It was an exciting and picturesque day in France for the fourth stop on the UCI World Cup Mountain Bike series. The French fans were out in force in the small village town of La Bresse to see the best in the world take on the ‘old school’ course, which produced a pair of old school winners.
The course was a throwback to the old World Cup courses, with a ton of climbing per lap, very difficult and steep rock sections and very little flat. Some of the man-made rock gardens looked almost impassible, and also contributed to an alarming amount of flat tires. Some of the familiar faces of 2012 were out of the running due to flats or falls, including Marco Fontana and Nino Schurter.
In the Men’s race, the only rider to survive a late surge from Jaroslav Kulhavy, who closed a gap of over a minute in the last two laps and passed two riders, was the ageless hometown hero Julien Absalon. The French hero, who has won nearly everything under the sun (twice), took the win in exciting fashion. For suspense, I will decline to expose the thrilling final lap’s duel, but it’s well worth watching.
The Women’s race was equally close and twice as heartbreaking as Katerina Nash ended up second. Again, the last lap had the announcers screaming and is a must-see if you enjoy bike racing.
Once again, huge thanks to Red Bull for sponsoring coverage and for posting full replays.
Click here for the full Women’s replay.