VALI HÖLL AND LORIS VERGIER TAKE THE DOWNHILL WINS IN ANDORRA

American Aaron Gwin makes the men's podium

Vali Höll. Photo: Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool

Vali Höll’s trademark aggression paid off at the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup as she claimed victory in the downhill race at Vallnord in Andorra, while Loris Vergier took the win in the men’s race thanks to a smooth and error-free run. Here is all you need to know:

– Switzerland’s Camille Balanche was looking to return to her winning ways after finishing second last weekend in Lenzerheide and looked to be the clear favorite after dominating during qualifying on Friday.

– When it came to race day, it was Jess Blewitt who stormed into the lead with just five riders remaining, thanks to a flawless run down a very dry and dusty course. The New Zealander missed the start of the season due to injury but looked to be back to full speed in Andorra.

– Eleonora Farina was next down but couldn’t match the speed of Blewitt and found herself in third behind the Kiwi and Norway’s Mille Johnset.

– Höll then produced the ride of the day, taming the challenging course and showing incredible speed as she went fastest by more than five seconds

– Having won in Lenzerheide, Myriam Nicole was full of confidence and was on track to snatch the lead before crashing out. Nina Hoffman then produced a clean run to cross the line in second.

– Balanche was last out the gate and was looking to deny Höll her first win of the season, but made several mistakes and had to settle for third.

– Höll, 20, said: “It’s such a relief. I had really bad qualifying and a really bad practice run so I didn’t know what was going on. But I managed to ride hard, keep it clean and ride smart, like an adult and not a junior.”

– In the men’s event, Aaron Gwin looked back to his very best as he snatched the lead by 0.6 seconds and became the first rider of the day to beat Friday’s top qualifying time.

Aaron Gwin placed fourth in Vallnord. Gwin has won the most downhill World Cup titles (five) of any Elite Man in history, and the second most World Cup downhill wins (20). After a series of injuries in the last few years, Gwin is starting to look the way he did when he was at the top of his game. The last time he won a World Cup race was in April 2018. The last time Gwin won a medal at a World Cup race was in June of 2018, a race where Amaury Pierron took the gold. Photo by Bartek Wolinski / Red Bull Content Pool 

– Finn Iles was the next rider up and the Canadian produced a crazy run. Despite a huge mistake, he was able to somehow stay on the bike and take the lead by a massive 0.7 seconds.

– Frenchman Loïc Bruni showed his class with a clean run that saw him snatch the lead with just two riders remaining. Following a huge crash in the morning, compatriot Amaury Pierron was able to complete the course but found himself down in 12th.

Loris Vergier. Photo by Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool

– The final rider of the day was Vergier and the Frenchman produced a thrilling conclusion to the action as he glided over the dust to take the win by a huge 1.4 seconds.

– Vergier, 26, said: “It feels really good to get the win, it was a great weekend. I was able to get the right balance (of risk and reward) and was able to push so I am really happy.”

Women’s DH result
1. Vali Höll: AUT 3:09.803
2. Nina Hoffmann GER +3.538
3. Camille Balanche SUI +3.684
4. Jess Blewitt NZL +5.199
5. Mille Johnset NOR +6.119

Men’s DH result
1. Loris Vergier FRA 2:44.500
2. Loïc Bruni FRA +1.418
3. Finn Iles CAN +1.697
4. Aaron Gwin USA +2.413
5. Andreas Kolb AUT +3.019

Left to right: Loid Bruni, Loris Vergier and Finn Iles. Photo by Bartek Wolinski / Red Bull Content Pool 

 

2022 UCI MTB World Cup women’s DH standings
1. Camille Balanche SUI 1085 points
2. Myriam Nicole FRA 905
3. Valentina Höll AUT 811
4. Eleonora Farina ITA 675
5. Nina Hofman GER 583

2022 UCI MTB World Cup men’s DH standings
1. Amaury Pierron FRA 930 points
2. Finn Illes CAN 666
3. Loris Vergier FRA 655
4. Matt Walker GBR 564
5. Danny Hart GBR 515

Jr. Men’s Downhill World Champion Jackson Goldstone won the Junior Men’s class by going faster than any of the Elite Men in the finals. It was said that the dirt had more moisture when he raced, which was earlier in the day, making for better traction, but he still beat all the top Elite racers in the world, and that’s impressive. Photo by Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Conent Pool
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