Gee, Rachel and Marc head to Canada’s Mont St Anne this weekend for Round 4 of their World Cup campaign. They’ll be taking on a track that has featured in every year’s World Cup or World Champs schedule since the sport’s inception in 1991 and has been described as a “beautiful monster.”
Riders: Gee Atherton, Rachel Atherton, Marc Beaumont.
Mechanics: Pete Michaliszyn, Mark Maurissen, Andy Lund
Support : Dan Brown
Bikes: The new GT Fury!
Mont St Anne is the only venue to have featured in the UCI DH World Cup or World Champs every year since 1991. It has a reputation for tough and wet conditions to rival Fort William yet can equally be dusty; either way it’s notoriously tricky – Gee had one of his most spectacular crashes here in last year’s practise – and Marc “hated it”, even Rachel who took the win here in 2012 confessed to riding very carefully in the mid and bottom sections. Last year’s winner, Aaron Gwin did it in 4.14….
Thursday prior to the race is expected to bring scattered thunderstorms which should clear leaving Friday cloudy and warm (68 F) then Saturday and Sunday will cool (falling to about 61F by Sunday) with increasingly frequent showers.
Rachel took the win here in 2008, 3rd in 2011 and won again in 2012. Last year Rachel was particularly pleased with her win given the difficulties presented by the newly revamped top section –She said after the 2012 race “I’m made up with today’s result, I rode the top really well and didn’t want to throw it away …that’s why my bottom splits dropped right off…”
Gee has had some tough times at MSA. He podiumed in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012 but DNF in 2011 – and last year’s 4th place was immensely hard won given his spectacular practice crash – one of the biggest of his career. Proving once again that he’s one of the toughest riders on the circuit Gee qualified sixth the very next day then took a finals fourth with a bandaged knee and a strapped shoulder.
Marc has put in some solid runs at Mont Saint Anne World Cups – notably taking the 4th in 2006. But last year a mistake in the first rock section saw him hit a tree loosing valuable momentum. Marc had qualified 11th but was disappointed to finish in 21st. He said “I felt like there was a problem with my arms all the way down, I was struggling to hang on thinking “What the Hell’s going on here, I’m in the best form of my life one day then struggling to hang on the next.”
Gee: Well you got to respect that track! I’m going to try to stay on board this year and get to the race in one piece – last year I was pretty banged up!”
Rachel: I’m really looking forward to it, the girls are riding so fast, really pushing me on and the Fury is riding like a dream, I’m loving it”
Marc: Well last year it’s no secret that I didn’t like the track at all. It was even more frustrating because everyone else thought it was good! What’s really important though is that was last year – it’s not about that anymore – it’s all about the next race.