With the off-season well in effect, I realized I had neglected to put for the EOSG from World Champs. It’s taken some time because the volume of photos left over from the biggest event of the year is rather staggering. But, hopefully you enjoy the tightened selection I put together for the visuals!
World Champs is a special event, the end-cap of the year where a select few come together and race for the biggest bragging rights of the year: World Champion, and the accompanying rainbow-striped jersey (and the gold medal I suppose). Before this year, I had been able to attend a World Championship event in 2010, the year Mount Sainte Anne was the event host. It was a mind-blowing experience, as it was also my first World-Cup-Level event experience. It was a tremendous weekend, with amazing results: Sam Hill returned from injury to win with the odds stacked against him; Tracey Mosely took home the gold and promptly retire from downhill, only to go on and crush it in Enduro; Troy Brosnan pipped Neko Mulally in an amazing battle; Lauren Rosser took a massive win, in front of her home country crowd. For a me, it was a weekend to never forget!
Fast-forward five years, and there I was in Andorra, at the last race of the year, at the end of my first year as a Media Squid on the World Cup circuit. It was nerve-wracking and exciting all at once – funny to say, as it sounds like I was racing! But, to me, was almost the same thing. It was a wild week of weird weather, but a remarkable display of riding as well. So many riders were looking capable, it was anyone’s guess come Sunday who would be taking home the gold in the respective categories.
Thankfully, race day was a beautiful afternoon, and an it was the cherry on top of a tremendously exciting race. Junior’s was wrapped up by the World Cup overall winners as well, Marine Cabirou and Laurie Greenland – quite the feat in itself! Women’s was a good race, but Rachel Atherton ran away with the gold, making her the third person on the day to take the title of World Champion as well as World Cup Champion (much like Manon Carpenter did in 2013). The Men’s race was insane, and there was some spectacular racing that happened through out the day, and it quite literally came down to the last rider, Aaron Gwin, who ended up crashing, and thus crowning Loic Bruni the 2015 Men’s World Champion.
To be there to witness the excitement, the emotion, and the chaos was a fitting end to a similarly describable Summer. Thanks again to everyone who tuned in to the coverage, and is continuing to join in the fun here at The Start Gate for the post-season content! Without further delay, the EOSG:
I don’t think words do Greg Minnaar justice as a rider. His ability to perform under pressure and do so with such precision is something you need to see to believe. To become the most winningest Elite Male rider and get Sliver at World Champs, all in the same year speaks volumes. A true champion through and through.
This is one of the few shots of Brook MacDonald I have where he isn’t actively bullying the track to pieces…one might even say he looks relaxed in this pan shot…he guy knows how to ride, and 2016 could hold some big things for the Kiwi.
3/3 Sam Blenkisop. Look at that lean-angle and roost getting ripped up! Good stuff.
One of the handful of American Juniors out on the hill for World Champs, Bruce Klein seemed to be actually enjoying himself, and not too fussed about the pressure to perform.
Emilie Stiegenthaler is a good example of an understated rider: she is flawlessly multilingual, funny, and the Swiss National Champion. Quite the resume!
Vaea Verbeek clipped her season short this year, going out with an injury at the second round. But, she came out swinging in Andorra, and managed to have the best save of the weekend about two seconds after this photo was taken. Hope to see her back in 2016 and charging!
Matt Simmonds is a dark horse in the ranks, and is capable of winning. After a strong season, I think he has the fire to make things happen next year.
I’ll be honest, I don’t know much about Guillem Jorba Prats, but I have a lot of shots of him looking rad on a bike, so here’s one for posterity’s sake.
Luca Shaw is a buddy, and I dig his “big man style” on a bike, so here is one of him stepping down into the last straight before the finish. He’s going to be a serious force in 2016…
Steve Smith has had a rough go at things in the past two years with injury. But, he’s a tough dude and came out swinging this season. A heathly off season means the man with the longest nickname in the sport (The Canadian Chainsaw Massacre) could be consitantly back on top in 2016, like he was in 2013.
One of the many Junior French riders on the World Cup circuit, Thiabalt Laly was keen to put on a performance for his home crowd.
Forever the most aggressive-looking rider, Morgane Charre found her form late in the year, and I for one hope she can bring that same focus and speed right into next year.
I was pleasantly surprised to see Israel represented at World Champs! Oren Hasson charging to the line!
This might just seem like any other pan shot, but it’s interesting for two reasons: firstly, it’s the eventual winner Loic Bruni in practice, and secondly, the bike he is riding has a full telemetry kit attached to it. He practiced the whole day on the übertech bike…so it is all about facts and figures or piece of mind?
The mighty South African, Sam Bull, was always charging the tracks, putting in the effort at all times. He’s one to watch next year.
I’m putting three of Sam in the EOSG because he earned it, espcially when looking as focused as he does here. 2/3
The Juniors are a wild group, and literally anything can happen, including a significant within meters of the finish line – Bruce Klein left it all out on the track, that’s for sure.
I realized I have a lot of shots of Steve Smith that were never used in official coverage, so here is one last one of him in his race run, dropping into the finish.
The fog was heavy and I could barely see the riders, so I only imagine how Morgane Charre felt flying blind across the CG Show Gap. The French powerhouse had a great season, and World Champs only back that up.
The pint-sized German rider, Sandra Rubesam was a relatively unknown rider to most of us, but her steady and confident riding made her stand out. Hope to see more of her on the World Cups next season.
Even if I have to look up your plate to find your name, like Emanue Pombo here, a solid huck with style will alwyas get you a spot in the EOSG.
I feel as though Loris Vergier didn’t get his due justice regarding coverage this year, as he was frequently out-shone by teammate [now World Champion] Loic Bruni. The Frenchman has skill and speed – he’ll be on the top step soon!
This could be mistaken for “Foot Out, Flat Out”, but it’s more a case of “Tripodding”. It was a battle for anyone out on the hill in Andorra, Squids included.
Look at that huge grin! Josh Bryceland is one funny dude, and considering his summary of his run was something to the effect of, “I was just trying to get down in one piece”, it’s pretty ridiculous that he got Bronze. 50:1 mix anyone?
It’s Sam Hill…one doesn’t need a reason to run a photo of Sam Hill (it is crisp though, and classic “Hill Style”). An injury-plagued season, we all are hoping to see Sam heal up in the off season and come back ready to hit hard next year.
Noel Niederberger. the stylish Swiss rider, looked impressive all week and was always entertaining to watch go by.
Bizarre weather was just par for the course while in Andorra, but being the Champion that she [now] is, Rachel Atherton has no issues cutting through the terrible visibility, and sought out the race-winning lines with purpose.
The classic “Blenki”, Sam Blenkisop told me that he felt like his old self on the bike at World Champs, and it wasn’t just a gut feeling, he was looking the best he had all year, and then some. Good to end on a high note I say.
And when you win, you get at least two shots in the EOSG; hover-biking to the line with the crowd’s cheers surging him on, Laurie is just a few heartbeats from gold here.
Riding loose and aggressively all season, Connor Fearon showed us all that he is on his way to the top of the sport. Look for big things from the young Aussie in 2016.
Gianluca Vernassa isn’t a house-hold name, but the ever-smiling young Italian is a both quick and kind, which are both more important than fame.
A top contender in the Juniors, Alex Martin Trillo was one of the underdogs with potential to medal, especially after a strong season. However, like this not-quite-sharp-pan, there is still room for improvement, but good [helmet] flare will still get worthy attention.
Another ones of the driving forces behind the #VANZACS, Dave McMillan is the most stylish rider on track while still being fast. His video diaries from the season are rad as well!
Known for his commentary and partying skills, people tend to forget that Rob Warner is also a talented rider. putting in his efforts while some of the Juniors were still in diapers.
When your friends win, you win; Laurie Greenland deservedly won the Junior Men’s gold (and thus the rainbows), and watching him pull that off in person was awesome. Couldn’t have been happier for him!
Turning it up a notch each day, Steve Smith was climbing by list of Wildcards for race day.
The stoic American, Aaron Gwin, is a force to be reckoned with, and at his best, is unstoppable. My best for 2015 World Champ, but a crash in finals means it will be another year until he can try and earn the stripes.
This is the kind of shot I think is cool, but doesn’t often make the cut for editorial coverage. Connor Fearon, taking the final leap into the finish arena.
Power to the line! Just a few turns of the cranks later, Bruni became the World Champion. The people’s champion on the day, and a real champion to the core; Loic is a gentleman and a scholar, and now a World Champion!
Quick-witted and even faster on a bike, Tahnee Seagrave is another Brit climbing the ranks, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see her on the top of the podium in 2016.
The hesh Aussie lad, Remy Morton was always throwing shapes and getting rad on track.
Going bigger than most of the guys, Casey Brown sent “The Glory Jump” deeeep, much to the excitement of the crowd. Casey is rad, and I think this moment deserves some more coverage (I ran it for offical coverage content, as did every other media outlet) – too cool!
All eyes were on Loic Bruni on Finals Day. He was racing in front of his home crowd, and he had high expectations for himself. You could feel the tention and excitement in the finish arena during his run. To be there and be a part of that energy was something I won’t soon forget!
2015 will be remember as “The Year Of The #VANZACS”, and Matt Walker here had a lot to do with that. Stellar results from the privateer – what’s to come for him and the lads in 2016?
Jacob Dickson is someone to watch in the next few years. His natural ability on a bike is ridiculous, and he is one of the nicest and politest people in the pits. A top lad and someone to definitely cheer on.
One of the youngest Elite riders (fresh out of Juniors), Luca Shaw had a steady and strong season. Quiet and observant, I’m sure he picked up a few tricks to bring out for 2016.
When your teammate and good friend becomes the World Champion, you also have a great day. Loris Vergier has a stand-out season, and clearly has more left to show us.