Valparaiso Cerro Abajo begins its 2017 edition with the celebration of its fifteenth anniversary. For the Chileans, this race is a milestone. Families and friends have walked the hills of Valparaiso to see their favorite riders, many head up to cheer on competitors who participate; Some of which have fulfilled the great dream of being selected to race. Definitely the VCA is a celebration that fulfills the dreams of many and it’s morphed in a positive way over the years, generating more expectation and help from the same porteños, who lend their patios or houses to let the race be such a great spectacle.
Winner of the RedBull Hardline, fourth in the 2016 World Championship in Val di Sole. Bernard Kerr traveled from London to Santiago de Chile to be present in the anniversary version of Valparaiso Cerro below.
The time to climb started at approximately 10:30 am and a series of trucks were arranged so that the riders could reach the top and for their training.
From the top you can see part of the port of Valparaiso, which is the most popular port in all of South America.
Milciades Jaque is perfect example of hard work and professionalism. Without carrying on too much, a few weeks ago he was the fastest Chilean in the Pacific Andes, and one day before VCA he came in second at a major DH race. At the moment he only has an enduro bike, but he won’t let that be an impediment.
The start of this edition of Valparaiso Cerro Down 2017, began in the living room of a house, where the riders took advantage of resting and chatting minutes before the start of the race.
Bernardo Cruz was really anxious to start the practice, so much so that along with Slavik they were the first to start down.
This photo was taken a split second before Santiago Perez crashed and hit the cement.
It seems that Dennis Tondin liked this race enough to plan his return to South America after a year.
Matías Nuñez is one of the Chileans who has been consistently among the top five in the VCA. Props for him, this time he landed in fifth place.
One of the surprises this year was the modification of the “the blue lighthouse” hostel. In previous occasions the side of the house had a jump that went towards the terrace, this time things went a bit longer and you flew out from the heart of the home.
Pedro Ferreira approached the podium in a powerful way; after being in the top 10 in the 2016, this time he reached third position.
Logan Binggeli broke all the rules when in the RedBull Rampage 2016 he participated with a single speed. This time was his first visit to Chile and he left with a seventh place finish.
It’s a little weird to see Adrien Loron taking part in downhill races; but with the results he gets when he shows up, you might think that if he focused on this discipline, he’d certainly be a top competitor.
Gustavo Ortiz highlighting colors in the blue lighthouse.
Andreas Kukulis flying from the blue lighthouse, just a few inches above my lens.
Although Felipe Agurto was the youngest rider in the race, he was not an intimidated in any way and in his first time racing Valpo, he finished in 10th position.
Neither the stairs, nor enormous jumps keep Adolfo Almarza out of this race.
The best Argentine here is called Santiago de Santiago … he finished in ninth position.
Toni Ferreiro has just moved in and made his debut in possibly one of the toughest urban races in the world.
Bernardo Cruz leaving the wallride for the final stretch, Bernardo was the fastest to qualify, so high hopes were placed on him.
Mauricio Acuña is part of history in Valparaiso Cerro Abajo after his victory in 2012, this time he was out for the win again, but had to settle for fourth place.
Rexner Echeverria was one of the four starters of the circuit.
Felipe Rodriguez from Colombia flying from the inside of the container ship and into 17th.
Bernard Kerr heading to the finish line in one of the last two obstacles on the track.
Last year was not the best for Tomas, as he finished the race with a DNF indicating that he had not reached the finish line, but this race gave him his revenge. This is the definitive moment where we see Tomas giving his 100%.
Tomas Slavik reached the finish line and settled in the hot seat from where he would finally, eventually celebrate his victory.
The enthusiasm and desire of Bernardo Cruz to take the win was huge, and he expressed it in every moment that he could, but things sometimes do not happen as we want and plans can change abruptly.
The elbows of Ignacio Rojo indicate that the race was a bit complicated for him, but this did not spoil his desire to enjoy this great party that only happens once a year.
1 – Tomas Slavik (CZE)
2- Bernard Kerr (UK)
3- Pedro Ferreira (CHI)
Congratulations to Tomas Slavik, life gave him the sweetest revenge, and finally got the first place he’s been looking for.
Valparaiso Cerro Abajo has had among its ranks great racers like: Kyle Strait, Marcelo Gutierrez, Remi Thirion, Cameron Cole, Steve Smith, Brendan Fairclough, Bernard Kerr, Been More, Antonio Leiva, Bernardo Cruz, Cedric Gracia, among others. Year after year they continue to add new talent. Some have come out more than others, but they have certainly made this race take on new challenges for riders competing on this side of the world.
Although it is unfair to have to wait a full year for these types of events, when the gravity family meets around a great day of descending on cement, it’s a joy that Chile draws this level of attention in our great sport of mountain biking.
Until next time, Valparaiso.