Preview: World Cup #6, Val d’Isere

The French resort of Val d’Isere hasn’t hosted a World Cup before so we weren’t sure what to expect. Turns out the course is “pretty steep, very narrow, slippery and sketchy”, in the words of Scott11‘s Claudio Caluori. Should make for some cracking racing then!

Riders drop in off the top of a restaurant and then face 1.38km of rock drops, flat turns, tight and twisty ‘goat track’ sections and dusty straights, plus a crowd-pleasing massive drop just before the finish line.

Here’s Steve Peat and the Santa Cruz Syndicate‘s take on the course:

Source: This Is Peaty

And here’s a helmet cam run down the track by Claudio:

Source: Red Bull

The official course map shows how exposed the track is – no muddy woods here.

Val d'Isere World Cup track

Val d'Isere World Cup track

It’s a good thing the track’s so challenging because Val d’Isere is a crucial race. With just one round remaining (Hafjell, Norway on 16 September), Aaron Gwin has a 295-point series lead. A maximum of 500 points are still up for grabs (200 for the win at each round, 50 for qualifying first), so Greg Minnaar‘s got his work cut out if he’s to catch up.

The women’s race is a lot closer – Rachel Atherton leads Emmeline Ragot by just 30 points after the UCI’s controversial decision at Windham. You can view the current standings here. Remember – you can watch all the action from Val d’Isere live on We’re going to be glued to the screen!