July 01, 2017 (Vallnord, Andorra) – Canada’s Finnley Iles (Specialized Gravity Powered by Sram) delivered his third victory this season on Canada Day taking the Junior Men’s DH World Cup final at Round 4 of the UCI MTB World Cup in Vallnord, Andorra.
Junior Men's podium © Fraser BrittonJunior Men's podium
Fellow Canuck Mark Wallace (Canyon Factory) enjoyed the hot seat for awhile before finishing 7th in the Elite men’s race while Vaea Verbeeck earned her first top 10 this season in the in Elite Women’s final.
Isles bested his closest rival Matt Walker (Gbr) Madison Saracen Factory Team by almost five seconds (4.973 seconds) for a decisive victory with Kade Edwards (Gbr) Trek Factory Racing DH in 3rd. In fact his time of 4:12.847 was a bit faster than Wallace’s in the Elite Men’s category.
Finnley Iles © Fraser Britton
“I was at the top and Kevin, my mechanic, was just like ‘it’s Canada Day man so put it down.’ I just tried to ride as fast as I could. I’m happy with my time and it was a good day. It was just fast, there was one section I really screwed up, but I must have carried good speed out of it. It was definitely one of my better runs this year,” said Iles at the finish as he continues to lead th
Britain’s Megan James won the Junior Women’s DH final over a small field for her second win this season. Series leader, Melanie Chappaz (Fra) Dorval Am Nicolai, was second followed by Beatrice Migliorini (Ita) MS Mondraker Team in third. James is now second overall.
Nicole © Fraser BrittonJunior Men's podium
Myriam Nicole (Fra) Commencal / Vallnord was in the Elite Women’s hot seat with only Tracey Hannah (Aus) Polygon UR left to go, but the Aussie crashed in one of the technical wooded section after lighting the board green at the first couple of splits.
Seagrave © Fraser BrittonJunior Men's podium
The win was Nicole’s second World Cup victory of her career and she was joined on the podium by Tahnee Seagrave (Gbr) Transition Bikes / FMD Factor in second while Marine Cabirou (Fra) VV Racing was 3rd. Hannah continues to lead the series overall.
Andorra marked the return of legendary Rachel Atherton (Gbr) Trek Factory Racing DH with a record 14 consecutive World Cup wins, following her training injury at Fort William as she landed 4th on the podium here.
Vaea Verbeeck © Fraser Britton
Canada’s Verbeeck posted her first top-10 this season finishing 10th on the day. Fellow Canuck Miranda Miller (Specialized Gravity), the reigning Canadian champ who returned to the circuit following her leg injury at Fort William, followed in 11th.
Miller © Michal Cerveny
Nerves were on edge as clouds rolled in during the men’s final and a light drizzle fell on and off, but the predicted heavy rains never materialized and fans were treated to some of the best World Cup racing in recent memory. On a steep, natural track that pushes riders to their limits, it was a race of attrition as rider after rider fell victim to the roots and ruts that had come out during the week.
Mark Wallace © Fraser Britton
Canada’s Wallace showed he is on top of his game posting the fastest time and enjoyed the hot seat for a time with a dozen riders left as several crashed until Danny Hart (Gbr) MS Mondraker Team unseated him by five seconds with an incredible on-the-edge run that almost saw him hit the dirt as well.
Minnaar © Fraser Britton
Greg Minnaar (RSA) Santa Cruz Syndicate bested Hart by two seconds and seemed a shoe-in until the final rider, Troy Brosnan (Aus) Canyon Factory Racing DH, edged him for the win by a mere 0.220 seconds for his second career World Cup victory.
Brosnan © Fraser Britton
“That run was gnarly. I pinned it on the top as hard as I could and I felt like I had some time up my sleeve,” said Brosnan. “At the bottom I just tried to hang it lose and I almost blew every single corner. I managed to hold on and made two mistakes in the bottom corners that really pissed me off but somehow it held for the win. I’m over the moon, this is just as good as my first win.”
Elite Men's podium © Fraser Britton
For Wallace it was a great day at the office on the toughest track of the season with his teammate securing the victor capping a phenomenal week for the Canyon Factory team.
“It’s a good Canada day! I’m happy with my run and I can’t complain. I think Finn beat me though, again. We’ve been really close all year and I think he got this one, I’ll have to check. My run was smooth, just what i wanted. It got a bit scary a few times at the bottom but that’s just normal here, it’s so fast and steep,” commented Wallace.
Junior Women’s results here.
Junior Men’s results here.
Elite Women’s results here.
Elite Men’s results here.