If you were to take a random selection of DH racers and ask them to name their favourite track on the World Cup circuit, the most popular choice would be Mont Sainte-Anne. It’s the venue with the longest World Cup history and it’s back this year after a two-year absence!
All photos: Red Bull Content Pool
How and when to watch
Women’s DH Final:
Men’s DH Final:
Why do the riders love MSA so much?
Well, the track is one of the greatest tests of a rider’s ability. Dropping over 600m in just over 4 minutes, there’s a mix of everything from fast wide-open sections where riders hit 70kmph, to the infamous rock garden where many a rider’s hopes and dreams have ended.
Mont Sainte-Anne is situated in Quebec on the east coast of Canada. The downhill track is located in the town of Beaupré, a mountain ski resort 40km or so outside of the city itself. The mountain is part of the Laurentian chain and summits at 800m above sea level. The weather is generally pretty sunny but rain has affected many of the races here and it can move in and out of the mountains very quickly.
The last World Cup in MSA was in 2018 with Rachel Atherton taking the win in the women’s and Loic Bruni in the men’s. Bruni was also victorious on the same track at the 2019 World Championships, with Myriam Nicole taking the women’s.
Perhaps the memorable race run though belongs to Aaron Gwin who delivered one of the greatest runs of all time to claim victory in 2017. With heavy rain coming in half way through the men’s race, 34th seed Dean Lucas looked set to claim his maiden World Cup victory. Fastest qualifier Gwin was having none of it though and claimed victory by over a second in biblical conditions…
What about this year then? Well, in Elite Women, it’s exceptionally hard to see anyone outside the triumvirate who sit at the top of the overall. Camille Balanche has only raced here once before and didn’t do well but it was a similar situation in Fort William earlier this season and she came away with second there. If it was offered to her now, I think she’d take the same result here. Leading the overall by 225 points from Myriam Nicole she probably just needs to podium at the final two races to take the title.
Elite Women – Overall standings after 6 rounds:
- Camille Balanche 1335
- Myriam Nicole 1105
- Vali Hoell 966
- Eleonora Farina 795
- Nina Hoffmann 743
Having won here in 2019, Nicole is probably the favourite this time out. Hoell will undoubtedly continue with her ‘win or bust’ approach which has only been successful at one race so far. In the latest episode of the podcast I suggested Nina Hoffmann who was victorious in Fort William might be a contender here but Jack and Emi thought otherwise, her style in just too wild and with so many rocks on track they didn’t fancy her chances of making it down without a mechanical.
Elite Men – Overall standings after 6 rounds:
- Amaury Pierron 1180
- Loris Vergier 758
- Finn Iles 746
- Danny Hart 624
- Andreas Kolb 591
In Elite Men Amaury Pierron should claim the title this weekend. With a maximum of 250 points available at each round and only 2 rounds remaining his 422 point lead over Vergier and 434 over Iles mean one of those would have to victorious in both qualifying and the race at each of the final rounds and Pierron would have to have a disaster at each.
There will be no Danny Hart or Matt Walker this weekend. The former became a father for the second time this week but there have been complications and so he’s flown home and we wish Darcie Hart a speedy recovery. The latter suffered a broken kneecap and hand in a crash in Andorra and will likely miss the rest of the season. Having won here in 2018 and 2019 and without the overall on his mind Loic Bruni will probably start as the favourite as he continues to build pace ahead of World Championships in Les Gets later this month.
Junior Men – Overall standings after 6 rounds:
- Jackson Goldstone 340
- Jordan Williams 276
- Lachlan Stevens-McNab 231
- Tegan Cruz 181
- Remy Meier-Smith 164
Round 5 in Snowshoe was Jackson’s third win in a row and he’s now 64 points clear of Jordan Williams in the overall which means we could see the overall title wrapped up this weekend. Look out for Tegan Cruz who’s on great form at the moment though.
Junior Women – Overall standings after 6 rounds:
- Gracey Hemstreet 335
- Phoebe Gale 295
- Jenna Hastings 250
- Izabela Yankova 195
- Aimi Kenyon 175
Gracey Hemstreet could also wrap up the overall in Canada although her advantage is just 40 points. It’s the home race for both Gracey and Jackson this weekend and they’d both like to get things wrapped up ahead of Worlds.
It’s set to be another fantastic weekend of racing.
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