After a rocky start to the weekend, Sunday served up a thrilling and wild day of elite downhill racing, totally redeeming the Loudenvielle World Cup. An absolutely stunning course and slick conditions challenged even the best riders.
Canadians had mixed fortunes, with Jackson Goldstone landing on the podium and Gracey Hemstreet in the top 10 while Finn Iles endures a devastating DSQ on France.
Elite Women: Hoffmann vs Höll
Gracey Hemstreet was first out of the start hut for the elites on Sunday. The Sunshine Coast racer lit off fast at the top until, lower down int eh woods a little wash-out on the steep, wildly off-camber stretch slowed the Norco racer’s run. Hemstreet quickly regained composure and would ride out the remainder of the track to finish eighth.
It would turn out a clean run was going to be a tall order on Sunday. Mille Johnset (Canyon FMD) found a different spot to slide out. Lisa Baumann (Commencal Les Orres) , third down, had her own trouble. That didn’t stop when the favourites dropped in. Tahnee Seagrave (Canyon Cllctv) was on a killer run before losing the front end in the soft, unpredictable mud.
Marine Cabirou (Scott DH), flying the French tri-colour at home, sets the first time to challenge for the win, beating Baumann by over three seconds.
Nina Hoffmann (Syndicate) winner last week in Andorra, looked super fast at the top but starts to struggle at the bottom. The German still finished 2.5 seconds ahead of Cabirou with just Vali Holl left at the top.
Höll started steady, going back and forth between green and red with the German. But, where Hoffmann started to tire, Höll picked up speed in the second half of the track. The Austrian, wearing the world champion’s rainbow stripes, sails ahead to win by 2.840 seconds,
“It was one of my first tricky mud races in the elites so I’m happy,” 21-year-old Höll said of her win. “I had a few sketchy moments but I was able to just crack on.”
Nina Hoffmann finishes second, Marine Cabirou third, Phoebe Gale fourth and XC-convert Lisa Baumann fifth in Loudenvielle.