Les Gets, France was home to the 2022 UCI World Cup Downhill World Championship and the atmosphere was undeniably the best we've seen in a long time, proving downhill MTB racing is alive and well. A race like no other, for the world's fastest it was all or nothing in the final. With the rainbow jersey and gold medal on the line, Vali Höll and Jenna Hastings rose to the occasion and delivered flawless runs to take the Elite Women's World Championship and Junior Women's World Title.
Unlike the UCI World Cup races throughout the season, qualifying didn't dictate the race order, which left room to wonder which riders pushed hard in qualifying and which riders were reserved and saved their speed for the final. Instead, riders would start based off of their official world ranking. Despite the head games, the big Frenchman representing the Dorval AM Commencal Team, Benoît Coulanges clocked the fastest time in elite men's qualifying.
Going off world ranking, Monika Hrastnik was set to go sixth to last into the final followed by Vali Höll third to last down the hill and finally Camille Balanche right behind her. Monika, beat her qualifying time to go into the hot seat and would eventually finish 5th in the final. Next up was Vali who was headed into the race with great momentum after a World Cup round seven win in Mount-Sainte-Anne. Vali put down one of her best runs of the year and at the perfect time. Clearly one of the fastest in the world, Vali looked cool, calm and composted precisely hitting all the right lines. Her run paid off and would ultimately earn her the 2022 UCI Women's Elite Downhill World Championship. Only 19 days after having surgery on her collar bone, Camille Balanche was back and racing in the world champs final. Riding through the pain and, "still far from being fast and 100%" Camille was still able to put down the 4th fastest run.
Following suit to Vali Höll in elite women's, the junior standout from New Zealand - Jenna Hastings put it together with a flawless run in Les Gets, France to take the rainbow jersey and be crowned the 2022 UCI Women's Junior Downhill World Championship. This give TLD women both world titles for the first time in TLD history.
The men's race was a wild one and per usual the French crowed was impressive. Despite holding the fastest qualifying time and and encouragement from his home crowd, it was not Benoît Coulanges' day and a couple slight bobbles would land him 10th in the final. Australia's Troy Brosnan put down a solid run that would give him the spotlight and hot seat for some time. His time would hold up for 4th in the final.
Elite Women's Results:
Elite Men's Results:
Junior Women's Results: