2024 Venue Focus: Loudenvielle-Peyragudes


2024 Venue Focus: Loudenvielle-Peyragudes

7 months ago

There's not many venues that can claim to be a classic mountain bike destination straight off the bat - but Loudenvielle-Peyragudes is one of them.

In Loudenvielle-Peyragudes there lives both some of the finest enduro and e-enduro stages on earth, alongside one of the most-talked about downhill tracks of last season. Its return in 2024 will be not only welcomed, but highly anticipated by the pro paddock and race fans alike.  

Here’s everything that you need to know: 

Where is it? 

Loudenvielle is located in the commune of the Hautes Pyrénées of southwestern France right on the border with Spain. It’s a tiny town with ancient roots which has embraced tourism and holiday makers for many years. There is a lake at its centre and the area is extremely popular with paragliders who take off from the airfield high above, made famous by the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies 

It is also famous for some of its road bike climbs the most recent of which featured in the 2022 Tour de France as a stage finish that saw the Australian Michael Matthews (Team Jayco Alula) taste victory at the top of the airstrip.  

Has there been racing here before? 

Oui. Loudenvielle-Peyragudes made its enduro debut as rounds five and six of the 2021 season. That year, Jack Moir (Canyon CLLCTV) did the double whilst Isabeau Courdurier (Lapierre Zipp Collective) and Hattie Harnden (Trek Factory Racing) split the wins. E-Enduro featured last season with Flo Espiniera (Orbea Fox Enduro Team) and Fabien Barel taking wins on their respective routes to their overall titles. 

The 2024 season will be the second time Loudenvielle-Peyragudes has hosted a UCI Downhill World Cup. The 2023 edition saw Valentina Höll (Rockshox Trek Race Team) clinch the win on a rain-soaked course, while in the men’s race it was none other than Loic Bruni (Specialized Gravity) who crossed the line fastest in front of his home crowd. 

What’s the course like? 

Enduro-wise, the stages here are tight and treelined, not unlike those found in southern Scotland at the Tweed Valley rounds. They are extremely popular with riders and having become a staple on the calendar the big local tests have come to be tweaked, finessed, known and respected.  

Loudenvielle-Peyragudes made its downhill debut last season across what was a difficult weekend of weather. That said, not much could dampen the enthusiasm for the track that the local team and expert shaper Romain Paulhan had sculpted. Man-made features melded perfectly with the contours of the hillside and some typically Pyrenean steep stuff to form what for many was one of if not the track of the season. 

What else can we expect? 

The downhill race in Loudenvielle-Peyragudes was one of the biggest races of last season, especially considering the weather that led up to it. The crowds were superb and lined the track almost from top to bottom and with the proof having well and truly been in the pudding in terms of the racing that they were treated to, we can envisage an even bigger, rowdier turn out this season.  

This will be the final race of the enduro and e-enduro seasons and as a result, titles will be on the line. Last season, the crunch final battle took place in Châtel during the UCI Mountain Bike World Series Festival Haute-Savoie and so once again, France will decide where the crowns of stage racing will reside.  

For downhill fans, it will be the penultimate round of the season before the series moves to Mont-Sainte-Anne for the decider and so, for European fans, it will be the last time to see their heroes on home soil.  

Who are the favourites? 

As ever, it’s hard to predict this far in advance but given that Loudenvielle-Peyragudes arrives at the pointy end of the enduro and e-enduro seasons it’s hard not to say the reigning overall title holders Isabeau Courdurier (Lapierre Zipp Collective) and Richie Rude (Yeti Fox Factory Racing) won’t be involved in the conversation. The former has won at this round before, the latter has not but has a brace of second places to his name.  

In e-enduro it really is anyone’s guess as to whom will emerge triumphant but with the area’s propensity for overnight showers and slick terrain, only those most comfortable when traction gets limited will likely prosper.  

When it comes to downhill, as ever, all eyes will be on the French stars who will be under pressure to shine brightest in France. However, it’s hard to argue against Valentina Höll and Loïc Bruni remaining the ones to beat in 2024.  

Loudenvielle-Peyragudes will take place 06 – 08 September 2024, you can learn more here!

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