Pinkbike Predictions - Val Di Sole DH World Championships 2021

Aug 27, 2021
by James Smurthwaite  
Everyone is chasing rainbows this weekend

It has been just 10 months since the last World Championships in Leogang but it's already time for Camille Balanche and Reece Wilson to return their Rainbow Stripes to the UCI so the riders can battle for them once again.

Val di Sole is never an easy race to predict and that was proven in 2019's race when all four categories had a first-time winner. Still, we're giving it our best shot. Here's who we're backing for glory on Sunday:


1. Loic Bruni

Loic Bruni on the gas right from the start

There's something about the World Championships that makes Loic Bruni raise his game more than any other race. Much like Nico Vouilloz before him, Bruni places a special significance on the Rainbow Stripes and he's won them at four of the last six attempts.

Loic hasn't had the best season in 2021 as he started the year by fracturing his heel and has been working back to fitness since then but he's been on a steady track of improvement and picked up his first podium of the year in Maribor. Regardless of his preparation, Bruni is a Stripes specialist who you simply can't bet against when the race rolls around each year.

2. Greg Minnaar

Greg Minnar looking to take home his first World Champs medal since 2015

The reigning World Champion Reece Wilson was just 7 years old when Greg Minnaar collected his first Elite World Championships in Lugano in 2003. The GOAT has been winning this event for nearly 20 years so he knows better than anyone how to bring it all together for a do-or-dirt run at the biggest race of the year.

Following a bout of COVID in the off-season that disrupted his training, Minnaar has been steadily working towards form this year. He picked up a 12th in Leogang then moved into the top 10 in Les Gets before cracking the podium in Maribor. If he carries on that trajectory Minnaar could well be adding an 11th World Champs medal to his list this weekend.

3. Loris Vergier

Loris Vergier fresh of a win in Maribor looks fast and confident

Loris Vergier is the in-form rider of 2021 and he finally got to show that in Maribor. At every local race he's been to, Vergier has been dominant but he's suffered his fair share of bad luck at World Cups this year. Despite this, he's still 4th in the overall standings and carries more momentum than anyone into Val di Sole. Vergier has podiumed twice here in the past and will be looking to increase that tally or go even better on the weekend.


1. Eleonora Farina

Second place for Eleonora Farina. She s been looking strong this season thus far.

The World Championships can always throw up a surprise result as wins from Miranda Miller, Camille Balanche and Morgane Charre in the past decade have shown. Riding on home soil and on a hot streak of form, the stage is set for Eleonora Farina to break through in a big way.

Farina is coming into the race following her best ever result in Maribor where she finished second. She was also the fastest woman on that track from the rock garden to the finish - a section of track that isn't too dissimilar from the burl of Val di Sole. Farina's bike may be blue and red but we think she'll be adding the black, yellow and green of the UCI Rainbow to that before the end of the weekend.

2. Myriam Nicole

Myriam Nicole looks fast and confident here in Italy

It's hard to believe that Myriam Nicole has only ever won one World Championship in her illustrious racing career. Make no mistake, she has been incredibly successful at the event and hasn't been out of the medals since 2016 but has only converted that to a Championship once.

Myriam is in a winning mood in 2021 though and despite two race run crashes in three races, she still sits joint-top of the overall standings this year in the World Cup series. On raw pace alone, there's nobody that can hang with Nicole this year but it will now be a question of whether she can channel that into a race run with no mistakes. If she does, she could be untouchable on Sunday.

3. Tahnee Seagrave

Tahnee Seagrave sending the big natural stepdown on her second run of the day

Tahnee has talked openly about struggling mentally at points this year but following her win in Les Gets she seems to be back on winning pace. Seagrave said she had her head back in the right place in Maribor but a slam in Friday practice left her bruised and battered for finals. If body and brain are both firing in Val di Sole, Tahnee will be a formidable challenger on a track where she claimed back-to-back victories in 2017 and 2018.


  • 23 0
 Sticking with Holl/Vergier. Pulling for Minnaar. That's just how it is. Ha! On the women's side, don't sleep on Marine. She's had a touch season but she's looking real fast.
  • 20 0
 When Minnaar went green in Maribor I was going nuts. Would be so stoked to see gramps bring it home one more time.
  • 1 1
 Farina impressed massively in the steeper rocky stuff in Maribor. And I'd love to see Minnaar win another time and stay in the game for another couple of years. But otherwise I'd expect the Commencal bikes to sweep both podiums. Because they seem good in the rough and there just are so many of them. And of course, I don't know anything about racing. I'mm just a fan and vote for those who I want to cheer on. Commencal just deserves a big hug for supporting so many racers out there. Specialized, after having read the interview with the sponsorship-man, not so much. Doesn't mean Bruni can't win.
  • 2 0
 @vinay: what interview did you read? Would be interested to read that if I've missed it
  • 1 0
 @adrennan: Just one more time?
  • 1 1
 @everythingscomingupmilhouse: Sorry, did I mention an interview somewhere? I didn't mean to suggest that GM is planning to retire from racing or that I would have extracted that information from an interview. Merely that his run at Maribor was amazing and I'd love to see him conttinue racing for another good while.
  • 13 0
 Have to imagine Greenland is a threat here. Forgot which of the videos it was but you could tell he was fired up for this track.
  • 2 0
 I agree. My tip is Green Land for the win. The Mondy goes well here. He goes well here too.
  • 6 0
 The vital video, they interviewed a lot of people, but Greenland had a sparkle in his eyes….
  • 1 0
 To me it will be a french or Greenland
  • 3 0
 @pasteque51: You mean France or Greenland
  • 9 2
 I have beefed ip the cardio lately, but really pulling for another Hart Attack!
  • 7 0
 WHAT? No mention of Thibaut Dapréla? He's the Dark Horse smokin EVERYONE this season!
  • 8 1
 every 5 years, gotta be Danny!
  • 2 0
 PB is sleeping on Laurie Greenland.

VDS 2018- Qualified 10th, placed 2nd (by about half a second)
VDS 2019- Qualified 10th, placed 1st (by almost three seconds)
VDS 2020- no race was held
VDS 2021- Qualified 2nd (by less than a second)

If this is anyone's track, I'd argue it's Greenland's
  • 3 1
 I would definitely bet on Vergier, seems the most unstoppable of 2021 so far.
  • 2 0
 Loris Vergier and Vali Holl are my predictions. Greenland is also looking strong and you can never rule out the GOAT.
  • 3 1
 This would have been helpful prior to fantasy teams locking
  • 2 0
 Meh. Usually when I change my team up on what they're saying it does more harm than good. And beyond that... lots of sandbagging so it's tough to say who was really pushing on qualification and who wasn't.
  • 1 0
 If it rains...
  • 12 0
 Then, Sam Hill?
  • 1 0
 Is rain predicted for race day?
  • 1 0
 If it rains then the EWS cross overs likely move up the list. And anyone that's going early.
  • 1 0
 @onemanarmy: Green Land for the win!
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
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