Bruni claims third overall World Cup crown with podium in Mont-Sainte-Anne
French racer Loïc Bruni secured the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup downhill title for the third time after scoring a third place finish in the final round of the season in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada, as home rider Jackson Goldstone won the race in dramatic fashion.
After winning the previous round of the series in Loudenvielle, France, Bruni lead the race for the overall title, but his Specialized team-mate Finn Iles, former overall champion Loris Vergier and Goldstone also had a mathematical chance of taking the overall title, setting up a nail-biting final showdown.
Bruni topped qualifying in the dry on Friday, but as rain created very different conditions for the semi-finals and final it was Goldstone who came to the fore. The first year Elite racer seemed totally unfazed by the slick course and won the semis by a big margin of 5.199s over British rider Ethan Craik, while Bruni finished just one hundredth of a second behind Craik in third.
The trio repeated their finishing positions in the final later in the afternoon, with Goldstone taking an emotional win in front of his home fans by another big margin of 4.328s over first-time podium finisher Craik.
Third again for Bruni was enough to seal the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup downhill overall title for the third time after wins in 2019 and 2021, beating Goldstone into second place 1,698 points to 1,616. The French rider is also a five-time winner of the World Championships in the Elite class.
Following his maiden Elite win earlier in the series in Val di Sole, Italy, victory for Goldstone at home meant that he was the only male racer in the 2023 season to win more than one World Cup race.
In the women’s finale, Valentina Höll signed off her most successful season to date with a total domination of her rivals.
The Austrian racer won qualifying in the dry and then delivered a riding clinic amid wet and slick conditions in both the semi-finals and final,.
Last rider down the hill after many of her rivals had struggled with the increasingly slick rock sections, Höll was in another league, winning the main event by a massive 13.066s over Germany’s Nina Hoffmann, while Italian Veronika Widmann finished 14.168s behind Höll in third.
Victory in such emphatic fashion rounded off 21-year-old Höll’s best Elite class racing season to date, which she ends as both Elite World Champion and overall World Cup winner for the second time. She’s also the rider with the most World Cup wins in 2023, male or female, thanks to her four victories across the eight race series.
Nina Hofmann not only finished second in the race in Mont-Sainte-Anne, but also in the overall standings, while France’s Marine Cabirou claimed third for the season despite crashing heavily in her finals run and finishing down in ninth place.
Women’s DH result
1. Valentina Höll AUT 4m 40.133s
2. Nina Hoffmann GER +13.066s
3. Veronika Widmann ITA +14.168s
4. Monika Hrastnik SLO +16.973s
5. Harriett Harnden GBR +20.031s
Men’s DH result
1. Jackson Goldstone CAN 3m 57.836s
2. Ethan Craik GBR +4.328s
3. Loïc Bruni FRA +5.758s
4. Bernard Kerr GBR +6.664s
5. Gaeten Vige FRA +7.301s
Women’s DH standings
1. Valentina Höll AUT 2422 points
2. Nina Hoffmann GER 1913
3. Marine Cabirou FRA 1734
4. Monika Hrastnik SLO 1276
5. Camille Balanche SUI 1020
Men’s DH standings
1. Loïc Bruni FRA 1698 points
2. Jackson Goldstone CAN 1616
3. Loris Vergier FRA 1533
4. Finn Iles CAN 1366
5. Andreas Kolb AUT 1357