The 22-year-old Brit and French dominate the Downhill finals. A huge crowd showed up in sunny Daolasa after yesterday’s showers. Tomorrow the Cross Country rounds out the program
After yesterday’s downpour, Val di Sole was back to living up to its name on Saturday August 3rd, just in time to welcome the Downhill riders facing the finals on the mythical Black Snake.
Flags from all over the World, the noise of the famous chainsaws took over the arena in Daolasa di Commezzadura, Trentino, where Mountain Bike and Downhill in particular are much more than just a sport. A special atmosphere that was certainly noticed by the riders, amazed by the huge attending crowd that makes the event so unique.
Today, the Black Snake crowned two emerging riders with a shiny present and an even better future in the discipline. Second in Downhill in 2016 Val di Sole World Championships, Laurie Greenland (MS Mondraker) earned his first World Cup win, and so did Marine Cabirou among Elite Women. In the Junior races, New Zealand’s Tuhoto-Ariki Pene took a surprise success among Men, with Norwegian Mille Johnset landing the spoils in the Women’s race.
GREENLAND BEATS BRUNI: GOD SAVE THE QUEEN PLAYS IN VAL DI SOLE
If Frenchmen Amaury Pierron (Commençal Vallnord) and Loic Bruni (Specialized Gravity) had hoped to make the Men’s Downhill an all-French battle for victory, their plans were spoiled by British prospect Laurie Greenland (MS Mondraker), who took his first World Cup win in the same venue when he had won the World Silver medal in 2016: the Black Snake seems to be the track of his destiny.
The Downhill temple was dominated by the technique of the Brit, who chose daring lines even in the most technical sections on the Black Snake: a daring attitude that eventually paid off. Greenland finished in 3’37.819, preceding World Champion – and World Cup leader - Bruni (3’40.673) and fellow Frenchman Loris Vergier(Santa Cruz Syndacate, 3’42.701). Defending champion Amaury Pierron (3’42.986) came in fourth, confirming France as the major national force in Downhill at the moment, even without reaching the bigger goal.
“This first victory means everything to me,” told an excited Greenland, “I have worked for this my whole life. Val di Sole is a special place and track for me, but actually didn’t expect such a run. I got into a flow on the rocks, and this dream outcome was the result. I am incredibly happy.”
Italian fans also celebrated the solid displays of Davide Palazzari, 12th, and Johannes Von Klebelsberg, 13th.
ELITE WOMEN: CABIROU IS PERFECT
Marine Cabirou is the new queen of Downhill in Val di Sole, and deservedly so. The French rider was perfect in drafting the lines on the Black Snake, dominating the standings to take her first World Cup. The Scott Downhill Factory athlete closed in 4’25.790, preceding top-favorite, Tracey Hannah (Polygon RUN, 4’37.566).
The Black Snake glory proved elusive once again for the Australian, who could not threaten the lead of Cabirou, whilst Swiss Camille Balanche (4’44.114) rounded out the podium. “I didn’t expect my first victory would come here – Cabirou said – yesterday I didn’t have great feelings with the rain, but today I chose different lines and it really paid off. Val di Sole is a special race, you feel the passion with so many people by the track. How will I celebrate? Let’s see tonight…”
The bucket for Italy is half full, between satisfaction and regret. Veronika Widmann (INSYNC) claimed a career-high fourth place but could have aimed for more without a slide after three minutes of her run. Trentino’s Eleonora Farina (MS Mondraker) looked launched toward a great display, seizing an excellent condition, but a puncture eventually leading to a crash hampered her chances.
Tracey Hannah held on the World Cup lead with 1250 points, ahead of Marine Cabirou (1080), and German Nina Hoffmann (739).
Among Juniors, season-debutant Tuhoto-Ariki Pene (Subway MTB) celebrated an unexpected victory. The Newzealander clocked 4:09.626, beating Slovenian Zak Gomilscek (+0.339) and Aussie Kye A’Hern (+0.418). Frenchman Thibaut Daprela (Commençal Vallnord), 12th on the day, held on the GC reins with 246 points.
Norway’s Mille Johnset (Atherton Bikes) took the win in the Junior Women series with 5.06.790, edging World-Cup leader Valentina Holl (+1.095) and Anna Newkirk (+27.005).
CROSS COUNTRY SEALS THE PROGRAM ON SUNDAY (LIVE ON REDBULL TV)
After enjoying the Downhill emotions, Val di Sole will live the last day of the World Cup weekend on Sunday August 4th with the Cross Country competitions.
U23 Women will open the day at 8.30, followed by U23 Men at 10.15, Elite Women at 12.20 and Elite Men at 15.05 – both the Elite races aired live on Red Bull TV.
Winner of the Short Track race, Mathieu Van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) figures among the favorites, and a possible victory would bring him closer to World Cup leader Nino Schurter (Scott-SRAM).
Winner of six out of seven Cross Country editions in Val di Sole, Schurter can’t be overlooked among the favorites, also relying on dry terrain rather than the mud of Friday’s Short Track. Italy looks at last year’s runner-up Gerhard Kerschbaumer (Torpado-Ursus) for a podium result. Czech Ondrej Cink (Kross Racing Team), Brazilian Henrique Avancini (Cannondale Factory Racing), Swiss Mathias Flückiger (Thomus-RN) and French Victor Koretzky (KMC-Orbea) will be also among the men to watch, as well as Short Track third-placed, Belgium’s Jens Schuermans (Scott Creuse).
Short Track winner, Swiss Jolanda Neff (Trek Factory), and World Champion Kate Courtney (Scott-SRAM) are expected to be the top contenders for the Elite Men race.
Behind the big duel, fellow Swiss Sina Frei (Ghost Factory Racing) and French Pauline Ferrand Prévot(Canyon Factory) also promise to be in the discussion, as does Italian Eva Lechner.
Romanian Vlad Dascalu (Brujula Bike) is once again the favorite for the Under 23 Men’s race, whilst German Ronja Eibl (Corendon-Circus), Austrian Laura Stigger, and Brit Evie Richards (Trek Factory) are expected to battle for the Under 23 Women glory.
Daolasa di Commezzadura (Italy), August 3rd, 2019