Inside a wet, wild day, including Kade Edwards' best-ever result
The Trek Factory Racing Downhill team’s trip to Les Gets featured lows and highs: From a harrowing crash in sloppy conditions to a career best finish for Kade Edwards.
Reece Wilson’s final run (understatement incoming) did not go as planned. The later runs in the men’s DH final were impacted by heavy rain, which made the track slippery and resulted in crashes and slow going for Friday’s top qualifiers. Still, Wilson, who took fourth in qualifying, was moving fast during his final run, and was feeling confident enough to push his bike to the limit off a jump coming out of the woods late on the course.
The result: Wilson lost control while airborne and hit the ground hard. Fortunately, he appeared to be OK afterwards. He was able to finish the run, though likely feeling a bit bruised.
“I genuinely believed I could win,” Wilson said. “I thought I I had the lines, I had the confidence to win. And that’s an opportunity that doesn’t come very often.”
Wilson simply made a miscalculation before the jump.
“I just no-braked out of those woods. I haven’t done that all week,” Wilson said. “I didn’t expect to make it that far in my run, so that was pretty spectacular. So I thought, ‘Why not just no-brake it?’ And it bit me.”
Wilson was upbeat after the race despite his losing battle with mother nature. And his crash couldn’t mar a big day for his teammate. Edwards took ninth for his first ever top 10 finish in an elite World Cup race, 3.635 seconds behind Thibaut Daprela’s winning time. The 21-year-old Edwards had already proven he is one of downhill racing’s most entertaining riders. On Sunday, he showed he is one of the fastest, too.
Loris Vergier, who finished third in qualifying, was also hampered by the torrential downpour, though fortunately he stayed upright throughout his run to finish 25th on the day. Although he wasn’t able to put down his best time, he squeezed everything he could out of his weekend.
“At the top I was like, ‘just have fun,’ because there’s no way you can catch up that time,” Vergier said. “And I enjoyed it. I was happy to make it down, really. It was a good day, even if it’s not what we want. It’s another race in the bag, and I’m feeling more comfy on the bike and in the team.”
Vergier embodied the lesson of the race: There’s nothing to do with a rainy day but make the most of it.
Jackson Goldstone wins junior race
Just a few weeks after taking second in his first ever World Cup race, Goldstone went to Les Gets and secured a gold medal by 1.623 seconds over Jordan Williams in the 17-18 category. The 17-year-old is a man of many talents who was coming off a gold medal run in the U19 event at Crankworx Innsbruck.
Goldstone called Les Gets “the run of my life,” with a time that would have placed him at the top of the elite men’s field (albeit with the benefit of drier conditions). He’s having a special season.
In the women’s race, Vali Höll had a difficult day, with a late crash that had her running across the line to finish seventh. She had finished second in qualifying the day before.
It has been a season of learning experiences for a first-year elite rider who has a Crankworx gold in addition to a Leogang silver. We can’t wait to see how Höll bounces back in Maribor this August.