Vali Holl

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2021 Finale: Snowshoe Race #2

Vali Höll and Loïc Bruni both held their nerve under epic pressure at the final UCI Mountain Bike World Cup downhill event of the season at Snowshoe to win their races and claim the 2021 overall titles.

On Saturday in West Virginia, Höll watched on as Swiss rider Emilie Siegenthaler sign off her professional career with a quick early time before Briton Tahnée Seagrave laid down her marker. She went fastest by a huge 16.748 seconds, which would be enough to land her in fourth spot at the end of the day, with German Nina Hoffman also able to lay down a second race run good enough for fifth. Höll was up next and quick through the top jumps en route to the 3:39.679 fastest time of the day with Switzerland’s Camille Balanche capping her best World Cup season after another solid run.

France’s Marine Cabirou, the 2019 Snowshoe winner – was up by 0.849 seconds at the fourth split, but could not carry that advantage through to the finish as compatriot and fastest qualifier Myriam Nicole looked to have done enough for the title until just after the final split where she washed out on the open pedal section to lose time and hand Höll a maiden title.

What just happened? I was like, ‘I would be happy if I get a top-five result’ and this was totally unexpected. My first World Cup season was a bit harder than expected, but I just kept going.

Vali Holl

Angel Suarez Alonso

In the men’s race, Spaniard Angel Suarez laid down a scorching race run to post 3:14.010 and set what would be a longstanding benchmark time with Wednesday’s winner Reece Wilson putting him under pressure until a bent chainring caused his chain to fall off before the flat pedal section.

Next on track was Frenchman Amaury Pierron – the 2018 World Cup champion – who, after a crash in practice on Monday, had been fighting pain all week but he still delivered a brilliant run which got him fourth. American home favourite Luca Shaw then backed up two strong qualification runs in Snowshoe to grab his first World Cup podium in three years, much to the delight of the local fans packed on course.

With France’s Thibaut Daprela out after breaking his thumb and surgery on an open fracture to his fibula following a big crash in qualification, compatriot Loris Vergier was the most likely candidate to take the overall title however he lost his line and went off track to dash his hopes.

Troy Brosnan

Troy Brosnan upped the anté in a huge way with a run, that on any other given Sunday would have given him the win. New lines, absolute precision through the rocks backed with pure speed and commitment, it was a ride that blew our minds, and put him fastest with only two riders to go.  It was Finn Iles up next, who was on a tear but couldn’t hold it together under the pressure, making a few mistakes and somehow rolling to the finish after shoulder barging a tree.

It was left to Loic Bruni to put it all together under what seemed like insurmountable pressure to conjure up a run for the ages to somehow take the win by 0.421 seconds and claim, his second overall UCI MTB World Cup title. Troy’s congratulations to Loic at the finish line goes down as one of the greatest and showcase just how huge their rivalry is, alongside how much complete respect they have for each other and their riding.

Loic Bruni on the gas!

At the start, I was like ‘Let’s just enjoy it’. I had nothing to lose. I didn’t crack and I gave everything I had. I am so happy. I felt it was doable, even though it was a long shot. I am over the moon. It was not easy, but we never stopped believing.

Loic Bruni

Elite Women
1. Vali Höll AUT 3:39.679
2. Marine Cabirou FRA +0.256
3. Camille Balanche SUI +5.421
4. Tahnée Seagrave GBR +6.557
5. Nina Hoffmann GER +7.269

Elite Men
1. Loïc Bruni FRA 3:13.379
2. Troy Brosnan AUS +0.421
3. Angel Suarez Alonso SPA +0.631
4. Amaury Pierron FRA +0.775
5. Luca Shaw USA +1.328