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Video: Up to Speed at the 2024 Bielsko-Biala DH World Cup with Ben Cathro

May 15, 2024
by Ed Spratt  

Pinkbike Primer presented by Five Ten
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Following the incredible spectacle of racing in Fort William, the 2024 series now heads to Bielsko-Biala, Poland. The brand-new venue in Poland will offer a fresh challenge for riders with plenty of unknowns coming into the race weekend. Here is everything you need to know ahead of the second round of the 2024 DH World Cup series.



Race Briefing

With just a short break between rounds, we are already back with more downhill World Cup racing. After the classic venue of Fort William, we are now heading somewhere completely new with a freshly built course in Poland.

Fort William brought some wild racing as the legendary Scottish course saw the dominance of Vali Höll and Loic Bruni continue with standout performances making them the riders to beat in 2024. The opening round also saw some great performances from Troy Brosnan and Nina Hoffmann as they put some real pressure on the 2023 overall winners in the battle for the top step of the podium.

Luckily, the brutal Fort William course did not cause too many injuries this year with most of the top riders walking away unscathed, although we'll see how Greg Minnaar's shoulder holds up the rest of the season. After several big names had to miss large parts of the season last year for injuries, it was good to see a few of them return to form in Scotland. Amaury Pierron, Benoit Coulanges and Camille Balanche were all back up to speed and building back their confidence. It was also great to see Myriam Nicole back racing after dealing with a concussion and thumb ligament injurt and Tahnee Seagrave looked to be back to full-speed and threatening for the win after her own battle with concussion.

We hope that helps get you prepped for this weekend's racing and keep scrolling to gather more details to get you ready for the second of DH racing in Poland.



What Happened at the Last Round?


The legendary Fort William course delivered more racing moments to remember for the opening round of the 2024 series as we saw two new Junior winners alongside Vali Höll’s continued dominance and Loic Bruni finally winning in Scotland on his tenth trip to the famed venue.

Heather Wilson dominated on home soil in the Junior women’s racing before Asa Vermette answered the wild pre-season hype storming the Fort William course to a round one victory despite breaking his hip in March. If round one is anything to go by, we are in for an amazing year of racing as the future of the sport looks bright.

A new team and bike didn’t slow Vali Höll down as she started 2024 in the same fashion she ended the 2023 season with a race win. Nina Hoffmann provided some tough competition as she led the race through the middle of the course, only losing the lead to Höll in the final sector. It was great to see Tahnee Seagrave back at full speed as she went fastest in qualifying and ended the weekend in third.

Loic Bruni battled off some close competitors to secure his first elite World Cup win in Fort William after never quite managing to bring it all together in past years. Troy Brosnan came very close to matching the success of his first World Cup win back in 2014 at Fort William, but he had to settle for second after not finding an answer to Bruni’s show of strength at the season opener. Finn Iles wrapped up the top three elite men making it a great weekend for Specialized and their high-tech prototype bike.


Elite Women:

1st. Vali Höll: 4:41.424
2nd. Nina Hoffmann: 4:41.985 / +0.561
3rd. Tahnee Seagrave: 4:43.255 / +1.831
4th. Camille Balanche: 4:45.381 / +3.957
5th. Gloria Scarsi: 4:48.651 / +7.227
Elite Men:

1st. Loic Bruni: 4:04.264
2nd. Troy Brosnan: 4:06.104 / +1.840
3rd. Finn Iles: 4:06.253 / +1.989
4th. Dakotah Norton: 4:07.353 / +3.089
5th. Luca Shaw: 4:07.943 / +3.679

Junior Women:

1st. Heather Wilson: 4:56.675
2nd. Sacha Earnest: 5:00.272 / +3.597
3rd. Eliana Hulsebosch: 5:00.287 / +3.612
4th. Matilda Melton: 5:07.214 / +10.539
5th. Erice Van Leuven: 5:19.103 / +22.428
Junior Men:

1st. Asa Vermette: 4:10.550
2nd. Luke Wayman: 4:16.637 / +6.087
3rd. Daniel Parfitt: 4:16.768 / +6.218
4th. Max Alran: 4:18.056 / +7.506
5th. Dane Jewett: 4:18.624 / +8.074



Who's Leading the 2024 Overall Standings?

Vali Holl showed everyone why she is the defending champ taking the win in a nail bighter of a final run

With one round wrapped up so far in 2024, the overall standings present a similar picture to 2023 as both of last year’s overall winners lead the series. Nina Hoffmann remains tied for second with Tahnee Seagrave as they sit on 310 points. Troy Brosnan holds second for the elite men as he is sandwiched by Specialized teammates Loic Bruni and Finn Iles. After their race wins, Heather Wilson and Asa Vermette lead the Juniors.

Elite Women:

1st. Vali Höll: 370
2nd. Nina Hoffmann: 310
3rd. Tahnee Seagrave: 310
4th. Camille Balanche: 245
5th. Gloria Scarsi: 150




Elite Men:

1st. Loic Bruni: 370
2nd. Troy Brosnan: 335
3rd. Finn Iles: 300
4th. Luca Shaw: 235
5th. Dakotah Norton: 212




Junior Women:

1st. Heather Wilson: 60
2nd. Sacha Earnest: 50
3rd. Eliana Hulsebosch: 45
4th. Matilda Melton: 40
5th. Erice Van Leuven: 35
Junior Men:

1st. Asa Vermette: 60
2nd. Luke Wayman: 50
3rd. Daniel Parfitt: 45
4th. Max Alran: 40
5th. Dane Jewett: 35



What's the Track Like?


We haven't seen a full look at the new course for round two yet, but we do have the video above showing parts of the upper sections of the track.



When and What Racing is Happening this Weekend?

9th for Andreas Kolb

For the first time this season, we have two World Cups in one weekend as the EDR and DH events come together. Here is a look at what you can expect from the downhill racing this weekend.

All times CEST

Friday, May 17
• 08:30-10:30 // Training - Group B
• 10:30-12:30 // Training - Group A
• 12:30-14:30 // Training - Group B (Timed Session)
• 14:30-16:30 // Training - Group A (Timed Session)

Saturday, May 18
• 08:30-10:00 // Training - Group B
• 10:00-11:30 // Training - Group A
• 12:00 // Qualifying - Women
• 12:30 // Qualifying - Men
• 14:00 // Qualifying - Junior Women
• 14:15 // Qualifying - Junior Men
• 15:00 // Semi-Final - Women
• 15:30 // Semi-Final - Men

Sunday, May 19
• 09:00-10:00 // Training - Qualified Juniors
• 10:00-11:00 // Training - Qualified Elites
• 11:30 // Finals - Junior Women
• 12:00 // Finals - Junior Men
• 13:15 // Finals - Women
• 14:00 // Finals - Men

Note: All times are local and subject to change by the UCI/event organizer.



What's the Weather Expected to be?

For the second round of the 2024 season, the weather is looking good although some rain on Saturday and Sunday could shake things up considerably.

Thursday, May 16

Mostly cloudy and remaining warm // 22°C // 1% probability of precipitation // wind 9km/h

Friday, May 17

Sun and areas of high clouds in the morning followed by considerable cloudiness // 21°C // 14% probability of precipitation // wind 13km/h

Saturday, May 18

A thick cloud cover with occasional rain and drizzle, mainly early on // 21°C // 73% probability of precipitation // 15% probability of thunderstorms // wind 9km/h

Sunday, May 19

Some sunshine // 22°C // 25% probability of precipitation // wind 9km/h


Weather forecast as of Monday, May 13 from Accuweather.



Pinkbike Downhill Fantasy League

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After some close results for the first round, it's time to start prepping your teams for round two before the cut-off at the start of qualifying on Saturday.

As part of the new dynamic riding pricing for 2024, we have updated the rider pricing for round two and added a couple of new riders to the roster who had good weekends in Fort William. If you haven't already, you can create your team ready for round two here.



How to Follow the Racing?

If you're in Poland, you can buy tickets to watch the racing live here.

Otherwise, tune in to Pinkbike to catch all the second round coverage throughout the week with results, photo epics, bike checks, race analysis and more. Read our How to Watch guide to see how to watch the races live in your country.






Pinkbike Fantasy Downhill League in Association with Five Ten

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NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Purchase will not increase your chances of winning. The Contest begins on 18 March 2024 at 09:00:01 a.m. PDT and ends on October 6, 2024 at 11:59 PM PDT. Anyone can participate in the Pinkbike Fantasy Downhill League Game but the The Pinkbike Fantasy Downhill League Contest whereby participants can win prizes (“Contest”) is open only to legal residents of Australia, Canada (except the Province of Québec), Germany, United Kingdom, and 50 United States and DC who are 18 years of age or older and the age of majority in theirjurisdiction of residence. The Contest begins on 18 March 2024 at 09:00:01 a.m. PDT and ends on 6 October 2024 at 11:59:59 PM PDT. *5,000 USD cash portion of the grand prize will be awarded in a form of a check if the winner is from US or Canada; and will be awarded as a bank wire transfer if the winner is from Australia, Germany or UK.

Winners outside of the United States will receive the cash prize in their local currency as of the date of prize award according the current foreign exchange rate. If the Grand Prize winner is from Australia, Canada, Germany or the UK, s/he will have to provide their bank wire transfer information at a duly licensed financial institution in order to receive the Grand Prize. See Official Rules for full details on eligibility requirements, how to play, and prize description. Void in Province of Quebec and where prohibited. Sponsor: Outside Interactive.


Author Info:
edspratt avatar

Member since Mar 16, 2017
3,166 articles

37 Comments
  • 36 0
 I wonder how the locals there who are new to mtb feel or think upon seeing the word „sram“ splashed on the kit and gears of so many riders…
  • 13 0
 it's still somewhat funny to my 10-year old but otherwise we got used to it.
  • 22 0
 @kopaczus: I'm 36 and I still find it funny
  • 29 0
 *googles polish to english translation*

teeheehee
  • 4 0
 @xy9ine: just did the same. Huh huh.
  • 13 1
 When it comes to their brakes I'd totally agree.
  • 13 0
 It's the best advertising for Shimano in Poland!
  • 13 0
 Sram translates to shit. You're welcome.
  • 16 0
 Glad to hear Neko and crew are back in business!!!
  • 11 0
 I appreciate you Ben Cathro.
  • 5 0
 If the new track gets all muddy and chewed up, it might take that ~2:30 track length and turn it into a 3:30 track! Could make for a wild weekend.
  • 1 0
 Track is going to change a lot from first practice to final race run, regardless of weather.
  • 2 0
 Track is now very very dry so a bit of rain will make is better.
  • 1 0
 Course is made with lots of 2x4s.
  • 6 0
 Are they going to air the semis this week or do we still just not know?
  • 5 0
 Doubt it, found the Les Gets schedule and it explicitly highlights what will be a live broadcast and only Finals were highlighted. Utterly frustrating that they still haven't said anything about it.
  • 4 0
 Weren’t there some grumblings of the semis being shit canned all together?
  • 4 0
 I'd settle for being able to hear the commentary
  • 6 0
 @markdavid: nothing like missing top 10 riders in the final and having no idea why
  • 1 0
 The only person that has a semi is Chris Ball
  • 1 0
 @browner: I have a semi to see more World Cup racing.
  • 3 0
 On the UCI MTB series website they also again only talk about how "the finals will be available live". So it seems there are indeed no plans to air the semis this season.

And for Struggleteam, I agree with many that the whole semis thing could be scrapped. But as long as it exists and is an important part of the final results, it would be great to be able to watch it. Especially now when it was moved to the day before - previously the 6-7 hours of racing in one day was a tad too much to stay focused and interested even as a viewer. But that same amount spread over two different days would actually be really cool to watch.
  • 5 0
 All right, you big bloody beautiful bastards. Who 's coming to Szczyrk/Bielsko? Are we meeting for a beer or what? Big Grin
  • 2 0
 Man i regret spending my holidays in italy after your invite
  • 5 0
 Asa for the winnnnnn!!!!!
  • 1 0
 Can anyone tell me more about this 'otherwise' - where would one otherwise look?
  • 6 0
 Tiz cycling i do believe . Often a link in Pb comment section while race is live i do believe .
  • 2 0
 surely those frameworks frames will be hard to sell. Let's hope so
  • 1 0
 ...Don't Kill me - but Has anybody figured out how to watch the race from New Zealand?
  • 3 0
 Yep, www.staylive.io

$9.90 NZD a month
  • 1 0
 Anybody want to share details of the "illegal" way to watch the races? Asking for a friend....
  • 1 0
 There was also a link to another stream in the results news here on PB
  • 1 0
 Great video Ben! Lots of info and insights; cheers
  • 1 0
 You get em telt son
  • 1 0
 My guy







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