Valentina Höll (Rockshox Trek Race Team) and Loic Bruni (Specialized Gravity) clinched the overall UCI Downhill World Cup series titles in Canada after a thrilling season finale in Mont-Sainte-Anne.
Austrian Höll cemented her claim to the championship with a masterclass of a win on a tricky course left slick by earlier rain.
The World Champion’s victory in Canada was her fourth of the 2023 World Cup season and saw her underlining her dominance by finishing first in qualifying, first in the semi-final and then first by more than 13 seconds in the final.
Nina Hoffmann (Santa Cruz Syndicate) secured second place in the overall by finishing runner up in the race despite crashing towards the bottom of the course and blowing her front tyre off on the final jump.
The German’s second place meant that France’s Marine Cabirou (Scott Downhill Factory) ended up third in the overall after finishing ninth in Canada following a huge crash. Third in the race, it was a first podium of the season for Italian Veronika Widmann (Continental Nukeproof Factory).
France’s Loic Bruni (Specialized Gravity) claimed his third overall World Cup series title with a run that lacked a little of his trademark finesse but was still enough to seal the title and put him into the hot seat with three riders to go.
But it was the last man down the hill at Mont-Sainte-Anne who really set the huge crowd alight. Debut elite Jackson Goldstone (Santa Cruz Syndicate) took a spectacular win to the delight of the passionate home fans, crossing the line more than four seconds up on second-placed Briton Ethan Craik (GT Continental Factory Racing). Bruni himself ended up third in the season’s final race.
Goldstone’s blistering win meant he leapfrogged Loris Vergier (Trek Factory Racing Gravity) in the overall standings to take second place and relegate the Frenchman - who came tenth - to third in the series.
In the women’s junior downhill in drier conditions on Friday, Colombian Valentina Roa Sanchez (Transition Factory Racing) clinched the overall UCI World Cup Downhill championship with an impressive run to take the final win in Mont-Sainte-Anne.
Roa Sanchez was some three seconds faster than Kiwi Sascha Earnest (KiwiDH) with France’s Lisa Bouladou in third.
On the overall podium, it was second place for Bouladou and third for New Zealand’s junior World Champion Erice Van Leuven (Commencal Les Orres).
In the men’s junior downhill, the USA’s Ryan Pinkerton (GT Continental Factory Racing) had secured the overall title in Snowshoe but was unfortunately sidelined at Mont-Sainte-Anne by a crash in practice. The man who went into the finals weekend in second position in the title race, Trek Factory Racing Gravity’s Bodhi Kuhn, was also injured in practice and forced to sit out the race. In the end it was France’s Nathan Pontvianne (Pinkbike Racing) who capitalised, taking the win on the day by nearly four seconds and leapfrogging Kuhn in the overall battle to take second spot relegating the injured Canadian into third. Pontvianne’s teammate Mylann Falquet was second in Mont-Sainte-Anne and Kimi Viardot (K Bike) was third.
Full results are here
The cross-country riders will be back in Olympic format action on Sunday starting with the U23 men at 9am EDT. Further details of the weekend’s schedule are available here.
Full details of how to watch the racing are here.
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