After a delay of several weeks due to Covid-19, the 2021 UCI World Cup Downhill season kicked off, and Maxxis’ athletes were finally able to get between the tape this past weekend in Leogang, Austria.
Heavy rain throughout practice and qualifying made the track slow and sloppy, particularly in the decisive lower woods section. Maxxis riders Troy Brosnan (Canyon Collective) and Vali Höll (Rockshox Trek Race Team) qualified first in their respective categories on Friday on a very muddy track.
The sun came out Saturday morning for finals, which meant racers were dealing with entirely different conditions from those in which they had practiced in all week. The track was still muddy but drying out as the Elite Women’s race got underway early in the day. As the fastest qualifier, Höll (who was making her debut in the Elite ranks) was the last woman down the track. Riding smoothly and in control, Höll was ahead at each split down the track. Rounding the final left-hand turn into the finish straight, she had a small crash that put the win out of reach.
Even with the crash, Höll finished a remarkable second place, just 1.412 seconds behind the winner, Camille Balanche. Fellow Maxxis rider Marine Cabirou (SCOTT Downhill Factory) joined Vali on the podium, taking fourth place.
With the sun continuing to shine and the track drying out further, Brosnan made a last-minute decision to switch from mud tires to dry tires. The Maxxis Shorty tires he rode in qualifying were swapped out for a pair of Minion DHRs, and the gamble paid off for Troy as he took the win by a mere 1.235 seconds.
Rounding out the weekend, Jackson Goldstone (Miranda Factory Team), at his first UCI World Cup, took second in Junior Men, while Sophie Gutohrle (Bike Republik Gravity Team) and Izabela Yankova (Riders United) were first and third in Junior Women.
The 2021 World Cup season continues in Les Gets, France, July 3-4.