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FARINA RECORDS FIRST-EVER UCI DOWNHILL WORLD CUP WIN AS PIERRON SPARKLES IN ADVERSE CONDITIONS AT LES GETS, HAUTE-SAVOIE

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FARINA RECORDS FIRST-EVER UCI DOWNHILL WORLD CUP WIN AS PIERRON SPARKLES IN ADVERSE CONDITIONS AT LES GETS, HAUTE-SAVOIE

1 week ago

Eleonora Farina (MS Intense Racing) won her first-ever UCI Downhill World Cup with an excellent display of control and skill on a rain-soaked course at Haute-Savoie, Les Gets, France. Home favourite Amaury Pierron (Commencal/MUC-Off by Riding Addiction) proved a popular winner as he produced a masterclass to clinch a dominant victory in the men’s elite race.

FARINA MANAGES CONDITIONS BEST

Eleonora Farina (MS Intense Racing) sealed a long-awaited win as the Italian managed the conditions best to power to victory in challenging weather at Les Gets, Haute-Savoie.

Farina was the only rider in the women’s field to record a clean run in round five, and her time of 4.19.168 proved fastest ahead of Norway’s Mille Johnset (Canyon CLLCTV Factory Team) and Britain’s Tahnee Seagrave (Canyon CLLCTV FMD), who finished second and third respectively.

Wow, it was a crazy one. In my mind at the start, when it started raining, I said ‘stay on your bike and make a clean run’. So yeah, after 10 years I can say I won my first!” beamed a delighted Farina, who set a time of 4.19.168.

Adverse weather had made for difficult conditions and a rock-hard course which resulted in the cancellation of the Finals of the UCI Downhill Junior World Cup.

In an ominous sign for her competitors, Norway’s Frida Helena Ronning (Union-Forded by Steel City Media) – first to tackle the 2.4km course - slipped on the first corner and suffered a serious blow when she later flipped over into the crash net.

Britain’s Phoebe Gail (Canyon CLLCTV Factory Team), Louise-Anna Ferguson (Intense Factory Racing), and Germany’s Nina Hoffmann (Santa Cruz Syndicate) were among the other early riders whose races were impacted by crashes due to the lack of grip on the surface.

In what was proving to be a survival run, Italy’s Farina took to the start line with immense confidence and rode the treacherous conditions excellently to set the time to beat. It was a nervous watch for Farina as Johnset performed admirably to produce a very respectable time but ultimately just fell short, 6.768secs behind Farina.

Seagrave had executed a superb and patient plan of attack but just when it looked like she could challenge Farina’s time, an agonising late crash put paid to her hopes, although it was good enough for third.

With the course becoming more difficult with every run, the overall series leader Valentina Höll (YT Mob) took an aggressive approach in an attempt to usurp Farina but despite a valiant effort she lost her back wheel on a sharp turn, producing a run that was fifth-best on the day. With the result confirmed, an emotional Farina could celebrate an unforgettable and long-awaited victory.

After five rounds, Holl remains in the lead with 1,445 points, ahead of Seagrave and Marine Cabirou (Scott Downhill Factory) with 1,221 and 1,036 respectively.

PIERRON DEMOLISHES RIVALS

French favourite Amaury Pierron (Commencal/MUC-Off by Riding Addiction) treated the fans to one of the most impressive downhill runs you will see as he recorded back-to-back victories in the men’s elite race.

One of the best in these conditions, Pierron – the penultimate rider to take to the course – was faultless as he blew his rivals out of the water with a blistering time of 3:43.976. Evoking memories of his 2019 win here, the 28-year-old sent the supporters wild with an absolute masterpiece, as his impressive comeback continued with a vengeance.

Austria’s Andreas Kolb (Continental Atherton) and South Africa’s Greg Minnaar (Norco Factory Racing) were second and third on the podium respectively.

Veteran Minnar had held the lead since the first run, recovering from an early fall on a surface that was akin to an ice rink to produce the benchmark of 3.40.687. It had looked like it was going to be Kolb’s day when the Austrian took control of the hotseat with a phenomenal run – but his time was ultimately demolished by Pierron.

It was crazy! Nobody could really make a good time, but the rain just came and it gave us a really good track,” he said.

It was so much fun, I was so excited to get on track and the fans were insane.”

Fortune was always going to favour the brave and Britain’s George Ethan Craik (Scott Downhill Factory) displayed a lot of mental toughness before he took a tumble at a turn on the open section.

In unprecedented scenes, home favourite Benoît Colanges (Dorval AM Commencal), and Australia’s Luke and Remy Meier-Smith (Giant Factory Off-Road Team) suffered similar misfortune.

Throwing caution to the wind, Canada’s Finn Iles (Specialized Gravity) initially managed the wet terrain impressively but he, too, ultimately paid the price for his attacking approach on a deteriorating course.

Australia’s Troy Brosnan threatened Minnaar’s position at the top with a precision run, but he had to settle for fourth-place finish after a couple of costly mistakes during what was otherwise an excellent display.

Kolb took to the gravel with a swagger and the early signs looked promising as the Austrian weaved his way around the course untroubled, successfully negotiating a steep section that had caught so many victims before him.

But there was not going to be any stopping Pierron, who set the pace early and went for it with a truly special run culminating in a memorable victory, sparking scenes of jubilation among his home crowd.

Loïc Bruni (Specialized Gravity) remains in control of the overall standings with 1,403 points, ahead of Pierron (1,187 points) and Brosnan (1,067).

UCI DOWNHILL JUNIOR WORLD CUP FINALS CANCELLED AS WILSON AND VERMETTE CROWNED WINNERS

Due to adverse weather conditions, the UCI Downhill Junior World Cup Finals scheduled for today were cancelled. According to UCI regulations, the result from the last qualifying round determines the final standings for this round. Consequently, Heather Wilson (Muc-Off Young Guns) claimed the women's victory, while Asa Vermette (Frameworks Racing) won the men's event based on their strong performances in the qualification session. Vermette extends his overall lead, while Eliana Hulsebosch (Union-Forged by Steel City Media) continues to lead the women's standings.

The WHOOP UCI Mountain Bike Series continues on Sunday with round 6 of the UCI Cross-country Olympic World Cup. The Women U23 race will start at 9:00 CET, followed by the Elite races, and the U23 Men will conclude the event at Les Gets, Haute-Savoie, at 15:30 CET. For more details on where to watch, click here.

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