DH World Cup Round 6 – Snowshoe delivers drama! (SPOILERS)

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Snowshoe, scene of some of the most dramatic DH racing of recent times but always in the dry. Conditions were crazy all week which has meant lots of wild riding and some huge crashes. 

“I’ve raced Snowshoe a bunch and the only dry races we’ve ever had were those World Cups” – Luca Shaw.

‘Merica

All photos: Red Bull Content Pool

The ground is still shaking from Brook MacDonald’s crash:

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A post shared by Brook Macdonald (@brookmacdonald6)

Greg Williamson went full scorpion:

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A post shared by GREG WILLIAMSON (@gregwilliamson1)

On Friday, Camille Balanche qualified fastest for the fifth race in a row in the mud but responded to my congratulations “it’s a shame it won’t rain tomorrow”; the Swiss rider loves it in the wet. In the pre-race preview I talked about it being a three-horse race now and the the two riders didn’t let me down with Myriam Nicole qualifying second and Vali Hoell in third.

In the Men’s Amaury Pierron somehow put his crash in Andorra behind him to qualify first with his teammate Thibaut Daprela in second and Bernard Kerr in third. The big news though was that Matt Walker crashed out, breaking his knee cap and hand.

Amaury Pierron seeds first

Come race day, Cami nearly got her wish as it rained all night but it was drying out by the time the Elite Women got underway on a claggy, sticky and super slippery track. Mille Johnset set the first time of note, going green by 45 seconds. Jess Blewit suffered a broken femur attempting the triple here last year and is probably relieved that due to the conditions none of the women are hitting it this time around. The young Kiwi is missing her peak and gloves by the time she crosses the line though. Veronika Widmann looked to miss a pole on the straight where Nicole crashed last year but is still back on Johnset.

Nina Hoffmann rolling the dice in her race run

Slovenia’s Monika Hrastnik is used to these conditions, her home track in Maribor rides similarly in the wet and she lets the bike dance its way into a 10 second advantage. Very impressive riding by the European champ. Her lead doesn’t last long though. Nina Hoffmann is aggressive at the top and despite making mistakes is green at split 3 by 7 seconds. The German rolls the dice but holds on, crossing the line in 4:34, green by 10 seconds and the first rider to post a time faster than Cami’s qually.

Incredible riding from Monika Hrastnik sees her on another podium

Eleonora Farina pushes but crashes, which just leaves the triumvirate at the top. In these conditions surely Vali Hoell can’t ride as aggressively as she has done everywhere else this season? She does; jumping where others are rolling, the only rider in the women’s field to go inside off the big drop but in doing so hooks her back wheel up and gets loose. She’s green all the way down but her advantage is down to 0.2 at split 3 and she’s 3 seconds back at split 4 and then makes a big mistake on one of the flattest parts of track which means she crosses the line 10 Seconds back.

Vali was the only female rider to take the inside off the drop

Myriam Nicole is green by 5 seconds at split 2 and looking smooth until she goes down pushing the front in the rock garden. Somehow she’s still green by 4.5 at split 3 although it’s slipped to 1.9 by the time she crosses the line. Balanche looked tight in her race run in Andorra last time out but there’s no sign of that here, she’s loose and letting the bike go where it needs to. She’s 2.2 back at split 2 though but it’s down to 0.4 at split 3 and she’s clean through rock garden which is enough for her to take the  win with a 4.28.5, 10 seconds faster than her qualifying time and 4.5 ahead of Nicole in second. It’s by no means a classic race but Balanche won’t care as she extends her lead in the overall to 225 points with just 2 rounds to go.

Balanche wins!

Elite Women

1. Camille Balanche: 4:28.585
2. Myriam Nicole: 4:32.730
3. Nina Hoffmann: 4:34.692
4. Vali Hoell: 4:44.489
5. Monika Hrastnik: 4:45.362

Elite Women’s podium

By the time the Men start racing it’s clear the top section of the track is drying. Pierron’s fastest qualifier was a 3:51; early pace setter and eventual nineteenth place finisher Dante Silva posts a 3:46. Silva’s time looks great until Dylan Levesque goes green by 3.6 seconds just before we head into the protected riders… 

Angel Suarez gets offline and has a huge one on the new section of track. Charlie Hatton hits the deck going off the inside of the drop. Finn Iles on the new Specialized is on different lines and is up by 4.1 seconds at split 4 although he loses a fair chunk of that in the final sector, crossing the line with just under a 3 second advantage. Dak Norton retained his US National Champion title last weekend but crashes between splits 1 and 2 before producing an insane Inside, inside off the drop. Aaron Gwin who was second to Dak at those Nationals is nearly 4.8 back when he crosses the line in third, eventually finishing 14th. 

Not had a pan shot for a while… Finn Iles ended up 9th

Laurie Greenland looks fast and is neck and neck with Iles all the way down the track. Iles lost a little time in the final sector but Greenland hits the triple double perfectly and goes green by nearly half a second with what looked a near perfect run. Surely it would be good enough for the podium? Spoiler alert… it wasn’t. 

Benoit Coulanges’ long legs are an advantage in the slippery conditions letting the bike move beneath him and is green at splits 1 and 2 before a big mistake in the rocks puts him nearly 6 seconds back. Danny Hart, the winner here in 2019 is so fast in these conditions. He’s green all the way with a vintage Hart run which gives him a 1.2 second advantage. With 10 to go it’s Hart, Greenland, Iles. 

Ronan Dunne was a surprise fifth place qualifier. What could he do in his race run?

Jamie Edmondson is a fair way back, dabbing through sections. Troy Brosnan lets it flow and is up at the split before crashing but somehow crosses line only 6 seconds back; he’ll spend all week wondering what could’ve been. In his 150th World Cup, Greg Minnaar rides the track like it’s dry. He’s 3.4 back at one stage, but only 0.3 back at split 4 before going fastest through the speed trap and crossing the line 0.3 up.

Loris Vergier is looking for redemption after losing the title here last season. Some stunning riding see’s him 2.6 seconds up at split 2 but can he keep this up all the way down? No! He loses the front in the rock garden, head butting a tree. Somehow though he’s less than a second back at split 4 and 2 off at the bottom. European Champion Andreas Kolb is also green by 2.6 at split 2. Can he hold it? He’s riding with an incredible amount of confidence this season and somehow seems to keep the bike straighter than everyone else. Green by 1.7. 5 to go! 

Andreas Kolb is having an incredible season

Ireland’s Roman Dunne is a surprise top 5 qualifier but there’s no sign of any nerves; it’s all out. He’s 1.2 up at split 2 before a small mistake but he still crosses the line in second. He can’t believe it.

Loic Bruni, winner of second race here last year is hauling but hits the deck and destroys a brake. Bernard Kerr is green by over a second at split 2. Nearly getting bucked it’s a wild run and he crosses the line in first place with a 1.3 second advantage. Incredible. Just two Frenchmen stand between him and his maiden World Cup victory. Thibaut Daprela crashes near the top losing 10 seconds but crosses the line just 11 seconds back so he will know he was on the pace. 

Three-time Red Bull Hardline winner Bernard Kerr with a career best World Cup result

Amaury Pierron is over 2 back at the second split but then he just goes full gas, winning the final two sectors and with it his fourth race win this season. With a 422 point advantage in the overall and just a maximum of 500 points available he should claim the title next weekend in Mont Sainte-Anne.

Elite Men

1. Amaury Pierron: 3:34.442
2. Bernard Kerr: 3:34.856
3. Andreas Kolb: 3:36.250
4. Ronan Dunne: 3:37.013
5. Greg Minnaar: 3:37.962

Elite Men’s podium

Earlier in the day the Juniors raced in the worst conditions of all. In the Women Gracey Hemstreet claimed her fourth win of the season too and in the Junior Men Jackson Goldstone won once again with a 5 second advantage over Tegan Cruz.

Junior Women

1. Gracey Hemstreet: 5:24.114
2. Aimi Kenyon: 5:27.324
3. Izabela Yankova: 5:30.714
4. Jenna Hastings: 5:38.788 
5. Valentina Roa Sanchez: 5:39.740

Junior Men

1. Jackson Goldstone: 3:50.127
2. Tegan Cruz: 3:55.452
3. Sebastian Holguin Villa: 3:59.173
4. Lachlan Stevens-McNab: 4:02.580
5. Ryan Pinkerton: 4:04.032

Racing continues next weekend in Mont Sainte-Anne.

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  • DH World Cup Round 6 – Snowshoe delivers drama! (SPOILERS)
  • Premier Icon reeksy
    Full Member

    Even my wife was impressed.

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