It's back on Sunday
After months in the racing wilderness our sanctuary has come. As we write, the world’s best riders are inspecting the Lourdes race track ready for round one of the World Cup downhill season.
It all kicks off on Sunday and here’s five reasons why we think you should tune in:
It’s the best one
They say you should put your best foot forward and that’s exactly what the UCI has done. Last year Lourdes was voted as the best World Cup and there’s no better track to kick off the season.
The crowd is bonkers, the organization is top notch and the track itself is well and truly mental. It may look flat on screens, but this picture of Claudio Caluori shows you just how steep it really is.
Off season shenanigans
Lourdes will be full to the brim of racing intrigue as the pits will be a very different place to the World Championships seven months ago.
The headline news was Aaron Gwin’s move to the newly formed YT Mob, but there have also been high profile transfers involving the Athertons, Loic Bruni and Brook MacDonald. The first race will let us see how everyone is fitting into their new teams and should give us an idea of what to expect in the season ahead.
It feels like we say this every year, but the talent coming out of the junior section this year is immense. First and foremost is last year’s British junior World Champion Laurie Greenland who joins Danny Hart at Mondraker for his first season as a senior. There’s also the likes of Jacob Dickson, Remy Morton and Andrew Crimmins all pushing hard for top 20 spots.
The big unknown is Aaron Gwin’s team mate Angel Suarez. His transition from motocross mirrors his Gwin’s and under the tutelage of Martin Whitely he could soon become a force to be reckoned with.
It’s gonna rain
Simply put downhill races are better in the wet. It blasts the competition wide open as riders have a whole new set of challenges to overcome.
You’ll be glad to know that rain is forecast for everyday between now and Sunday in Lourdes, and best of all there’s no nation on Earth better at tackling muddy conditions than the Brits.
Considering how small a sport downhill is, we can count ourselves extremely lucky to have Red Bull broadcasting it live every race. With Claudio Caluori and Rob Warner providing their own unique brand of commentary and multiple cameras throughout the track, the coverage we get has never been slicker.
It all kicks of on the 10th at 1:30 and you can watch it here. What else are you going to do on a Sunday afternoon… ride your bike?!