Austrian star Valentina Höll launched the final 2023 Crankworx World Tour stop in Whistler with a phenomenal downhill mountain bike run that saw her claim another easy victory as home hero Jakob Jewett came out on top in the men’s downhill event.

Whistler’s Creekside in British Columbia served as the beautiful backdrop for a thrilling first event on Sunday on a course dotted with challenging jumps, tricky root sections and steep technical areas.

Named “1199” in honour of the late Canadian downhiller Stevie Smith – who earned 1199 points during his historic 2013 World Cup title season – the track provided a tough, wild experience for riders.

Spanning around 2.5 kilometres with a 500-metre descent, reigning UCI downhill world champion Höll was a class above in the women’s event to master the course and defeat Briton Louise Ferguson by just under 20 seconds with Canadian Miranda Miller third two seconds off Ferguson.

Höll, 21, said: “It’s an honour to be a part of this kind of stuff even though I didn’t get to meet Stevie in person. To see the Canadians following in his footsteps and to see what he did for the Canadian kids is amazing! The track definitely shows you how gnarly Stevie Smith was as a rider.”

In the men’s race, Jewett edged out compatriot Mark Wallace by one second to lift the home fans with Kiwi racer Tuhoto-Ariki Bene also just missing out on victory back in third place.

Jewett, 20, said: “I was lucky enough to meet him a handful of times when I was younger. I watched Stevie a lot as a young kid at Mont-Sainte-Anne, I really wanted to do good at this race. For me and my brother to both get first in our categories, I can’t think of a much better day.”

Wallace, 28, added: “I credit me being here, even still, largely to him. When I was 16, wanting to race, he kind of showed me the way. I’ve tried to remember the things that he taught me, because it obviously worked out well for him. He would be so excited to go send it down this track.”

Wed 26th Jul, 2023 @ 12:30 pm

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