2021 World Championships Downhill Photo Report from Val di Sole, Italy

No matter who you were rooting for, the elite races in this year's 2021 World Championship DH mountain bike race were won by two legendary role models of the sport on a rocky and rooty course.
Nineteen year old Austin Dooley had an impressive run to finish in 31st overall aboard his Commencal. The USA sent a strong showing of riders in the junior and elite fields last weekend.

No matter who you were rooting for, the elite races in this year’s 2021 World Championship DH race were won by two legendary role models of the sport. Myriam Nicole and Greg Minnaar have both proven that perseverance and a supportive team environment can bolster athletes to perform at their best, time and time again.

Nicole was followed by French countrywoman Marine Cabirou at a full 4.8 seconds back, and Monika Hrastnik of Slovenia earned the bronze plate at 6 seconds off the lead pace. Tahnee Seagrave of the UK and Elenora Farina from Italy rounded out the elite women’s top-five slots.

Myriam Nicole checking the speed one last time before slipping on the French National kit. Best looking World Champs paint job? We like it.

The elite men’s race was a classic nail muncher throughout, with a few of the last riders on track sliding into the hot seat. Antoine Vidal held the throne for quite a long time, but Greg Minnaar rode consistently faster as he reached the finish to earn the top spot. With Thibaut Dapréla left at the top, Minnaar’s taste of another gold metal wasn’t guaranteed. That is, until Dapréla pushed the grip a little too hard and crashed. Twice. Despite dual-dirt-naps, he managed to finish in 71st position, rolling across the line to celebrate Nicole and Minnarr with the rest of the crowd.

Kine Haugom had a smashing run in the juniors’ category, taking home the silver medal.
Sending it early and often
Yes, it is that steep alongside the Black Snake.

The french contingent was strong as ever. Mathilde Bernard landed herself in 14th place, 28.8 seconds off the winning time.

This was a sweet section where riders pumped from root to root to maintain and gain speed.
One of the expected favorites, Valentina Höll may not have been please with her 12th place finish.
Hrasnik pushing the bike deep off every plunge.
This rock gap was far less treacherous than the rock garden that came before it.
White is clearly the hit DH color this year.
Despite the hard overnight rain there were plenty of dusty spots mixed in.
This could be called a “flowy” chunk of the track.
Pick a line, any line, they are all super rough.
Every rider’s face was painted with similar focus and determination, but there’s only one rainbow jersey to be earned.
Laurie Greenland glowing in that white UK kit. The camera loves it, but does the drycleaner?
Angel Suarez Alonso was one of the many athletes enjoying the sweet Commencal prototype bike on Sunday.
These last two turns represent the “rest” section, though they are also the fastest chunk of the Black Snake.
The bleachers were packed in Val di Sole, and everyone had to provide vaccination papers or a recent negative covid test.
Less than a quarter-second separated Minnaar and Benoit Coulanges in the end.
Matt “lead with the knees” Walker.
Vergier was the first rider out of the medals in fourth.
Last year’s champ, Reece Wilson, didn’t have the run he had hoped for, ending the Snake in 15th position.
A full send over the boulders for Neko Mulally.
Some riders gapped these rock drops and others kept the bike low and close to the traction.
American Anna Newkirk looked poised and collected coming down for 13th in the women’s elite field.
There were several course holds on track for crashes, mostly taking place up top where riders were trying to find the groove.
One smooth spot on the way to 5th place in the junior category for Osin O Callaghan.
Cabirou warming up out of French uniform.
Some riders went full send, no matter what section of the track lied ahead. This cat is about to land in a pile of shoe-size stones.
Root salad sounds delicious!
Yes, there were shenanigans. Loud ones.
Germany’s Justine Welzel was looking fast in practice, and finished in a respectful 19th position on race day.
There were several Atherton Bikes athletes ripping down track on their unique frames.
After a hard rain the night prior, Loris Vergier was keen to stop and check traction on his practice run.
Mariam Nicole fully sending toward a powerful gold medal finish.
Greg Minnaar tucked to prove that age isn’t what wins or loses races.
There is no rest on the Black Snake. The track looks like this from tip to tail.
Brook Macdonald checking the high line in practice.
We all love it when these helpful folks are bored.
Minnaar getting hugs from Sven Martin and all the crew at the finish line.
Would you push for a gap in these rocks?
Dakotah North pushing back up to check a line in practice.

Check out full results from DH Worlds 2021.