Sheffield Steel! Andorra marked Steve Peat’s last World Cup race. In true classic Peaty fashion, he crossed the line with arms raised above his head and spent the time after his finish socializing and reminiscing. It was an emotional post-race celebration of his historic and storied career, with a surprise slideshow tribute unveiled on the big screen. While he may be stepping away from racing, his legacy will remain, and he’ll no doubt be up to some fun antics in the future.
Cheers Peaty, thanks for all the memories and inspiration!
The Elite Women’s race was just as thrilling, as Tracey Hannah and Miriam Nicole were both giving Rachel Atherton a run for her money leading up to Finals. With that said, Rachel once again showed us all she is in a different league of her own at the moment, besting Tracey Hannah in 2nd place by 6.658 seconds. And on a track as savage as Vallnord, that’s staggering. Tahnee Seagrave may have had something up her sleeve, but her Qualifying crash left her operating at sub-optimal levels – but she rallied hard and still managed to round out the podium in 5th. The women are all searching for that extra speed this season, and the level is clearly on the rise, which makes for exceptionally exciting racing.
Junior Men are as dense a field as ever as well, and the level of racing has been tremendous all summer. With Finn Iles absolutely crushing Qualifying, it was uncertain if the other Juniors would be able to match his pace. However, come Finals, Gaetan Vige found a handful of seconds and put down a big run. Elliot Heap put down a scorcher as well for third place. But it was up to Finn to seal the deal, and with a series of mistakes, would have to settle for second behind locally-favored Vige. When the racing is this good across all three fields, it makes for a really entertaining and fun weekend. Watching the watermark rise at each race is humbling, and paints a wild picture for 2017. World Championships are going to be a particularly intense spectacle. Thanks for tuning in this week as always, we’ll be back reporting from Italy in just a couple of days!
Next Level; Rachel Atherton put together the perfect season, and finished out 2016 with 13 wins in a row. She won the Rainbows here in 2015, and recieved the Overall trophie here in 2016. Her steely race-head is something to be admired, and it's been really neat to watch put in maximum effort even when she's been less than 100% physically. She's a true champion, and fierce competitor, elevating the level of the sport with each race. Headed into World Champs, she's the favored rider, naturally.
Troy Brosnan crossed the line into 20th position, but you'd think he'd just won the Intergalactic Championships. He could have chilled out and gotten down the hill, but instead the top qualifier hammer out of the gate and gave it full jandal - it didn't quite pan out, but no one seemed to mind!
What an outstanding season 2016 was for Kenta Gallagher. He put it all down in Finals here at Vallnord, unfortunately ending up in the dust and consequently 65th position. He dropped to 39th overall, but it's a 3-way tie in points at 282 with him, Blenki, and Fayolle. The numbers and criteria still need assessing, but it's looking like he might still be the top privateer in '16. Regardless, everyone is hoping to see the humble Scotsman with some real support for 2017.
Hard work pays off, but sometimes, shit happens - Greg Williamson had some tough luck with mechanicals in the second half of the season, and a crash in Finals didn't help him here in Andorra. 67th, but managed to stay inside the Top 20 Overall in 16th - a great year for the British National Champ!
Gaetan Vige rode like a madman all weekend, and you could be forgiven if you confused him with Remi Thirion as he rode by. The young Frenchman went first at all of the splits and never looked back. 2nd in the Overall, it was a great year for Vige.
Hot damn! Hat trick! Danny Hart did it, and did it well. Winning three consecutive World Cups in a time when the competition is arguably at its highest is no small feat. He also won on three very different tracks in different conditions. Whatever he figured out, he now has on lock. The day's winner and 2nd in the World overall, he has quickly become the man to watch!
A small and silly mistake put Finn Iles back on time, but becuase his pace was still so ridiculous on track, he still landed in 2nd, and retained the #1 in Overall. What a temendous year for the first-year Junior - he is on his way up in a big way.
The fire in her eyes says it all: she wants the win, and badly. Tracey Hannah was riding with a noteable determination, and she was rewarded with 2nd for her efforts. She'll be on the top step sooner than later, no doubt about. She retained her race plate number in the Overall, finishing out in 3rd, only missing 2nd by 10 points. That's the different a 7th place finish has to a 5th place finish at one race. 2017 is going to be wild!
Always smiling and keen for a laugh, Josh Bryceland didn't have the run dreams are made of, but he still finished in style, entertaining the whole way to the finishline. 77th, but sometimes, it's not about results, is it?
Racing is a numbers game, and when all you need to do is finish, sometimes being an action sports hero takes a back seat to being smart. Aaron Gwin literally just had to get down the track to seal the deal on winning the World Cup Overall. He through in some style on the way to a chilled 55th place, and will now refocus on chasing the rainbow stripes next weekend.
Allow me to eat my hat briefly: after calling Adam Brayton's 32nd place qualifier a "conservative effort", he absolutely smashed it in finals to a sharp 7th. What a legend!
Connor Fearon found form and a reciepe for success this season. The #5 finished Finals in 5th, and remains 5th Overall as well. Nicely done!
Amaury Pierron pulled back a ridiculous amount of time at the bottom of the track in his race run, and running fastest through the speed trap probably helped along the way. 13th in Finals after an up-and-down season is a high note to finish on.
It was a big weekend for the MS Mondraker team, seeing all three of their Elite Men inside the Top 10 - Markus Pekoll getting after it in 8th.
A bit of a hot-and-cold season for Cole Lucas, but when he was dialed in, he did quite well. He finished strong with 10th place, and moved from a start of the year plate number of 23rd to 17th Overall.
Never once out of the Top 5 all season, Manon Carpenter kept 2016 consistent and fast. She finished 4th in Finals and retained her 2nd in the Overall - but just 10 points though! It was a close season in the Top 5, and we 2017 will be a big year!
2/3/5/...51. Eddie Masters is the man! He hung it all out, and unfortunately hit the deck in the process. Never count him out, it's only a matter of time before those splits stay in the single-digits all the way to the line.
It took him a minute to find his rhythm, but Elliot Heap found his stride mid-season much to the enjoyment of those trackside. He smashed the track everywhich way, and found 3rd in Finals and 3rd Overall for his efforts. It's just a matter of time before he wins one of theses things.
Vaea Verbeeck took 2016 to find form and settle into going fast - and it sure did work. Her finish of 19th in Finals doesn't tell the full story, as she went 7/8/10/12 at the splits. She struggled with arm pump at the bottom of the track, and knew she was losing about 15 seconds in the last half of the track. She moved up to 19th Overall, and with a strong off-season, we could see her vying inside the Top 10 in 2017.
A gentleman and a scholar, Harry Health steps away from racing in a fine fashion with a 24th place in Finals. His enthusiasm and insight will be missed! Descent World looks forward to seeing what Baz gets up to next!
He missed most of the year, but Simen Smested came to Andorra and finished the year with a 14th - he could be one to watch in '17.
Quickly making a name for herself, Georgia Astle showed up to MSA, got 7th, and finished out the year with a 10th this weekend. Let's hope she shows up to more World Cups in 2017, she has a ton of potential!
After a huge start to the seaon, winning his first World Cup in Cairns, Loic Bruni's injury setback was a right shame. But, once back, he's been anything but slow. On the podium at MSA, and then again here in Andorra with a 3rd is an impressive return and strong finish to the year.
Watching his run again on the live replay, it is plain to see how Alex Fayolle ended up in 5th - he was riding wild and loose, it's an impressive sight.
Mariana Salazar Palomo has been impressive all season. With wicked splits of 5/6/6/6 and 3rd in Speed Trap shows she is riding flat out and looking for a spot on the podium. A bobble as the bottom shuffled her back to 9th, but she kepted her 12th Overall headed into next season.
For his rookie year in Elites, Laurie Greenland sure did crush it! 9th in Finals, and 14th in the Overall...that's impressive! Yeah Lozza!
9th place for the previously unknow and lonest-name-on-the-results-sheets Spaniard, Carlos Von Heyden Langelaan.
7/6/7/7, Brendan Fairclough put down some serious riding in Finals to finish out 12th with a small bobble in the last sector. After being uncertain about his knee a week ago, he certainly had a solid last race of the season.
No one is surprised to see Mike Jones in 11th here in Andorra. The Welshman loves the steep and gnarly stuff!
Consistent and confident, Alia Marcellini finished in 11th, and retained her 15th place in the overall. We look forward to seeing what she can do in '17!
Joshua Rogers took the #44 all the way up the ladder to 11th in Finals. That's a big effort, and a great note to end the season on.
5th this weekend. Kevin Marry could be a top contendor in 2017 if he keeps riding like he has at the end of this season.
Another rider who we all would like to see on a big team in 2017; Forent Payet is firmly enscribed on the list of riders to watch with another Top 20 in Finals - 8th to finish out the year 12th overall.
A learning year for Joe Breeden, 2016 finished out in a positive fashion, finding 10th in MSA and then 12th in Finals this weekend. Good to see the young Brit figuring it all out!
8th place for Miranda Miller. She's a powerhouse, and with proper support could be a Top 5 contender every weekend. Impressive year for the Canadian National Champ.
Henry Fitzgerald has all the makings for success, and 8th place in Finals is a step in the right direction heading into the off season.
Not a regular name to many people, Dylan Levesque of France put down a mega run to finsh 17th, the highest ranked plate number in the standings as well for the #79.
Back to where we know him best: 19th place for Benoit Coulanges! As quiet as his bike, his unassuming attack of the track is always wicked to witness.
Like a frieght train in the night, Marcelo Gutierrez was riding wide open all weekend, putting down hard-charging runs like it was no big deal. 6th place for one of the nicest guys on the circuit, it's cool to see him finish out the year with a Top 10.
Quickly on the radar of all those paying attention, Charlie Harrison has kicked down the door in the second half of the season, and let him self into the room. 14th place in Finals, the top American, he's going to be one to watch at World Champs this coming weekend.
Eleonora Farina has had a really impressive season, making excellent progress all the way through the summer. She finsiehd out in 6th in Finals, and moved up to 8th Overall. Val Di Sole is her home track, so she'll be someone to keep an eye on at World Champs.
Apparently a collarbone that isn't fully healed isn't a big deal, because Jacob Dickson put down a heater of a run in Finals, landing in 37th! Go on lad!
Backing up his qualifying result with a 15th in finals, Eliot Jackson reminded everyone that he's here to play, and can do so on the wildest of tracks.
Sporting one of the most unique riding styles on the circuit, Marine Cabirou swung off the back in Finals and matched her plate number for a 7th. and finished out in the same position Overall. She's made a big effort since Junior and is quickly challenging for the Top 5.
#34 into 7th in Finals, Andrea Bianciotto putting his name it mix and making people scramble to figure out who just blitz by when he was on track.
Jack Moir has had a tough go of things the past few seasons, so to see him have a healthy and successful '16 season was encouraging. 10th in Finals, he moved up to 36th in the Overall as well.
She only raced two World Cups this season, but each time finishing third. Miriam Nicole put on a clinic on track, attacking the whole way down, and putting on a show for the Commencal-loving crowd. We look forward to seeing her healthy and challening for the win in 2017.
The Big Unit, Magnus Mason was on one here in Andorra. Gabe Fox told him to just have fun and run it wild, and the advice seemed to work just fine! 4th place, a huge result for the Junior after a forgettable first-half of the season. Top effort!
The True Grit award of the weekend goes to Tahnee Seagrave. After a big crash iand DNF n Qualifying, she wasn't sure if she'd race. She is a tough individual though, and rallied through the pain to finish 5th in Finals - though she nearly wrote off the day, drifting into the lip of this step down! She maintained her 4th in the Overall as well - she'll have some serious fuel for the fire in the off season, and it's only a matter of time before she is stood on the top of the podium - Tahnee has heart and drive like no other.
What is there to say? The years of success and unending adoration of fans and friends make Steve Peat a living legend. A true icon and sport hero, he is the epitome of a professional and badass. It's been an absolutel pleasure getting to know Sheffield Steel and it was a privilage to be present as he took his final Final World Cup run this weekend. We know he isn't going anywhere, and look forward to seeing what he'll get up to next!