Podium Proven at Mont Sainte Anne
Luca Shaw gets down to business on the World Cup’s oldest course
The UCI World Cup Downhill Mont Sainte Anne, Quebec, Canada, has been around since before SRAM/Troy Lee Designs rider Luca Shaw was born. It’s the queen of the World Cup tracks, the favorite of many riders and fans alike, a high-speed and physical course that demands quite a bit extra from both athlete and bike.
Shaw, who rides a Santa Cruz V-10 equipped with a SRAM X01 DH drivetrain, AVID CODE brakes, SRAM X0 DH hubs, RockShox BoXXer World Cup and Vivid R2C suspension with TRUVATIV bar and stem, has been steadily improving his finishes over the course of the last two seasons, and has truly begun to find his game as of late. And at Mont Sainte Anne, in a run that showcased his smooth style and reasoned approach that many are already comparing to the most prolific World Cup downhiller in history, Greg Minnaar, Shaw took home his first World Cup podium since jumping in with the pros.
“I knew even before I had gotten there that it was a track I could do well on,” Shaw explained. “I have been training hard for the longer and more physical tracks and I think that helped me just have a little edge. I knew I had been riding well the last couple rounds and really enjoying myself on the bike lately, so I think it was just a matter of things falling into place.”
Having qualified 7th, only six riders remained when Luca crossed the finish line with the second fastest time (behind reigning World Champion Loic Bruni). And they were six riders who, based on qualifying times, should have gone faster than he did. It was a good run, though, as only the top three of the fastest six qualifiers — Aaron Gwin, Danny Hart and Troy Brosnan — were able to beat Shaw’s time on race day.
“I didn't have the best top split [time] and felt that I wasn't riding as aggressive up top as I maybe should. I messed up one corner right at the beginning of the top woods section but knew that I just had to stay relaxed and smooth. As soon as the track started picking up speed I found a really good rhythm, and sort of rode that all the way down.”
Picking up speed and finding a good rhythm were good for a fifth-place finish. But, as much as the numbers and spot alongside the world’s best are impressive, what’s truly impressive is the progression toward the top, and Luca Shaw’s patience to find it and stay there.
The UCI World Cup moves to Andorra in a few weeks, Shaw’s favorite course, for the World Cup Final. Many would be tempted to chest pump or even call their shot, but not Luca.
“Yeah, going [to Andorra] off the back of my first podium just makes me even more excited for this race. I don't think me getting onto the podium is going to really change my approach or mindset at all really, but a little bit of added confidence can't hurt. I am going to keep it really simple and just get down to business like I usually do.”