The perennial downhill venue of Mont Saint Anne hosts the 2019 UCI Downhill World Championships and we’re taking a look at who’s likely to go well.
Mont Saint Anne has hosted the World Championships or a round of the World Cup every year since 1993. The track is one of the longest and most physical on the circuit with Elite Men’s times coming in just over the four minute mark.
We take a look at the track, previous stats and who’s likely to be throwing on the Rainbow Stripes next weekend.
Mont Saint Anne sits just north east of the city of Quebec in the French-speaking region of Canada.
The venue has hosted World-level racing for twenty seven years, so familiarity with the venue certainly won’t be an issue for anyone unless they’re first year Juniors perhaps.
As mentioned above, Mont Saint Anne is renowned for being fast and rough. At over four minutes, the only longer course time-wise is Fort William.
Mont Saint Anne’s race track is usually a mix of flat-out open piste sections, with the odd feature like Stevie Smith’s rock, with some fast and technical rock sections in the woods.
As with most tracks, there are usually new sections for each race. Will we see the track going across the restaurant veranda again? Or will the track find some steepness early on instead?
Punctures are a massive feature of racing at Mont Saint Anne especially as the most famous rock garden section is on the lower slopes and has every rock vying for the wind in your tyres.
Who’s going to go well?
Pete called it early and said that Danny Hart will be your 2019 World Champion in his Worlds team article. Danny hasn’t been out of the top 5 at any round bar Les Gets where he came 49th. He’s also the current British National Downhill Champion and a double World Champs winner in the past. In the last three World Cup visits to Mont Saint Anne, he’s not been off the podium with two 3rds and a 1st.
Laurie Greenland won his first World Cup in 2019 at Val di Sole and took silver there at the World Champs in 2016. His previous at Mont Saint Anne has never been all that good though with a DNF in 2018 and results in the forties and fifties in 2017 and 2016. You can’t count Laurie out for a podium at Mont Saint Anne if he gets his head screwed on right though.
Tahnee Seagrave might well be heading to Canada with some uncertainty around her as she returns from her AC separation suffered in Fort William. Tahnee has occupied all three medal positions at Mont Saint Anne in the last three years, so clearly gets on well there. If she can get up to speed early then she could be a shoe-in for the Rainbow Stripes. Tracey, Marine and Myriam won’t be making it way for her mind.
It’s highly likely that this year’s World Championships could be the year of The Marseillaise come podium time.
Loic Bruni and Amaury Pierron are currently locked in a two-way overall title race, with the former coming into this race as the defending champion. Both have won three rounds each and will be looking to add that most famous win to their tallies and carry that momentum into Snowshoe. Both will want to win, but how hard to you push for the win when the World Cup overall goes to the wire in Snowshoe?
Let’s not forget Loris Vergier who looks well set for an overall series podium, is also a World Cup winner, and despite not looking as dangerous as he did last year, don’t count him out for a second.
2019 has been Marine Cabirou‘s year. She had been threatening all of 2018 but this year she’s stepped up her game and taken the fight to Tracey Hannah. She has taken the last two World Cup wins and will no doubt go to Canada with a shed load of confidence in hand. Will she roll the dice in Canada and go for broke with the overall on the line?
Troy Brosnan might not have won a single round of the World Cup this year, or since 2017 for that matter, he’s well placed in the World Cup overall and will want to finish his season on a high at MSA and Snowshoe. He’s not been off the podium in Canada in the last three years, can he find that extra gear this time around?
Tracey Hannah will no longer just have to fight off Marine Cabirou, but the return of both Tahnee Seagrave and Myriam Nicole. Tracey definitely has experience on her side and has been racing smart all year. Can she bag herself some Rainbow Stripes and take the fight to Cabirou in Snowshoe?
It’s safe to say that Aaron Gwin‘s season has been built around recovery for the World Champs.
His winning run in the wet in 2018 was a masterpiece of aggressive riding regardless of the conditions and we know he can turn it on when it matters.
That said, World Champs glory has eluded Gwin since he rose to the sharp end of the World Cup scene. Can he lift his World Champs curse in 2019?
You can never count out the GOAT at World Champs. Greg Minnaar is a big race specialist and despite having a slow start to the season, his second places in Leogang and Lenzerheide prove he’s on pace.
Will Minnaar upset the ‘changing of the guard’ and show all the young ‘uns how to ride a bike in Canada?
Who do we think is going to win?
Cabirou, Nicole, Seagrave
Gwin, Bruni, Hart
Hart, Pierron, Macdonald
Cabirou, Seagrave, Hannah
Marine, Tracey, Nina
Pierron, Brosnan, Bruni
Hannah, Seagrave, Nicole
Bruni, Brosnan, Hart
Seagrave, Nicole, Cabirou
Hart, Brosnan, Bruni