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Finn Iles denied win in Val di Sole downhill

Val di Sole World Cup 2024

Finn Iles racked up another World Cup podium finish on Saturday in Val di Sole, though perhaps not the one he was chasing. After ranking second in qualifying and in semi finals on Saturday, Specialized Gravity Racing’s Canadian was clearly hunting for the win.

That’s not what ended up happening. Early in Saturday’s elite men’s race. While Val di Sole didn’t produce the result Iles wanted, it did deliver two heartwarming story lines as both men’s and women’ winners celebrated ending a long road back from serious injuries.

Dakotah Norton sees yet another World Cup win snatched from his fingers. Photo: Bartek Wolinski / Red Bull Content Pool 

Elite Men: A king’s comeback

Dakotah Norton (Mondraker) put in an absolutely massive run to take the lead. With this year’s hottest rider, Loic Bruni, up one rider after Norton and entirely unable to match the U.S. racer’s time, Norton looked set for a solid run.

Rider after rider failed to come even close to Norton’s impressive time on the treacherously slippery Val di Sole track. In fact, Norton was waiting in the hot seat for most of an hour. That left just two riders at the top of the mountain. Finn Iles and a resurgent Amaury Pierron.

Finn Iles was fast all week, but couldn’t hold off the hard-charging Frenchman. Photo: Bartek Wolinski / Red Bull Content Pool

Iles was second in Val do Sole last year behind fellow Canadian Jackson Goldstone. With Goldstone out with an injury, and Iles looking fast all week in Italy, the Specialized racer was hunting for his second elite win.

Iles was on pace for much of his run but a slip in the lower half of the course left him chasing to make up time. He did, but not quite enough to match Norton.

Val di Sole World Cup 2024
Amaury Pierron in a commanding return to form in Italy. Photo: Bartek Wolinski / Red Bull Content Pool 

Then came Pierron. The Commencal Muc-Off racer is on a long road back to form after breaking his back in 2023. That put him on the sidelines for the rest of that season and with plenty of work to do to get back up to race pace. From the first split, Pierron looked unstoppable. In fact, the Frenchman was fastest at every split on his way to the finish.

That gave Pierron a staggering 4.893-second margin to Norton’s previously untouchable time.

Amaury Pierron was immediately swarmed by his Commencal teammates in the finish area. Photo: Bartek Wolinski / Red Bull Content Pool 

Pierron returns to reign in Italy

Amaury Pierron wins the Val di Sole World Cup….

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