Finals Photo Epic - Snowshoe DH World Cup #1 2021

Sep 16, 2021
by Nathan Hughes  





Double debutant winners came out swinging in Snowshoe this afternoon as both Vali Höll and Reece Wilson notched up their very first elite World Cup wins in some dramatic circumstances. Heating things up after a cautious podium performance in Switzerland, Vali went into the hot seat by close to five seconds before a nervous wait while last women down the hill Myriam Nicole got stuck into her run. Unfortunately for Nicole it unravelled with a crash in the lower rocks which guaranteed what will surely be the first of many Valentina Höll victories. Still it was enough for the series leader to land on the podium alongside Balanche, Cabirou and Seagrave.

The big news in the men's race was overall leader Thibaut Daprela's no score after a big crash in his race run, allowing his closest challenger, Loris Vergier, to close to within 46 points setting up a tasty showdown on Saturday. Vergier himself was a favourite for the race win, but it was his teammate Reece Wilson who stole the show, sneaking ahead of Loic Bruni by the very smallest of margins to add a World Cup win to his repertoire. The men's podium was covered by only just more than a single second with Wallace fifth, Iles fourth, Vergier third, Bruni second and Wilson in first. Meanwhile in the juniors, Izabella Yankova and Jordan Williams took top honours as the attention now switches to the second race in Snowshoe and the final one of the 2021 series. Rain is in the forecast and numerous track switch-ups should keep those outcomes nice and unpredictable.


Glorious Sik Mik stretching out a penultimate no-hander for the fans.
Glorious Sik Mik stretching out a penultimate no-hander for the fans.

Andrew Shandro whispering the Rampage lines in Chuck s ear on his last lap before finals.
Andrew Shandro whispering the Rampage lines in Chuck's ear on his last lap before finals.

Jackson Goldstone heads back up the hill after his last practice run earlier this morning.
Jackson Goldstone heads back up the hill after his last practice run earlier this morning.

Goldstone not only looks unstoppable he truly is at this point already running away with the junior overall today.
Goldstone not only looks unstoppable he truly is at this point; already running away with the junior overall today.

Siel Van der Verlden has had many highs and lows this season but this Snowshoe Round 5 podium will be one all time high.
Siel Van der Verlden has had many highs and lows this season, but this Snowshoe Round 5 podium will be one all time high.

Phoebe Gale took second place in junior women.
Phoebe Gale took second place in junior women.

First World Cup podium for Tristan Lemire. P3 for the young Canadian.
First World Cup podium for Tristan Lemire. P3 for the promising Canadian.

Jordan Williams keeps it low on course to his first World Cup win.
Jordan Williams keeps it low on course to his first World Cup win.

Jordan Williams in disbelief after taking his first win here in the Southeast.
Williams in disbelief after taking his first win here in the Southeast.

Izabella Yankova shutting down the junior womens show just one more time this time with 5 seconds to spare.
Izabella Yankova shutting down the junior womens show just one more time; this time with 5 seconds to spare.

Your top 3 junior men 1st Jordan Williams 2nd Jackson Goldstone 3rd Tristan Lemire.
Your top 3 junior men: 1st Jordan Williams 2nd Jackson Goldstone 3rd Tristan Lemire.

Your top 3 junior women 1st Izabella Yankova 2nd Phoebe Gale 3rd Siel van der Velden.
Your top 3 junior women: 1st Izabella Yankova 2nd Phoebe Gale 3rd Siel van der Velden.

Reigning supreme MTB prodigy Jackson Goldstone.
Reigning supreme for 2021; Canadian MTB prodigy, Jackson Goldstone.

Tahnee Seagrave onto the last spot of the podium.
Tahnee Seagrave onto the last spot of the podium.

Marine Cabirou in her thoughts prior to her race run. She s won here before and knows what it takes.
Marine Cabirou in her thoughts prior to her race run. She's won here before and knows what it takes.

Cabirou dominated here back in 2019 so it was no surprise to see her hit the podium again albeut 5.7 seconds shy of the win.
Cabirou dominated here back in 2019 so it was no surprise to see her hit the podium again, albeut 5.7 seconds shy of the win.

Just off the podium in 6th for Eleonora Farina.
Just off the podium in 6th for Eleonora Farina.

Kailey Skelton take the last spot in the top 10 on home soil.
Kailey Skelton take the last spot in the top 10 on home soil.

Balanche getting low and smashing out another second place performance.
Balanche getting low and smashing out another second place performance.

Vali Holl focused and ready for today s showdown.
Vali Holl focused and ready for today's showdown.

Vali Hoell gripping and ripping on the formerly dreaded final turn .
Gripping and ripping on the formerly dreaded 'final turn'.

Myriam Nicole seemed to be on course for another big win before disaster struck in the lower rocks.
Myriam Nicole seemed to be on course for another big win before disaster struck in the lower rocks.

Disbelief. Vali Holl hasn t had the season her or anyone expected but she s kept working away and was rewarded today.
Disbelief. Vali Hoell hasn't had the season her or anyone expected but she's kept working away and was rewarded today.

Nicole breaks the beam with the damage already evident on the timing board.
Nicole breaks the beam with the damage already evident on the timing board.

Myriam Nicole checks the damage. Despite her crash she d finish on the podium.
Myriam Nicole checks the clock. Despite her crash, she'd finish on the podium.

Strong sportswomanship between these rivals and friends.
Strong sportswomanship between these rivals and friends.

Victory number one of how many
Victory number one of how many?

Vali Holl ecstatic to take her very first elite World Cup win.
Vali ecstatic to take her very first elite World Cup win.

Your Women s Elite podium 1st Vali Holl 2nd Camille Balanche 3rd Marine Cabirou 4th Myriam Nicole and 5th Tahnee Seagrave
Your Women's Elite podium: 1st Vali Holl, 2nd Camille Balanche, 3rd Marine Cabirou, 4th Myriam Nicole, and 5th Tahnee Seagrave

Congratulations VH.
Congratulations VH.

Vali enjoying another round of champagne but you bet this one tastes better.
Vali enjoying another round of champagne, but you bet this one tastes better.

The weather began to change as the race crept closer thankfully the rain held off until after the race.
The weather began to change as the race crept closer, thankfully the rain held off until after the race.

Greg Minnaar decided to try to shut out the pain after taking a nasty spill in yesterday s qualie. Unfortunately he only made it to the first sections of woods before pulling the plug.
Greg Minnaar decided to try to shut out the pain after taking a nasty spill in yesterday's qualie. Unfortunately, he only made it to the first sections of woods before pulling the plug.

Charlie Harrison has been working his way back from injury and was rewarded with a top 10 finish today.
Charlie Harrison has been working his way back from injury and was rewarded with a top 10 finish today.

Matt Walker less than half a second off the podium today.
Matt Walker less than half a second off the podium today.

Isak Leivsson couldn t wait for Rampage next month to try this.
Isak Leivsson couldn't wait for Rampage next month to try this.

Needless to say it did not go as planned.
It did not go as planned, possibly because many struggled to clear the jump in the first place.

Mark Wallace launches the final jump as moody skies roll over the hills surrounding Snowshoe.
Mark Wallace launches the final jump as moody skies roll over the hills surrounding Snowshoe.

Mark Wallace pushing through the finish line and earned himself fifth. That s two podiums this year with one race left.
Wallace pushing through the finish line and earned himself fifth. That's two podiums this year with one race left.

Mark Wallace kept it tidy today. His low profile demeanour speaks volumes when he s on pace.
Wallace kept it tidy today. His low profile demeanour speaks volumes when he's on pace.

Number one American put in a valiant assault on the top steps but missed by one. Norton will be out for Revenge on Saturday.
Number one American put in a valiant assault on the top steps but missed by one. Norton will be out for revenge on Saturday.

Reece Wilson s tuck came in handy as he crossed the line just 0.032 up on Bruni.
Reece Wilson's tuck came in handy as he crossed the line just 0.032 up on Bruni.

Although he didn t take the win today was still a good day for Loris Vergier as he closes in on overall leader Daprela.
Although he didn't take the win today was still a good day for Loris Vergier as he closes in on overall leader Daprela.

Loris Vergier held the hot seat for quite some time until Reece had an answer for him.
Loris Vergier held the hot seat for quite some time until Bruni had an answer for him.

Loris Vergier battered and buried after his qualifying crash yesterday.
Vergier battered and bruised after his qualifying crash yesterday.

The tension on the hot seat was building with every passing rider.
The tension on the hot seat was building with every passing rider.

Benoit Coulanges giving his all but settling just outside the top 10.
Benoit Coulanges giving his all, but settling just outside the top 10.

It s not over yet here in West Virginia for the French champ chasing his first win.
It's not over yet here in West Virginia for the French champ chasing his first win.

Loic Bruni laid down a strong run and went into the hot seat comfortably but it wasn t to be as Wilson just pipped him to the top spot.
Loic Bruni laid down a strong run and went into the hot seat comfortably but it wasn't to be as Wilson just pipped him to the top spot.

The tuck that took Loic to within 0.032 of the win.
The tuck that took Loic to within 0.032 of the win.

Baldy the eagle came to see what all the fuss was about.
There wasn't much of a crowd on a Wednesday, but at least Baldy the eagle came to see what all the fuss was about.

Fastest qualifier Finn Iles didn t quite have enough today.
Fastest qualifier Finn Iles didn't quite have enough for victory today.

Nervous moments in the hot seat for Reece Wilson.
Nervous moments in the hot seat for Reece Wilson.

Yesterday s top qualifier Finn Iles was just out of touch and would finish fourth.
Iles, was just out of touch and would finish fourth.

Bruni consoles and congratulates the last man down the mountain on his podium finish.
Bruni consoles and congratulates the last man down the mountain on his podium finish.

The moment a dream became reality.
The moment a dream became reality.

Lost in the last split Finn is grateful of his second chance on the perfect run for the 2021 season.
Lost in the last split, Finn is grateful of his second chance on the perfect run for the 2021 season.

The W just starting to sink in.
The 'W' just starting to sink in.

Your top male speed demons for race one of two here in West Virginia.
Your top male speed demons for race one of two here in West Virginia.

Reece Wilson gets to spray that World Cup winner s champagne for the very first time.
Reece Wilson gets to spray that World Cup winner's champagne for the very first time.

Done and dusted. Until tomorrow at least when, unbelievably, the madness begins over again for the final World Cup of the year on race course number two here in Snowshoe.



68 Comments

  • 94 0
 ENVE placed a cut off Horsehead in the pinkbike office over night.
  • 38 1
 I was standing right above the section where he crashed. It sounded like he had a flat before the wheel imploded - several audible rim dings in the previous rock garden. And then CRACK! I helped get his bike off course and out of the woods, and he was (understandably) very emotional. Allez Thibaut!
  • 4 1
 @Mavic101: Weird crash and super hard to tell what happened, maybe he knows maybe nobody knows. Anyway the crash/fail is the elephant in the room.
  • 3 2
 @Mavic101: Relying on your inflated rubber to avoid wheel implosion doesn't seem like good insurance either...
  • 7 1
 It'll be interesting to see if factory commencal is still on enve next season. Like santa cruz syndicate before them, they've probably had enough.
  • 5 0
 @brawlstars5000: watch the rebulltv slomo in replay and slow it down further to 0.25% you can see the tire burps and starts to unseat itself before the rim-rock impact
  • 4 0
 @blowmyfuse: Very good angle, but the cause of the crash is as unclear to me as ever. Not sure why the tire should burp in that situation. It looks like it came undone before the hole that finally caught him out, in a place with no obvious sideloads. How fast and with how little resistance the wheel seems to collapse is also baffling.
  • 4 0
 @brawlstars5000: The rim may have cracked a few seconds earlier, maybe even earlier than that, thus the tire deflated and rim was already weakened causing it to implode so seemingly easily. But that's just a guess.
  • 17 0
 @Mavic101: Those rim pings and pops from the previous rock garden (and his relative sketchiness steering through that section) were most likely the rim cracking and delaminating ply-by-ply, prior to catastrophic failure during the crash. As the plies fail, spoke tension will decrease and steering precision will likewise decrease. Composites will often fail sequentially, ply by ply, audibly (as often heard when structurally testing composite structures / components to failure) — until the structure gives up and fails completely, usually in spectacular explosive fashion. In the video from @blowmyfuse, you can hear the wheel cracking through the last several plies as he hits the last few bumps before it fully implodes.

In my expert opinion, based on detailed observations of about a dozen ENVE wheels, ENVE introduces structural flaws into their wheels at the spoke holes — and they do this by molding-in the spoke holes (at least this was the case in past years, and I believe they still do that molded-in process). The hole-molding dowels they use (or used) spread the uncured prepreg fibers around the dowel, creating small resin-rich regions in each ply around the dowel where the fibers spread. They should mold the rims whole like We Are One and then drill the spoke holes after. That will prevent microcracks from forming in the relatively brittle epoxy resin-rich pockets that ENVE tends to create in each ply around the spoke holes. Those microcracks can turn into larger cracks that can form large delaminations between plies, or inter-ply transverse cracks through the thickness of the laminate. Cyclical loading like that is just about the worst thing for microcracks around a resin-rich hole in a composite structure. As those epoxy-resin microcracks get larger, the compressive forces on the carbon fibers increase — and carbon fibers usually fail in compression rather than tension. When the carbon fibers fail, you’ll hear them “pop” ply by ply before a big final compressive + tensile catastrophic failure of the remaining composite plies in the structure.

Anyone who knows composites well knows that holes, especially spoke holes, are generally a bad idea in composites (as such, many companies create engineering / design / materials work-arounds to seriously increase the strength of the area around spoke holes in carbon fiber rims). ENVE’s molded-in approach is particularly risky, in my opinion, particularly with how the spokes introduce cyclical loading, spread over a very small surface area, right at the spoke hole...creating a huge gradient of tensile and compressive stresses on the resin and fiber, through the thickness of the laminate, right around the spoke hole. This is a recipe for failure, especially with the crack-prone resin-rich regions in the plies on ENVE’s wheels. I’ve seen ENVEs crack and split at the spoke holes just from wheel building (right along the center line of the rim, initiating from the resin-rich flaws introduced by their spoke-hole-molding dowels). Considering this, it’s not surprising that Thibaut’s rim ultimately broke in several places, right at the spoke holes. The sort of failure we witnessed most likely indicates a structural flaw / cracking at the spoke holes, more than it indicates a flat tire rim failure from compressive impact to the outer rim edge.

Also, Thibaut’s rear wheel appears to be cracked (or a decal is coming off), as seen when he is sitting after the crash...but it looks like a crack / delaminating ply, as it starts at the spoke hole and extends toward the rim edge at a 45-degree angle, consistent with their ply orientation.
  • 7 0
 @WRCDH: ... superb. wonder how many folk will read this. no matter. superb answer
  • 5 0
 @forkbrayker: Hey, thanks! It’s great to hear someone appreciated it =)
  • 2 0
 @WRCDH: i think that also shows just how fast these top guy like him are
  • 3 0
 @WRCDH: interesting, when I toured enve (albeit several years ago) they talked about their spoke molding with pride. It is a more technical/laborious process than drilling, and they said they do it to INCREASE strength. Allegedly they were able to greatly increase spoke tension with this approach and actually have broken dt spokes before pulling through the rim.

I wonder if it isn't the superior method, but as you describe, prone to issues when not applied perfectly or QCed thoroughly.
  • 3 0
 @dwbaillar: I recall them using this as a selling point years ago as well. I'm not in a position to disagree with @WRCDH, sounds like he knows his stuff. But it would be surprising to me if Enve would continue with a process that knowingly compromised their product. I personally know a former Enve engineer; his opinion seemed to be that Enve tends to push their luck too far when it comes to design and durability. they don't "play it safely" enough.

Anyway, super curious about this one. And it's funny that PB is kinda pretending it's not the talk of the town right now.
  • 45 0
 No photos of Daprela’s crash? Or is it getting it’s own story?
  • 43 0
 Not even a single word about the Daprela's front wheel explosion?? I'd like to hear his opinion about carbon wheels now...
  • 37 0
 Can't wait to see Daprela's wheel.
  • 5 0
 Not the best photo, but it's in 3 pieces.
m.pinkbike.com/photo/21320807
  • 27 0
 Cant believe Myriam crashed, then had to stop again to adjust something on her bike, and still came 4th. that was pretty crazy to witness!
  • 9 7
 Did she stopped to glue a rim?
  • 10 7
 Thanks to her crash, Vali Höll finally took her first elite win and doesn't pout this time.
  • 5 0
 It looked like her seat got rotated out of place in the crash and she paused shortly thereafter to fix that.
  • 1 0
 @font style="vertical-align: inherit;">font style="vertical-align: inherit;">danstonQ /font>/font>: If in Leogang and in other races Vali had not crashed in the last corner, maybe other girls would be pouting. Vali had to enjoy this time.
  • 2 2
 @danstonQ in Leogang and in other races Vali had not crashed in the last corner, maybe other girls would be pouting. Vali had to enjoy this time.
  • 26 0
 The fact that Greg Minnaar even ATTEMPTED to drop in is insane. An AC separation is no joke and extremely painful
  • 1 0
 sure is. i cried baby tears
  • 1 0
 I had a grade 3 from a snowboard crash back in 2002 and he has no chance of riding, even on Saturday.
  • 14 0
 It's just me who thinks Jackson Goldstone looks like an young Gene Wilder?
  • 1 0
 A little bit -
  • 3 0
 He looks like the kid from "Spy Kids" in that picture with those dumb*ss glasses lol
  • 2 0
 I can't unsee it now
  • 2 1
 Agreed. Also kind of noticed that Camille looks like Brosnan as a girl. That and Valli looks a bit like Kylr Strait.
  • 1 0
 YES! Hahaha
  • 7 0
 For a moment I thought that Myriam Nicole was riding away with a broken OFF finger in her glove flapping away and was sick to my stomach... another superb race with lots of drama. Excellent photos here and a super coverage and commentary on redbull.
  • 2 0
 I did too, then I was waiting for her to explode in pain after crossing the finish line, but she just casually hugs Vali, and I knew either her finger must still be attached OR she's a cyborg who feels no pain ... honestly, I may have picked the cyborg thing before she "malfunctioned" in that rock garden LOL
  • 9 0
 WWWF - we want wheel footageSmile
  • 6 0
 Congratulations on winning here in West Virginia. Now with the customary burlap sack and sawed off tree stump.
  • 5 0
 Is it me or that picture of Finn Iles in awe make him look a lot like Tommy Shelby from Peaky Blinders? Class...
  • 6 0
 Any web site with Daprela exploded wheel info/photo?
  • 4 0
 if you go onto redbulltv, watch the slomo replay of the crash in your own selected super slomo 0.25% you can see the tyre burps and starts to "de-glove" just before the rocks meaning the first impact was direct rim to rock.....also Rob and Elliot and sound properly baked when you hear their voices in slomotion.
  • 3 1
 Doesn't matter if a tire comes off first. Seen countless front rims ridden down bare, no tire and not explode.

Surely it had to be a rim/spoke/nipple failure. You can run a carbon rim down the mountain for a solid 30 seconds no tire most any time.
  • 3 0
 @blowmyfuse: well... i'd have to agree with you there, i did it on last stage of EWS in whistler 2019 through rockcity all way to the arena, lost the tyre within 30 secs and rode on the bare carbon rim at race pace for another 2 mins- survived it in one piece but with a severe cracks..... but it was rear wheel and as much as id like to think i'm fast............ im a tortoise compared to thibault
  • 7 2
 I've only just noticed Trek got all 4 wins!
  • 6 0
 It was a saracen in the junior men
  • 7 0
 Sorry Jackson got 2nd ;-). 3/4 aint bad
  • 9 0
 And RockShox did pretty well, too.
  • 1 0
 @Averagemtbracer @purplegorillaz : Of course - ah well. Looking through, I can't tell if Izabella Yankova is on the high pivot or not.
  • 3 0
 @NeilMackie: shhhhh dialed doesn't want you to notice
  • 2 0
 @thingswelike: dont think she is. At least was not in the prior rounds for sure
  • 3 0
 Anyone know why Bruni doesn't have rainbows on his cuff / collar?
  • 8 0
 Doesn’t have to wear them.
Could just be he didn’t have that jersey with them on.
They would probably clash with the rainbow effect fox gear.
  • 2 0
 Not DH related but in a similar vein I wondered why Nino had the bands on his jersey for the XCC race last weekend when he's never been world champ in that specific discipline (as that's only been a WC event from this year).
  • 1 0
 They're not on the cuff/collar, but you can see the world champs rainbow midway up his right sleeve in the podium photo.
  • 2 0
 @chotim57: ah yes! well spotted - *boring alert* he's in violation of UCI rules on rainbow accent placement. I believe some road teams were fined earlier this year for not placing them correctly. Gotta love the UCI!

archive.uci.org/docs/default-source/equipment/2021-uci-jerseys-guidelines.pdf
  • 1 0
 @NeilMackie: Even as an x world champ he would be allowed to wear the rainbow strips in any discipline.
  • 1 0
 @Joecx: you sure? Seems odd when in road racing TT champs can't wear bands for non-TT races/stages and as XCC and XCO are two different events one would think the same applies here.
  • 1 0
 @NeilMackie: They can't wear the World Champion jersey out of discipline but are allowed stripes at cuffs & collar.
  • 2 0
 Why does Red Bull spell Vali's name Hoell half the time and in the broadcast? It's Holl even on her jersey?
  • 2 0
 I thought the same but Vali herself seems to spell it either Höll or Hoell. Not Holl though. So I guess the e replaces the umlaut if necessary.
  • 2 2
 Nah, it is indeed the correct international spelling of Höll. Been complaining bout that in every PB article, cuz they have always been wiriting Holl, which is a bit disrespectful for an upcoming star.
  • 2 1
 @danstonQ If in Leogang and in other races Vali had not crashed in the last corner, maybe other girls would be pouting. Vali had to enjoy this time.
  • 2 0
 You'll have better luck finding Trump on Twitter than more info on that busted wheel. Come on Outside!
  • 2 0
 Can we get a reece wilson bike check? He was running the best tires.
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