Rob Warner’s words perfectly foreshadowed the following 4 minutes and 13 seconds as Remi Thirion cranked his way out the Andorran start hut in 2013; “he’s a man not many people are talking about…flying under the radar really, no one has tipped him for the top this afternoon but maybe that lack of pressure is going to do him good”. That turned out to be exactly the case as Remi crossed the line in the green, deposing Steve Smith from the hot seat much to the delight of the partisan crowd, a French rider on an Andorran bike was as close to a “home” win as it was ever going to get.
Remi is softly-spoken off the bike but a total animal on it. He’s always had a prowess for steep, technical tracks and has one of the most creative riding styles on the circuit which proved to be a lethal concoction on that day. He did the damage in the steep chutes on the lower half of the course, holding lines few dared to try or had even spotted for that matter, bursting out of the woods onto the open grass with visually more speed than anyone else before holding it inside on the final turn with a foot off to take 2.273 seconds out of Smith.
His time would hold good despite some of the sports biggest scalps dropping in after him, Gee Atherton and Sam Hill would run him the closest albeit 1.3 and 1.7 seconds back respectively. Remi had sprung somewhat of a surprise on the sport taking the #15 plate to the top step of the podium, his solo World Cup victory to date.