Snowshoe is an entirely new venue for the World Cup circuit and, if qualifying results are any indication, is potentially throwing a wrench into the season’s overall standings.
Tracey Hannah still qualified fastest for the women, and Loïc Bruni (Specialized Gravity Racing) was second by 0.250 seconds behind Danny Hart (Madison Saracen) in the men’s, but from there it gets much more unpredictable. The big note for Canadian fans will be that Finn Iles has been injured in training, and will not race the World Cup finals this weekend.
Finn Iles out of Snowshoe
After scoring a seventh place finish in his second elite world championships at Mont-Sainte-Anne, Finn Iles is out of World Cup finals. The Canadian national champion crashed hard in practice, landing on his shoulder and head. Together with his Specialized Gravity Team, the decision was made not to continue with the race in Snowshoe.
Specialized Gravity Racing posted the following statement on their Instagram, indicating Iles is Ok, but injured:
“Yesterday, our little boy who arrived 5 years ago in the program, Finn Iles, crashed. He’s OK, because he’s now a strong Man, training hard and pushing the limits. But we decided together to not race this weekend , being already focus on recovery and up coming test and training we have this off season.”
Elite Men’s qualifying – McDowall fastest Canadian
Iles wasn’t the only rider having trouble. Amaury Pierron (Commencal Vallnord), fighting for second in the World Cup overall standings, finished well down the group in 15th.
One rider who didn’t seem to be having any trouble was Kirk McDowall (Unior / Devinci Factory Racing). The 2016 & ’17 Canadian national champion was the fastest qualifier, 11th, from north of 40. Mark Wallace (Canyon Factory Racing) was 31st. Hugo Langevin (Devinci) and Sam Thibault (Devinci) also make it through to Saturday’s final, in 41st and 59th, respectively.
Elite Women – Hannah extends lead
Tracey Hannay (Polygon-UR) leads the World Cup overall, and was the top qualifier once again in Snowshoe. Behind her, though, was her closest competitor, Marine Cabirou (Scott Factory Downhill). Recently crowned world champion Myriam Nicole (Commencal Vallnord) lurks dangerously in third, while a recently returned from injury Tahnée Seagrave was sixth.
Junior Men and Women – Canadian quartet through to Saturday
Valentina Höll (SRAM-TLD) defended her world champion title last weekend in Mont-Sainte-Anne, and looks intent on winning her final race as a junior here in Snowshoe. The Austrian set the fastest seeding run of the small, but fast junior women’s race.
Patrick Laffey (Devinci Development) led the Canadian junior men, qualifying fourth behind recently crowned Australian world champion Kye A’Hern (Canyon Facotry Racing). Lucas Cruz (SRAM-TLD) was next of the Canadians, in eighth. Elliot Jamieson (Norco Factory Racing) just squeaked into finals with a 15th in qualifying while Seth Sherlock was 18th on Friday, but advances to Saturday’s finals via his status as a protected rider.