A successful first edition
Nice return to MTB competition, with the first stage of Maxiavalanche Europe Cup in l’Alpe d’Huez this week-end.
After this forced interruption and these repeated cancellations, it was time for passion to resume its rights on the mythical area of World cycling, cradle of the biggest Downhill in the world, the Megavalanche, canceled this year because of the health crisis, and therefore replaced by the will of the Alpe d’Huez resort and the organizers by this Maxiavalanche which has kept all its promises.
The track chosen for the competitions started from the Dôme des Rousses, at an altitude of 2900m, and straight down to the heart of the Resort. This track is ideal as this unique competition formula consists of positioning the competitors in line at the top, and after particularly rowdy and disputed starts, the first crossing the finish line after more than 1000m of D- is declared winner.
The sanitary devices in matters of social distanciation gave even more value to the performance of each one, since the positions on the starting lines are determined by the results on the qualifications, and that the number of 30 competitors per line was reduced to 20 .
Many were there even before friday to recognize the track and practice the best lines
Highly competitive seeding runs
Saturday, the 1st of August was devoted to these qualifying / seeding runs. All the favorites got their ticket for the 1st row, except the winner of the Megavalanche 2019, the Portuguese José Borges (Miranda Factory Team), victim of a puncture, who was forced to start in the 4th row, which did not prevent him getting 17th place overall.
Two race runs between from snowfields to rocks
Sunday was devoted to competitions, the first group to set off is composed by the 100 best selected the day before in the Maxiavalanche Europe Cup.
Alex Cure (BH Racing Team) and Florian Nicolaï (Trek Factory Enduro Team) take the lead from the start, with Damien Oton (Orbea Fox Enduro Team) in ambush, but the race is almost 16 minutes sprint, and the most experienced of the Marathon Descenders, in particular the Swiss Gustav Wildhaber (Cube Action Team) who started in second row, will make the difference. Gusti takes the first place ahead of the pilot Orbea Fox, and Dimitri Tordo (Canyon CLLCTV) who demonstrates a very good aptitude in the specialty. The young protégé of Team Scott SR Suntour, Hugo Pigeon, crossed the line in 4th.
Everyone gathered for a final revenge during the second run of this Maxi Europe Cup in Alpe d’Huez, the start was very “hot” and it is Damien Oton, four times winner of the Megavalanche, who confirms his leadership of the specialty ahead of an already very promising Hugo Pigeon, who snatched the second place by a few tenths sprinting with Gustav Wildhaber. Dimitri Tordo also confirms that he is an emeritus Marathon Descender with his fourth place, ahead of Baptiste Gaillot (e * Thirteen Urge BP Enduro Team), a safe bet on the circuit who takes 5th place in this second round ahead of the Belgian Bart De Vocht (Team 2 Racing). Note that the 2019 general winner of the Maxi Europe Cup 2019, Olivier Bruwière (Endurofabriek), crashed heavily in the first round and was unable to defend his leadership position.
A very high level French-Swiss podium
The ranking gives the measure of the very high level of this revival competition. We find on the highest step in General Damien Oton, in 2nd place Gustav Wildhaber who comes back very strongly after a white season, 3rd Hugo Pigeon on whom we will now have to rely in the Downhill Marathon Mass Start. The two pure Enduro specialists demonstrate their aptitude for this exercise, with the 4th place for Dimitri Tordo and 5th for Florian Nicolaï who promised to come back for the victory. Eighteen nations responded to the invitation, and nearly 350 riders shared their feelings on this magnificent downhill mountain biking area offered by Alpe d’Huez.
Challengers et Amateurs didn’t give up !
The Maxiavalanche Europe Cup formula also offers everyone the opportunity to express their talents, so beyond the top 100 competing for the Maxi Europe Cup, the next 100 line up under the same conditions for the Maxi Challengers. It is the Junior Maxime Morro (VC Spiripontain) who is ahead of Matthieu Galléan (Sram TLD Racing) and another Junior Ugo Gonsolin (PJPC) at the end of their two runs, and ditto for the following 100 who line up for the Maxi Amateurs , won easily by Thomas Lapraye (Veloproshop By Max Perf), followed by the Dutchman Tholen Warner (Martini Fitness) and another Frenchman Alexis Didier (ADHCrew).
Girl Power : Mixed Scratch for the Challengers
For the Ladies, it is Inès Thoma (Canyon Collective), already winner of the 2019 Megavalanche, who is ahead of Laura Charles (Commencal Enduro Team), the French having yet beaten her in the second round. Both are in the top 5 of the Maxi Challengers thanks to their performances of the day. The third place goes to Mélanie Pugin (BH Racing Team) always so combative, ahead of Estelle Charles (Radon Endur’Breizh Team) victim of a disappointment in the second round, and the local Axelle Murigneux (Team Rocky Sports Alpe d’Huez) who complete the Top 5.
High-voltage e-Maxi by Loisibike
In the E-Maxi (VAE) category, a Portuguese and an Italian competed for the podium, finishing the first and second round in a sprint. In the end it is Emmanuel Pombo (Miranda Factory Team) who climbs on the first step and Marco Milivinti (Husqvarna Ridewill) who follows him, another Portuguese Tiago Ladeira (Miranda Factory Team) completing the electric podium.
Mega Kid, the next generation on the tracks
Finally, the kids’ race (7-14 years old), which took place over two runs on Saturday, delighted those who will take over very soon and their parents.
In the Minimes (13-14 years old), it is Louis Mercey who wins, followed by Maïko Bernard-Lievens and Ethan Planquart. Merryn Cross and Lily Œillet are on the girl’s podium.
Among the Benjamins (11-12 years old), Guillaume Marmillon is ahead of Léo Godin, and Matéo Wijckmans is on the third step. Louna Calvez courageously finishes the race, and wins a well-deserved trophy.
Juliano Lavergne wins in the Pupilles (9-10 years old), easily ahead of Romain Poli and Merlin Boyer, who keep the merit ! Tya Surel and Lowenna Cross take the podium in girls.
Finally, Tylan Dieu, the only competitor in the Poussins category (7-8 years old), receives the honors of his elders and climbs on the first step by finishing both runs of this Mega Kid de l’Alpe d’Huez.
Most of the competitors have promised to meet again very soon for the second stage of this very special season, which will take place on August the 22d and 23rd in Méribel.