If qualifying is anything to go by, then the race is set to be a corker! With a tough track and plenty of crashes, everything is to play for and it’s Tracey Hannah and Loïc Bruni who are leading the way. The guys over at Red Bull Bike will be bringing you all of the race action and they were there to capture some highlights from qualifying.

In the elite women’s field the big news was not the opening salvos of Manon Carpenter vs. Rachel Atherton as many had predicted. Rather it was Australia’s own Tracey Hannah (Polygon UR) who claimed the fastest time with a 3:29.785. It was an incredible time 5.8 secs quicker than Atherton in second with the French pairing of Myriam Nicole (Commencal/Vallnord) and Emmeline Ragot (MS Racing Mondraker) in third and fourth respectively.

Carpenter (Madison Saracen) has work to do back in fifth just over 12.5 secs back on the leader.

In the elite men’s race the attrition rate was already high; icons Sam Hill (Chain Reaction Cycles/Paypal) and Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate) were both in attendance but out with injuries sustained before they had even arrived here in the south west of France.

One of the big question marks lingered over Peat’s team-mate Josh Bryceland’s left foot. Injured at the World Champs last season, was it fit for a brutal track such as the beast of Lourdes?

Bryceland’s 3:05.772 proved that the Rat came here to race. He was dislodged only by two home favourites, a pairing who were the talk of timed training; Loïc Bruni (Lapierre Gravity Republic) and Remi Thirion (Commencal/Vallnord). Bruni smashed a 3:03.908 which was to be 1.856 secs quicker than the hard-charging Thirion.

For the full qualifying times and pictures, check out the full article on Red Bull Bike.

Sun 12th Apr, 2015 @ 10:30 am

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