Finals Photo Epic: Val di Sole DH World Cup 2022

Sep 3, 2022 at 18:18
by Nathan Hughes  



The curtain came down on the 2022 World Cup downhill season today in Val di Sole with the overall victors being crowned. As ever we've come to expect a rough and brutal track here in Italy, but this year's incarnation seemed that little more savage with countless crashes and mechanicals; getting your bike and body to the finish in one piece was far from a certainty.

The tightest of the overall battles coming into the weekend was in the junior women, but unfortunately a crash and subsequent injury would take Phoebe Gale out of the running and insure Canada's Gracey Hemstreet would take a maiden title. Hemstreet rounded off her amazing debut season with another commanding win, Izabela Yankova would come second and newly crowned World Champ Jenna Hastings third. The junior men's title was already decided and going the way of Jackson Goldstone but his rival Jordan Williams was fired up, the pair going toe to toe in the junior category for the final time. Unfortunately Goldstone would suffer a final turn slide-out so we never got to see just how close the two would end up, their split times were neck and neck going into the final sector. Jordan Williams was on formidable form this weekend though and his time would stand to be the fastest of the day, albeit a hard comparison to judge the track conditions to the elites. Remy Meier-Smith would sneak onto the final podium spot.

The women's overall was still up for grabs but it would need the stars to align perfectly for either Vali Holl or Myriam Nicole to prise it from Camille Balanche's clutches. As it happened Balanche did just enough to keep hold of her title lead despite her injury and would take home the overall and deservedly so. Nicole would lay down a dominant performance to grab the final win of 2022, Nina Hoffmann second, Vali Holl third, Jess Blewitt fourth and Camille Balanche in fifth.

Towards the end of the women's race and the beginning of the men's the rain began to fall ominously as creeping thoughts of "not again" resounded in the finish area. After a lengthy period of nothing but red lights things began to dry out before really heating up with Bernard Kerr smashing the previous best by a big margin. His time would be good enough for 5th in the end; finally bettered by Aaron Gwin, Dakotah Norton, Andreas Kolb and Loris Vergier who ultimately took the win with one of the best runs of his career. Amaury Pierron would crash out, but had a get-out-of-jail-free card having already mathematically clinched the overall with Iles not starting. That's it that's all folks.

An unremarkable morning here in Trentino, except for the fact this happens to be finals morning of the last DH round for the 2022 World Cup season.

The last World Cup race for one of the nicest guys on the circuit. Thanks Flo and enjoy whatever is next.
The last World Cup race for one of the nicest guys on the circuit. Thanks Flo and enjoy whatever is next.

Incredible riding today from Jordan Williams, taking the final round by storm.
The section was terrifying ridden slowly, let alone on fastest time of the day speed.

Izabela Yankova closes out her junior career with a second place.
Izabela Yankova closes out her junior career with a second place.

A brilliant end to the season for Remy Meier-Smith with a podium to follow his silver at World Champs.
Jenna Hastings slotting the rainbow stripes into the last spot on the junior podium.

Ryan Pinkerton takes his first junior World Cup podium.
Ryan Pinkerton takes his first junior World Cup podium.

Gracey Hemstreet coming in hot taking both the win and the overall for the Junior Women.
Gracey Hemstreet coming in hot taking both the win and the overall for the Junior Women.
Job well done. Hemstreet elated with her ride.
Job well done. Hemstreet elated with her ride.

Jackson Goldstone was way up in the splits Sam Hill style before sliding out on the exact same corner and snapping his bar.
Jackson Goldstone was way up in the splits, Sam Hill style, before sliding out on the exact same corner and snapping his bar.

What a battle between these two all year long.
What a battle between these two all year long.

Jackson Goldstone had the overall in the bag already with Jordan Williams sitting in second and not pictured here is Lachlan Stevens-McNab.
Jackson Goldstone had the overall in the bag already with Jordan Williams sitting in second and not pictured here is Lachlan Stevens-McNab.
Your Junior Women s overall - Gracey Hemstreet Pheobe Gale and Izabela Yankova
Your Junior Women's overall - Gracey Hemstreet, Pheobe Gale, and Izabela Yankova

Gracey Hemstreet Izabela Yankova and Jenna Hastings close out the last Junior Women s podium of the year.
Gracey Hemstreet, Izabela Yankova, and Jenna Hastings close out the last Junior Women's podium of the year.
Jordan Williams took the win over Ryan Pinkerton and Remy Meier-Smith.
Jordan Williams took the win over Ryan Pinkerton and Remy Meier-Smith.

It s been great to watch Jess Blewitt s progress over the last few seasons.
It's been great to watch Jess Blewitt's progress over the last few seasons.

Camille Balanche soaring off the final ski jump towards (spoiler alert) eventual 2022 glory.

Monika Hrastnik was so consistent this year, but would fall just shy of the overall podium in the end.

Veronika Widmann blasting through the dust of the Sam Hill turn for 7th on home soil.

Myriam Nicole negotiates those infamous final turns of Val di Sole.
Myriam Nicole negotiates those infamous final turns of Val di Sole.

Myriam Nicole had a few bobbles at the previous couple rounds but was back on form on this massive track. Her time would hold up to the very end.
Nicole had a few bobbles at the previous couple rounds but was back on form on this massive track. Her time would hold up to the very end.

The women sitting on nails watching Vali Holl come down.
The top women sitting on nails watching Vali Holl come down.
Over the line comes the Champ, some 6 seconds off Nicole's time.

Myriam Nicole takes the win on the day whilst Camille Balanche takes the overall.
Nicole takes the win on the day whilst Camille Balanche takes the overall.
Holl celebrates as if she's won; the relief of riding to third and wrapping her brilliant season.

Relief. Camille Balanche defied the odds coming back from a broken collarbone in Mont Sainte Anne and clung onto that overall and deservedly so.
Relief. Camille Balanche defied the odds coming back from a broken collarbone in Mont Sainte Anne and clung onto that overall and deservedly so.

Last women down Vali Holl went into third.
Last woman down, Vali Holl, went into third.

Victory to round out the deep highs and lows of 2022 for Nicole.

Myraim Nicole closes out the 2022 season with another win in front of Hoffmann Holl Blewitt and Balanche.
Myriam Nicole closes out the season with another win in front of Hoffmann, Holl, Blewitt and Balanche.
The final champagne showers of the season.
The final champagne showers of the season.


The fastest females in the World 2022 edition Balanche Nicole Holl Hoffmann and Farina.
The fastest females in the World 2022 edition: Balanche, Nicole, Holl, Hoffmann and Farina.

Lucas not Cruzing into 13th place. Quite the result for the young Canadian.

Oliver Zwar rounds out an incredible season with 10th.
Oliver Zwar rounds out an incredible season with 10th.

A beautiful 9th place comeback for Remi Thirion, who was out with injury most of the summer.

The fans giving Bruni a taste of Les Gets as he makes his way into the finish area.
The fans giving Bruni a taste of Les Gets as he makes his way into the finish area.
Loic Bruni rips around the final turns.
Loic Bruni rips around the final turns.

Charlie Hatton on a solid time into seventh.
Ever solid, Charlie Hatton, powering into the top ten once again with seventh.

Amaury Pierron wanted nothing more than to take a decisive win to sign-off on 2022, but it was not to be.

Still chasing his first title Benoit Coulanges comes in sixth.
Still chasing his first title, Benoit Coulanges comes in sixth here in Italy.
Coulanges will get there; it's a matter of time.

Bernard Kerr's had one hell of a season; 5th today to make it 5th in the series.

Aaron Gwin hits the iconic VDS ski jump with the splits lighting up green.

Aaron Gwin is edging ever closer to getting back on top of that World Cup podium.
Gwin is edging ever closer to getting back on top of that World Cup podium.

Dak putting down the watts towards the finish.
Dakotah Norton putting down the watts towards the finish.

After a few misfortunes this year Dakotah Norton showed us just what he had in the tank.
After a few misfortunes this year Norton showed us just what he had in the tank.
Dakotah Norton happy with his day s work.
Dak happy with his day's work.

Loris Vergier holding it wide open, one perilous turn to go.

Loris Vergier won this race but it was more than that. His lines and speed were most impressive throughout.
Vergier won this race but it was more than that. His lines and speed were most impressive throughout.
Shut up legs, shut up heart.

Loris Vergier with a storming run into the top spot.
Vergier with a somehow clinically smooth yet storming run into the top spot.

One man left to go and Andreas Kolb starts to dip into the red.

A valiant effort to back up his first time as last man down the mountain. Kolb smashes his way to second.

Hatton consoles his Austrian team-mate. 'First place loser' might hurt at first, but surely the realisation of a career-best, not to mention an insane break-out season will soon sink in.

Last man down Andreas Kolb put together a great run but ti wouldn t match that of Loris Vergier.
Last man down Andreas Kolb put together a great run but it wouldn't match that of Loris Vergier.
Loic Bruni and Reece Wilson were the first to congratulate Loris.
Loic Bruni and Reece Wilson were the first to congratulate Loris.

Behind the scenes with the winning machine.

Rockstar things with Amaury Pierron. 2022 is all his.
Loris Vergier takes it in front of Andreas Kolb Dakotan Norton Aaron Gwin and Beranrd Kerr.
Loris Vergier takes it in front of Andreas Kolb, Dakotan Norton, Aaron Gwin and Bernard Kerr.

Loris Vergier takes his second win of the 2022 season.
Vergier hits the showers after taking his second win of the 2022 season.

Bernard Kerr is becoming a permanent fixture on the World Cup podium.
Bernard Kerr is becoming a permanent fixture on the World Cup podium.
Started from the bottom now we're here; Aaron and Dak sure have bounced back hard from much tougher times for team IFR.

Aaron hands Dak his well-earned dollar for besting him on the podium.

Amaury Pierron is back as the official man to beat heading into 2023.

The only chance of showers that matter. Amaury enjoying the overall title.
The only chance of showers that matter. Amaury enjoying the overall title.

Pierron with the overall bling and Myriam taking the win today. The Commencal pits are about to go off.
Pierron with the overall bling and Myriam taking the win today. The Commencal pits are about to go off.

Ups and downs, but good times abound. 2022 is out. Thanks Redbull. Thanks Warner.



42 Comments

  • 236 0
 Forgive me for circling down the hyperbolic rabbit hole, but I couldn't help but feel emotional as I watched what might be the end of the only sport my family has sat down and religiously followed. RIP DH. RIP to Rob's shouty commentary and his running "he went down like a... [Insert dad joke here]" variations stored up for every on camera crash. RIP to the idea that a privateer shredder can rock up and take on the greats without the barrier of a 20k entry fee. RIP to the ground up, fan oriented race league that's free to view and made accessible to all who genuinely love our sport with a passion. I hold a tiny bit of hope that Discovery won't turn the whole thing in to a "rad" extreme sport show with some douche using the word bro too much and cheesy heavy metal music in the background to 'appeal' to the wider market. Perhaps it will be ok. Perhaps it will be worth a subscription. Perhaps riders will earn a better wage and receive more support. Perhaps. Perhaps. Either way thank you Red Bull. It wasn't perfect, but it's been a blast.
  • 8 0
 Word!
  • 19 0
 I did not watch TV... only DH.
  • 16 0
 Discovery take note. This is what we love about DH.
  • 4 0
 Yeah for Sure curious about 2023
  • 4 0
 Finely crafted, mate.
  • 1 0
 Well said!
  • 1 0
 Discovery, don't xgames our DH.
  • 60 0
 While at the time, Godstone was way ahead in the splits, it feels a little disingenuous to report it like that and not mention that Williams subsequently pretty much matched his times, 0.03 behind at split 3 amd then up at split 4, so the comparison with Hill doesn't quite hold, Hill would have won by a massive margin had he not binned it on that corner but Goldstone had less than a 50% chance of winning, was behind at the final split, even if he hadn't binned it. Like with world chanps though, thrre seems to an unwarranted assumption that Goldstone would have won if he hadn't crashed which is disrespectful to Williams. As a side question, had anyone made cutting that corner work for them?
  • 4 0
 I think of Danny Hart during the Giant (w/Fox Suspension) times.
  • 37 0
 So where can we subscribe to Rob Warners live commentary, while we watch Discovery (with the sound down)? I'll pay for that!

Perhaps even back to the forecaster style quote bombs...
  • 9 0
 Dear (insert own God here)
Please can you get Rob Warner to make a preprogrammed sound bite sample amp. On IOS for a few bucks.
So I can play
“ LOOK AT THE TIME”
Over the top of well anything

Maybe 15 sound bites per screen. At least 2 screens including his greatest hits :

“ LOOK AT THE TIME”

"Uglier than ET with skin cancer"

"he's letting it all hang out like a fat bird in a bikini"

"He's gonna need a lawyer for that case!"

“He's on the rampage like a dog with two dicks!”

"Steve Peat has done more for Downhill Mountain Biking than Osama Bin Laden has done for terrorism"

And anything about Danny Harts B@!!S
(I will Bluetooth it from my phone to my stereo,to play louder over my laptop )
ps I posted this in another thread, but really want it.
  • 6 0
 @gcrider: back in the freecaster days there WAS a warner soundboard app.
  • 28 0
 Dak’s run was so smooth, so quiet, it was art.
Hope to see him more often on the podium.
  • 19 0
 Can we crowdfund Rob's return to commentary next year?
  • 6 0
 He leaves a little teaser at the end. Says something like they may have lost the World Cup, but they will be back next year. And that sometimes Redbull is better when they have to start from scratch.
  • 15 0
 Although not pictured, the Kerr vs. Kerr battle was my favorite, an absolute rollercoaster! Thanks for all the great pictures!
  • 11 0
 I was wondering how the final DH with Redbull / Rob Warner would play out. sure they missed some vital sections of track & key race runs (reece wilson leogang). but overall & for FREE, they did a good job & i'll miss Robs commentary
  • 15 0
 When the trophy for the Worldcup Overall Looks Like a Box of milk...
  • 4 0
 Not the real trophy - that's the temp/tv trophy, Crystal gets broken.
  • 12 0
 Great to see Cami take the overall, love to see the quiet, unassuming underdog come out on top.
  • 11 0
 Thank you, Red Bull, for everything. Your move, Discovery.
  • 3 0
 ...Please, Please, Please dont try and make it like F1 with complete overkill of tech and graphics etc etc... Warner is DH there has to be a way to keep him on the mic.
  • 11 2
 Jenna Hastings didn't just get her foot on the podium.......I think she's got her toe on too......
  • 2 1
 I see what you did there LOL
  • 2 1
 Well played sir!
  • 7 0
 Williams is already a legend If him and Goldstone can hold the pressure of the main show , the French domination might end , they both deserve so much more respect !
  • 4 0
 This is one of the moments I hate change and me aging. Warner has been around since the freecaster days and is so much THE commentary for me, that I never ever wanted to listen to the german sound track. It seemed just wrong. And now noone knows how the future will be and I fear that I might loose one of my favorite past times, watching world cups and feeling the tension in the air that Red Bull, Freecaster and Rob Warner with Claudio transported so well right into my childhood home, my first appartment, into sunday afternoons with my friends and so on. I cant imagine something good right now and hope its just because I am a bit sad and emotional from watching the World Cup. Lets send a prayer and a half to the bike gods!
  • 5 0
 Aron got 3 wins... must be another way of victory. Podium your bikes/team/yourself. To me is bigger achieve than the all boy chainless win.
  • 6 0
 What actual F are they making laurie wear?
Looks like Ronald mcdonald
  • 7 0
 Haha! Laurie wanted a lightning McQueen theme kit and bike for world champs. He is still running it this week also
  • 3 0
 Shout out to @wynmasters ,he didn't get to race ir even be present,major bummer que didn't get WynTV on the final race of the season.
Hope you're feeling well, can't wait for the rest of the EWS.
  • 4 0
 Nice result from Lucas Cruz , cruising into 13th!
  • 5 1
 The Sun sets on 35mm stanchions for downhill World Cup racing
  • 4 0
 So rad seeing Nina Hoffman doing well, she's always genuinely stoked!!
  • 3 0
 Quality of the photos here matching the quality of the riding - that one of Thirion going over the stump especially. Superb.
  • 3 0
 Shawn Palmer would be proud of Amaury 's gold helmet
  • 2 1
 Amazing what Penny Farthings can do these days. Well done all!
  • 1 0
 Flo! Good luck! Such a great guy indeed.
  • 1 0
 Great coverage of great event. Thanks everyone.





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