Dethroning the reigning champion of the Megavalanche, Remy Absalon, the French enduro rider, Damien Oton took first place in Sunday's Megavalanche 2017.
Of the now 23 editions of this popular mountain biking race, Remy Absalon has triumphed 5 times in Alpe d'Huez, add to that another 6 victories in the Reunion Island event and he is the undisputed King of the Hill. However, a change of start line, a turn in the weather and it looks like his reign is finally over as Devinci sponsored athlete, Damian Oton won the 2017 Megavalanche in an impressive 23 minutes and 42 seconds over second place Francoise Bailly Maitre and third place Martin Maes.
Due to adverse weather conditions and safety concerns on Sunday, the 2017 event actually began on the dry slopes below the glacier and the snow line, depriving the competitors of the infamous glacier start. Cutting some 18 minutes off the normal timing, the start also saw less carnage than usual, which none of the 'out of control' snow crashes that we have become used to in the Alpe d'Huez Megavalanche.
Remy Absalon finished in seventh place in 24 minutes and 44 seconds. Other big names to complete the 2017 events include Yoann Barelli in 18th place, Josh Bryceland in 65th and Australian legend Sam Hill who finished in 78th place in 28 minutes and 29 seconds.
The Mega Ladies were able to race the entire route as their race took place on Saturday 8th July 2017, under glorious blue skies. In total 38 women finished the race with French rider Isabeau Courdurier finishing an impressive 3 minutes before her nearest rival to take the top step of the podium. The 23-year-old managed to stay upright as she hurtled across the glacier looking incredibly strong from the beginning. Second place went to Switzerland's Nathalie Schneitter with Austrian Birgit Braumann in third.
Athletes will now need to wait until December for another chance to take on a Megavalanche with the island of Reunion hosting the Megavalanche St Paul on the 2nd and 3rd December 2017. Or if you want the chance to race on the glacier of Alpe d'Huez then you will need to wait until the 2018 Megavalanche dates are announced and get your registration in quick!