A few months have passed since the outstanding end of the 2013 season from Team Lapierre Gravity Republic. However, the staff and the riders have kept up the pressure this winter, working hard to aim even higher, and are starting this new season ranked N°1 Team with the UCI.
Sam Blenkinsop already attacking during the practice runs
Always spectacular and unique, debate for the South African round focused on bike choice: enduro or DH? Single or dual crown fork? 26”, 27.5” or 29er?
The training sessions went well, as did qualifications: Loris Vergier took 2nd place in the Juniors, Emmeline Ragot went 3rd in Womens, finally Loic Bruni and Sam Blenkinsop took the 4th and 5th place in Elite Men. All lights were green before the race!
Emmeline Ragot had some bad luck in South Africa, but still on the 5th place!
In the Juniors final, carrying plate number 1, Loris Vergier fully committed to the track. He crossed the finish line with the fastest time, but was eventually overtaken by the American rider Lucas Shaw. A very good start for the winner of the 2013 Junior World Cup.
In the Womens race, Emmeline Ragot attacked her final full gas, ready for the fight. She was 1st at split 1, but suffered a stroke of fate with a puncture in the last part of the track. Despite this, she gave it her all up to the finish line and took the 5th place, 9 seconds behind Manon Carpenter, winner of the first round of the World Cup. Emmeline will certainly want to take revenge in the 2nd round in Cairns (Australia).
Loic Bruni off to a good start of the season!
In the Elite Men, the Australian Mick Hannah established a reference time that only Aaron Gwin managed to dislodge, to win the first round of the 2014 World Cup. On LP’s side, it is a very positive result with the 4th place for Loic Bruni, on a track that’s not one of his favourites, and Sam Blenkinsop claimed a solid 6th!
A strong collective performance to start the season. Looks good for future races!
If you missed this amazing DH, you can review it on Red Bull TV à http://live.redbull.tv/events/344/uci-mtb-world-cup-2014-pietermaritzburg-dhi/
The second round of the World Cup will be in 15 days in Cairns (Australia).