Valentina Höll and Jackson Goldstone delivered dominant finals runs at the year’s most technical and demanding UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Val di Sole, Italy, to win the Elite Women’s and Elite Men’s races respectively by over two seconds. Here is all you need to know:
Two weeks after scoring her first elite win on home soil in Leogang, Höll was on unbeatable form again on the much more technical course in Val di Sole.
Famed as the most demanding and difficult track on the downhill World Cup calendar, Höll showed her technical prowess and strength to win the semi-finals by over 3.5s over Switzerland’s Camille Balanche and backed up her dominant form in the final.
As the final six riders on the hill began their runs, it was France’s Marine Cabirou who set the first serious time to beat, crossing the line in 4m 12.445s.
Germany‘s Nina Hoffmann failed to beat Cabirou’s time, but New Zealand’s Jess Blewitt bettered it by almost a quarter of a second, only for her time to be beaten by Balanche by almost two seconds with only Höll left to go.
The Austrian world champion was on a different level to her rivals on track however and was fastest through every single time split as she crossed the finish line in 4m 7.440s to beat Balanche by a big margin of 2.9s, while Blewitt took third, 4.770s behind Höll.
Balanche still leads the World Cup points chase after the third race of the eight-round series on 1080 points, but Höll has closed the gap significantly on 982 and the pair look all but set to decide the championship between themselves.
In a thrilling Men’s race that was made all the more difficult by a mid-afternoon rain shower that turned large swathes of the course very slippery for a large portion of the racers, Santa Cruz Syndicate rider Jackson Goldstone became the second Elite class rookie win this season and head Finn Iles in a Canadian 1–2.
After losing out on a potential debut win in Leogang after almost crashing in the final corner, Goldstone made no mistake in Italy. He finished fourth in the semi-finals and then, as the course began to rapidly dry out for the final 15 racers, delivered a brilliant finals run that saw him go faster and faster through each time split to register a time of 3m 34.926s and beat the previous fastest of Thibaut Daprella by 2.440s.
With just three riders left to go, fellow Canadian Finn Iles got closest to beating Goldstone’s time, finishing 2.224s behind his countryman, and when Britain’s Jordan Williams crashed out and semi-final winner Loris Vergier could only post the fifth fastest time, Goldstone’s maiden Elite win was confirmed.
Giving him even more reason to celebrate, Goldstone also moved into the lead of the overall Elite Men’s World Cup, where he now leads Illes on 786 points to 774.
Women’s DH result
- Valentina Höll AUT 4m 7.440s
- Camille Balanche SUI +2.913
- Jess Blewitt NZL +4.770s
- Marine Cabirou FRA +5.005s
- Nina Hoffmann GER +5.249s
Men’s DH Result
- Jackson Goldstone CAN 3m 34.926s
- Finn Iles CAN +2.224s
- Thibaut Daprella FRA +2.440s
- Troy Brosnan AUS +3.871s
- Loris Vergier FRA +4.195s
Women’s World Cup Standings (After 3 of 8 races)
- Camille Balanche SUI 1020 points
- Valentina Höll AUT 982
- Rachel Atherton GBR 616
- Nina Hoffmann GER 578
- Marine Cabirou FRA 543
Men’s World Cup Standings (After 3 of 8 races)
- Jackson Goldstone CAN 786 points
- Finn Iles CAN 774
- Loris Vergier FRA 742
- Andreas Kolb AUT 679
- Loïc Bruni FRA 672