Getting to Know Vanesa Petrovská - The 15-Year-Old Who Would Have Finished 5th in Elite DH at Crankworx Innsbruck

Jun 23, 2021
by Sarah Moore  


In Sunday's downhill race at Crankworx Innsbruck, 15-year-old Vanesa Petrovska’s time would have had her finishing in fifth place in the Elite women's race. Of course, she didn't race at exactly the same time as Vali Holl, Nina Hoffman, Tahnee Seagrave and Camille Balanche, but there's no doubt she's fast and a rider to look out for in coming years. We reached out to her after her race to find out how she got into mountain biking, how she spends her days, and what some of her goals are with downhill racing.


Where are you from?

I’m from little town called Bytča in Slovakia.


Who do you ride for?

I ride for Deem Racing Team. My sponsors are Trek Bikes CZ/SK, Bikeza, Deem Sports Wear, Rival Inserts, Top on Trail and Impa Economy.


What are some of the accomplishments that you're most proud of?

I'm most proud of winning the International Rookies Championship in 2019. I’m sad that this and last year this race didn't happen because of Covid-19. In 2019 and 2020 I was at two other Rookies cCups that I also won. In 2019, I won the Slovak National Championship and I won every Slovak DH Cup. Unfortunately, I couldn't race the Slovak National Championship last year because of a broken foot.

Then I'm proud of my great result this year at Crankworx.




What does a typical day look like for you?

From morning to afternoon I’m in school and then I have training in the gym. If I have time left, I go biking with my friends.


How did you get into mountain biking?

One of my friends invited me to ride on our local trails, then I joined the local team and started racing.


What's the hardest part about being a mountain bike racer?

Telling people what sport I do and they still don’t understand. Being a bike racer is hard, but I love it so I can’t tell you what is hard about it.


What's the best part about being a mountain bike racer?

That I still can get better in something and have goals and that I can travel the world. I also love the race feelings and being with a great community of people.


What are your strengths?

I’d say that I’m good at not letting the nerves get to me much and after every race I feel faster and faster. In every race run, I feel so concentrated and go much faster than in trainings and I don’t even know how that is possible. Sometimes I think it’s my superpower.


What are your weaknesses?

I’d say that maybe my weakness is sprint power but I'm really trying this season to get better at that.


Where is your favourite place to ride?

In Slovakia, I love to ride at bikepark Kálnica which is our best freeride spot by far. Abroad, I really enjoyed riding in France around Nice like Mandelieu, Blausasc. Also, the trails in Finale Ligure.


Photo by Marek Moravik


What's been your worst crash over the years?

Two years ago I had triple fracture of my radius and ulna bones an a dislocated wrist and it looked like hockey stick. Then one year ago I had a triple fracture on my foot.


Who's your favourite rider?

My female favourite riders are Rachel Atherton and Vali Holl, my male favourite riders are Kade Edwards and Loic Bruni.


What's your favourite motto or saying?

Never give up and do everything to chase your dreams.


What's your favourite food?

My favourite food is the Slovak national food called bryndzové halušky.


What annoys you?

Be for long time in city and dumb people.


Photo by Marek Moravik


What makes you happy?

Everything about bikes makes me happy. I love shredding with my friends and having fun.


What do you enjoy away from bikes?


I enjoy skiing, hiking and just chilling with my friends.




What do you think of events like Redbull Formation?

I really like this event. It’s so insane to see freeride event for women and I was so excited watching it. It’s my dream to be at an event like that I spent a Lot of time on my dirt jumper and DH bike learning tricks like them.

How did it feel to place in the top 5 times for elite women at Crankworx Innsbruck?

It was great feeling because there was a lot of work behind it and it motivated me so much.


How do you want to be remembered?

There are lot more things I want to achieve on my bike but the main ones are to win World Cups and be World Champion and a person who is always down for a good time and laugh.


What does the future hold for Vanesa Petrovská?


Many more years of downhill racing trying to be the best, trying to get into a factory team and, of course, always have fun and being a good person.

Photo by Marek Moravik



40 Comments

  • 60 5
 @sarahmoore:

As I suggested already on the Kate Lawrence article: if you introduce fairly unknown riders and aim at giving them more exposure, would it not make sense to include at least one portrait shot without sunglasses and such so people can recognize them in the future?
  • 32 3
 If I had adolescent kids I would not like fotos of them posted all over the internet, at least no portraits, for many reasons. Those fotos above are on her Insta, not more, so she wants it this way.
  • 9 5
 @cxfahrer: that is not how branding and marketing works. ;-)
  • 7 1
 @iRiderPB: highly subjective topic, but i would argue that she is 15 - there is plenty of time for branding and marketing in the future if that is the direction she wants to go
  • 7 3
 @bikinshmoe: Vali Höll, Tahnee Seagrave, Rachel Atherton, Mannon Carpenter, Raphaela Richter, Jackson Goldstone, Finn Iles... (just to name a few) worked on their branding at that age already. If her ambitions are as high as outlined in the article, then I think she has to bite the bullet. As we all know, these days being fast on a bike does not mean you get a factory ride.

Don't get me wrong, she can do what she wants. But if Pinkbike is giving her a platform for promotion (and others as well), then I would make sure my face can be recognized.
I, for example, recognize the girl on the right side of the picture in the podium shot, that is Melina Bast. She is recognizable because of her hair and face and because the team she was on promoted their riders with pictures, e.g. see here:
prime-mountainbiking.de/propain-gravity-kids-2018-nachwuchs-team-pid29140/2
  • 1 0
 Just google her name.
  • 5 3
 If they took a photo of her from the rear on the bike, then all her competitors would recognise her!
  • 1 9
flag dexterfawkes (Jun 23, 2021 at 7:34) (Below Threshold)
 @HairyLegs: that could mean 1 or 2 different things
  • 1 0
 @iRiderPB: the kid second from right doesn't look too happy about it.
  • 2 0
 @dexterfawkes: Ja, but my mind is not in the gutter ...... then again they would need a smoke machine too for the photos to replicate the dust she is kicking up behind her!

Same as Jackson Goldstone ripping the way he has been.

We will really see the development of these skill juniors in the next 5-10 years, and I predict we are going to see some spectacular athletes, both male and female.

The future is bright!
  • 2 0
 @iRiderPB: i like your point - the early bird gets the worm, right? i agree. at the same time, that kind of recognition can be a negative influence in a couple of different ways, especially with someone of that age. i am thinking impressionable and vulnerable, mental growth and maturity... it has to be the right time.
  • 1 0
 Is the goal to provide exposure or to recognize achievement and talent? Those absolutely are two different things.

There isn't any reason to needlessly share more than sponsor logos with results and riding content like that. It speaks for itself, and she will benefit much more from working hard, building her brand at her pace, and being authentic than she would sharing a portrait across mtb media.

The flip side is that zero-talent instafluencer-hacks are immediately exposed when half their presence is outside of relevant situations, and as consumers in any niche industry we are duty bound to call that trash out.
  • 3 0
 Let the talent do the talking - I can see the argument but there's so much unfair pressure on females to not just to produce results but also to be 'attractive'. You could argue that putting her face on here could add to that?
It's not like you see her face when she's racing, and she's only 15 - that's pretty young for worldwide exposure...
  • 30 0
 How dare I not know about such a rider from my birthplace region? Shame on me!
.
I wish you Vanesa all the strength and motivation to keep sporting at this level and higher!
  • 7 0
 We forgive you
  • 4 0
 despite of all social media you can still get cought surprised....I hope she gonna smash it and make Slovakia famous for DH
  • 14 0
 Editor on coffee break.
  • 68 0
 hat are you talking about?
  • 3 0
 @paulmurphy1989: hats off to you, sir
  • 5 0
 Hats are my strength. They're like my superpower. Asshats are my weakness.
  • 12 0
 "Be for long time in city and dumb people."

Love it when some athletes just speak their mind Big Grin
  • 10 0
 It's not just me who gets humiliated by young kids, it happens to elite riders too. Now I don't feel so bad about my riding.
  • 7 0
 Well done Pinkbike, she surely deserves a spotlight.
  • 6 0
 F*ck yeah!!! Well done Vanesa!
  • 5 0
 oh yeah well done ! vyborne Smile
  • 1 0
 "Trying to get onto a factory team" yeah I'm not thinking she'll have any trouble with that if she keeps up these kinds of times and stays interested. Good for her, it's cool to see so many wicked fast young people coming up.
  • 3 0
 So cool to see young female's hungry to follow the greats.
  • 2 0
 PB - What annoys you?

Be for long time in city and dumb people.

ha, great answer!
  • 2 0
 well job ! Smile
  • 1 0
 Congrats ! Another shooting star !
  • 1 0
 Victor from Slovak Bikeparks checks in.
  • 2 0
 What a rad rider.
  • 1 0
 Drž plnej!
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