Canada’s downhill program is on an absolute tear lately, with several Canadians pushing into the top ranks across categories. On a new World Cup track in Loudenvielle, France, though, it was the home nation’s riders filling up the top spots on the leaderboards.
Canadians had a rough go on the fresh French track, but eight are through to finals (two via their status as protected riders).
Elite Men and women
In a shocking turn, only two Canadians qualified for the men’s semi-finals in Loudenvielle. And one, The Syndicate’s Jackson Goldstone, only made it through by virtue of being a protected rider.
Finn Iles (Specialized Gravity) kept his momentum from Andorra going, finishing fifth in qualifying on the new Loudenvielle track. It was a trio of French riders on the front, though. Benoit Coulanges (Dorval AM), Loic Bruni (Specialized Gravity) and last week’s winner, Thibaut Daprela (Commencal/Muc-Off) set the tip three times. Andreas Kolb (Continental Atherton), always a threat on steep, fast tracks, qualified fourth.
Jakob Jewett (Pivot) was outside the qualifying mark in 73rd, Forrest Riesco 78th, Mark Wallace 86th, Tristan Lemire 94th in his first race back from injury.
On the women’s side, Valentina Holl (RockShox Trek) again qualified first. Last week’s winner in Andorra, Nina Hoffman (Syndicate), slotted into second behind the young Austrian with a resurgent Marine Cabirou (Scott Downhill) in third.
Canada’s lone entry, first-year elite Gracey Hemstreet (Norco Factory Team) qualified seventh ahead of some big names in Loudenvielle.
Elite men’s and women’s semi-finals are currently scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 3 in Loudenvielle, France.
Junior men and women
Ryan Pinkerton set the fastest junior men’s time, but seven of the top 10 were French. Ryan Griffith (Pivot Factory Racing) was the top Canadian in 12th. Teammate Dane Jewett followed in 18th. Henry Sherry and Jake Polito squeeze through in 23rd and 24th. Max Halchuck falls just on the wrong side of the 25-rider cut-off, finishing 26th. Bodhi Kuhn was 49th in qualifying, but makes it through to finals as a protected rider. That gives him a chance to defend his lead in the World Cup overall.
Two Kiwi’s managed to put themselves in front of the French in the junior women’s race. Sacha Earnst put down the fastest time by a solid margin while Erice van Leuven had the second fastest time.
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