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In the realm of sports, it’s when the odds are against you that the most captivating narratives unfold, it is when cards get shuffled that the greatest stories are penned. That was the case on a June day on the Val di Sole’s Black Snake, honoring two champions whose recent journeys were marred by falls, injuries, and setbacks — two champions who rediscovered their mojo on a track that had already crowned them years ago.

This is the tale of the 2024 Val di Sole Downhill event of the WHOOP UCI Mountain Bike World Series, culminating in the finals on Saturday, June 15. And the starring duo of this narrative is made by none other than Amaury Pierron and Tahnee Seagrave.

Pierron carved out a flawless line through rocks and roots, setting himself apart from his rivals, and reclaiming the top podium spot almost two years after Snowshoe 2022. Last year, a neck vertebra fracture in Lenzerheide halted his season, giving way to months of arduous recovery to return to form after such a serious injury. Today he can proudly call this a mission accomplished.

Seagrave, 29 years old today and Junior World Champion at Val di Sole 2016, in recent years faced challenges far more daunting than Black Snake’s roots and slopes, and today succeeded despite clouds, mist, and mud. Her tortuous journey began in 2019 with a severe shoulder injury from a fall at Fort William, followed by a broken ankle at the start of 2020, setting her on another lengthy road to recovery.

The toughest comeback was still to come, as the Brit had to fight back from a concussion after another severe crash. On her 29th birthday, this is the best gift she could have asked for: “Today, I rediscovered the true Tahnee.”

The emotions of these two winners, who had already celebrated together in Daolasa in 2018, resonated with the fervor and passion of a large and ever-vocal crowd along the course and at the finish line, despite the almost autumnal weather.

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In a magical weekend, Friday’s semi-final proved prophetic: Amaury Pierron showcased his exceptional connection with Val di Sole by dominating the Black Snake right from the start, a feat that only champions can dare to achieve. For the French champion, this second victory comes six years after his initial triumph in 2018. His encore was the result of a flawless run, clocking in at 3:39.004, the only athlete to break the 3 minutes and 40 seconds barrier. Riding for Commencal/Muc-Off, Pierron outpaced USA’s Dakotah Norton (Mondraker Factory), who trailed by approximately 5 seconds. Norton himself has shown his third place on the Black Snake in 2022 was no fluke, but his first World Cup win proved elusive once again.

“Winning in Val di Sole, at the pinnacle of the UCI Mountain Bike World Series, is sheer madness. When I looked down from the start gate, I knew I had to go full gas, all or nothing. I gave it all and everything flowed naturally”, said Pierron.

Canadian Finn Iles (Specialized Gravity) secured third place, 5.880 seconds behind, followed by Aussie Troy Brosnan (Canyon) and France’s Loic Bruni (Specialized Gravity), whose display earned him the top of the overall ranks, but still fell short of what’s needed to finally tame the Black Snake.

Women’s DH result
1. Tahnee Seagrave GBR 4:31.471
2. Marine Cabirou FRA +0.320
3. Monika Hrastnik SLO +0.941
4. Myriam Nicole FRA +3.956
5. Vali Höll AUT +6.721

Men’s DH result
1. Amaury Pierron FRA 3:39.004
2. Dakotah Norton USA +4.893
3. Finn Iles CAN +5.880
4. Troy Brosnan AUS +6.631
5. Loïc Bruni FRA +8.236

2024 UCI MTB World Cup women’s DH standings
1. Valentina Höll AUT 1175 points
2. Tahnée Seagrave GBR 946
3. Marine Cabirou FRA 947
4. Nina Hoffmann GER 680
5. Anna Newkirk USA 640

2024 UCI MTB World Cup men’s DH standings
1. Loïc Bruni FRA 1223 points
2. Finn Illes CAN 947
3. Tory Brosnan AUS 873
4. Amaury Pierron FRA 841
5. Luca Shaw USA 827

Mon 17th Jun, 2024 @ 3:30 pm

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