There are two types of soccer fan experiences you can have in France. You can go watch Monaco play at home, and sit next to a group of well-spoken people wearing ties, politely clapping when either team scores a goal, or you can attend a game in Marseille and have the hairs on your neck stand up as the crowd chants in unison while simultaneously trying to burn down the stadium from both ends. Not to mention the riots in the city afterward when the team loses (actually, they riot out of joy when they win, too...).
Downhill races in Switzerland are a bit like soccer games in Monaco then. No chainsaws please, and try to keep it down lest the neighbors complain. Les Gets, France, however, you guessed it - more like Marseille. This Alpine resort is at the very heart of Europe's summer bike park scene, a melting pot of nationalities united in worship at the altar of shred that is the Portes du Soleil region. The only way to turn the volume up here is to bring the World Cup circus to town, and that is just what happened this past weekend. The French of course have a rich DH heritage, and we're not just talking about winning (which they still do a lot of to this day, thank you very much). We're talking about real fandom. The kind of fandom that sees thousands of people break down the barriers after the last racer goes by to storm the "pitch" and start the celebrations - assuming of course a French winner, which is almost something you can actually count on these days. Amuary down, Thibaut down, Loic a tiny bit off his game? No problem, Benoit to the rescue! Myriam is hurt - Marine will step up! Scenes of chaos as Les Gets braces itself for another night of debauchery and destruction in the wake of not one but two home victories, but that's just par for the course and you know they'll throw their hat in the ring when it's time to organize the next one. Vive la France! - Iceman
Les Gets, France, has significant history as a downhill mountain bike race venue. From Peaty's infamous front wheel washout at World Champs in '04 to the triple French podium in '22, drama and downhill go hand-in-hand in Les Gets. Despite start lists showing up extremely late, the latest antics of Discovery and the UCI seemed to fade into the background as weather cooperated with competition and talented riders were more interesting than schedule scandal and course safety conspiracy. Rick Schubert and Jack Rice share their images from France.
What did Jack find in the pits?
THE TRACK - Take your pick or watch both
Chris Hauser of the Union with hauling, early practice run.
Dakotah Norton and Joe Breeden swapping lines and exploding berms.
Before the clock turned on and the race was decided, the Juniors provided the first-run practice entertainment we've come to love this year.
Fast-forward a couple hours to see Benoit Coulanges giving the French crowd what they want...a reason to riot! This is Benoit's first World Cup Downhill win after years of trying. Jack Rice
Not gonna lie, this looks way more terrifying than going down the Les Gets track as fast as Coulanges. Benoit getting a free ride to the podium.Jack Rice