It seems that big wheels and hardtails are rapidly becoming a recipe for success in cross country racing, with the brand spanking new carbon fibre Lapierre Pro Race 929 taking a victory under Alexis Vuillermoz in it’s first race outing in France last weekend.
The Offroad Cassis is the traditional launch of the XC season in France and Lapierre team riders Alexis Vuillermoz and Pauline Ferrand-Prévot decided to compete this race with their new large wheeled bikes. We haven’t seen the 29er version of their Pro Race hardtail series before but it’s a tidy looking thing, the carbon fibre monocoque frame using a tapered headtube.
Pauline is reported as saying before the race that “I really feel more confident with it in the downhills, and I don’t have the impression that I’m losing time on other sections”.
After a long and hard race – more than 2h30 – Alexis won the Elite event ahead of all top French XC riders: Tempier, Marotte and Absalon.
In her first Elite race, Pauline Ferrand-Prévot finished a solid 4th place, 3rd in U23, despite a crash towards the end of the race. A promising start for the triple junior world champion.
Now the 2011 season is underway, Alexis has confirmed hell be keeping the 29er on hand for certain tracks and conditions – his initial plans are to use it for Dalby Forest and the Roc d’Azur.