Qualifying Photo Epic: Slips and Slides - Val di Sole World Cup DH 2019

Aug 2, 2019 at 12:24
by Ross Bell  





Photo Epic presented by Five Ten


Wet weather wreaked havoc today in an almost carbon copy to last year's qualifying here in Val di Sole. Overnight thunderstorms and lingering rain this morning had left the track treacherous in places but bone dry in others, meaning it was a tentative start for the riders as they explored the grip levels under patchy blue skies and sun. Later in the afternoon rumbles of thunder began moving through the valley once again, just as the elite women finished their qualifying runs the forecasted rain arrived. The sky was only spitting at first, then the deluge came.

The juniors had some slightly more pleasant conditions for their qualifying runs. In junior women, it was Vali Höll who reigned supreme again in front of Mille Johnset and Anna Newkirk. Looking at the splits, it seems like Höll lost some time towards the bottom section of the track. When compared to Johnset, she still held on to take the win by 2.5 seconds but her margin was as big as 6.5 seconds at second split. Whilst in the junior men it wasn't Daprela atop the list, he'd crash up top whilst half a second into the green, opening the door for Candian duo Elliot Jamieson and Seth Sherlock to lock out the top spots with Zak Gomilscek slotting into third.

The elite women's qualifying session was slightly less hectic than the men's which would follow. The top two in the overall matched their position to their number board with Tracey Hannah clawing out a one and a half-second advantage over Marine Cabirou in 2nd. Cabirou will have to come from behind tomorrow but that is most definitely within reach as she searches for that first WC win. It was a good showing from the Italians on home soil with Veronika Widmann in 3rd and Eleonora Farina in 4th, albeit a sizable margin between them. Camille Balanche bested Emilie Siegenthaler for the 5th spot whilst Nina Hoffmann slotted into 7th after a crash in her run. Expect her to move up a few positions tomorrow.

Hectic and somewhat confusing would be a good way to describe the men's session. Whilst it did rain for the early riders, their conditions were certainly more favourable as the track quickly deteriorated with the worsening downpour. There were red flags, reruns, crashes aplenty, lightning strikes, and to top it off a broken-down gondola. There are a few big names that are making the most of their protected status - Connor Fearon, Luca Shaw, Eddie Masters, Mark Wallace, and Dean Lucas all got caught up in the carnage but will take to the start tomorrow. All the chaos caused by the weather made for a wild top 10. It was the UK's Joe Breeden on top followed by Davide Palazzari, Faustin Figaret, and Forrest Riesco whilst Brook Macdonald and Amaury Pierron put down great runs in the wet to go 5th and 6th. Completing the top 10 were Jack Reading, Francisco Pardal, Johannes Von Klebelsberg, and Laurie Greenland. The usual suspects were a little deeper in the pack than normal but you can expect them to surge forward tomorrow with the weather forecast more settled for race day.

Thunderstorms overnight made for a dark and wet moron as racers began to arrive to the track
Thunderstorms overnight made for a dark and wet morning as racers began to arrive to the track

One last bolt check for Grant Sides before sending Charlie Harrison out for morning practice.
One last bolt check from Grant Sides before sending Charlie Harrison out for morning practice.

Dean Lucas like many others spent his morning preparing his goggles after heavy rain overnight.
Dean Lucas, like many others, spent his morning preparing his goggles after heavy rain overnight.

Mechanics were busy cutting spikes this morning.
Mechanics were busy cutting spikes this morning.

The loam in Val di Sole s woods in the real deal
The loam in Val di Sole's woods in the real deal.

19th for Jure Zabjek
19th for Jure Zabjek

Danny Hart was fast up top despite the rain but he d eventually finish back in 14th.
Danny Hart was fast up top despite the rain but he'd eventually finish back in 14th.

You can expect Loris Vergier to surge forward from 27th tomorrow.
You can expect Loris Vergier to surge forward from 27th tomorrow.

Faustin Figaret was right at the sharp end of things today coming in 3rd.
Faustin Figaret was right at the sharp end of things today coming in 3rd.

Brendan Fairclough getting acquainted with the grip levels this morning.
Brendan Fairclough getting acquainted with the grip levels this morning.

Luca Shawn monster trucking up and over one of the many big boulders in Val di Sole
Luca Shaw monster trucking up and over one of the many big boulders in Val di Sole.

Always aggressive on technical terrain it was no surprise to see Remi Thirion hold his own when the rains cam in qualifying
Always aggressive on technical terrain, it was no surprise to see Remi Thirion hold his own when the rains came in qualifying.

Hugo Frixtalon would have a big crash on his qualifying re-run but would still sneak inside the top 30
Hugo Frixtalon would have a big crash on his qualifying re-run but would still sneak inside the top 30

The rain didn t deter the bulldog too much today. 5th place for Brook Macdonald despite some of the worst conditions.
The rain didn't deter the bulldog too much today. 5th place for Brook Macdonald despite some of the worst conditions.

Jack Reading has been plugging away at the World Cups longer than most. 7th today must be a pleasant reward for the British racer.
Jack Reading has been plugging away at the World Cups longer than most. 7th today must be a pleasant reward for the British racer.

Nina Hoffmann was on podium pace at the first splits but then a couple of mistakes knocked her back to 7th.
Nina Hoffmann was on podium pace at the first splits but then a couple of mistakes knocked her back to 7th.

Forrest Riesco would take advantage of running on a dry track to take 4th
Forrest Riesco would take advantage of running on a dry track to take 4th.

Before the rains came things were pure gold on track in Val di Sole
Before the rains came things were pure gold on track in Val di Sole.

Seth Sherlock ripping out a few jugulars on his way to second place this afternoon.
Seth Sherlock ripping out a few jugulars on his way to second place this afternoon.

 rd for Anna Newkirk in junior women
3rd for Anna Newkirk in junior women.

Vali Holl out front by a comfortable margin in junior women
Vali Holl out front by a comfortable margin in junior women.

Elliot Jamieson came out on top in the junior men s qualifier
Elliot Jamieson came out on top in the junior men's qualifier.

Mille Johnset kept it rubber side down on the gnarly course for 2nd place in junior women.
Mille Johnset kept it rubber side down on the gnarly course for 2nd place in junior women.

It s costly when you miss a line by an inch of two in Val di Sole
It's costly when you miss a line by an inch or two in Val di Sole.

A surprise 2nd in qualifying for Davide Palazzari who was one of the first five riders on track and just ahead of the storms.
A surprise 2nd in qualifying for Davide Palazzari who was one of the first five riders on track, just ahead of the storms.

The first lap of the day was a tentative one for most but MacDonald was out looking to shave a few damp inside lines a little wider.
The first lap of the day was a tentative one for most, but MacDonald was out looking to shave a few damp inside lines a little wider.

A good day for Atheton protege Charlie Hatton riding to 12th in those trusty UK condition.s
A good day for Atherton protege Charlie Hatton, riding to 12th in those trusty UK conditions.

Sometimes even the top dogs need to borrow a few line ideas. Vergier and Minnaar were also straight up after qualies today for a rainy trackwalk qhile most opted to hit the showers.
Sometimes even the top dogs need to borrow a few line ideas. Vergier and Minnaar were straight back up after qualies today for a rainy track walk while most opted to hit the showers.

Tracy Hannah lost a couple of splits to Cabirou but came away 1.4 seconds the victor. Tomorrow it s on.
Tracey Hannah lost a couple of splits to Cabirou but came away 1.4 seconds the victor. Tomorrow it's on.

Marine Cabirou will be hoping to go one place higher tomorrow.
Marine Cabirou will be hoping to go one place higher tomorrow.

Adam Brayton has been bouncing off rocks and compressions like a mad man this week. He lives for that stuff.
Adam Brayton has been bouncing off rocks and compressions like a mad man this week. He lives for that stuff.

Laurie Greenland always goes well here and qualified tenth despite the rain.
Laurie Greenland always goes well here and qualified tenth despite the rain.

The champ on the charge with a last practice lap before things turned sour.
The champ on the charge with a last practice lap before things turned sour.

A mechanical for Vali Holl today kept her away from the ferocity of qualie run she is capable of but another first place none the less.
A mechanical for Vali Holl today kept her away from the ferocity of qualie run she is capable of, but another first place none the less.

Eleonora Farina took a knock to her confidence this morning on the soaking course but bounced back to 4th place and will hope to lock down her podium spot tomorrow.
Eleonora Farina took a knock to her confidence this morning on the soaking course, but bounced back to 4th place and will hope to lock down her podium spot tomorrow.

Veronika Widmann is looking good on home soil this weekend she put down a time fast enough for third fastest today.
Veronika Widmann is looking good on home soil this weekend. She put down a time fast enough for third fastest today.

What a day for Joe Breeden who took the top spot in a topsy turvy qualifying session.
What a day for Joe Breeden who took the top spot in a topsy turvy qualifying session.

Thibaut Daprela
Thibaut Daprela after a moment in the dust whilst green at the top split.

The thunderstorms arrived just in time for the men s qualifying runs
The thunderstorms arrived just in time for the men's qualifying runs.

Things turned slick fast.
Things turned slick, fast.

Monika Hrastnik returns with a 9th place qualifier on the track where she qualified fastest last year.
Monika Hrastnik returns with a 9th place qualifier on the track where she qualified fastest last year.

Sandra Rubesam rounded out the top 10 pipped to 9th by a tenth of a second.
Sandra Rubesam rounded out the top 10, missing 9th by a tenth of a second.

Many of the big names came unstuck in the pouring rain as the huge anaconda-like roots of the black snake course became trecherous.
Many of the big names came unglued in the pouring rain as the huge anaconda-like roots of the black snake course became treacherous.

Jacob Dickson cutting inside and drifty through the mud on the final corner
Jacob Dickson cutting inside and drifty through the mud on the final corner.

Some of the heaviest rain fell while Amaury Pierron was on the hill and even that could only hold him back as far as 5th place.
Some of the heaviest rain fell while Amaury Pierron was on the hill but even that could only hold him back as far as 5th place.

Loris Vergier drifts it along the outside shortly after a downpour made a mess of the track in Val di Sole
Loris Vergier drifts it along the outside shortly after a downpour made a mess of the track in Val di Sole.

Alex Marin was one of the only riders to still send this gap through the rock garden in the wet.
Alex Marin was one of the only riders to still send this gap through the rock garden in the wet.

Amaury Pierron clawed some points back in the fight for the overall.
Amaury Pierron clawed some points back in the fight for the overall.

The mud brought out some big holes and even Super Bruni was not immune to their treachery
The mud brought out some big holes and even Super Bruni was not immune to their treachery.

Finn Iles with that look you give after being scared more than a few times on your slippery race run in Val di Sole
Finn Iles with that look you give after being scared more than a few times on his slippery run in Val di Sole.

Not the kind of conditions you want to see while trying to race down the roughest and gnarliest track on the World Cup circuit
Not the kind of conditions you want to see while trying to race down the roughest and gnarliest track on the World Cup circuit.

Amaury Pierron very relieved to have made it down in one piece in the mud.
Amaury Pierron, very relieved to have made it down in one piece in the mud.

The mechanics had it all to do this evening as bikes showed up in the pits significantly heavier than when thay left.
The mechanics had it all to do this evening as bikes showed up in the pits significantly heavier than when they left.

Damp isn t quite the word.
Damp isn't quite the word.

Last bike wash at this race Let s hope so. The forecast is looking clear for the big day.
Last bike wash at this race? Let's hope so. The forecast is looking clear for the big day.


MENTIONS: @natedh9 @andy9 @rossbellphoto @davetrumpore




14 Comments

  • 21 1
 Props to the photographers for hanging out in the rain to nab at least some rainy shots. I woulda bailed at the first thunderclap
  • 9 0
 That photo of a tire roosting up loam in a sunbeam is godly. Props.
  • 7 1
 The photo epics on Pinkbike are always great but this lot of pics are the best yet; so many pics of the year contenders. Amazing work from everyone involved.
  • 6 0
 We say that every time, and with good reason! They keep getting better!!!
  • 3 0
 We have simply the best photogs in our culture and sport. Truly lucky, we are...
  • 2 0
 So nice you could say it twice!!
  • 3 0
 They are so good. I would put any and every one of these photos on the wall of my workshop. If I had a workshop.
  • 2 0
 The Denim Destroyer was 9th and it will be touch and go to see his race tomorrow. He’s 25th from the end I believe. What a bunch of shite.
  • 2 0
 Would like to see a video edit with the Doors, riders of the storm backing track....????
These photos are sweet.
  • 3 0
 Luca Shawn hahaha
  • 1 0
 Amazingly well done Joe! Had a bit of luck, but that is racing eh? Good luck, go for the win!
  • 2 0
 the Jure Zabjek photo is pure poetry
  • 1 0
 Jure Zabjek pic is friggen amazing.
  • 1 0
 Sick kodaks! Quick edit, 11th photo down is Luca Shaw not Shawn.

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