Practice Photo Epic: Val Di Sole DH World Cup 2023

Jun 30, 2023 at 3:00
by Ed Spratt  



Following a week off riders are back between the tape in Italy as they face a currently bone-dry and dusty Val Di Sole course. With a big threat of wet weather, we could see a disruptive weekend of racing for round three of the 2023 series.

After the track walk and Junior practice session on Wednesday, the second day in Italy saw everyone get a chance on course as the Elite riders got in their practice laps. Ahead of Friday's finals, the Junior racers went against the clock in qualifying with Sacha Earnest and Ryan Pinkerton setting the fastest times.

With no timed training in 2023 we are yet to see just how fast the elites are going this week but from what we have seen the speed is high and we could get some incredible racing this weekend. Before the stopwatches come out check out the action from a dusty day of practice.



Unpredictable skies hang over a currently very dusty Val Di Sole.
Unpredictable skies hang over a currently very dusty Val Di Sole.

Lyle bleeding brakes for the GOAT.
Lyle bleeding brakes for the GOAT.

Hugo Marini is riding well and climbing the junior ranks.
Hugo Marini is riding well and climbing the junior ranks.

Gracey Hemstreet takes a break between runs and the abuse of the deteriorating track.
Gracey Hemstreet takes a break between runs and the abuse of the deteriorating track.

Dak Norton hoping round 3 might be his time to shine this season.
Dak Norton hoping round 3 might be his time to shine this season.

Intense prototypes going together for what is now just a two man band in Gwin and Sherlock s absence.
Intense prototypes going together for what is now just a two-man band in Gwin and Sherlock's absence.

Hrastnik floating into the fade drop.
Hrastnik floating into the fade drop.

Lachlan Blair turning on the style.
Lachlan Blair turning on the style.

Luca Shaw diving into the remodelled top woods.
Luca Shaw diving into the remodelled top woods.

Conditions could be very different tomorrow looking at the forecast.
Conditions could be very different tomorrow looking at the forecast.

Laurie Greenland ploughing through the deep dust up on track.
Laurie Greenland ploughing through the deep dust up on track.

Hoffmann charging towards the first woods section.
Hoffmann charging towards the first woods section.

Steezemaster Kade Edwards doing work.
Steezemaster, Kade Edwards, doing work.

Anything to hold the track together at this point.
Anything to hold the track together at this point.

Finn Iles is cracking on as if this track was paved unfazed by the madness.
Finn Iles is cracking on as if this track was paved, unfazed by the madness.

Jackson Goldstone finding cleaner lines in the blown out corners.
Jackson Goldstone finding cleaner lines in the blown-out corners.

Matt Walker looking to swing a shady start back towards winning form.
Matt Walker looking to swing a shady start back towards winning form.

Greg Williamson always looking glorious in the GB sleeve.
Greg Williamson always looking glorious in the GB sleeve.

Val Di Sole has a reputation for a reason.
Val Di Sole has a reputation for a reason.

Roger Vieira takes the hit and somehow walks away pretty much completely unscathed. Somehow.
Roger Vieira takes the hit and somehow walks away pretty much completely unscathed. Somehow.

Some reassembly required.
Some reassembly required.

Greg Minnaar out for revenge following the back injury here that side-lined him in 2022.
Greg Minnaar out for revenge following the back injury here that side-lined him in 2022.

Kolb took second place here last year and no doubt he ll want more this time around.
Kolb took second place here last year and no doubt he'll want more this time around.

Remi Thirion cool as hell even without the 69 plate.
Remi Thirion cool as hell even without the 69 plate.

Jess Blewitt is riding strongly and due a big result.
Jess Blewitt is riding strongly and due a big result.

Bernard Kerr looked good up on track.
Bernard Kerr looked good up on track.

Troy Brosnan was looking real comfortable in these beyond loose conditions.
Troy Brosnan was looking real comfortable in these beyond loose conditions.

Chris Hauser is looking to better his plate number this weekend already getting up to speed.
Chris Hauser is looking to better his plate number this weekend, already getting up to speed.

Gracey Hemstreet charging the upper berms.
Gracey Hemstreet charging the upper berms.

Into the woods.
Into the woods.

Christian Hauser has more time in the bag judging by his splits.
Christian Hauser has more time in the bag judging by his splits.

The man that rocked Lenzerheide Jordan Williams.
The man that rocked Lenzerheide, Jordan Williams.

Brook smash.
Brook smash.

Even the greats bite the dust now and again.
Even the greats bite the dust now and again.

Iles looking dangerous as ever.
Iles looking dangerous as ever.

Sacha Earnest on sharp form taking the junior qualie win today.
Sacha Earnest on sharp form, taking the junior qualie win today.

Christian Hauser going predictably fast.
Christian Hauser going predictably fast.

Big spills were something of a theme.
Big spills were something of a theme.

Tegan Cruz making light work of some axle deep dust.
Tegan Cruz making light work of some axle-deep dust.

Camille Balanche knows a thing or two about what it takes to keep calm and composed on a chaotic course like Val di Sole.
Camille Balanche knows a thing or two about what it takes to keep calm and composed on a chaotic course like Val di Sole.

Tahnee Seagrave ripping through the top turns.
Tahnee Seagrave ripping through the top turns.

Loris Vergier puzzling which bomb hole would be best to avoid.
Loris Vergier puzzling which bomb hole would be best to avoid.

Fresh from his first World Cup win and not to mention a win at home Andreas Kolb is wasting no time looking for a repeat performance here in Italy.
Fresh from his first World Cup win and, not to mention, a win at home, Andreas Kolb is wasting no time looking for a repeat performance here in Italy.

Vali Holl launching off the fast plunge up top.
Vali Höll launching off the fast plunge up top.

There was plenty to learn out on track with plenty of changes from last year.
There was plenty to learn out on track with plenty of changes from last year.

Marine Cabirou on the gas early on.
Marine Cabirou on the gas early on.

Ryan Pinkerton went fastest in junior qualifying.
Ryan Pinkerton went fastest in junior qualifying.

Cool guys don t look at explosion - Oliver Zwar.
Cool guys don't look at explosion - Oliver Zwar.

Nina Hoffman bridging the gap to the berm.
Nina Hoffman bridging the gap to the berm.

Loris Vergier ponders after practice.
Loris Vergier ponders after practice.

A moody evening here in Val di Sole... What will the weather bring tomorrow
A moody evening here in Val di Sole... What will the weather bring tomorrow?


Author Info:
edspratt avatar

Member since Mar 16, 2017
2,973 articles

92 Comments
  • 148 0
 damn, not a good look for the new GT dh-bike… hope the rider‘s ok!!
  • 47 3
 Cant see many taking up Wyn's offer for a frame on the privateer programme now.
  • 31 0
 That is gonna play on your mind when they get your new frame up and running again, man...
  • 43 0
 Yea, bikes hitting trees and breaking is one thing but landing in a compression and snapping is another! Eeeek. The shits would be right up me if I was a GT rider. Especially guys the size of Masters...
  • 106 3
 I'd be Furious if I was him
  • 4 4
 @Woody25: you beat me to it haha
  • 30 4
 @glasvagas: Scott got away with nobody mentioning the Gambler that snapped in half at Leogang running into a tree (it wasn't even a direct frame-to-tree hit), so here I am.
  • 12 2
 @Woody25: it doesn't look like he had a Good Time...
  • 5 2
 I like how the guy manages to stick it back together. As they say, "if you can't fix it with ducttape, it is broken".
  • 1 2
 @Jblack89: I thought he kept his own frame and declined the GT bike but took on all the mech and support etc

UPdate
Oh yeah, photos defo got GT on it!
  • 15 1
 Pre-production frame
  • 3 3
 @evilized: Nah, this really is post, post production. It missed the "re-use" stage and went straight to end-of life thing. That said, I understand there are companies doing carbon repair and small touch-ups so this might be a nice case to show what they're made of. Hurry hurry, the race is tomorrow!
  • 2 7
flag HardtailHerold (Jun 30, 2023 at 5:12) (Below Threshold)
 It's a good advert for O'Neil if he walks away ok from that! Not that I care what frame anyone choices too run BUT.... There are people who cut up carbon frames for fun. The result is pro frames and production frames are very different. Production tend to be heavier and built to last but they have to pretend they are the same for UCI rules reasons.
  • 5 3
 @BenPea:

Well, that was an older frame 2022 model, who knows how much action that Gambler frame saw, and still a crash, impact, this looks like a landing compression, but of course we do not know what happened before etc.

Still not the best publicity for the new GT DH frame....
  • 3 2
 Good Times Frame Obliterated
  • 17 0
 @Jblack89: *Brage enters chat.
  • 4 3
 @vinay: they actually say - if you can't fix it with duct tape , your not using enough duct tape !
  • 3 0
 Especially since the break is right by the GT logo
  • 2 0
 That’s the best GT snap page since the Hafjell gap
  • 12 0
 Such a bad look for GT. A frame cracking is one thing, but a head tube snapping off is basically inexcusable to me, that could literally kill someone.
  • 2 1
 Good to see he qualified. I wonder if it was on his own bike?
  • 1 0
 @glasvagas: Agreed! I was thinking the exact same thing.
  • 93 1
 -5deg HTA, 2700mm wheelbase
  • 14 0
 ... and still not stable enough.
  • 21 0
 Compliant frame with an industry-leading independent suspension-system and constant reach adjust frameset!
  • 18 0
 And a 0mm BB height
  • 6 1
 At first glance, I thought Stacy Kohut is riding the Val di Sole track...
  • 3 0
 It appears GT took a massive leap towards being the industry leader in the long, low, and slack game.
  • 5 0
 is that a dodge tomahawk?
  • 19 0
 The grimmest donut.
  • 3 0
 You really feel between the wheels on that one!
  • 91 1
 Well, someone had to do it: imgur.com/a/2k6Bt6P
  • 53 0
 Vieira cannot catch a break at the moment. All bikes stolen... given a free bike by GT... tries to kill him. Really feel for the guy!
  • 17 0
 Who killed who? Ask the bike, then we decide.
  • 47 0
 Cannot catch a break? Quite the opposite in fact.
  • 24 0
 The thumbnail made me think there is a Mad Lad riding a new style of recumbent cycle
  • 7 0
 "Mad Lad with 10mm long cranks takes slack and low to its logical conclusion"
  • 5 0
 for real, I thought it was a Bowhead when I scrolled past the thumbnail at first
  • 24 1
 Wow, great work on the photos!
  • 5 0
 Best photos I've seen yet! I've been following race coverage for almost 20 years and these photos are next level! Thank you for the excellent coverage.
  • 1 0
 I meant to upvote you!!
  • 28 6
 Oceangate making carbon bikes with GT now? Really glad he didn't get hurt!
  • 7 18
flag TopherJones93 (Jun 30, 2023 at 7:10) (Below Threshold)
 Too soon...
  • 3 9
flag TopherJones93 (Jun 30, 2023 at 13:39) (Below Threshold)
 Dang, I was not expecting so much hate for this. Wow.
  • 24 7
 I'll stick with aluminium, thanks
  • 12 3
 I'll stick with steel, thanks
  • 17 2
 Yeah sure, it's not like aluminium GT Fury did not do the same thing a couple years ago in 2014 Smile
www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDBDHH9wAAU
  • 2 0
 Above and below water apparently.
  • 2 0
 @Ferisko: Yeah, I'd forgotten about that.
  • 12 0
 Absolutely stunning photos! I still don't quite understand why in the year of our lord 2023 we still get almost postage stamp sized photos on other websites. Doesn't have to be bike specific, I'm talking in general. You can have the best photographers in the world, using the best cameras available, on the most exclusive places on earth, and all we get are crappy, miniature, overcompressed photos, which cannot look good even in theory. What a waste of resources. So thank you Pinkbike for being sane here and having simple web pages with awesome photos. Thats one of the biggest reasons I look forward to your photo epics. Because they are frigging epic!
  • 12 0
 That was breaking photo report
  • 8 0
 Photographer being in the right spot, right time, with a finger on the right button. Either that, or he must have asked the poor rider to try another few times until he got it right (with the lighting, composition and all that).
  • 2 0
 Bet you took that photo to the bank @rossbellphoto top stuff !
  • 7 0
 That GT frame looks bang on for quidditch!
  • 4 0
 Endor speeder bike.
  • 4 0
 after seeing what Brage does on GT I wouldn't be worried about the frame, I'm going to assume this had pre-existing damage. Also, guess i need to start riding mallets....
  • 3 0
 Brage doesn’t ride this frame
  • 2 0
 Yeah, you can really hammer hard on the DH trails riding a mallet.
  • 4 0
 At first glance, I thought Stacy Kohut is riding the Val di Sole track. Then I realized it's Roger Vieira...
  • 4 0
 It would be so cool if a big company allowed Roger to use one of their 'spare' race bikes given the circumstances.
  • 1 0
 While anything can and does break or fail…Damn catastrophic carbon and I would imagine it had been gone over thoroughly before. Just built my first carbon ride since Kestrel was a cover page name… this is why, just a mental limiter. Other than that frame failure.. epic pictures of some great riders and a sick course. Those metal straps though….ummm
  • 4 0
 Lachlan looking sick!!! Hope Roger is ok.
  • 3 0
 The frame snap picture of Roger Vieira looks like a jedi racer who loves his downhill lol
  • 4 0
 That GT shot has got to be #1 in-the-running for worst PR shot of the year
  • 5 1
 Cracking photos
  • 3 0
 Beautiful pictures, no need for letters
  • 3 0
 Some things never change:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDBDHH9wAAU
  • 2 0
 These pictures are all unbelievably good. Every one worth framing. Thank you!
  • 2 0
 Loris pondering so hard he's pondering twice.
  • 3 0
 POD / POY / POCentury
  • 1 0
 Those pictures of "Iles" sure look like pics of Bruni to me. Uh, what's on his fork?
  • 1 0
 Looks like a fork travel sensor for telemetry. There is a data logger mounted on the downtube.
  • 2 0
 Finn's number is 3, Loic's is 11. They are right, but I agree in the first of the photos of Finn in particular it looks like Loic.
Speaking of which, does anyone know why there's no No.1 in elite males this year, when there is in all the other categories?
  • 1 0
 Edit* Number boards explained in the Qualifying Results comments for anyone else who's confused.
  • 1 0
 @commental: Something to with Ayrton Senna?
  • 1 0
 b/w pic of Goldstone captures the moment so well! brilliant photography! amazing pic that!
  • 2 0
 Roger has qualified 34 after breaking his GT
  • 1 0
 I have forgotten how pretty good photos are cool to see. Make photo report great again.
  • 1 0
 These are so awesome with the 'exploding' dirt. The one with the Santa Cruz bike crashing looks like a baroque painting.
  • 1 0
 Jordan Williams is a speed demon on his bike, but someone needs to get him some better looking kit.
  • 1 0
 That carbon be popping...literally! Good for Ahead spacers and linkages...and that's about it lmao..
  • 1 0
 Is there any video of Roger Vieira's crash ?
  • 2 0
 At least GT's got Phil!
  • 1 0
 Black and white photos are absolutely mint!
  • 1 0
 There is nothing duct tape can't fix.
  • 1 0
 The dust makes for good photos thats for sure
  • 1 1
 Damn, looks like he was JRL (Just riding along) to the finish line.
  • 5 4
 lmao carbon
  • 3 4
 Couldn't pay me to ride a GT. So glad he walked away from that one.
  • 1 0
 ...At first I was gonna agree, but then quickly was like... "Yea, I'd totally take the money"!
  • 1 2
 Gone Torn bikes







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