When it comes to World CUp DH tracks, there’s not many with as much gnar as the infamous Val Di Sole. Add thunderstorms and lightning into the mix and you get a weekend of unforgettable racing.
The track, tucked away in the northern corner of Italy is known as The Black Snake and it is famously brutal. It begins with fast, flowing turns before heading for a tree line. Once it enters the woods, the racers plummet their way down a staircase of roots, steeper and gnarlier than any other track on the circuit this year. Practice was dusty and loose, then mayhem hit with thunder and lightning in qualifying that saw the top 20 more varied than it’s been in years. It’s worth a watch!
Qualifying and practice also took its toll on more than a few riders in more ways than just time and ego, bikes and body parts being the main things broken…
Swiss rider Camille Balanche was the first of the elite women to really scythe her way convincingly through the woods and emerge into the famous final section with a time which looked like it would take a lot of beating.Nina Hoffmann, the sensation of 2019, had a sizeable crash amidst the trees as did Veronika Widmann who would somehow recover to a fourth place finish.
Balanche clung on to third but it was the young Frenchwoman, Cabirou, currently second in the world who would attack the most. Whilst some opted to approach Val Di Sole with caution, she threw caution to the wind with an attacking run from top to bottom which sent her into the hot seat. It was her first ever top flight win.
Series leader Tracey Hannah was last to drop and was precise and controlled on her way to a second place finish which she admitted that she was happy with, riding safe more important than the extra points on the day.
The elite men’s hot seat was briefly held by the on form Austrian David Trummer who produced another spectacular run from a 2019 which only seems to be getting better and better for him. Loris Vergier seemed to forge ultra-fast straight lines where others were being moved around and forced into errors. His time was good enough for the hot seat but was instantly under pressure when his Santa Cruz Syndicate teammate, Greg Minnaar, began turning the splits green. It wasn’t to last for the South African however when he had a relatively slow but costly crash.
France’s Loïc Bruni took to the hot seat. The series leader shrugged and hinted that he didn’t think that he’d done enough. Vergier’s run would stand up for a third place but it was Britain’s Laurie Greenland who pipped Bruni’s by a sizeable 4.88 seconds. Troy Brosnan may have been happy just to start after practice offs, and while not on the podium, a solid 10th place keeps him in Overall contention. Amaury Pierron was up at the first split but soon started shipping time to the Britain. He admitted after the race that he had struggled with his bike set up amidst the changing conditions.
The crowd went wild for Greenland as he scooped his first ever UCI World Cup win with a run that at times looked sped up, so damn fast… Check Wyn Masters take on the whole weekend below.
1st. Laurie Greenland: 3:37.819
2nd. Loic Bruni: +2.854
3rd. Loris Vergier: +4.882
4th. Amaury Pierron: +5.167
5th. Danny Hart: +6.849
6th. David Trummer: +6.923
7th. Greg Minnaar: +7.170
8th. Remi Thirion: +7.318
9th. Baptiste Pierron: +7.651
10th. Troy Brosnan: +8.021
1st. Tuhoto-Ariki Pene: 4:09.626
2nd. Zak Gomilscek: +0.339
3rd. Kye A’Hern: +0.418
4th. Sam Gale: +1.810
5th. Janosch Klaus: +2.560
1st. Marine Cabirou: 4:25.790
2nd. Tracey Hannah: +11.776
3rd. Camille Balanche: +18.324
4th. Veronika Widmann: +20.522
5th. Emilie Siegenthaler: +26.593
6th. Kate Weatherly: +28.123
7th. Monika Hrastnik: +28.802
8th. Eleonora Farina: +30.699
9th. Melanie Chappaz: +32.181
10th. Carina Cappellari: +35.691
1st. Mille Johnset: 5:06.790
2nd. Vali Höll: +1.095
3rd. Anne Newkirk: +27.005
4th. Lauryne Chappaz: +51.904
5th. Nastasia Gimenez: +1:04.055
The series continues in Lenzerheide, Switzerland.