Worlds 2022⎜DH: Vali Höll in the big leagues!
36 women, a 4 minute run and the most coveted rainbow jersey in her wardrobe for the upcoming season: that’s what the world championships are all about! The Les Gets track is contested by several title contenders, including Vali Höll, Nina Hoffmann and, of course, Frenchwoman Myriam Nicole, who set the fastest time in Thursday’s qualifying session. Not forgetting Camille Balanche, who recently came back from an injury but is able to play sports where no one expects her to.
Time really starts to tick down when 2020 bronze medalist and three-time European champion Monika Hrastnik of Slovenia takes 5 seconds off the previous best time, Stacey Fischer.
Nina Hoffman, a German driver from the Santa Cruz Syndicate, seems galvanized by the French public. It drives fast, but it’s clean even to the limit. She edged Monika Hrastnik out of first place, and thanks to a perfect mastering of the track, she even beat the time for the qualifying run of the next starter, Myriam Nicol. The tension is rising!
Cheers are heard, no doubt: it’s Myriam Nicole’s turn! The reigning champion starts as a heavy favourite, but with the pressure that comes with that status.
However, the French leave little room for surprise: from the 1st intermediate he is ahead. He looks relaxed and uses the terrain to his advantage. On the other hand, it loses time in the half-way corner, but stays ahead.
The last sector will be decisive: the jump line, which he has struggled to understand in terms of speed since practice, causes him to lose time and now Pompon is unable to put himself in front of the crowd, leaving the German pilot in front. . compete. Disappointment is certain for the French champion who dreams of winning at Les Gets.
It was after this line that we could collect Miriam Nicole’s warm impressions: “I’m not going to hide it, it’s a disappointment. Running the race was not really easy. I was overconfident. I fight week with jumps, flat at home. I worked hard on it, but I was too long in the last exercises. And there was the opposite, I was hooked, which made me lose all momentum. Obviously, being good at home was something close to my heart. But to get there you don’t have to wait for anything, you have to walk freely and I couldn’t do that. I was holding the brake too much, I wasn’t fluid. Well, I stayed on the bike and took the bronze. It didn’t turn out the way I expected, but I want to thank the community for being on top from the start!”
Two-time world junior champion Vali Höll of Austria is used to the rainbow jersey and is aiming to bring home another one for the first time in the Elite. His qualifying race wasn’t great and today he literally flies over the roots and gives himself a 4 second lead in Intermediate 3.
The balance sheet is clear in the finishing racket, almost a second ahead of Nina Hoffman’s time, making it a negligible choice in the title. It’s enough to give the Redbull driver confidence, especially since Camille Balanch, the last driver to start, isn’t exactly up to speed.
Camille Balanche, the leader of the World Cup, starts from the last step. However, the Swiss is fresh off an injury (he underwent surgery just 2 weeks ago) and hopes that he will join the fight for victory are slim. Even if his piloting looks fluid, the stopwatch is more realistic, and the seconds of delay follow each other like split times. Despite everything, he finished in a very good 4th place! He shows that if it wasn’t for his injury, he should have been trusted. And he can now focus on the World Cup final in Val Di Sole.
Here’s his reaction:I really tried to ignore the aches and pains. It wasn’t easy and sometimes I was close to letting go of the steering wheel. The track is hot! We did a lot of work with the doctors, physiologically and mentally, to manage all this. Even if there were times when it was difficult with adrenaline, with holes and roots, it passed. The jumps were good, but I couldn’t drive faster. It’s a powerful thing to be there anyway. I didn’t believe it 2 weeks ago, I decided on Monday whether I will come or not. I chose to come because otherwise I would be very depressed at home, so I wanted to come even if I didn’t ride. When I rode again last week near my house for the first time, I was in pain from the smallest pebble. Then it got better day by day and it was a bit frustrating not to be able to keep my chances at 100%, but to be 4th here at the end was incredible.”
Untouchable this weekend, the Austrian imperial won his first ever Elite world title, and in style! Nina Hoffman adorns herself with money and a disappointed Myriam Nicole climbs to the third step of the box.
Here is the reaction of the new 2022 world champion, Valentina Holl: “I still don’t really understand. I felt like I was riding well from the beginning of the week, but during qualifying I was literally smoked by Myriam Nicole. At that moment I said to myself, my God, what is happening… It was not an easy race. I crashed on the third day of practice because even though it was raining, I wanted to ride and ride and ride to try to improve. At that time I said to myself that it was stupid for me to ride on this wet track in practice. But I didn’t hurt myself and in the end all that hard work paid off. So far, I have not been able to do everything to perform in the first two Elite World Championships. Glad it worked this time! »
On home soil, France’s Mathilde Bernard and Léona Pierrini finished 11th and 12th respectively. Melanie Chappaz is 15th. We also note the 16th place of the Belgian driver Ciel Van der Velden. Lauryne Chappaz, unfortunately, was unable to complete her run.
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