the ground.

Eyes up, tripod engaged.

Both Luca and Loris round out 2018 with top tens in the overall season standings. 

Despite the short length of the track, La Bresse proved to be a physical and unforgiving day on the bike in wet and wild conditions. Loris would finish 16th and secure 4th in the season overall, Greg would go 58th on the day, and Luca would finish 60th and land in 8th in the overall. Only two weeks until the crew rolls into Lenzerheide for World Champs — see you there!

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