There’s just a few days to go until Morzine hosts the French National Downhill Championships and things are starting to hot up! Featuring a course built especially for the event, this is one of the biggest mountain bike happenings Morzine has seen for a while. Over 300 riders will be coming to town to race over the three days, which is big news for mountain biking in the area. Last summer saw Santa Cruz establish their European headquarters in Morzine, and the town also hosted the Junior National Mountain Biking Championships, so a national downhill championship is just what Morzine needs to cement its place as one of Europe’s best mountain biking destinations.
A special team has been brought in to design and build the race course, and preparations have been underway all summer to create a trail that’s fast, exciting and challenging. If the event is successful it could even pave the way for more high-profile MTB events, although we’ve been informed that a world cup won’t be on the cards for at least another few years!
Now the track is ready all we need to do is wait for the best riders in France to show up and start shredding. We’ve heard some great things about the course already and it sounds like it’s making good use of all the things Pleney is renowned for: steep roots, loose corners and super-fast open sections. There are lots of gaps and airs for good measure, including a jump at the end to finish off the course at max speed.
Where to Watch
So where will be the best places to watch? Given that most of the track is going to be in the (quite steep!) woods, we would recommend the start or the finish, where you’ll also have the benefit of a big screen to watch the action that you can’t see. You’ll also be able to get a good view of the middle section of the track where the riders leave the woods for a while, but alas, there will be no screen.
If you’re heading up to watch and don’t already have a lift pass, you can buy a single-use pedestrian pass for €5 or a four-day pedestrian pass for €30, which is a special offer for the event. Buy your pass from the Pleney lift pass office.
As usual, you can also buy a day Multi Pass for €9. A Multi Pass gives you access to all the lifts in the PDS as well as swimming pools, busses, lakes, local attractions and more.
When to Watch
All the finals will be taking place on Saturday, which is going to be THE day to watch. Thursday and Friday will mainly consist of training runs and placement rounds to determine rider order, but there will definitely be some spectacular riding on show. View the schedule HERE.
Who to Watch
We’ve got all eyes on one of this summer’s Source cover stars, Loris Vergier! Keep your eyes peeled for last year’s winners, Loic Bruni and Myriam Nicole, as well as up-and-comers Melanie Chappaz and Marine Caribou. Also up on the men’s watch list is Amaury Pierron.
Where to Park
Underground parking beneath the Tourist office will be free from the morning of the 26th until the evening of the 28th but there will be no parking on Route de la Combe a Zore from Caribou Sports down to the Tourist Office. There will also be some minor circulation changes between the underground parking beneath the Tourist Office to the Grillon restaurant.
Where to Ride
If you want to ride your bike during the next few days, some of the runs on the Pleney will be closed due to the competition course running across both the mainline and the red run. The red run will be completely closed throughout the event, as will the top section of the Mainline. The bottom section of the Mainline will be open from where it crosses the Family Trail. Both blue runs, the Family trail and Atray, will be open for the duration of the event, as will the link to Les Gets.
Can We Ride the Course After the Event?
The short answer is no. Parts of the course run over private property which there is only permission to use over the course of the event. The rest of the course won’t be officially marked as a trail but no doubt will fall into the category of one of the Pleney’s numerous secret trails.
Morzine Office de Tourisme and Santa Cruz are running an awesome tombola where one lucky person will win a Santa Cruz bike worth over €5000! Tickets cost €5 each and money raised will be going towards developing Morzine’s bike trails.
Enter HERE. You’ve got until Saturday 28th!
Want to Volunteer?
The Morzine Office de Tourisme is still on the hunt for volunteers to help with registration and course prep. If you’d like to get involved email firstname.lastname@example.org