Les Gets UCI MTB Downhill World Championships 2022
Les Gets will host the 2022 UCI MTB downhill world championships..... and we couldn't be more excited!! Les Gets has become a modern day classic and is once again a staple on the World Cup circuit, reliably providing some of the most exciting downhill racing the world has ever seen. A favourite amongst the riders for its natural, fast and rough upper section and its brutally steep and rooty forested lower section. Chuck a few huge jumps and some unpredictable weather into the mix and its easy to see why it's always an incredible race.
To up the stakes even more, 2022 will be World Champs! The one race of the year where it's all or nothing, no second chances. This one race decides the downhill World Champion for the year nothing else matters. Riders will be going all out for World Champs, there's no points games to be played and consistency counts for nothing here. The only thing that matters is who stands on that top step at the end of finals! If the 2021 Les Gets World Cup is anything to go by, this is going to be EPIC!
The Heartache of Les Gets World Champs 2004..... It Still Hurts!
Les Gets World Cup was a regular on the circuit through the early 2000's and we can all still remember Steve Peats heart breaking crash at the Les Gets World Champs in 2004 (see video below for those of you who are lucky enough to be too young to remember the heartache).
I was there, as a (debatably) fresh faced 18 year old, my first experience of a big race and I was mind blown. I had visited Morzine and Les Gets the previous summer for the first time and knew the race was going to be special. My fan boy friends and I had driven for 10 hours to get to the race, sleeping in sleeping-bags beside/in/under the car and surviving solely on Carrefour sandwiches, we didn't have much money but we were just so pumped to see the race. Steve Peat was and still is our hero and the chat in the car for almost ten hours was almost completely about how Steve was going to take the top spot.
I remember walking up the side of the track during practice, literally salivating at the quality of the track, flat out fast, rough with big jumps. The riders were absolutely pinned and I couldn't believe the pace and bike ability on display. However, nothing we saw gave us any reason to doubt our premonition of seeing Steve on the top spot..... Peaty was absolutely flying.
Come finals, we'd positioned ourselves on top of a digger, with an elevated vantage point over the crowd just above the last step down into the finish. What a spot we thought, we could see the entire lower section of track, we even had a couple of Carrefours' finest, perfectly warmed beers to help the racing go down!
As the number of riders left at the top of the hill diminished, the racing started to heat up. When Barrel came down on a heater the locals were going wild, most of their excitement being aimed directly at the idiots with an England flag! Almost immediately Peaty's first split came in........he was up..... WE LOST IT!! Before we knew it split 2 was in, Peatys' extended the lead, he's up by 1.5 seconds!! The excitement of the majority of the crowd quickly turned to a nervous calm as Steve came storming down the hill.
This is it we thought, he's only bloody gone and done it! Peaty came into view in the field just above the road and we were going absolutely nuts... He jumped the road, killed it on the off camber, hoped over the stream with lightning speed coming straight at us, We are screaming at the top of our lungs.....he starts his turn toward the last step down and boom.....all of a sudden, out of nowhere he was down in a perfect cacophony of noise and dust!!
We were absolutely devastated! I don't think any of us spoke for about ten minutes, completely shell shocked! I don't think we even really noticed the banter coming our way from the French crowd! It truly was a roller coaster of emotions. I cant even imagine how it felt for Steve.
If you look close enough in the below video, the idiot with the England flag..... that's our marketing manager Barry!
Les Gets Is On The Up
In recent years the small town of Les Gets has been super pro-active at developing the mountain bike network in its surrounding mountains. The Nauchettes and Chavannes trails have expanded dramatically is both scale and quality recently and its incredible to see. The town has also been brought into the spotlight through hosting a stop of the Crankworx World Tour in 2018 and 2019. The Air DH race for Crankworx used some of the same track that was used for the World Cup race in 2021.
In summer 2020, when Covid was in its height of fun sponging all our lives, local shredders P2V hosted a super secret race. They invited some of the worlds fastest riders to come and take part in what turned out to be a practise event for the world cup. They had been busy cutting in lines and although there was meant to be lots of secrecy surrounding the event, it turned out to be a media focal point, what with the lack of anything else going on at the time! You can see the track in the helmet cam below from the event with Peaty and Luca Shaw absolutely tearing Mont Chery a new one
2021 MTB Downhill World Cup In Les Gets
Held on the Mont Chery side of Les Gets, the World Cup course that we saw in 2021 links a few classic sections seen in the video above with a shit tonne of new trail, flowing through the steep, loamy and widely taped woods, combined with wide open, flat-out grass sections. I know the bottom section better than most as I may have had a hand in the construction of the line they used just before the fateful jump made famous by Reece Wilson and that epic mid air bail.
The track is one the best new race tracks we've seen for a number of years and its no wonder this track is an absolute favourite of the Worlds best, who spend as much time as they can riding Morzine and the famous Portes du Soleil either side of the event.
The 2021 Les Gets World Cup saw amazing conditions for all of the practise days leading up to the main event and in classic fashion riders opened their curtains on race day to a huge storm, which really spiced things up for the riders. Most of the course rode surprisingly well in the wet, which meant riders had to tread a fine line between being too cautious and sliding out. In the end it was Thibaut Daprela who took home the gold in the men's race, just 6 days after being airlifted from the French National Championships and Tahnee Seagrave taking the win in the women's race. There's something in the water in Les Gets that really makes for one of the rowdiest World Cup after parties you'll ever see, but you'll have to experience that for yourself.
Les Gets MTB Downhill World Championships 2022 Is Going To Be Wild
We are expecting the 2022 World Champs track to be much the same as the track used for the world cup in 2021 with some minor changes. However we have seen the track builders in Les Gets build multiple race tracks on the slopes of Mont Chery for different events in recent years so we could be completely wrong here. Although with such positive feedback from riders in 2021 it would seem like a no brainer to run a similar track for world champs?!
So who's our money on for the rainbow stripes? Well it's always a tough one to call and as we know it's not always the riders who are smashing the world cups who take the win at world champs. There are always those one run specialists who are able to put aside the pressure and lay down that one incredible race run. There's also the weather to factor in to this equation too. As we saw in Leogang in 2020 where we saw wet weather specialist Reece Wilson use the conditions to his advantage to take the stripes! In the men's field there are so many riders capable of taking the win... and there's always the GOAT to think about, if 2021 taught us anything it was to never rule him out of contention for a big win!
There are so many French riders on the up at the moment, especially in the elite men's ranks. The fact they will be on home soil with the full support of the crowd should also play into their hands. Thibaut Daprella took the win very convincingly in Les Gets in 2021 and was a contender all season. Benoit Coulanges is another incredible french rider and spent 2021 based in Morzine, riding as much as humanly possible. His results in 2021 were his best ever and he came second to Minaar in Val di Sole in 2021 by a very small margin. I'm going to throw my neck on the line as say my money is on Coulanges to be on that top step in Les Gets in August.
The women's field is a bit tighter with fewer riders in contention for the win. However we have a few factors to take into account here too. Firstly Vali Holl. She didn't have the strongest debut season in the elite women's field, hampered by injury and struggling with the pressure placed upon her by such high international expectations. In her second year as an elite rider I think she will find her form and become a serious, consistent contender. We also have an expected return to form from Tahnee Seagrave and the return of new mum Rachel Atherton to throw into the mix. Defending world champion Myriam Nicole will also be on home soil and going for glory so you cant write her off either. Again a bit of a left field call but I'm going for Vali Holl to take the win
What Are You Waiting For?
So with an epic track, the biggest and loudest crowd of the season and the most incredible mountain biking to be done when you’re not at the race, it’s time to book that mtb holiday of a lifetime. At Bike Morzine we have a range of accommodation options to suit all budgets end requirements. from hotels and hostels through to the swankiest of chalets.... we've got the lot. If your looking for somewhere incredibly special to stay for the Les Gets World Championships check out Le Coin Perdu. A luxury 5 bedroom penthouse apartment sleeping 11 with its own bar, pool table, hot tub and sauna!
Why not take a look at full range of MTB Specific Holiday Accommodation in Morzine & Les Gets. Or get in touch with our Friendly team and we'll see you in the finish area!