Video: End of an Era - Val di Sole Story of the Race with Ben Cathro

Sep 5, 2022
by Pinkbike Originals  

138 Comments

  • 214 1
 First want to thank Ben for his great stories on Pinkbike and for highlighting this epic moment on the downhill history.. Rob will be sadly missed.. His commentary on downhill races are amazing!! Will be really hard to match Long live Rob!! Wish you all the best on your career.. but please come back to downhill races ASAP
  • 6 33
flag brooce (Sep 5, 2022 at 14:24) (Below Threshold)
 What happened, is he coming back to freecaster to get his commentary balls back? :o
  • 1 0
 cheers to that!!
  • 44 0
 His XC commentary (along with Bart) is also fantastic.
  • 6 0
 could not agree more, amazing to see how far he's come as a presenter.

But good to remember the old Rob, not my video but some absolute belters in here!!!!!! some new ones on me, Going down harder than Amy winehouse!!
www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ItQzuOUX2w
  • 14 1
 Rob should start a twitch channel and then we can all mute the live broadcast and tune in to his commentary, would be like the freecast days
  • 2 0
 @odey1kinobe: "hanging it out like a fat bird in a bikini."

He will surely be missed next year.
  • 142 1
 If anyone wants to get really emotional about the end of the Red Bull era, go to;
www.redbull.com/us-en/live/uci-mountain-bike-world-cup-2022-val-di-sole-xco-men @2h.30
If it doesn't make you well up you must be a proper hard bastard.
A massive heartfelt thanks to Rob and everyone at RB.
  • 26 0
 Feels like a different world now....I started watching mtb the last two years of Freecaster..till now. What a run!
  • 22 0
 I've definitely got a little bit of dust in my eye. Let's hope RB does something big next year.
  • 7 1
 oh my, whos cutting onions around here…i am so gonna miss this team!
  • 2 0
 Wow! Definitely gonna miss them . . . But it sounds like something good could be in the pipeline!
  • 11 0
 @Bertrude: Maybe we should start speculating what it could be...

Maybe it's another DH/XC race series backed by RB that breaks away from the UCI?
  • 2 1
 @fartymarty: I've said this elsewhere, everyone assumes they'd have to break away from the UCI, when Freecaster looked at setting up DH1 they liaised with the UCI calendar and the UCI never stated that riders would be punished in any way for competing in that series.
Ultimately it seems to me that the UCI are more interested in money than any form of mountain biking, so why wouldn't they sanction it, if it meant more going into their coffers. Unless Discovery have some sort of clause that would stop them, but it's fair to assume RB didn't when they took over, as DH1 would've been a non starter from the get go if that was the case.
  • 1 0
 @commental: I was thinking more of RB breaking free of the UCI and rules and being more autonomous. There is some benefit in staying with UCI (drug testing etc) but is it worth the cost... I'm just throwing something out there - that could be interesting if it happened (but probably wont).
  • 10 0
 @fartymarty: The problem there is it was plain to see a couple of weeks ago how much World Champs mean to the riders. No UCI points means no World Champs. it'd be a hard decision to break away, but potentially one they may have to make if Discovery f*ck things up as royally as I fear they might.
  • 10 0
 Thanks for posting that. Right there at the end when all 5 announcers were on screen, the tears started flowing for some I am sure. Rob Warner threw on the shades for that very reason.
  • 4 0
 @commental:
They could run a series, which isn't a competitor to the DH World Cup; for example a Hardline series, with the UCI's backing - enabling riders to do both if they wished.
  • 6 1
 @commental: yeah I mean look at road cycling - there are the big one day races (which used to be the "world cup") alongside the grand tours and other races, some of which are organized by completely separate organizations. ASO (who organizes the Tour, La Vuelta, & Paris-Roubaix) has been famously at odds with the UCI in the past, and they're able to do this because their races are more prestigious than anything the UCI has to offer.
  • 4 1
 @commental: Woah thanks alot for sharing that. Wouldnt have seen it, since XC isnt my cup of tea. Legendary TV productions. Hope they put all the old DHWC shows on youtube or something cause I have a feeling rewatching old events will be uncomparably better entertainment than what UCI and Discovery will create haha
  • 12 1
 @commental: One can only hope that that is what Rob meant when mentioning “starting from scratch”.

It would never be the same without Rob and crew for sure - but: change is ok and people will eventually move on.

So I guess if done well, most of us would be ok with it overtime.

But … when reading the interview with Emilie about the union, there seems to be some serious issues around many aspects for the series as a whole, thus many reasons for giving this a fresh start.

For me the biggest reason for starting a new, independent series though, would be to keep the number and levels of participants as it is - capping the roster to the “Top 30 riders” would cut off the soul of what the series is and above all would take away the “breeding ground” aspects for young riders or privateers racing out of their van.

Here’s hoping for a great new chapter in mountain biking!
  • 17 0
 @commental:

And since we’re at it … In case of a new Red Bull World Series (and if anyone from RB is reading this): please make it a true *world* series : )

Adding South America, Africa, Australia, New Zealand and of course Asia.

Above all: Taiwan.

Let’s please have a race in the country whose people produce around 80% of the equipment in use for race weekends and, well, bicycles in general…
  • 3 0
 @commental: Plenty of space early in next years calendar for something...
  • 2 0
 @fartymarty: that would/could be good! Even if it’s just another series run along side the existing world cups. Particularly if riders were able to do both
  • 2 0
 @whiteboarder: Fingers crossed. It was certainly interesting listening to Rob's comment.
  • 3 0
 @fartymarty: that will be too expensive and not give the roi RB will want. Be under no illusion RB is a very hard commercially focused company that only gets involved if there is money to be made. The rest is marketing image
  • 1 0
 @Starch-Anton: they could but you only have to look how few riders are invited and how many trans don’t turn up. Once you take out the RB and atherton sponsored riders there aren’t that many left. Most of the top 10 from the World Cup aren’t interested in doing it
  • 1 1
 @whiteboarder: The big hurdle would be getting the super of all the manufacturers. If they won’t fund their riders to be there then they won’t go. Don’t forget that most of the tens also take part in other disciplines that are very wedded to the uci. What would the sponsors get from a separate series
  • 4 0
 @chrismac70: Guess it comes down to “eyeballs” for the sponsors - and not saying RB should be the main master of ceremonies here - bottom line it feels there’s time for a shake up.

Rainbow stripes is a different story though…
  • 1 0
 Nice link @commental. I missed that. And yes I welled up there. What an absolute legend Rob is. Hopefully see him at hardline in a few weeks. Onwards and upwards.
  • 2 0
 @steviedsolve: You will most definitely see Rob Warner at Hardline, which is this weekend!
  • 1 0
 @fartymarty: The current XC World Cups are fantastic and draw the best in the world, so I would hate to see the field split. Hoping the new broadcasters just hire as many of the same people as possible.
  • 2 0
 @nattyd: for XC, the UCI has Olympic qualification as their trump card. As long as they control that, the top riders will always focus on UCI sanctioned events.
  • 1 0
 Eliot Jackson (in his Wyn TV interview) said he would be at all the races next year...
  • 1 0
 @fartymarty: wonder if they'll do some kind of Drive to Survive kind of behind the scenes thing with Red Bull athletes? Wildly speculating here obviously. They seem to be hinting at some kind of involvement in DH but I have no idea what that looks like without broadcast rights. Eliot also made some comment about RBMH still working out the rights on the Downtime podcast.
  • 2 0
 @whiteboarder: this is a very interesting point which led me into a good discussion with my Taiwanese (though non-mtb) boyfriend about the lack of Asian/basically anyone not European/American/Australian riders in the WC. If you’ve been to South America you know there is a depth of some pretty solid talent there but due to lack of access to big time racing there are far fewer who make it to WC. Wondering if this is similar in Asian countries. Would also like to see this change in the future.
  • 1 0
 @fartymarty: That would be a dream come true
  • 1 0
 Oh man... Rob cracked a little talking to Bart at 2:35:'(
  • 99 2
 Suggestion:

Rob - start a patreon & commentate alongside the live footage

We can all chip in then mute the discovery stream
  • 52 0
 Long live Rob! All hail the egg!
  • 46 0
 We got Rob'ed. Thanks for making mountainbiking even more exciting than it already is!
  • 33 0
 Ben's just salty about the track because his crash was the opening clip on Vital raw. ;-)
  • 6 0
 If that doesn't make the Friday fails, we'll know he's trying to hide it
  • 1 1
 Not necessarily true. Neko Mullaly had the same sentiments in the post race show on Downtime Podcast.
  • 5 0
 @handynzl: Did you not see the winking smiley face? What else should I do to indicate it's a joke?
  • 23 0
 Kudos Ben to anchoring all of that while running a WC team and riding too, I've no idea how you keep it all straight in your head! And kudos to the whole team for all the WC content too, you really made it feel like being there.
  • 19 1
 Humourless corporate media will bankrupt itself. People want to listen to someone with some personality. Who might say something that will surprise you every once in awhile. Thanks for years and years of fun and passion Rob! You given back a ton to the sport.
  • 21 0
 Can we all just take a moment and spare a thought for the poor sod that has to step into Warner’s shoes with Discovery!
  • 8 0
 That's the problem. We have.
  • 20 0
 Thanks Rob! Your commentary over the years was amazing, both DH and XC!
  • 17 0
 Redbull with Rob has been the perfect match, easy access to watch and free with robs charisma throughout and replaced with Ric of all people lol
  • 4 0
 If it is Rick and he wheels out his catchphrase "and this is.....", ill punch my TV.
  • 15 1
 Red Bull have very much found their feet these past few years, but don't forget when everyone was criticising Red Bull over the sanitisations of tracks for "easier viewing", and the terrible camera placements for years barely showing any of the track and nothing interesting, and a huge amount of technical issues.

it's very much rose tinted glasses with Red Bull, yes the coverage is good now, the tracks and racing are better than ever IMO, but it hasn't always been like this. But on the other hand so far we've heard nothing from ESO/Discovery, and silence is never a good thing
  • 15 0
 Although I did note Red Bull's flippy, spinny camera operator made it through to the end...
  • 12 0
 the number one complaint was always that you don't see enough of the track, a fact Red Bull could do nothing against considering the starting interval. Now ESO apparently found the "solution" in cutting the field in half and now everyone is surprised how they got that idea...
  • 4 0
 @jzPV: They've committed to the same level of coverage. I've not seen anywhere that coverage will be improved. 30 riders just means more time for adverts.
  • 4 0
 Yeah I remember whinging myself. But then I watch Long Live Chainsaw and realised how freaking good some of the Red Bull footage from back then was. And Sam Hills full run in Won't Back Down is so sick too, that was Free Caster but still, that was in 08 and its just amazing.
  • 7 0
 If you want any signs of how the discovery takeover will go, go check out what the climbing world think of how it went for them.

Spoiler; discovery f*cked it and no one watches the IFSC any more. They sacked the beloved commentators and no one cares who wins because it's behind an expensive paywall now.
  • 1 3
 I’m looking geared to proper interviews with riders who don’t wear a RB helmet.
  • 18 3
 And so ends downhill racing as we know it.
  • 9 0
 Love the effort Ben puts into running a team while racing, but why no mention of the Pinkbike racing team's accomplishments or results? Aimi Kenyon finishes the season 5th overall and that's not worth mentioning to the PB audience? I know the elites are the focus, but this is Pinkbike, right? 20 seconds to acknowledge and wrap up their season would have been nice to hear also.
  • 10 0
 I would be very suprised if we don't get a full episode devoted just to that.
  • 14 3
 Blame UCI here, they only care about money.
  • 13 17
flag enduroNZ (Sep 5, 2022 at 4:39) (Below Threshold)
 Because you’d work for free right?!
  • 2 0
 @enduroNZ:

Trail building. Gravity riding would be nothing without the unpaid bud!
  • 1 0
 @zoobab2 omg man, do you have a job? I bet you do it for money too. The UCI is a business and all the racers and teams are there to earn.
  • 8 0
 Where would the commentary be without Rob Warner-isms?
They’ll stay with me for a lifetime. Thanks Rob…
..I can’t but feel the succeeding presenters will “hit the deck like an old lady on a cruise ship”…
  • 9 0
 Whoever gets the job will be as popular as a ginger haired step-child
  • 2 0
 I just hope it's not some banal non-stop talking twat...
  • 6 0
 can we turn this comment into a thread of old school Rob Warner commentary that is still available on the internet? this one is gold
www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEplTHryAck&t=841s
  • 2 0
 @davidbaird0: thanks for that compilation link!
  • 1 0
 That it so good, classic race. Brendog was on it but couldn't hold it. Back then, those two and Bryceland were meant to be the future riders to beat. But sans that one race, Bryceland was the only one who really made it happen.

Anyway, theres a ton of Warner in this one. vimeo.com/96626976
  • 6 2
 Can someone please explain to me? I have read so many comments and can't put it together. Now all the Red Bull broadcast era is over and Discovery will take over with a whole new team and broadcasting method, or it will stay at Red Bull and only Rob is going for retirement? Thanks!
  • 11 0
 Rob will stay with Red Bull and commentate on their broadcasts. But the UCI races will be broadcast by discovery with a different team
  • 10 0
 Rob Warner works for Redbull so he will be commentating/presenting on their shows.

UCI have appointed Discovery to broadcast and organise DH/XC from next season so they will have their own presenters for the live shows. But we don't yet know if we can watch for free or pay to view.
  • 29 33
flag b45her (Sep 5, 2022 at 2:56) (Below Threshold)
 @leopaul: cant wait to see what clueless diversity hire they get to do the commentary.
  • 11 0
 @b45her: Anyone who's had the misfortune to listen to Carlton Kirby commentating on their road coverage is very scared.
  • 2 0
 @slow-af-rider: almost certain that both DHI and XCO will be broadcast as part of the GCN package as the last week's World Champs were so, therefore, subscription-based (Discovery + GCN/Eurosport). EWS is free on Youtube as the Enduro format doesn't lend itself to live broadcasts very well.
  • 3 0
 @commental: The main commentator for both DHI and XCO will be Rick Mcloughlin who also presents the EWS coverage. Co Commentator is likely to be Oli Beckensale (ex XC British Champ) for XC but not sure for DHI
  • 2 0
 @steelarm: noooooo! No offence to Rick Mcloughlin but he just seems a bit too serious. Oh well, lets wait and see i guess!
  • 1 0
 @steelarm:
That hasn't been announced - and just because he did it last week doesn't mean he'll get the job full time. I'm not sure he's really a commentator - he's better as an anchor man, or someone in the pits like he used to do on RBTV.
  • 1 0
 @steelarm: is GCN part of Eurosport? It's safe to assume that Discovery is in the action because of Eurosport but Eurosport is not part of north American knowledge. Is it Discovery or Discovery via Eurosport doing the races?
  • 3 6
 @b45her: what is a 'diversity hire'?
  • 2 5
 @slow-af-rider: Have a listen to the Downtime Podcast with Martin Whiteley. In one of the episodes (it's a two-parter) he explains that Eurosport will have the Coverage. They also will show the Juniors and it will be free (anyone that has a sky package gets Eurosport for free) but if you want to watch the coverage ad free then there will be an option to pay a subscription charge.
  • 13 0
 @Istillneedstabilisers: In other words, free if you're already paying.
  • 12 3
 @justanotherusername: Someone hired to do a job for reasons other than their skill, knowledge or ability to do said job. Typically done to project a certain image rather than to attain results. Most typically it ends with piss poor performance.
  • 2 0
 @Sscottt: GCN/GMBN part of WB group under the Play Sports Network. Eurosport is part of their sport division but I do not believe part of Play Sports Network. I assume that WB keeps the groups seperate as it makes it easier to block negotiate rights access in different regions - for example, if a sport has gone to NBC in the USA, it allows Eurosport to negotiate rights to the same sports in Europe. Where worldwide rights are obtained, generally it is announced at a WB level (as has happened with mountain biking).
The question then will be whether the broadcasts are more tailored for home markets both in who commentates and style of broadcast (lot less advertising in the Europeon broadcast market). Eurosport has always had adverts but tried to minimise those during live action - longer events such as cycle road racing and endurance motorsport have always had interupting adverts, usual timed where it is hoped that minimal action will occur but the likes of skiing have pre-agreed advertising slots where the race is paused or they will wait until the end of the round ( generally what happens in the Olympics.
Reading complaints on other forums about US coverage of similar sports including the olympics, it would suggest that the style is very different - the advert is king
  • 4 7
 @justanotherusername: An epithet mediocre folks in the good-ol’-boys’ network use to describe situations where their mediocrity isn’t rewarded as much as someone else’s hard work.
  • 2 2
 @pmhobson: I was being facetious - you have a different definition to what I had in mind though.

Your definition would give us an awful presenter I agree, but I think the original poster had different ideas in mind when he used the term 'diversity', maybe I am wrong of course but by the number of downvotes he has had I don't think so.
  • 1 0
 @justanotherusername: I’m with you and I think we’re operating under the same “diversity” definition as well. My saltiness muddied my comment’s meaning, to be sure.
  • 1 1
 @steelarm: based on the comments in the broadcast I got the impression that Tracey Hannah is part of the new team which is good news
  • 1 0
 @commental: there are adverts in the RB broadcast
  • 1 0
 @Starch-Anton: He has the gig I think - based on his signing off at the end of the world cup XC commentary (RM to OB - "let's do this again sometime") in that way you know they will be BACK!
Besides who else is ESO/GCN/Discovery going to use ?- they have a history in Road cycling in using people to call races who you would not normally consider commentators!

If we don't get Rick then we may end up with Marty McDonald their awful Cyclo Cross Commentator -that would be a disaster for those receiving English commentary.
  • 1 0
 @Sscottt: GCN (Play Sports Network) and Eurosport are both subsidiaries of WB/Discovery so they use each other's resources here in Europe and elsewhere for broadcasting purposes. In this case, it will be ESO (who already cover EWS) organizing the races as well as the recording/broadcasting infrastructure and in Europe, the races will be Broadcast on Eurosport and on the subscription-based GCN and Discovery Plus. Elsewhere (incl North America) Warner Discovery will I assume make it available through a host broadcaster and through other sources such a subscription service - you might be able get hold of GCN/GMBN ???
  • 1 0
 @steelarm: elsewhere like flobikes for $30/month. I’m pessimistic, but the new UCI deal will all but kill bringing mtb racing to a greater in North America, it will also kill the current North American viewership. Personally I think UCI is way too Eurocentric and this deal all but seals it
  • 7 0
 Its crazy to think that Rob pretty much ended up having as much of an influence on the sport as Peaty.
  • 16 4
 more, i couldnt care less about peat but warner = dhmtb
  • 7 4
 @skintightleather: me too. Never understood the adulation for peaty
  • 3 1
 Peaty might have recognition in DH but across other disciplines, I would think Rob has the higher profile. Who has the greater influence on the direction of the sport is a different matter - Peaty is a team manager and therefore probably has more influence on the running of the sport
  • 3 1
 @chrismac70: Peatys influence was in the days when they were racing, 90s and early 2000s. Rob probably wouldn't been in the posistion to have had the influence he had if it wasn't for his best mate Peaty. The sport was already huge before Rob started comentaiting, Peaty was a big part of getting it to that point. The irony of me telling you this, when I heard it out of Robs mouth.

Doesn't really matter if you guys care less or not, fact is Peatys fingerprints are all over DH.
  • 1 0
 @skintightleather: @chrismac70: Both total wankers..
  • 3 0
 I just really enjoyed the coverage, the commentary, most of all the people, racers, and the fans. Huge credit goes to Rob Warner, Ben Cathro, and all the Core people for an incredible ride. Next season is change, and change is scary but I'll wait and see. I like biking and racing, credit to all the athletes winners or ready to be winners and the struggle that goes with that. Congrats Redbull on a good run.
  • 5 0
 Ben Cathro didn't work for Red Bull and had nothing to do with the Red Bull TV coverage.
  • 6 0
 Discovery sucks, but at least it's not CNN! Thanks Rob and Red Bull for all you did and still will do for the sport.
  • 5 0
 Not gonna be the same without Warner and Red Bull. Disco channel has big shoes to fill.
  • 3 1
 You know you are a legend when the people (ie announcers) that are going to follow you have no chance of succeeding. Thanks Rob for making DH and XC racing one of the most exciting, if not the most exciting sports going today. I kinda feel sorry for whomever will be announcing next years races. Those are some serious cajones to fill!
  • 4 0
 I'm old enough to remember when DH was just an old lady called Rob hitting the deck of a cruise ship filmed by a camera that spins 270' and zooms in on the riders leg
  • 4 0
 Through good and bad, RedBull has given MTB the greatest coverage in the history of the sport...for free. It will be missed.
  • 5 0
 Thanks Rob. I am intrigued about next year. ALL HAIL THE EGG!!!
  • 5 0
 Thank you Rob, RedBull, Ben and everyone else behind Pinkbike Racing.
  • 6 0
 No mum, I'm not crying
  • 2 0
 As a fan I like having that rough track in the mix and it's good that it's the last race of the season, but I can see the need for some new sections from the riders prospective.
  • 2 1
 Does anybody know how the Discovery deal did happen in the first place? Did they just offer more money than Red Bull could justify? Or maybe they did not want a broadcaster who is also heavily involved in sponsoring riders? Or because Discovery covers already a lot of UCI's disciplines?
  • 4 0
 Yes. The contract was put out to tender and RB didn’t win the competitive process. They were out bid
  • 1 0
 I for one, do NOT want to see the track made easier....in fact, I would like for this track to be the benchmark for what WCDH tracks should be! I don't want to watch a DOWNHILL RACE go down what amounts to a BMX track on steroids, or some unholy union of DH and slopestyle. I also don't care if the racing is tighter than a gnats fanny, with the top 10 riders seperated by .001, just for drama. I want the drama to be, "holy shit, you can ride a bike through THAT??".

Val De Sole, Hardline, Trespasser, etc.....these should be WCDH tracks, not bullshit like Leogang!
  • 3 0
 Thanks Redbull, Thanks Rob & the team... you'll all go down in the DH history books!
  • 3 1
 Did Loris say his run was all down to jam? I'm getting back on the marmalade.
  • 4 0
 Yeah man, you know, the jam he raced in Les Gets?
F knows, mate.
  • 3 0
 Truck was Chutny but Loris turned it to jam.
  • 3 0
 I took it that he turned on his music mix from Les Gets. You know his world champs jam...
  • 3 0
 Legend
  • 2 0
 Thank you Ben, really enjoy watching your videos
  • 2 0
 Who else wants to see Nino in the Whip-Off Next year?
  • 2 1
 I don’t even want to see the whip off. It’s boring to watch
  • 1 0
 Such bummer that red bull has lost this. Let’s hope discovery picks up the ball
  • 2 5
 i'm old enough to remember only being able to watch DH racing on eurosport in the 90s - this was when dh was at it peak - from memory no other broadcaster would touch it at the time. So you could argue the sport would not be where it is now without eurosport (I suspect it was a very different company back then - can't be bothered to check). So I think we need to give it a chance. There is also no reason they could not bring Rob with them - lets hope so.
  • 2 0
 He's under contract to Red Bull and has stated he won't be moving over to Discovery, so there's a couple of reasons.
  • 1 0
 Apart from it's already been announced Rob won't be going to the new broadcast.
  • 1 0
 can't imagine dh without the voice of mtb
  • 1 0
 Can´t talk about the gap though without showing it. arrgh!
  • 1 0
 3 dichs





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