Loris Vergier edged out his best friend to complete an all-France medal stand
Loris Vergier wrangled a tight, twisty track in Lenzerheide on Saturday to score his second downhill World Cup victory of the year, and top an all-French podium just ahead of best friend Loic Bruni.
The final riders on the day consistently upped the level, but Bruni’s time of 2:47.118 seemed impossible to top. Vergier was in third place overall after the second-to-last split on the course, but he made up time on a jump and tricky chicane before the finish line that had tripped up riders all day.
The final margin: Just 0.197 seconds.
Vergier wasn’t sure that he had won when Bruni got off the hot seat to congratulate him.
“He jumped to me and was like, ‘Yeah!’ So I thought he was on the podium. But I just beat him, barely. So he said, ‘I’m happy if you win,'” Vergier said in his post-race interview. “We are best friends, we still love each other. If we are first and second, it’s really cool.”
Vergier was uncertain while whether he was on a winning run. “It was just so close,” he said. “I had a good run and some mistakes, and rode a little bit tight.
“I was so stoked at the finish line. I’m really happy right now. Good day.”
The win put Vergier within shouting distance of taking the overall World Cup title at Snowshoe’s double World Cup races beginning Sept. 14. That’s impressive, given Vergier’s inauspicious start to the series. His final run in Leogang was negated by an early puncture, and rain in Les Gets made a mess of the track and muted his speed on his way to a 25th-place finish.
But Vergier has had much better luck lately, beginning with two wins in Maribor on back-to-back weekends in August, first at the European Championships and then at the World Cup. In his last two World Cup races, he won both qualifying and finals. And he posted the best qualifying time at World Championships in Val di Sole as well, before finishing fourth on race day.
Vergier isn’t entertaining ideas of overall victory for now. He’s just enjoying going fast.
“The season was up and down,” Vergier said. “But it’s on the up right now so I’m really happy.”
Jackson Goldstone and Izabela Yankova win junior events in Lenzerheide
After winning junior world championships in Val di Sole last weekend, Jackson Goldstone and Izabela Yankova ran it back.
Goldstone, 17, won his third downhill World Cup event of the season, this time by his largest margin yet: 2.250 seconds over Pau Menoyo Busquets. Yankova, also 17, won her first World Cup race of the season after taking third in Leogang, and second in Les Gets and Maribor. She beat Gracey Hemstreet by 3.501 seconds.
Both riders posted times that would have made them competitive in the elite races. Goldstone’s time would have been 14th among the men, and Yankova’s time would have been 11th among the women.
Both of them are on a steady trajectory upward. And most importantly, they are doing the rainbow jersey proud.