Qualifying Photo Epic: Serpente di Fango - Val di Sole DH World Cup 2018

Jul 6, 2018
by Dave Trumpore  



Qualifying is usually a rather non-descript affair, with the front runners sorting themselves out before finals. Val di Sole, however, was not that typical kind of day. Overnight rains would roll in once again to turn what had been a fairly dry track to a slick and sloppy mess for the early practice groups. Although it began to dry, the Black Snake track still managed to bite back, claiming some serious casualties. Most notably, women's World Cup leader Myriam Nicole and men's runner up Aaron Gwin. Both are almost certainly out for the finals, but stranger things have happened in the Valley of Sun.

If practice wasn't wild enough, mother nature decided to pour down the rain not once, but twice before qualifying. First, a heavy deluge just before the Elite Women took to the track, eventually tapering to a light drizzle. The fastest women in the overall have the luxury of being protected for the finals, and were anything but willing to pin it down in sketchy conditions. Tahnee and Tracey took it steady and safe, perhaps taking note of various lines in case they face similar conditions in tomorrow's final. One rider, however, who was not hanging about was European champ Monika Hrastnik, who put nearly 10 seconds into the entire field. Whether others were playing it safe or not, that is a massive gap and she certainly proves she has the speed to win here tomorrow.

As the last of the women crossed the line, the skies opened up once again with another perfectly timed downpour, just as Amaury Pierron was headed to the start gate. The top men would come down in slick and atrocious conditions with many protect riders playing it safe to avoid crashes and injuries. Everyone but Pierron, of course, who kept it pinned on the worst conditions to take top honors yet again. And as we saw in the women's race, the rain let up for everyone outside the top 20 - and the times began to tumble. Riders starting later had some of their best showings of the season. Most notably, Hugo Frixtalon, who would pilot his number 128 plate down the track to third place, and 64 plate of Joshua Barth slotted into 6th. The flip side of the late starters posting up faster and faster times would be the many early starters with less than perfect runs be pushed out of the finals. Eddie Masters, Alex Marin, Mick Hannah, Greg Williamson and Dean Lucas will be watching from the sidelines tomorrow.

If Val di Sole has been anything this year it is unpredictable Although the weather for tomorrow's race is calling for the more traditional sunshine this region is known for, no one is holding their breath. The hardest track on the circuit, combined with the most challenging weather we have seen this season, is bound to create one heck of a show. That, you can definitely bet your money on.


With hot temps and sunny skies to kick off the day I the idea of tear offs could not have been further from Loic Bruni s mind as he prepped goggles before the morning practice session.
With hot temps and sunny skies to kick off the day, tear-offs could not have been further from Loic Bruni's mind as he prepped goggles before the morning practice session.

Commencal Riding Addiction team manager Thibaut Ruffin may have been in the wars lately but his team is still on top of the pile.
Commencal Riding Addiction team manager Thibaut Ruffin may have been fighting a war lately, but his team is still on top of the pile.

while everyone else was out thrashing about in the slick mud Jack Moir was busy lining up all his helmets and working on his social media game.
While everyone else was out thrashing about in the mud, Jack Moir was busy lining up all his helmets and working on his social media game.

A simple front end wash out cost Gwin dearly with his already injured thumb being re-aggravated. He rolled out the start hut today and is protected so can at least start tomorrow but will he
A simple front end wash out cost Gwin dearly. With his already injured thumb re-aggravated, he just rolled out the start hut today. Gwin is protected so can at least start tomorrow, but will he?

Smooth aggressive and just plain fast would be the best words to describe Finn Iles on track this morning.
Smooth, aggressive, and just plain fast would be the best words to describe Finn Iles on track this morning.

Gaetan Vige made it into the big show by the skin of his teeth in 58th.
Gaetan Vige made it into the big show by the skin of his teeth in 58th.

Laurie Greenland fully committed to the steep rock chutes in practice would come 10th in qualifying.
Laurie Greenland, fully committed to the steep rock chutes in practice, would be 10th in qualifying.

Danny Hart will have his sights set firmly on the podium tomorrow but would love to take the win once more here.
Danny Hart would love to take the win once more here.

Henry Fitzgerald had one of his best qualifiying results to day with a 20th place.
Henry Fitzgerald had one of his best qualifiying results to day with a 20th place.

There s plenty of soft pockets of loam off line laying in wait for stray wheels who venture off line.
There's plenty of soft pockets of loam laying in wait for stray wheels who venture off line.

7th on the day for Frenchman Thomas Estaque.
Seventh on the day for Frenchman Thomas Estaque.

Dakotah Norton s bike came down the mountain without him in the qualies unfortunately he popped his shoulder out of place again and couldn t complete the run.
Dakotah Norton's bike came down the mountain without him in the qualies. Unfortunately, he popped his shoulder out of place again and couldn't complete the run.

Reece Wilson is on the money this season today stomping an 8th place qualie.
Reece Wilson is on the money this season, stomping an 8th place qualifier.

Finn Iles has hit the ground running in his first year elite and second place today really knocked it out the park.
Finn Iles hit the ground running in his first year elite - second place today, and really knocked it out the park.

Adam Brayton drops into the steepest part of the track in the semi-dry morning practice session.
Adam Brayton drops into the steepest part of the track in the semi-dry morning practice session.

Matt Simmonds is back on a downhill track after switching his focus to enduro he qualified safely in 19th.
Matt Simmonds is back on a downhill track after switching his focus to enduro. He qualified safely in 19th.

Connor Fearon tearing the track apart and leaving only loam in his wake.
Connor Fearon, tearing the track apart and leaving only loam in his wake.

After qualifying fastest for the last two rounds Shaw had to settle for 5th but who knows maybe starting slightly further back might do him good
After qualifying fastest for the last two rounds, Shaw had to settle for 5th. Who knows, maybe starting farther back might do him good.

An impressive 12th for an on-form Jacob Dickson always looking pinned on the bike.
An impressive 12th for an on-form Jacob Dickson - always looking pinned on the bike.

Amaury Pierron is ripping on a roll of confidence right now after taking back to back WC wins and it shows in his ability to master whatever condition the track in VDS dishes out.
Amaury Pierron is on a roll of confidence right now after taking back to back WC wins - and it shows in his ability to master any condition this track dishes out.

Number one so why try harder Pierron s still the man and 3.4 seconds ahead of the game.
Amaury Pierron, racing with the coveted number 1 plate for the first time today.

Ominous would be the word to describe Italy s Valley of Sun right now.
As qualifying was set to get under way, the morning sunshine up and disappeared. "Ominous" would be the word to describe Italy's Valley of Sun, as racers took to the track .

Vali Holl once again took the win in junior women some 15 seconds clear of clear of Anna Newkirk.
Vali Holl once again took the win in junior women, some 15 seconds clear of clear of Anna Newkirk.

American junior Anna Newkirk taking the inside line down onw of the steepest chutes en route to 2nd place.
American junior, Anna Newkirk, taking the inside line down one of the steepest chutes en route to 2nd place.

Despite almost going over the bars twice in one section during his qualifying run Thibaut Daprela took top honors amongst the juniors by a scant 0.56 seconds.
Despite almost going over the bars twice during his qualifying run, Thibaut Daprela took top honors among the juniors by a scant, 0.56 seconds.

10 seconds off the pace left Tracey Hannah in 4th but only a fraction behind 2nd place.
Tracey Hannah finished up 4th in a tight battle with Seagrave and Siegenthaler, but all three will have to push a lot harder tomorrow if they want to catch Monika Hrastnik.

Rachel was fastest at the first split before fading to 6th at the line there were incidents aplenty in most people s runs so expect the order to shake up big style tomorrow.
Rachel Atherton was fastest at the first split before fading to 6th at the line, there were incidents aplenty in most people's runs, so expect the order to shake up tomorrow.

First at split one will Atherton have the last word tomorrow
First at split one, will Atherton have the last word tomorrow?

Seagrave unphased by the ever changing conditions up in the Trentino woods.
Seagrave, unphased by the ever changing conditions in the Trentino woods.

Tahnee was well up at both split 1 and two before slowing way up on the bottom of the track. If she can keep that pace from top to bottom tomorrow she should be well on track to repeat her winning from from Val di Sole one tear ago.
Tahnee was well up at both split one and two before slowing way up on the bottom of the track. If she can keep that pace from top to bottom tomorrow, she should be on track to repeat her win at Val di Sole last year.

Emilie Siegenthaler looked comfortable in the slippery qualifying conditions later in the afternoon and ended up third just behind Tahnee Seagrave.
Emilie Siegenthaler looked comfortable in the slippery qualifying conditions later in the afternoon and ended up third behind Tahnee Seagrave.

Slovenian privateer Monika Hrastnik getting mighty skecthy on her way to a decisive 10 second shock victory in the women s field.
Slovenian privateer Monika Hrastnik getting mighty sketchy on her way to a decisive 10-second victory that shocked the women's field.

Down came the rain...
Down came the rain...again. This time, even heavier and just in time for the Elite men to take to the track.

Troy Brosnan was the econd man down the hill in qualifying after the hardest rain of the weekend thrashed the track.
Troy Brosnan was the second man down the hill in qualifying - after the hardest rain of the weekend.

Loris Vergier storming over the old road gap and onto yet another top 10 finish.
Loris Vergier, storming over the old road gap and onto yet another top-ten finish.

More than a few of the big names had a nightmare in the ultra-greasy VDS root nests. Somehow big names like Blenki could still salvage top 30 results.
More than a few of the big names had nightmares in the ultra-greasy VDS root nests. Somehow, big names like Blenki salvaged top 30 results.

Loic Bruni getting a big drift on around the final corner that even Sam Hill would be proud of.
Loic Bruni getting a big drift on around the final corner that even Sam Hill would be proud of.

Amaury said he went slow to go fast in these conditions... Seemed to work out just fine
Amaury said he went slow to go fast in these conditions... Seemed to work out just fine!

The Bulldog doesn t mess about not even in the mud. And despite having a bit of a moment he still managed to qualify 25th.
The Bulldog doesn't mess about, not even in the mud. Despite having a bit of a moment, he still managed to qualify 25th.

Not what you expect to see when you think of Val di Sole. After five years of sunshine racing here the skies decided it was time to finally jump it down during race runs today.
Not what you expect to see when you think of Val di Sole. After five years of sunshine racing here, the skies decided it was time to finally dump it down on race runs today.

The look Eddie Masters gave when asked how scary it was trying to race his qualifying run immediately after a downpour.
The look Eddie Masters gave when asked how scary it was trying to race his qualifying run immediately after a downpour.

Teammates Thomas Estaque and Reese Wilson went 7th and 8th today after slipping and sliding down Val di Sole s Black Snake.
Teammates Thomas Estaque and Reese Wilson went 7th and 8th today after slipping and sliding down Val di Sole's Black Snake.

Danny Hart loving the mud life and romping to 4th place.
Danny Hart, loving the mud life and romping to 4th place.

One to forget today for Charlie Harrison but as a protected rider he ll be ready to charge tomorrow.
One to forget today for Charlie Harrison. As a protected rider, he'll be ready to charge tomorrow.

Finn Iles has looked fast all year and especially so here in VDS. A 2nd place qualifier backs up the pace this first year Elite rider was showing on track in practice and will make him one to watch in tomorrow s final.
Finn Iles has looked fast all year and especially so here in VDS. A 2nd place qualifier backs up the pace this first year Elite rider was showing on track in practice. He'll be one to watch in tomorrow's final.

Ever heard of Hugo Frixtalon Well he just laid down a dream mud run that landed him ahead of all but two of your favourite riders.
Ever heard of Hugo Frixtalon? Well, he just laid down a dream mud run that landed him ahead of all but two of your favourite riders.

Taylor Vernon on the anxious wait to see if he made the cut after a survival run in the mud.
Taylor Vernon anxiously waits to see if he made the cut after a survival run in the mud.

Time to get things looking ship-shape for the big day.
Time to get things looking ship-shape for the big day.

One of those days... in fact the first wet WC of the 2018 season.
One of those days... in fact the first wet Wold Cup DH of the 2018 season.

Can he make it three in a row tomorrow
Can he make it three in a row?



71 Comments

  • + 19
 Photo quality is absolutely bonkers, nice work! Loic's drift is my new background. Tahnee's, Troy's, and Danny's shots are killer.
  • + 11
 And with Norton goes my fantasy league. I'm sorry for the riders i pick each race, i must be cursed or something. Wish him luck he's been on point this year.
  • + 2
 Same here, hope shaw can hold it together this time.
  • + 1
 I think I've single-handedly killed off several big names (Gwin, Pom, the list goes on)... I'm a horrible person. Wink On the bright side, if anyone is interested, I've got a business proposal. You tell me your picks, I pick the main competition, and we split the prize... lol
  • + 1
 I empathize with you (I have Myriam Nicole in my team ????)
  • + 2
 @shaked: Just kicking myself this round... finally got my act together had Hrastnik, Pierron, and Shaw, but then was debating and made the wrong choices... Gwin over Rachel or Tahnee, and I skipped on Hart. So close, yet so far...
  • + 1
 @shaked: Oh, and Greenland, that was it. Was debating between Gwin, R. Atherton, and Seagrave for my expensive pick, and Hart/Greenland/someone else for my mid-price. Sigh. Made the wrong choice both times... That would've given me 1, 2, 3, 4 mens and 3, 5 women, or 1, possibly 2/3, 4 men's and 1/2, 3 women... Oh well, the prize was a fanny pack, is not like I wanted to win anyway. Wink Razz
  • + 1
 In the end i actually scored quite a lot of points????
  • + 1
 @mtbikeaddict: I'm doing it for the fun, not for the prize ????
  • + 1
 Sorry about the question marks, should be a funny imoji
  • + 1
 @shaked: Lol true... part of my fun IS my aggravation over what I've missed... hopefully using that to improve. Smile
  • + 9
 Eddie looks like he saw a ghost up there
  • + 4
 I think Emilie Siegenthaler spotted it too.
  • + 2
 Apparently, he saw his shadow stopping and refusing to continue.
  • + 6
 Ridiculous images! Amazing job as always! The close up of Tahnee is POY for me so far....
  • - 3
 Ridiculous
Adjective
Deserving or inviting derision or mockery; absurd.
  • + 3
 Hyperbole Noun Exaggerated statements not meant to be taken literally.
  • - 3
 Using the word in a positive context is ridiculous. Stop bastardising our language.
  • + 2
 That's terribly funny. Both instances are used by Shakespeare, it's not an American bastardization (aka bastardisation).
  • - 3
 @ka-brap: Shakespeare did not invent English, neither did he own it.
The usage is incorrect by anyone, Austrians and everyone else alike.
The British population opposes its use in a positive context. Kindly refrain. Many thanks.
  • + 4
 @jaame: slang and hyperbole are part of language, it's how we talk across multiple languages and cultures. Ridiculous can most certainly be used in as a positive wen the context is appropriate. What next? If someone calls a pic insane you are going to argue that a photo can't have a questionable mental state.... please now.
  • + 0
 @davetrumpore: look in the dictionary if you don't believe me. The word ridiculous does not have a positive connotation. It is exclusively negative. This kind of language misuse should be discouraged in order to protect the integrity of our language. We certainly should not encourage its misuse, especially by younger generations, with the use of props. Please stop pretending it's OK to use the word ridiculous to mean good. It has the opposite meaning. Checking the dictionary, it can be seen that your example of the word insane, can imply a positive connotation. Saying ridiculous would be more akin to saying the photos are all totally shit. No one is going to give props for that!
  • - 2
 Like Shakespeare, I did not invent English, nor do I own it, but we share a collective responsibility to use it appropriately.
  • + 2
 @jaame: Classic use of the dictionary fallacy, so the conclusion of your argument doesn't hold. The use of ridiculous in this context is purely hyperbolic, and as such it won't be in the dictionary as classic usage. Just like using terrible or horrible in regards to how funny something can be. Just like your argument Smile

Language evolves and changes over time, you will never stop that. What was once grammatically incorrect can often become correct and the world moves on.
  • - 2
 @ka-brap: it is not hyperbolic. Hyperbole is extreme exaggeration, not stating the opposite meaning. In this context, the use of the word is just incorrect!
Please don't reply to this. I'm all for differences of opinion, but this is not an opinion, it is a matter of fact. I could claim irony if I said the photos were shit, since we commonly understand the meaning of shit as negative. The problem is that some people, including you obviously, do not understand the meaning of the word ridiculous and erroneously believe it to mean good. Ridiculous does not mean good, and it never has! Using it in this context only serves to make the user sound unintelligent.
  • + 2
 @jaame: When something is claimed to be "ridiculously good" it is so good that it seems ridiculous. This is indeed hyperbole, because hyperbole is an exaggeration that is not to be taken literally. It is not just exaggeration. You are the one who doesn't understand how to use language. Good day, sir.
  • + 3
 @jaame: you must really be fun at parties ... Click here www.google.ad/search?q=ridiculous+definition&oq=ridiculous+def&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j35i39j0l2.9383j1j7&client=ms-android-verizon&sourceid=chrome-mobile&ie=UTF-8

Synonyms for ridiculous include astonishing, unbelievable, and incredible.

Next you'll say we can't call something cool because the dictionary says it refers to cold temperature or an indifferent attitude ?
www.google.ad/search?safe=off&client=ms-android-verizon&ei=hK1FW6zIFMbYU7HUiYAC&q=cool+definition&oq=coo+definition&gs_l=mobile-gws-wiz-serp.1.0.0i7i30l5.78317.81099..82699...0....214.1279.11j1j1......0....1.........0i71j35i39j0i7i10i30j0i67.X7bmd63b2Ok

This is how languages work and evolve. The world terrific originally implied something causing terror, and now technically refers to something being massive and of great size... But that's rarely how we use it while speaking now is it.

You've focused here on one little word while surely contradicting your reasoning elsewhere as you communicate day in and day out. That is ridiculous.
  • - 2
 @davetrumpore: No Dave, I would not claim that, because the dictionary states that the word cool can mean fashionable or attractive. The dictionary does not state that the word ridiculous can mean good!
The fact that a few people misuse it to infer the positive does not make them right!
This is squarely in the category of words that are misused to the point of being accepted as mainstream, and ridiculed by those who know better.
Other examples include misunderestimate, irregardless, documentate, and the old classic, "I could care less".
  • - 2
 And please don't feel the need to reply!
  • + 3
 @jaame: No need to reply, just want to. Languages change and evolve. Word's meanings change and evolve. It's why we write how we do now and not like Shakespeare.

And ultimately, when you say "but the dictionary says this, therefore you are wrong" does not constitute an actual argument. A word's meaning can be greater than what the dictionary says.

www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies/27/Appeal-to-Definition
  • + 3
 @jaame: I see your strategy once proven wrong is to just yell louder isn't it.

I love you are pissed over this. And I mean pissed in the American definition not the British. Both of which are slanf and in proper and OMG correct to use either way based in context and culture.

But ridiculous... That usage is set in stone by yours and yours only interpretation. And just to be clear since you might not understand. When we say set in stone, it's not physically set in stone.

Thanks for playing chief (also sang ;-)
  • - 2
 The fact that something can be done does not mean it should be done.
You Americans love to corrupt our language. You should be eternally grateful to us for letting you use it.
As for being proven wrong, as you so eloquently put it, an Englishman can never be proven wrong about correct use of English by someone of another nationality. Haven't you heard?
I will make this request again very politely. Please stop corrupting our language. If you need a language to corrupt, kindly choose another one, or make one up yourself. I believe there is another one already doing the rounds in your country. AAVE? How about you make the switch to that instead, since you clearly love the bastardisation of language so much?
  • + 0
 And please don't reply to this. It keeps popping up in my dash and it's doing my head in.
  • + 3
 @jaame: Hark now, bastardiser of the King's tongue. Pray thee be privy to my words and heed my good counsel. Verily thou art a foe & corruptor of the youth. Methinks thou ought to refrain from bastardising our tongue and resort thy speech back to the true wordage of the King.

Fare thee well!
  • + 3
 @jaame: It's a ridiculously good time to know that it pops up your dish and annoys you (too easy). Maybe that'll teach you to think before starting such a ridiculous argument, and not knowing when to quit. If you don't want a response don't reply.

American's currupting your language? You are a pompous ass aren't you? Different cultures use different words to mean different things. In fact they even pronounce them differently and emphasize different syllables, etc. It's what makes the word interesting and why were do not a ll look talk, and act the same.

We should be grateful for you letting us us it? An englishman an never be proven wrong by any other nationality? You have some serious problems if this is the way you view the world.
  • + 3
 @jaame: Seriously WTF is wrong with you?

African-American Vernacular English is what AAVE stands for, and now you are taking a racist swipe at the language of another culture? Why? Seriously?

You're letting you bigotry show here, and dare I say it sounding ridiculous
  • + 1
 @davetrumpore: I'll just stick with 'Good Photo' next time and save everyone the trouble.
  • + 7
 Blenki in gloves would be the most succinct of summaries of qualifying.
  • + 5
 In case you dont know, rules of national cycling organization apply to WC races, so if Italian org says gloves are mandatory for dh racers then everyone has to wear them... Or it could be shitty weather Smile
  • + 1
 @winko: they're mandatory here
  • + 1
 It's because it's a rule that riders must wear gloves in Italy.
  • + 1
 those ain't gloves: they tear-offs.
  • + 6
 Race of the year coming right up
  • + 1
 so far this would be 100% accurate
  • + 3
 Sweet photos, gnarly track, quality bikes, and people spilling. I can stand behind this.
  • + 4
 that will be a hell of run, best track ever!!!
  • + 4
 What a ride for unsponsored Hugo. Anyone know what he’s riding?
  • + 1
 commencal
  • + 1
 @glg-photography: thanks. That makes 9 high single pivot bikes in the top 20
  • + 1
 In case you didn't know, but Hugo is sponsored btw... Wink

news.commencal.com/news/Who-is-Hugo/293.html
  • + 1
 @eliaso: thanks. My mistake. No team listed on the quali list.
  • + 1
 I would love to see Monika , as a privateer mind you, take that win and land a ride! And for Hugo - You go right to the podium in my book!
  • + 1
 My Pierron Wilson Shaw and Seagrave and Hrastnik combo has done well so far Hope Dak Norton heals up well. Looked like a good year for him until Cwx.
  • + 2
 I need that photo of Eddie Masters, in a frame, on my wall.
  • + 3
 Yeah Finn!
  • + 2
 This photo of Finn... is it too early to call out for POY?
  • + 1
 Sorry Eddie. I put you in my team. My bad
  • + 1
 I got Amoury, Hart, Atherton, and Hrastnik on my fantasy team!
  • + 1
 Shut up, just shut up... Cry lol Good luck! Not that you need much. Wink
  • + 2
 Blinki in gloves!
  • + 1
 Makes you think, if he would still have preferred to race gloveless even in the rain.
  • + 1
 "Despite having a bit of a moment..."
Solid moment.
  • + 0
 No joshua barth?!!

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