Myriam Nicole rides at Lourdes UCI MTB World Cup 2022
© Bartek Woliński/@wolisphoto
Bike

What you may have missed from the Lourdes downhill World Cup

The 2022 Mercedes-Benz UCI Downhill Mountain Bike World Cup kicked off with a bang in Lourdes, France – get up to speed with all the action and replays right here.
Written by Hanna Jonsson and Rajiv Desai
7 min readPublished on
Catch up on all the downhill action from the Lourdes Mercedes-Benz UCI Downhill Mountain Bike World Cup on Red Bull TV. The full replay of the races can be watched via the links below.

11 min

Downhill highlights – Lourdes

Here’s what went down on the hillside at the first DH stop of the 2022 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Lourdes.

English

Get the downhill results from Lourdes and the latest World Cup overall standings by clicking here.
01

Want to ride the Lourdes track? Join the queue

A new season brings excitement and nerves for every athlete. This Lourdes track was last raced in 2017, so the track walk and practise was a case of getting reacquainted with this super intense technical track. Those nerves probably weren't helped by practice on the track over the days leading up to finals being a frustrating affair.

3 min

Downhill track explanation – Lourdes

Eliot Jackson and Tracey Hannah take us through the challenging French downhill track of Lourdes.

The queue for the funicular to get to the top of the track was so long it was taking riders two hours from joining the queue to getting on the funicular. Practice was extended to 6pm on Friday as a result. The funicular is old and slow, and it's a one up one down set up as there's just the one track that the cars pass midway. Athletes didn't get as many practice runs as they would have liked, unfortunately.
Riders queue for the funicular in Lourdes, France on March 27, 2022.

A lot of practice day was spent queuing for the funicular uplift

© Bartek Woliński/@wolisphoto

The Lourdes funicular full of mountain bikes and riders ahead of practice at the 2022 MTB World Cup stop in Lourdes.

Not a lot of room inside the funicular!

© Bartek Woliński/@wolisphoto

At least the track was dry for the riders with some unseasonably warm weather in that part of France. There were some subtle additions to this Lourdes track from when it was last used in 2017. The new Hollywhoops section caused quite a stir when the athletes did the track walk on Thursday. This section is a series of small rolling bumps before the finish drop. After a tiring ride down, athletes would really have to keep their concentration there.
Rider looks at new Hollywhoops section at Lourdes UCI MTB World Cup 2022.

Probably the last thing your arms want at the end of the track...

© Bartek Woliński/@wolisphoto

02

Does Camille Balanche know how good she is?

Camille Balanche had a dream start to her World Cup season. Keeping it smooth and fast through the rough technical top sections of the track and showing off her strength and endurance through the bottom woods, she set a time that would prove unbeatable by the rest of the field.
Camille Balanche rides at Lourdes UCI MTB World Cup 2022

Camille Balanche charging towards her second World Cup win

© Bartek Woliński/@wolisphoto

The Swiss rider only started riding bikes in 2016, and when she won the rainbow stripes back in 2020, some saw it as a fluke. But ever since, Balanche has proven time and time again how good she is, winning the opening round in Leogang last year and making it onto every single podium last season. Now, with a second World Cup win to her name, it’s clear that she's one of the fastest riders on the circuit - the only question is: does she know herself how good she is?

5 min

Downhill winning runs – Lourdes

Watch the winning runs from the men's and women's events at the challenging French downhill track in Lourdes.

English

03

The top three women finished within a second of each other

The women’s race went down to the line. Literally, with the top three riders only separated by a mere second, it was a true nail-biter of a race. With three riders still left to race after Balanche’s flying run, it was anyone's race. Third place qualifier Tahnée Seagrave came flying down the track looking back to her old confident self after having dealt with multiple injuries in the past couple of seasons. Staying well within winning margins, she kept it pinned the whole way down, finishing just 0.997s off Balanche’s time.
Myriam Nicole rides at Lourdes UCI MTB World Cup 2022

Myriam Nicole is happy to be able to race after this morning's crash

© Bartek Woliński/@wolisphoto

Valentina Höll rides at Lourdes UCI MTB World Cup 2022.

Vali Höll looked happy and comfortable on her bike all weekend

© Bartek Woliński/@wolisphoto

It was then time for Myriam Nicole, who put down an uncharacteristically wild and loose run that was 0.624s off. Finally, with only one woman left at the top, the win was very much in reach for the 2021 World Cup overall champion Valentina Höll. She set off looking strong but lost time at the latter end of her run and finished 1.6s back in fourth place. We're in for one hell of a season if women's racing is as tight as we've seen in Lourdes.
Tahnée Seagrave rides at Lourdes UCI MTB World Cup 2022.

Tahnée Seagrave keeping it pinned into the finish area

© Bartek Woliński/@wolisphoto

04

Peerless Pierron rules the French roost

A couple of years ago, Amaury Pierron was on fire. Major injuries sustained in crashes, including a broken back, curtailed his appearances on the World Cup circuit since the start of 2020. However, those injuries don’t appear to have had a negative mental impact on Pierron. In this Lourdes race, Pierron also had issues. He came into this race low on energy after a bout of illness and probably didn’t expect to win the race. A calf injury sustained in qualification also hampered him going into the finals run.
Amaury Pierron rides at Lourdes UCI MTB World Cup 2022

Pierron was super committed on his run

© Bartek Woliński/@wolisphoto

Amaury Pierron as seen just after finishing his finals run at Lourdes UCI MTB World Cup 2022

Pierron nailed his run and was very happy about it!

© Bartek Woliński/@wolisphoto

None of this seemed to matter as Pierron running on pure adrenaline, and the fervour of a home French crowd put in a time that was just under 1.5s ahead of the fastest time held by another Frenchman in Benoit Coulanges as he crossed the winning line. A minor mistake in Pierron's run lost him time so that he could have gone even faster than his winning time of 3m 47.711s.
Amaury Pierron as seen at the podium ceremony at Lourdes UCI MTB World Cup 2022

Pierron sang the French national anthem at the podium ceremony

© Bartek Woliński/@wolisphoto

05

Myriam Nicole on her wildest run ever

After taking a huge slam in practice in the morning, it looked for a while as if Myriam Nicole wouldn't make it to finals. The French woman was one of the pre-race favourites racing in front of a home crowd and qualifying just 0.524s behind Höll. But to the delight of the French fans, Nicole lined up in the start hut and set off down the track like she was on fire. The otherwise composed rider found another gear out on the loose track, riding very much on the limit.
Myriam Nicole rides at Lourdes UCI MTB World Cup 2022

"Today, silver feels like gold", Nicole said after finishing 2nd

© Bartek Woliński/@wolisphoto

It seemed to pay off as she was up on Balanche’s time until she got bucked over her front end, almost sending her over the bars. Somehow she rode it out on her top tube and brought it back just in time to stay within the tape and continue her wild ride down the track. Finishing in second place, only 0.624s off Balanche, she would have taken the win if it wasn’t for her mid-race wobble. Her wild ride and huge determination didn’t go unnoticed by the fans, and she was voted “Rider of the Day”.
06

Finn Iles stepped out of Loic Bruni’s shadow for once

Finn Iles can count himself a little bit unlucky that a super run by Amaury Pierron denied him his first World Cup win here in Lourdes. Not that Iles was overly disappointed with finishing second, judging from his demeanour after the race, where he had a beaming smile across his face. His second place here at Lourdes represents his best ever result at a World Cup race, and he no doubt was very happy that he managed to post a faster time than his team-mate Loic Bruni, who finished third. Iles outperforming Bruni in World Cup races doesn’t happen very often.
Finn Iles rides at Lourdes UCI MTB World Cup 2022

Iles bearing down to the finish line

© Bartek Woliński/@wolisphoto

Iles has come into this season with a new maturity. The aim is to have a consistent season to possibly get a good placing in the overall race. With that in mind, he’s probably been the most prepared, mentally and physically, for a World Cup he’s ever been. Finishing second in qualifying and finals will hopefully give Iles the base and confidence to go on and get that first World Cup win that everyone has thought he’s been capable of.
07

Jackson Goldstone is the real deal

There’s a lot of hype around Jackson Goldstone right now. The junior rider has signed to one of the big trade teams in the Santa Cruz Syndicate and is a Red Bull-sponsored athlete at a relatively young age. Being noticed brings its own pressures, but Goldstone’s laid back temperament and the influence of new team-mates in Greg Minnaar and Laurie Greenland have kept him on the level so far. The Canadian won the men’s World Cup junior race here in Lourdes in a time of 3m 52.584s – a time that would have placed him 11th in the elite men’s race. Maybe that hype is justified?
Jackson Goldstone rides at Lourdes UCI MTB World Cup 2022

Jackson Goldstone on his way to winning the juniors World Cup race

© Bartek Woliński/@wolisphoto

Goldstone also proved to be a good sport in helping show another perspective of a World Cup downhill course run. A 360 camera was attached to a pole that was then strapped to Goldstone’s back. As the name suggests, these 360 cameras give a 360-degree field of view. Watch Goldstone's 360 POV view of a Lourdes course run here.
Jackson Goldstone rides during practice at the 2021 UCI Lourdes DH MTB World Cup.

Jackson Goldstone on a practice run with the 360 camera attached

© Bartek Woliński/@wolisphoto

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