Well, that was best World Cup DH season ever

by 53

From confirmation that we live in a Vali Holl Era through to the ding-dong duelling in the Elite Men’s – not to mention the Juniors’ race times being insanely close to the Elites – this season of premium gravity racing was fantastic.

Super Bruni doing it (Pic: ucimtbworldseries.com)

World Cup DH Overall results

Junior Women:

Junior Men:

Elite Women:

Elite Men:

Race Teams:

Congratulations to Valentina Roa Sanchez (Colombia’s first ever Overall winner?), Ryan Pinkerton, Vali Holl, Loic Bruni and the Santa Cruz Syndicate (who lost the war but won the battle for Best Team).

Ten talking points about the 2023 season on World Cup DH

  1. The post-Red Bull era coverage was not to total bin-fire that some predicted. The actual amount of coverage – both of the course and the racing runs – was much better than previous years.
  2. Regardless of the broadcasting hoo-ha, the racers put on the best spectacle of downhill racing for quite some time (very probably ever). So a big thank you to them! Enjoy your off-season.
  3. The racers and the organisers are seemingly not getting along and this is not a good thing.
  4. The Semi-Finals didn’t really work, for either the racers or the viewers.
  5. The best race run of the season? The last run of the whole season. Jackson Goldstone’s Mont-Sainte-Anne winning run will go down as one of the best ‘DH Clinics’ of all time.
  6. The wildest run of the season? Ethan Craik’s Mont-Sainte-Anne jaw-dropper.
  7. The Elite Men’s racing is closer than ever before (there’s about a dozen racers who could win at any one time).
  8. The Elite Women’s is feeling like the beginning of a Record Breaking era for Vali Holl. No one else wins in Elite Women, it’s only ever Holl losing.
  9. Being able to watch the Junior racing (for free as well) was a very good thing.
  10. Aaron Gwin. Single handedly saved the broadcaster’s season. His injury ‘loss’ was very much the audience’s gain.

How was it for you?

Whether you stumped up some dollar to watch the racing on GCN+/Eurosport etc, or you had to make do with the free stuff on YouTube, how did you feel about this year’s World Cup DH racing? Comment below 👇

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Orange Switch 6er. Stif Squatcher. Schwalbe Magic Mary Purple Addix front. Maxxis DHR II 3C MaxxTerra rear. Coil fan. Ebikes are not evil. I have been a writer for nigh on 20 years, a photographer for 25 years and a mountain biker for 30 years. I have written countless magazine and website features and route guides for the UK mountain bike press, most notably for the esteemed and highly regarded Singletrackworld. Although I am a Lancastrian, I freely admit that West Yorkshire is my favourite place to ride. Rarely a week goes by without me riding and exploring the South Pennines.

More posts from Ben

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 53 total)
  • Well, that was best World Cup DH season ever
  • weeksy
    Full Member

    It was right up there that’s for sure… I enjoyed the different riders getting the wins, the podiums but with the superstars still dominating overall. With Hatton getting the WChamps and Benoit getting a win, it was awesome. Last of course for me was Ethan getting the 2nd place the other day in MSA, well that was the icing on the cake. I’ve spent a bit of time this year chatting with him and Rich his suspension guy and he’s a proper nice lad, always open for a chat and disucssions… So that topped it all off for me 🙂

    ocrider
    Full Member

    Hopefully Ethan is (deservedly) sorted for a team next year, @weeksy? Not looking for names, a wink will do nicely.

    Awesome racing this year, although women’s racing does not need yet again one dominant rider. Hopefully the others can step up.

    Yes, the coverage can do with a polish, but the worst is far behind them. My pet peeve is when the camera is zoomed in on the tyres when somebody is throwing impossible shapes down the most technical parts of the track. It looks like the drone pilots are getting the distances from the riders correct, although it doesn’t work at high speed through tight sections. I don’t care how good the pilot is. It isn’t about them, it’s about keeping the camera stable and the rider in frame.

    nickc
    Full Member

    The Elite Women’s is feeling like the beginning of a Record Breaking era for Vali Holl. No one else wins in Elite Women, it’s only ever Holl losing.

    While that may feel true, Rachel beat her, Camille beats her, and Miriam’s out, Tahnee’s not back up to speed yet and Marine is capable of beating her and I think so is Nina I think Vali’s a strong rider without a doubt and you’d do OK betting on her, I don’t think that this season’s results show that we’re in a Vali era.

    snotrag
    Full Member

    The post-Red Bull era coverage was not to total bin-fire that some predicted. The actual amount of coverage – both of the course and the racing runs – was much better than previous years.

    It was very easy to jump on the bandwagon of the end of the sport as we know it at the end of the year when the (free!) coverage ended and Rob moved on. Heck, I joined in.

    However, I actually put my hand in my pocket and paid for Discovery+. It thought it was absolutely fine. Good, even, if not quite great.

    It also got continually better throughout the year. Lots of Cameras, the drone footage is interesting and a big investment (Its a whole team of people involved and thousands and thousands of pounds worth of kit just for that single aspect of the coverage, I chatted with them at Fort William). They started doing more of the tech stuff

    The app works great. The app on my smart TV works great. It works in a browser on my laptop or ipad (hallelujah!). Perfectly happy with it technically.

    Ric is fine, the two ladies who’s name I forget who do the anchor/interview thing are good, even Cedric is learning the craft a little. Aaron Gwin is great. Josh Carlson knows the tech stuff well as he’s done it himself.
    I’ve watched hours and hours of top quality, LIVE sport all year. Friday tea time short track is brill. Loads of exposure for Juniors is great.

    The racing itself has been absolutley epic and I could go on for hours, but in terms of the broadcasting, I would vehemently disagree with anyone who says its been a disaster, and most of those seem to be Pinkers who havent or wont pay for anything anyway.

    Rubber_Buccaneer
    Full Member

    I’ve enjoyed the racing and have liked the coverage.  I have zero understanding of the qualification/semi’s/points but it doesn’t matter much to me because I just watch the finals. (I say just the finals, I always watch Ben Cathro amongst the shafts.  Pleased he and others weren’t edged out)

    nickc
    Full Member

    I would vehemently disagree with anyone who says its been a disaster, and most of those seem to be Pinkers who havent or wont pay for anything anyway.

    Yep agreed, about the only complaint I have is casting it to the telly from the app causes a delay in picture-to-sound by about 5 seconds which is sometimes a bit annoying, but for a first year it’s only got better through the year.

    desperatebicycle
    Free Member

    No way was I adding more payments to the Sky/Netflix/Amazon subs I already splash out for, so how glad was I when the final 2 rounds were live on Eurosport… er, very! It was fantastic viewing.

    BoardinBob
    Full Member

    No way was I adding more payments to the Sky/Netflix/Amazon subs I already splash out for, so how glad was I when the final 2 rounds were live on Eurosport

    If you have Sky Q, Glass or Stream, then you have free access to the Discovery Plus app, which means you can watch every race, including the finals, for no extra cost.

    nickc
    Full Member

    Also Canyon Cllctv as the third placed team with Shaw and Brosnan, both placed in the top 10 overall  when the two teams above them Santa Cruz and Specialized are fielding the teams they are; have got to feel pretty chuffed with that performance. And on the other side; Danny Hart back in 23rd over all and beaten by Max Hartenstern into the top 20 seems like a poor investment for Cube.

    chrismac
    Full Member

    Great season. Loved it. Hopefully the women’s will be closer next year with a full compliment of fit fast ladies all healthy.

    crazy-legs
    Full Member

    If you have Sky Q, Glass or Stream, then you have free access to the Discovery Plus app, which means you can watch every race, including the finals, for no extra cost.

    I discovered this by accident and loved the Mont Saint Anne coverage. The drone footage at the top of the course was amazing, the commentary – I don’t really “do” DH as such so I couldn’t really give a qualified opinion but put it this way, it didn’t make me want to switch channels or mute it so it can’t have been bad! The course looked like a proper mix of everything you’d expect and I enjoyed watching it.

    I don’t really “know” the riders in the way that I’d know road riders but after a couple of days I was beginning to get some of it.

    weeksy
    Full Member

    Danny Hart back in 23rd over all and beaten by Max Hartenstern into the top 20 seems like a poor investment for Cube

    He’s a weird one that boy Hart as sometimes you think “He’s BACK” and then something happens, either with a mechanical or the weather and he just doesn’t quite perform. I still think on his day he’s right up there, but i just don’t know when that day is coming again.

    muggomagic
    Full Member

    And on the other side; Danny Hart back in 23rd over all and beaten by Max Hartenstern into the top 20 seems like a poor investment for Cube.

    Danny Hart has been a bit unlucky with a few DNFs from front flats after being up at the splits. Would like to see Danny Hart run his own program when his contract is up with Cube. He could get Adam Brayton on Team Marra Racing. The GasToVlogs would be amazing.

    ayjaydoubleyou
    Full Member

    The Elite Women’s is feeling like the beginning of a Record Breaking era for Vali Holl. No one else wins in Elite Women, it’s only ever Holl losing.

    Not crashing when you are leading by 3 seconds is a key part of the sport. Bruni seemed particularly aflicted by it and eventually overcame it, at an older age than Vali.

    Cami beat her at round one despite not winning; Rachel beat her despite being not fully fit by her own admission; Hoffman beat her three times including the race she won; and Cabirou bested her twice. Thats out of only 8 races. That it took to race 7 to secure the overall also seems quite competitive compared to other womens seasons from memory.

    Its only been the second half of the season that Cabirou has looked back to being on her previous form from before breaking her back; Tahnee has shown flashes of her old self too but not yet pulled a result out of it.

    Cami bounced back from a prior injury with no ill effect, Pompon seems mentally back following her concussion, Rachel I’m hoping wants to return. Next season could potentially be even better.

    seriousrikk
    Full Member

    I for one really enjoyed it.

    I found the overall coverage was way better than the red bull coverage – although they seemed to skimp a bit on the drone quality while also relying heavily on it. The commentry was utter pants at times though, so glad we got Aaron in for a few, even if the circumstances are a tad disappointing.

    That last run by Jackson though – mind blown. From when he was doing the course preview last year I knew he was one to watch but that whole run had me pretty much cheering at the telly it was so good. The final event of the year really was one worth watching.

    Also, thanks for the reminder to cancel GCN+

    nickc
    Full Member

    but i just don’t know when that day is coming again.

    I hate to say it, but he last troubled the podium back in 2019. This year has been crap for him fo’shure, but he’s been on a downward trajectory for the last 3 years and I can’t see him doing a Minnaar, can you? I mean; once his current deal with Cube ends, can you see any teams climbing over themselves wanting to employ him? And part of the reason why so many of the riders are pee’d off is the treatment of privateers, it’s just becoming harder and harder to race at that level with no support, which is OK if you’re young and desperate to race, but for some-one like Danny who’s long used to being on a team, I can’t see it being attractive.

    weeksy
    Full Member

    I hate to say it, but he last troubled the podium back in 2019.

    Yeah but i always felt the move in team was in part an issue and he just didn’t get on with the Saracen. Then a few early season results this year gave some hope of a return, plus Val di Sole result made me think “mmmmm maybe.”

    You’re right though, probably not… But i still think… Maybe 😀

    muggomagic
    Full Member

    Wasn’t he 2nd to Matt Walker at a round last season? He was also a protected rider so assume he must’ve finished top 10 overall last season, so can’t be doing too bad. 

    weeksy
    Full Member

    Yes, Leogang.

    Yak
    Full Member

    It was definitely good racing. Viewing was poor though for us, with drop-outs and other faff when viewed on a browser. They could do with  a proper app to make it painless, not stress-inducing. Yes, now time to cancel it and hopefully there will be something in place to make it better next season. Good reminder re the cancelling.

    weeksy
    Full Member

    As previously stated, the Discovery+ app was superb on Sky… Just worked really well.

    I’d argue at times some of the camera work wasn’t the greatest and Cedric is IMO not a great commentator… but i’ll accept both if they’re what we have.

    desperatebicycle
    Free Member

    If you have Sky Q, Glass or Stream

    Nope. Sky HD box.

    weeksy
    Full Member

    Nope. Sky HD box.

    Ring Sky… they upgraded ours to Sky Q for £0.

    desperatebicycle
    Free Member

    I like me HD box! 🙂

    weeksy
    Full Member

    Oh… you’re screwed then because the Menu on the Q is garbage !

    chakaping
    Free Member

    Danny Hart has been a bit unlucky with a few DNFs from front flats after being up at the splits. Would like to see Danny Hart run his own program when his contract is up with Cube.

    Does he have another year to go? It seems like the Cube bike’s not quite there, compared to some of the competition.

    we live in a Vali Holl Era

    She’s certainly been the woman to beat this year, but I really want to see my favourite girls Myriam and Cami come back and give her a good kicking next year. Big fan of Marine too, Hopefully she’ll be even stronger and faster in 2024.

    Gribs
    Full Member

    As previously stated, the Discovery+ app was superb

    From my point of view the Android one is junk. I wanted to watch the finals in full on Saturday evening but it refused to start from the beginning and just wanted to show what was happening live. It was the same the previous weekend. I ended up avoiding hearing the results and watched it yesterday in the end.

    rockhopper70
    Full Member

    It was a great Men’s season, but I’m always thinking, “what would Amaury have done”.  He’s just a wild rider with bags of talent and such a curve ball on any track.

    I don’t think it’ll be a walk in the park for Vali next year, lots of unlucky and injured riders this year will be back next and she might feel some decent levels of pressure if there are lots of riders nipping at her heels.

    It’s been great tho.

    scaredypants
    Full Member

    we live in a Vali Holl Era

    I think we may be more coming into a Goldstone era.  Hoping that Pierron’s back to full speed but **** me, the lad’s quick

    muggomagic
    Full Member

    Fantastic interviews on Vital. Bernard Kerr making clear what his issues are. https://www.vitalmtb.com/features/year-later-world-cup-downhill-racing-better

    FunkyDunc
    Free Member

    I still watched it when I could, although working out when it was on was difficult, and the apps are cuffing horrible to say the least. Rob needs to come back and the French bloke needs to go ( he was pretty much silenced in the last 2 races)

    I still don’t get DH racing . There is no consistency in performance, and winning margins are all over the place. Maybe I should see that as a positive in a world where most professional sport is separated by fractions of a second

    The season needs to start earlier, and the tracks are all a bit samey

    Get rid of the it’s a knockout furniture on the course too

    Just on the drone stuff – it’s always really poor quality on our TV, I don’t see the point

    I personally think the Athertons discredited the series. You shouldn’t just be able to turn up and race if you feel like it. It should be world elite and you earn your place by going up rankings

    nickc
    Full Member

    You shouldn’t just be able to turn up and race if you feel like it. It should be world elite and you earn your place by going up rankings

    Eh? Rachel’s a nominated rider on a team who qualifies to race, same as everyone else who meets the criteria. If you’re a woman racer and have a baby, you should be forced to start from the bottom again?

    FunkyDunc
    Free Member

    She took 2 years out, not 4 months, and her brother wasn’t pregnant either

    Other sports require you to go up rankings

    chakaping
    Free Member

    I don’t think many other fans will share that opinion about Rachel.

    She came back and won the first race, which justifies her inclusion – even if being the most-dominant racer of the modern era didn’t.

    weeksy
    Full Member

    i’m with you there Chak, i don’t even know where to begin with the rest of his post about the results and the tracks…

    chvck
    Free Member

    You shouldn’t just be able to turn up and race if you feel like it. It should be world elite and you earn your place by going up rankings

    I do agree with this to an extent, it does feel a bit pay to play. Gee could just rock up because he’s on a team but Brayton missed 2 rounds because he’s not and didn’t have the points to enter.

    muggomagic
    Full Member

    I guess the assumption there is that if you are paying to be an elite team at a WC then you’re not just going to have some random on your team. Rachel and Gee are former World Champions that have had significant injuries recently then Rachel took time out to have a baby.
    Brayton missing out was just plain stupid. You could finish every race in 31st (so not making the finals) and not actually have any usable points for the following season, but do a couple of little races in the back of beyond and you’re good to go. Hopefully that is something they will change for next season.

    Though from those Vital interviews it sounds like there will be a lot of racers that won’t be racing WCs next year as they will have to ride feeder events.

    chvck
    Free Member

    I guess the assumption there is that if you are paying to be an elite team at a WC then you’re not just going to have some random on your team.

    Yeah, fair point.

    nickc
    Full Member

    Gee could just rock up because he’s on a team but Brayton missed 2 rounds because he’s not and didn’t have the points to enter.

    But the fact that Brayton can’t race and Gee can, isn’t Gee’s problem. He qualifies because he meets the organisers entry criteria and Brayton doesn’t. If you’re a professional racer, then the first job is to make sure you can enter the race.

    FunkyDunc
    Free Member

    I don’t think many other fans will share that opinion about Rachel.

    Thats fair enough we are all entitled to our own opinion 🙂

    If I remember rightly she actually finished racing with a potentially career ending injury. It all went very quiet for months, then it came out she was pregnant.

    I absolutely get that she is probably the best female rider either, but she then came back very much on the well i think I will give it a try, Im not fit ha ha, but heck lets try approach. I think thats just not very professional to be able to play at it.

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