DH World Cup Rd 8 – Val di Sole – Preview & How to Watch

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And just like that we’re heading into the final round of the 2022 DH World Cup season… Surely, nothing can eclipse last weekend’s World Championships in Les Gets but it’s happened before. Snowshoe 2019 anyone?

All photos: Red Bull Content Pool

Laser focus from Myriam Nicole, the only rider lining up this weekend who has previously won on The Black Snake

Things to note… as it’s the final round there are no points available for qualifying, it’s all on the race.

Elite Women – Current Standings

  1. Camille Balanche 1335
  2. Vali Hoell 1216
  3. Myriam Nicole 1155
  4. Eleonora Farina 951
  5. Nina Hoffmann 933
  6. Monika Hrastnik 707
  7. Mille Johnset 533
  8. Veronika Widmann 473
  9. Jess Blewitt 418
  10. Anna Newkirk 332

The tone for the 2022 season was set at Round 1 where Balanche took victory, closely followed by Nicole and Hoell. The ‘big 3’ have been a level above the others this season.

Coming into Round 7 in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Balanche hadn’t finished outside the Top 3 and looked to have the title in the bag. A broken collarbone in practice gave the others a sniff. Nicole, who was sitting in second coming into that race couldn’t capitalise on it.

Hoell did though, taking victory and leapfrogging Nicole into second. Since then, the 20-year-old Austrian has become World Champion and would be the favourite to retain the title she won so dramatically in Snowshoe last season if Balanche hadn’t had her collarbone double plated (top and bottom). The Swiss rider wants this title to go with her 2020 World Champs win and it would be hard to argue that she doesn’t deserve it.

Last weekend in Les Gets, just 2 and a half weeks after that surgery she finished fourth. Sure, we’ve all heard of Jorge Lorenzo, the MotoGP rider who broke his collarbone in practice but had surgery that evening and raced the next day but, this is DH where the impacts are huge, and the upper body takes the brunt of them. Nowhere are the impacts harder or the holes bigger than Val di Sole so it will be interesting to see how she copes. 

She’ll be wearing the stripes for the first time but Val di Sole is Vali’s least favourite track

Nicole has won here twice before and since her first victory here in 2011, only Rachel Atherton (2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016), Tahnee Seagrave (2017 and 2018) and Marine Cabirou (2019) have won on Italian soil and none of them will be lining up this weekend.

It’s not a track Hoell favours (in fact it’s her least favourite), but if she takes victory Balanche will need to finish fourth or better to take the overall; fifth and she’d lose out by one point. If Hoell finishes second, Balanche needs to finish eighth or better. If Hoell finishes second and Balanche eighth Camille will win the overall by one point. It’s tight at the top!

Monika Hrastnik on the bottom section – expect lots of pan shots

If it isn’t Nicole or Hoell who else could claim victory? Well, realistically probably only Nina Hoffmann. The German won in Fort William earlier in the season and will be on a high after winning a silver medal last weekend. 

Women’s podium 2021 (l-r Marine Cabirou, Myriam Nicole and Camille Balanche)

Elite Men – Current Standings

  1. Amaury Pierron 1245
  2. Finn Iles 996
  3. Loris Vergier 758
  4. Laurie Greenland 731
  5. Andreas Kolb 626
  6. Danny Hart 624
  7. Bernard Kerr 623
  8. Greg Minnaar 623
  9. Benoit Coulanges 590
  10. Matt Walker 564

Amaury Pierron has one hand firmly on this title. With 250 points available this weekend Finn would need 61 riders to qualify (60 qualifiers plus protected riders) and then he would need to win and Amaury to finish 61st. It’s unlikely, particularly given that Finn had a big crash last weekend at Worlds and didn’t line up for his race run but, it’s possible.

Pierron smashed his wheel at World Champs in Val di Sole last year and has also had a DNF on this track. If Finn starts, Pierron’s priority should be getting the bike across the line but that’s not how he rides. After losing out to Loic last weekend in Les Gets he’ll want to finish the season in style so expect fireworks!

Loris Vergier will be trying to hang on to third in the overall

If Finn doesn’t line up on Saturday, he should still get second. Loris Vergier would need to win to take that place from him. As with the women it’s a track that the same riders tend to do well on. Since Gwin’s first win here in 2011 only Gee Atherton (2013), Danny Hart (2016), Pierron (2018) Laurie Greenland (2019) and Greg Minnaar (2021) have tasted success.

Greenland will be one of the favourites this weekend. His 2019 victory is his sole World Cup win, but he also claimed a silver medal at the 2016 World Champs. He’s riding exceptionally well having finished second to Finn by 0.2 at the last round. 

Troy Brosnan on the rougher top section – he could be a good bet for the win this weekend

Other riders to look out for:

Troy Brosnan – 3rd in Mont Sainte Anne, 4th in Les Gets and Bronze medallist in Val di Sole in 2021

Aaron Gwin – 4th in Mont Sainte Anne, 8th in Les Gets, 4 times victorious in Val di Sole, winning in 2012 by nearly 8 seconds

Back in the day Gwin was the King of Val di Sole

Elsewhere there are battles raging everywhere as riders try to finish the season strongly and either protect what they’ve got or try and make the jump up the rankings. Tenth ranked Matt Walker (knee) won’t line up this weekend and both Thibaut Daprela (eleventh) and Aaron Gwin (twelfth) should overtake him. 

And another pan shot – Minnaar on his way to victory in 2021

The battle is also on for riders to remain in the Top 20 so they’ll start next season protected. Mark Wallace currently sits in twentieth on 322 points. Dak Norton (290), Loris Revelli (268) and young guns Antoine Vidal (265) and Ethan Craik (260) will be pushing him hard. 

Men’s podium 2021 (l-r Benoit Coulanges, Greg Minnaar, Troy Brosnan)

Junior Women – Current Standings

  1. Gracey Hemstreet 380
  2. Phoebe Gale 355
  3. Jenna Hastings 250
  4. Izabela Yankova 245
  5. Aimi Kenyon 210

With 60 points available the title is between Hemstreet and Gale. If Gale were to win Hemstreet would need to finish outside the Top 4 to lose the title. 5th would give them both a tie on 415 and they’d both have 4 race wins. If this were to happen, we believe it then comes down to most recent win so Gale would take the overall. Yankova took the win in 2021 and looks to be coming into some late season form, however Hastings will be wearing the Stripes she claimed from the Bulgarian last weekend.

Current series leader and latest rider to get a Red Bull helmet, Canada’s Gracey Hemstreet

Junior Men – Current Standings

  1. Jackson Goldstone 400
  2. Jordan Williams 326
  3. Lachlan Stevens-McNab 271
  4. Tegan Cruz 207
  5. Bodhi Kuhn 181

With 5 wins and 2 second place finishes from 7 rounds, Jackson Goldstone has already captured the 2022 overall. He’ll be smarting from the wound his great rival Jordan Williams inflicted last weekend though, taking his World Champs title. Williams will only get to wear the Stripes for one race as both riders head up into Elite next season. Lachlan Stevens-McNab is injured after a big one in Les Gets but will hold on for third.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Lachie Stevens-McNab (@lachiestevensmcnab)

The Track

It’s brutal. Let Reece Wilson take you down the 2021 track. There will probably be some new sections, but the Black Snake doesn’t change much or get any easier…

It will be great to see the 2020 World Champion back in the saddle this weekend. 

Bruni will be back in the stripes this weekend but he’s admitted it will be hard to refocus

The Weather

This is where it could get spicy. The riders got lucky in Les Gets but Thunderstorms are predicted on Thursday and Saturday…

After a strong start to the season Benoit Coulanges will be desperate to try and climb back up the overall this weekend

How To Watch It

Saturday 3rd September

Women’s DH Final @ 11:25am UK

https://www.redbull.com/gb-en/live/uci-mountain-bike-world-cup-2022-val-di-sole-dh-women

Men’s DH Final @ 12:45pm UK

https://www.redbull.com/gb-en/live/uci-mountain-bike-world-cup-2022-val-di-sole-dh-men

If you didn’t have enough reasons to tune in already, this could be Rob Warner’s swansong so let’s hope it’s a race to remember!

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Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
  • DH World Cup Rd 8 – Val di Sole – Preview & How to Watch
  • weeksy
    Full Member

    Away this weekend but may try and tune in on RedBull TV on the phone… not exactly ideal.

    Pierron for the win on weekend and Rachel to make a shock appearance and win 😉

    malv173
    Free Member

    Isn’t it Höll, and not Hoell?

    It’s a shame there’s not a closer finish in the men’s race, but it should be a great weekend we’ll the same.

    George Thompson
    Full Member

    @malv173 so, the font I use for the pod doesn’t include the umlaut, so the first time I interviewed her I asked her advice & she said it should be Hoell if you don’t use umlaut. I’m never sure if the umlaut is web safe so I’ve chosen to play it safe ever since 🙂

    wipperman95
    Free Member

    It’s also a XC round…..

    snotrag
    Full Member

    Wny TV up for track walk (THE best way to get the best interviews and gossip!)

    Good to see Reece back, looks like he was actually pretty messed up till he realised hence the extended break off the bike.

    Laurie Greenland ftw this weekend I reckon – Amaury Pierron is not one to be conservative but the odds are so far in his favour he surely will just put a run in and get down in one piece.

    Laurie has had some good results, been very close a few times to another win and in the interview above hes got the ‘just gonna go all in’ mentality that the last race of the season sometimes brings.

    Interested to see if Valli can win – she is mega fast but seems to get spooked sometimes, we know she can physically be the fastest but her success comes from her head.

    Sharkattack
    Full Member

    It’s also a XC round…..

    malv173
    Free Member

    Sorry George! That’s a useful bit of info. Cheers!

    tomparkin
    Full Member

    I find all the points, etc, a bit mindboggling, so I thought I’d get my computer to Do Maths, and this is what I discovered.

    Currently the standings are[1]:
    * Balanche 1335
    * Hoell 1216
    * Nicole 1155
    * Farina 951

    And so far as I understand, qualies points for the final round are added to the race day points, so points up for grabs are:
    * P1 250, P2 200, P3 170, P4 150, P5 130, P6 111, P7 94, P8 82, P9 70, P10 60, P11 45, P12 35, P13 25, P14 15, P15 5

    Obviously there’s no way for Farina to take the overall, so the people who could win are Balanche, Hoell, and Nicole.

    Hoell v.s. Balanche:
    * if Hoell gets P1, Balanche must get P4 or better to win overall,
    * if Hoell gets P2, Balanche must get P5 or better,
    * if Hoell gets P3, Balanche must get P11 or better,
    * if Hoell gets P4, Balanche must get P13 or better,
    * if Hoell gets P5, Balanche must get P15 or better.
    * if Hoell gets P6, Balanche wins whatever.

    Nicole v.s. Balanche:
    * if Nicole gets P1, Balanche must get P10 or better to win overall,
    * if Nicole gets P2, Balanche must get P14 or better,
    * if Nicole gets P3, Balanche wins whatever

    So maybe the ideal for Balanche would be for Hoell to have a World-Champs-confidence-inspired mistake to allow a fired-up Nicole to take P1.

    Still, it’s quite an ask for a freshly-plated collarbone to ride that track at all! It will be an exciting race.

    [1] https://www.redbull.com/int-en/uci-mtb-world-cup-overall-standings

    crab
    Free Member

    Racing underway at the moment.. not sure on if spoilers are allowed so all I will say is the Junior mens winner was 6 secs faster than the fastest elite qualifier. That is nuts.

    A very sad day for downhill, you’re going to be sorely missed, Rob.

    somafunk
    Full Member

    Well that was a fitting end to the season, thought “someone” was bringing a win home but not to be, next season for sure. That overall winning trophy though?, looks like a chunk of fence post.

    geforce-junky
    Full Member

    Yeah, glad the rain stopped early, made for very good racing. It’s been a few years since I’ve been to Val de Sole, it looks so rough nowadays.

    scaredypants
    Full Member

    was there today – my first ever round

    FUCK ME !  It’s unbelievably fast, and rough and, err fast and scary and then quite fast, too

    We were yards away from what looked a bloody awful crash (Luke Meier-Smith maybe?? – not sure if it was televised).  Brought it all home a bit (though he rode away to a DNF after quite a long “sit”)

    The chainsaw action was immense 🤣 – who knew people are adding exhaust trumpets to the things to increase volume (at least that’s what it looked like.  IANALumberjack )

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