World Cup #5 Vallnord – You Win Some You Lose Some

This home World Cup was perhaps not what we had hoped for in terms of results but as always we were treated to a weekend full of incredible moments and emotions! It’s rarely ever as hot, and as dry, and as super fast as this track in Vallnord Pal-Arinsal! Riders had to deal the heat, thin air and so much dust, plus a hectic track in the new edition of this World Cup in Andorra. What a week!

Qualifications went pretty well for our COMMENCAL riders but finals proved to be more difficult… You win some, you lose some. There were still many positives to take away from the weekend. First of all, a brilliant 3rd place for Camille Balanche in the Elite Women’s race. It was once again a well managed race for Cami, who said during morning practice that she was pretty scared by the speed and difficulty of the track. With this result she retains her leader’s jersey in the overall series. There was also a fine performance from Mille Johnset. She stepped onto the podium in 5th for the first time as part of the COMMENCAL 100% Team! It was a run where she showed great control, especially on the top section of the track, where she was one of the fastest.

Disappointment on the other hand for Myriam Nicole who was fastest until the third split before she crashed. She managed to hold onto 7th place despite the loss of time from her fall. Behind her, Siel Van Der Velden finished 9th after a solid run. Monika Hrastnik was disappointed with 12th but is positive for the next race. 

Amongst the Elite Men the big performance of the weekend came from Angel Suarez. Very fast and impressive on the first two thirds of the track, a slip off-line prevented him from holding onto a podium position. It’s not for the first time this season though, that he showed he's one of the fastest in the world. Thomas Estaque, his COMMENCAL 100% teammate, also had an excellent weekend finishing 12th. That’s his first first top 15 of the season! After a crash in qualifying the day before, he was one of the first men to leave the start gate on race day, and he therefore took advantage of the 'less blown-out' track. It was nice to see him on the hot seat for a while!

It was a tough day for the COMMENCAL Muc-Off Team, where Amaury Pierron and Thibaut Daprela finished 13th and 15th respectively. Amaury had a huge crash during practice on race day morning, and his head and body were simply not in it when it came to racing that track in those conditions after the morning he had had… He said afterwards, “This morning's crash was too big! I was already happy to have been able to ride in the final. Rest is now more than necessary.” Despite the difficult weekend, he retains his place as leader in the overall after winning three out of five races this season.

Thibaut Daprela also had a difficult week where he never really found his rhythm and the speed we’re used to seeing. This one just wasn't for him. Other COMMENCAL 100% riders, Greg Williamson and Hugo Frixtalon, came 20th and 25th respectively. Hugo fell victim to a deteriorated track in his final run after achieving the 5th fastest time in qualifying the day before.

Injured Benoit Coulanges was unable to take his start in the final. After a crash in a sharp part of the track, he suffered some cuts and (big) bruises. He hopes to be back for Snowshoe. Courage to him!

Amongst the Junior Men, it was Tristan Lemire who shone with a very good run taking his first podium of the season in 5th! Behind him, Alix Francoz was 11th and Jack Piercy 14th. Congrats go to COMMENCAL USA rider Riley Miller who finished 6th, and COMMENCAL Les Orres Team member Alizés Lassus in 7th. It’s great to see them representing in the Junior Women’s category. 

Voir cette publication sur Instagram

Une publication partagée par Amaury Pierron (@amaurypierron4)

After two consecutive World Cup race weeks, riders will now be able to rest up a bit and make their way over the Atlantic before the next meeting in Snowshoe, USA, in just over a week!

Photos : Keno Derleyn / Jey Crunch / Ross Bell / Nico Brizin