Bromont World Cup 2009

2009 Bromont World Cup Mens DH Podium

2009 Bromont World Cup Men's DH Podium

World cup downhill is coming to a climax as stop number seven of eight at Bromont, QC proved to be an exciting venue to say the least.  We attended the race to experience and report on what happened.  See inside for the goods.

The worlds best downhillers gathered to see who was the fastest man down the hill this past weekend and boy was it exciting.  In the last world cup race at Mont Sainte Anne, Sam Hill took the win and the leader’s jersey by a mere four points over Steve Peat who placed second.  Greg Minnaar, the leader before the conclusion of Mont Saint Anne, dropped back in the points as he had a crash during his final run at Monte Saint Anne that pushed him down the leader board into the third position.  Needless to say, the table was fully set for a tough competition for the Bromont world cup.

Practice day leading up to the qualifying event would prove interesting as lines developed, speeds picked up, and some gnarly crashes ensued.  There were plenty of injuries over the weekend as a result of the speeds and varying track conditions.  One of the more notable ones involved Matti Lehikoinen who ended up not finishing his run due to a huge crash and seems to have broken his collarbone as well as his pelvic bone.  He has been plagued with injuries and has some amazing talent.  He was looking on form to be on the podium this weekend.  The short track at Bromont offered some amazingly tight riding from all the competitors.

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At the end of the 6th world cup, Mont Sainte Anne, the top five were:

  1. HILL, Samuel - 1039
  2. PEAT, Steve - 1035
  3. MINNAAR, Greg - 973
  4. ATHERTON, Gee - 931
  5. HANNAH, Michael - 821

Qualifying holds some serious points, especially when the top three guys are all close in points.  First place qualifier claims a vital 50 points that they were all aiming to take away.  Second place carries 40, third carries 30 points, fourth carries 25 points, and so on. The race at Bromont proved quite interesting during qualifying as the top 80 riders were only separated by a mere 16.44 seconds.  To put the heated race in more of a perspective the 40th rider to qualify was only 5.13 seconds in front of the 80th qualifier.  Andrew Neethling took advantage of the automatic 20 qualifier rule as well as Nick Beer.  This rule is in place to ensure that the top twenty riders make it to the big dance.

Qualifying day was wet and proved challenging to the riders.  The conditions ended up keeping the times tight to say the least.  The short rocky course drained quite well and riders found themselves pushing it hard even in the wet conditions.  The qualifying winner, Fabien Barel, but in some major work down the entire course during practice time and really focused on what lines to take.  Still recovering from his knee injury, Barel is a focused man when any timed run starts.  His time of 2:38.32 put him ahead of second place qualifier Sam Hill (who was somewhat under the weather) by a mere .52 seconds.  Greg Minnar was 1.36s behind Barel in qualifying landing him in the third qualifying position. Steve Peat was in fourth at 1.43s back. The table was set.


Qualifying day – practice run with a VHoldR- helmet camera with Geoff Ulmer (Xprezo / POC)

Moving along to race day, the first place winner of the race claims a crucial 200 points, second 160 points, third 140 points, fourth 125 points, and so on.  The sun came out during race day and dried out most of the course quite quickly.  Speeds picked up to during the final day practice runs and riders were finding faster speeds in every section.

Race time began promptly at 1pm and the women were first off.  Sabrina Jonnier took the victory over Floraine Pugin (+2.64).  Mio Suemasa took third place and Tracy Moseley took fourth.  With this win, Sabrina Jonnier has wrapped up the 2009 overall in the womens downhill category.

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Katie Holden made the journey to Bromont to race the world cup as well.  During her qualifying run she caught the rider in front of her in the rock garden and navigated around her impressively well.

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The pro men started off at 2pm and sunny skies continued throughout the day.  Racers kept coming down faster and faster.  America had a good number of riders in the main show.  Aaron Gwin fresh off his 3rd place at Monte Sainte Anne, and USA Nationals win, got his second World Cup podium this year and claimed a solid 5th place at Bromont.

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Kyle Strait took 16th place and looked on form on this course.

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Luke Strobel was hungry this weekend and was trying hard.  He ended up in 17th at the end of the day.

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J.D. Swanguen took 49th place.  Some more pedaling in sections could have him higher up the rankings easily.

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Curtis Keene took 66th.

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American Junior Geoffery Ulmer qualified for his first world cup this weekend and ended up in 73rd.  A few less crashes during his race run would’ve had him higher up the ranks but as they say “that’s racing”.

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Duncan Riffle took 30th place and Kevin Aielo 48th.

Dunca Riffle (click to enlarge)

Dunca Riffle (click to enlarge)

Kevin Aiello (click to enlarge)

Kevin Aiello (click to enlarge)

Chris Kovarik is a force to be reckoned with.  He rides his bike with authority and knows how to put the power down.  Fastest on the day through the speed trap  at 50.585kmh (only one of two riders to break the 50kmh) on flat pedals is no small feat for most riders, but Kovarik makes it seem easy.  Kovarik had at least one bobble we saw that could have landed him higher up but he would finish 8th at the end of the day.

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Steve Smith is one big ball of speed and talent.  When he can control it, he does amazingly well and looks great doing his thing.  Crashing doesn’t help and he would end the day in 40th as a result.  Steve Smith’s time will come and when it does watch out!

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Brendan Fairclough is often in the shadow of his team mate Sam Hill.  His riding easily speaks for itself and he is talented to say the least.  He would end the day at 10th.  He’s always happy when he’s on a bike and he did well on the Bromont course.  Look for Brendan on the podium at Schladming.

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Mitch Delfs, rider for Kenda Morewood, is a talented rider that knows how to put together sections of trail.  His corner speed is amazing to witness and he rides his bike with a lot of confidence and style. His time will also come but for now he was 65th at the end of the day on the short course that allowed no crashes.  His team mate Fabien Cousine had his bike stolen at Monte Sainte Anne and Mitch let him borrow his bike last weekend.  This weekend it was a broken chain for his team mate during qualifications and as such he didn’t make the big dance.

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Josh Bryceland, youngest member of the Santa Cruz Syndicate, was in the hot seat for some time.  He’s a young rider and has some amazing talent.  His time will come but today he took 9th which was impressive as this was no small feat.

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Moving on to the bigger guns, Gee Atherton was hungry for a win.  He wasn’t the most pleased with his race run and the course demanded a near perfect run to be on the podium.   He would end the day in 4th place.  His brother later crashed in the 4x finals and looked a bit hurt.  Will be interesting to see if he ended  up breaking himself again which would be quite unfortunate for the Athertons this year.  Worlds are just around the corner and interestingly Rachel Atherton seemed missing from the entry list for the U.K.  Will Gee be doing worlds alone this year?

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Sam Hill had a great run but couldn’t put together a run good enough to win at the end of the day.  He’s been riding in Canada for the past month or so and he also won the Canada Cup on this same course.  He ended the day in 3rd place but was said to have been under the weather for some time so that is quite impressive to pull off a 3rd place considering the worlds best were in attendance.

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Anyone could talk about Fabien Barel all day.  He’s a guy who is focused when it comes time to race even in the middle of an injury that would have most guys sidelined and debating quitting. Fabien meticiliously dialed in each portion of the track that helped him claw his way up to second place at Bromont.  With Worlds in Australia quickly approaching on the horizon, Barel will be a force to be reckoned with as the flying french man looks on form mentally and that is never a good thing for his competition.

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Greg Minnaar is a winner and that’s just what winners do.  He came off a hard week from Mont Sainte Anne after not only loosing the leader’s jersey to Sam Hill, but also dropping him into 3rd place in the overall points chase.  His win here puts him within striking distance.  The final world cup race in Schladming will have the top three guys vying for the top spot.

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Bromont 2009 Video

Heading into the finals, the current leader board is:

  1. HILL Samuel 1219
  2. MINNAAR Greg 1203
  3. PEAT Steve 1150
  4. ATHERTON Gee 1078
  5. HANNAH Michael  929

The stage is set for a climatic final race again.  The Schladming race is scheduled for September 19th-20th and can’t come soon enough.  See more videos and full results on our Bromont WC page.

On the four cross side of things 17yr old USA National Champion Mitch Ropalato wowed the crowd with some amazing riding.  He ended up second on the day even with everyone riding aggressively.  It was his 2nd world cup race and he ended up 2nd on the podium.

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