Downhill track in Andorra is rough, probably the hardest in the World Cup. Many riders learn this the hard way: the combination of steep terrain, the length of the course, dust and high altitude get to even the best guys out there.
Kirk McDowall made a last-minute decision to stay home for the Andorra and France rounds, due to lingering concussion symptoms from his crash earlier in the season. It was a smart decision and Kirk has our full support on this. Just shortly before leaving for Andorra, the second shock came—Jure crashed on his last training ride before departure. A quick check-up and X-ray showed a fracture to his thumb bone, but because his ligaments are so strong, we decided he should try anyway. He did, but we had to call it quits and send him back home for recovery.
So we only had Dakotah Norton on the downhill race, aiming for the new top result in the World Cup. He was struggling to find perfect rhythm on the track, but showed a satisfying performance on the qualifications and set 25th time. No cigar, but nice set of points and good position for the finals. Unfortunately, everything went wrong on Saturday, despite him feeling at his strongest so far in this race.
“Coming into Andorra, I think I was underestimating the step of the course. It’s something I don’t necessarily do a lot. I wasn’t super comfortable with it, I’ve only raced once here before. So, I only had a vague idea of what to expect. I worked really hard during the break, I felt I had really prepared, I was fit and strong. Unfortunately, I made a little mistake at the top and came unclipped. I just felt like I was playing catch-up, and I started riding frantically and making mistakes. I felt like I was good at the bottom, I got back in the groove and was riding well. Then, I just over braked and lost the front wheel of the bench … and crashed again. I did what I could, gave it my all out there; unfortunately, it just wasn’t enough. On to the next one!”
– Dakotah Norton
He took 53rd place and is now 21st overall. Not the outcome we’re all looking for, but it’s the reality we have to face and quickly forget. Next round is around the corner!
Since we only had one downhill rider, we gave better support to juniors on Devinci bikes and we can only congratulate them for their great results. Patrick Laffey (Canada, Devinci Development Racing) was third, while Žak Gomilšček (Slovenia, Sinter Brakes Team) took 8th! Well done boys!
The Cross-Country race in Andorra was one of the most exciting we’ve seen in the last few years, and we’re happy to report that Tanja Žakelj had her best performance so far this season. She was 19th on the Sunday XCO race, before that she took 25th on Friday’s short-track race.
“I’m really happy with the result. I said to myself that I needed to look into the future, and after two races in 26th place, I wanted to get into the top-20. This is a step forward, and I did it! This means that I have to be satisfied. The next one is in a week’s time in France and I believe I can progress further.”
– Tanja Žakelj
Split 1 1:32.746 45th
Split 2 2:16.523 38th
Split 3 3:12.703 31th
Split 4 3:36.976 28th
Final 4:39.629 53rd
Max speed 55.648 km/h 26th
Overall Ranking 21rd