Photos Antonio Obregón Muñoz
Team COMMENCAL/VALLNORD was out in sunny Portugal during the last two weeks, with most of the World Cup team training and testing at the Lousã bike park. As the home of the UCI World Cup opening in 2020, the park provides ideal tracks with very similar conditions to what the team will face at World Cups this season.
The goals were to finalize the bikes’ settings looking forward to the first UCI World Cup of the season in less than a month in Maribor, Slovenia, in addition to fighting against the clock “officially” for the first time in 2019 as the team took part in two Portugal Cups over the weekend. The races are a draw for a lot of World Cup racers looking to finalize testing in some warm weather, so it’s always a competitive field.
First, was Porto De Mos, where Amaury Pierron, Myriam Nicole, and Thibaut Daprela seeded fastest in their own categories, with Myriam going on to take the win in the finals. The second race in Lousã, went even better with Amaury winning both seeding and finals ahead of Danny Hart and Gee Atherton. Rémi Thirion, coming back from a huge crash from the previous weekend, finished 6th, and Thibaut Ruffin,10th. Thibaut Daprela won in juniors and would have been 3rd in Elites! Myriam Nicole won the women’s category with a huge 25-second margin.
Team manager/rider Thibaut Ruffin said, “Camp has been a success on every aspect and we can’t wait for the World Cup season to kick off! Besides the crazy good weather, the conditions were optimal for testing and we keep learning a lot with the products. We are still amazed by how good and how strong the wheels are, which is great as it gives our mechanics a lot more time than before to focus on suspensions and other parameters. Nothing moved, they didn’t even have to tighten a single spoke in two weeks of riding on a 4mn rough track with 8-10 runs a day at race mode!”