Results & Highlights from the Andorra World Cup
Nina Hoffmann (Santa Cruz Syndicate) ended World Champion Valentina Höll’s winning streak by taking a convincing victory in the fourth round of the UCI Mountain Bike Downhill World Cup in Pal-Arinsal, Andorra.
Höll (Rockshox Trek Race Team) had been aiming to make it four World-level wins in a row but had no answer for the German’s speed crossing the line nearly three seconds back.
An elated Hoffmann spoke of her relief after taking her first win of the 2023 season having struggled to get back up to speed following a knee injury.
Britain’s Tahnee Seagrave (Canyon CLLCTV FMD) also enjoyed a return to form ending up in third on the super-fast track.
Switzerland’s Camille Balanche (Dorval AM Commencal) went into the weekend as series leader but a qualifying crash ruled her out of the final. Höll now leads the overall ahead of Balanche.
In the men’s race, Thibaut Daprela (Commencal/Muc-Off By Riding Addiction) took the win by one tenth of a second from four-times World Champion Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate). Canadian Finn Iles (Specialized Gravity) was third.
Daprela rode with trademark panache to claim his second elite World Cup victory with one of the day’s last dry runs. The 10 fastest qualifiers faced persistent rain which left the exposed top section of the track greasy.
Last man down the hill, five-times elite World Champion Loic Bruni, threw everything at the wet course but ultimately came down in 22nd nearly five seconds off his French compatriot’s pace.
Iles leapfrogs fellow Canadian Jackson Goldstone (Santa Cruz Syndicate) to claim the series leader’s jersey going into the fifth round next weekend.
Santa Cruz Syndicate lead the team standings after four rounds.
High winds had lashed the course in the morning throwing the race in to doubt and leaving riders with an anxious wait to see whether the fourth round of the UCI Mountain Bike Downhill World Cup would go ahead.
Fortunately a weather window allowed organisers to run the race although winds at the top were still significant ruling out the 1.6km-long track’s big road gap jump.
The juniors though went between the tapes during Friday’s sunshine and enjoyed dry and dusty conditions.
New World Champion Erice Van Leuven (Commencal Les Orres) backed up her rainbow stripes earned in Scotland by taking the win in the women’s race by a hefty 5.3 seconds from Colombian Valentina Roa Sanchez (Transition Factory Racing). France’s Lisa Bouladou was third and keeps hold of the leader’s jersey.
In the junior men, USA’s Ryan Pinkerton (GT Continental Factory Racing) made good on some scorching qualifying and semi-final runs by taking the win by more than a second from Italy’s Christian Hauser (Union - Forged by Steel City Media). Bodhi Kuhn (Trek Factory Racing Gravity) ended up fifth but retains the lead in the overall.
The Cross-country racing continues on Sunday when the fifth round of the UCI Cross-country Olympic World Cup gets underway in Andorra.