Photo Credits: Nathan Huges Photo, Moonhead Media, Nico Brizin, JB Liautard, KifCat
Inching closer—Marine Cabirou placed second at the fourth round of the 2019 UCI Downhill World cup this past weekend in Vallnord, Andorra. The French rider showed amazing composure on the circuit’s steepest course to post her best elite World Cup result to date with a second-place finish. This result moves Marine to third in the overall standings with four rounds to go in the 2019 series.
Insync Racing’s Veronika Widmann finished 7th but moved up to 5th in the overall standings.
On the men’s side, Intense Factory Racing athlete, Jack Moir placed 10th. This salvaged a rough weekend for his team that saw Neko Mulally fail to qualify and Aaron Gwin qualified but crashed out before the final in the last practice session of the event.
“I’m really bummed with the crash and injuries today,” said Gwin. “I was really hoping to have a great weekend, but we did our best and things just didn’t work out. Hoping, I’ll get good news from the doctor when I get home and can get back to racing real soon. Thanks to my awesome team, sponsors, and fans for all the love. It’s been a tough year so far but I’m going to keep working hard and I look forward to coming back strong.”
While Moir posted TRP’s best men’s result, both Scott Factory DH and Commencal-100% saw success; especially the latter. Commencal-100% was able to qualify all of its racers for the finals, a feat which the team hadn’t been able to complete until Vallnord. This achievement was even more important as they were racing in title sponsor Commencal’s back yard.
“Really happy with how this weekend turned out,” said Moir, from IFR. “The first half of this year has been a bit of a struggle, and after a lot of hard work, I finally feel like things are starting to turn around.”
Marine Cabirou/Scott DH Factory – 2nd
Veronika Widmann/Insync Racing – 7th
Jack Moir/ IFR – 10th
Thomas Estaque/ Commencal-100% – 12th
Dean Lucas/ Scott DH Factory – 19th
Hugo Frixtalon/ Commencal-100% – 26th
Florent Payet/ Scott DH Factory – 28th
Bruce Klein/ Commencal-100% – 30th
Brendan Fairclough/ Scott DH Factory – 33rd
Harry Molloy/Insync Racing – 59th
The Vallnord track in the steepest on the 2019 World Cup circuit. Even though the riders may have felt like they were falling down the mountain, the speeds were relatively low, averaging just 35.849kph (this is compared to over 50kph in earlier rounds) for the elite men. While Leogang was a “one-line” track Vallnord required both precision for the committing transfers in the woods and on-the-fly decision making due to the deep and silty dust that masked ruts, which was reported to be hub deep in places.
The track stays steep for the coming weekend in France. TRP will be onsite to provide rider support and gain additional insights to the top athletes use of the new 2.3mm braking system. All TRP riders will use the thicker 2.3mm rotors in the largest 223mm diameter. Consistent braking at the lowest possible effort is paramount to the riders’ ability to attack the entire track, especially when it’s steep.