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How to watch: The return of Fort William World Cup DH

16 Canadians set to take on iconic Scotland venue

Photo by: Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool

Fort Bill is back! For the first time since 2019, the iconic Scottish venue returns to the World Cup downhill calendar. Always a crowd favourite, the punishing rocks and, usually, mud of Fort William remains one of the last properly “old school” downhill tracks on the circuit.

16 Canadians are on the start list in Fort William. Three of those, Finn Iles, Gracey Hemstreet and Jackson Goldstone, were on the podium at the last World Cup in Lourdes, France. That makes this an especially exciting weekend for fans on this side of the Atlantic.

Elite racing will be broadcast live, free on Red Bull TV, at least for the rest of this year.

What to expect at Fort William World Cup

Riders have battled their way through the rock gardens and foul weather of the Nevis Range since 2002. Going into this year’s race, it’s been almost two months since the opening World Cup round in Lourdes, France. That was way back on March 27th, meaning riders have had plenty of time to build momentum or fix problems found at that first race.

Rachel Atherton racing Fort William World Cup back in 2019. Photo: Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool
Elite Women

On the women’s side, Rachel Atherton is the last women’s winner in Fort William back in 2019. While she’s on the start list this weekend, she’s not expected to race on Sunday. Tahnée Seagrave (Canyon Cllctv) is the only other women’s winner at Fort William returning for this year’s race.

It’s Camille Balanche (Dorval AM) who rolls into Scotland with momentum, though, after winning the opening round in Lourdes. Myriam Nicole (Commencal/Muc-Off) and Valentina Höll (RockShox Trek) flanked Seagrave in the standings in France. Both the world champion, Nicole, and World Cup overall winner, Höll, will be looking to improve on those results this weekend.

Amaury Pierron started his World Cup overall campaign with a win in Fort William in 2018. Image: Nathan Hughes / Red Bull Content Pool
Elite Men

The elite men’s race could be a battle of titans. Amaury Pierron (Commencal/Muc-off) won the last two World Cup races at Fort William, in 2018 and 2019. After two years of battling injury, Pierron also won the opening World Cup round in Lourdes.

Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) rolls into Scotland wearing the rainbow stripes of world champion. The G.O.A.T. already has an incredible seven wins in Fort William, out of 18 times the race has been held.

2022 will also be Reece Wilson’s (Trek Factory Racing) first chance to race at home since winning his own world championship title in 2020. With 2021 cancelled, this year will serve as the Scot’s belated World Cup homecoming.

Of course, all Canadians will have their eyes on Finn Iles. The Specialized Gravity racer was the only rider to come close to Pierron’s pace in Lourdes. That silver in France is Iles’ best elite result to date. The only step left is to take his first elite win.

RELATED: Watch the run that earned Finn Iles second place at Lourdes World Cup

Finn Iles flying towards a podium finish in France back in May. Photo: Bartek Wolinski / Red Bull Content Pool

Canadians prepared to storm the Fort

Iles isn’t the only Canadian off to a flying start in 2022. Jackson Goldstone (Syndicate) and Gracey Hemstreet (Norco Factory Team) both walked away from Lourdes with wins in the junior men’s and women’s races.

Junior men and women

Hemstreet is back for Fort William. The Sunshine Coast racer will face off against reigning junior women’s world champ, Izabela Yankova (Bulgaria) and Pheobe Gale (Canyon Cllctv) who will be racing on home turf.

RELATED: Meet Gracey Hemstreet: Canada’s first junior women’s World Cup winner

Goldstone will be joined by three other fast Canucks. Tristan Lemire (Commencal/Muc-Off) is back from an early-season injury. First-year juniors Tegan Cruz (RockShox Trek) and Bodhi Kuhn of Rossland, B.C. will be looking to make an impression at the iconic venue.

Elite men and women

A total of 10 Canadians take on the elite men’s race. Iles leads, joined by perpetual podium threat Mark Wallace (Canyon Cllctv) and past Canadian champ Kirk McDowall. A small army of recent juniors are working their way through the ranks, including Norco’s Lucas Cruz, Elliot Jamieson and Henry Fitzgerald, Intense Factory Racing’s Seth Sherlock and now-privateer Patrick Laffey. Forrest Reisco (Commencal Canada) and Gabe Neron (Dunbar Cycles) will also be flying the Canada flag as non-factory team riders in Fort William.

On the women’s side, Rachel Pageau (Commencal) will be the lone Canadian taking on the elite race.

Jackson Goldstone flies the rainbow stripes to a win in Lourdes. Photo: Bartek Wolinski / Red Bull Content Pool

Broadcast Schedule: World Cup DH#2  – Fort William, Scotland, May 21-22, 2022

Racing in Fort William starts Saturday with the qualifying round. Elite finals will be broadcast Sunday live on Red Bull TV.

Sunday, May 22 – World Cup DH #2

Elite Women: 04:25 PST / 07:25 EST
Elite Men: 05:45 PST / 08:45 EST