Once again, the Mont-Sainte Anne World Cup delivered one of the best races of the season. The 2017 event, won by Aaron Gwin in the rain, is considered by many to be one of the greatest races of all time. This year’s edition wasn’t quite as dramatic but provided some of the most exciting racing of the season and came down to the final riders to sort out the podium.
The junior women’s race was once again dominated by Austria’s Valentina Hill, who is running the table so far this season. Two young Americans, Samantha Soriano and Mazie Hayden rallied from the back of the pack in qualifying to round out the podium. The junior men’s race was taken by French youngster Thibaut Daprela after a troubled finals run for top qualifier Kye A’Hern of Australia. After several years of heavy participation from American juniors, only one entrant from the states competed at MSA with Zach Gareis taking 10th.
The women’s race once again was again came down to a battle between Rachel Atherton and Tahnee Seagrave. The two British speedsters have distanced themselves from the rest of the pack this year and made it a two-woman show at the last few races. Seagrave got the upper hand in qualifying bur Atherton prevailed in the finals by more than five seconds. American hopeful Ella Skalwald separated her shoulder in practice and was sidelined for the event.
The men’s elite race was a nile biter to the end. American Charlie Harrison held the hot seat for ages until the top dogs started picking him off. Luca Shaw put down a scorcher, only to be unseated minutes later by Troy Brosnan. Series leader Amaury Pierron rallied from a terrible practice crash to take the 4th spot. Loic Bruni sent the crowd into a frenzy when he topped Brosnan by .3 seconds to take the win. Danny Hart was the last man on the track and had to settle for third, just two thousands of a second behind Brosnan.
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Photos by Jeb Wallace-Brodeur