Last updated on October 1st, 2023 at 12:16 PM
Austrian rider Vali Höll secured third place at the penultimate UCI Mountain Bike World Cup downhill event in Snowshoe to win the overall title for the second time in just three years.
Having dominated the series all year, Höll arrived in West Virginia knowing that a positive result would see her once again wrap up the title she won at the same venue two years ago. The Austrian then laid down a marker in the semi-finals as she claimed victory despite a crash in the final section.
Once the elite finals got underway, it was Gloria Scarsi who set the early pace, bringing her enduro talents to the downhill stage as she set a time that was only 2.1 back from Höll’s winning semi-final run.
Nina Hoffman then showed her class she produced an electric run to go into the lead by a massive 6.269 seconds.
Britain’s Tahnee Seagrave threatened the lead but couldn’t quite match the speed of Hoffman as she moved into second place with just two more riders at the top of the course.
Fresh off the back of her victory earlier this month in Les Gets, Marine Cabirou was once again in scintillating form as she grabbed the lead by just 0.344 seconds.
Höll, who won gold in the downhill event at the recent UCI World Championships, was the last rider out of the gate but was unable to secure her fourth win of the season as she finished behind Cabirou and Hoffman. However, that was enough to see her once again win the overall title.
Höll, 21, said: “It’s pretty amazing to wrap up the title one race before the season is even over. To be a world champion and win the overall World Cup is really just incredible.”
In the men’s event, there was a major shock as Ireland’s Oisin O’Callaghan secured the first elite win of his career to make it seven different winners from seven downhill World Cup races this season.
During an exciting afternoon of racing, home favourite Dakotah Norton took the lead with just four riders remaining after producing an excellent, largely error-free run.
Ronan Dunne then grabbed the lead by 0.867 seconds and after Loris Vergier failed to match the speed of the young Irishman, it was down to O’Callaghan and French ace Loïc Bruni.
O’Callaghan took the top time by 0.496 seconds to make it an Irish one-two before Bruni suffered a heavy crash in the forest, slamming to the ground and ultimately limping home in 26th place.
Women’s downhill result
1. Marine Cabirou FRA 3:41.042
2. Nina Hoffmann GER +0.344
3. Vali Höll AUT +0.660
4. Tahnee Seagrave GBR +2.856
5. Gloria Scarsi ITA +6.613
Men’s downhill result
1. Oisin O’Callaghan IRE 3:07.624
2. Ronan Dunne IRE +0.496
3. Dakotah Norton USA +1.363
4. Loris Vergier FRA +1.761
5. Bernard Kerr GBR +1.798
2023 UCI MTB World Cup women’s DH standings
1. Valentina Höll AUT 2172 points
2. Nina Hoffman GER 1703
3. Camille Balanche FRA 1674
4. Marine Cabirou FRA 1126
5. Monika Hrastnik SLO 1020
2023 UCI MTB World Cup men’s DH standings
1. Loïc Bruni FRA 1518 points
2. Loris Vergier FRA 1458
3. Jackson Goldstone CAN 1366
4. Finn Iles FRA 1320
5. Andreas Kolb AUT 1262