Bruni finally managed his first win in Scotland, edging out Troy Brosnan by 1.8 seconds


The opening round of the DH World Cup saw an uncharacteristically dry and warm(ish) weekend at Fort William. The best in the world lined up to take on the 2.8km long course, and they did not disappoint. In the Elite men’s race, Loïc Bruni of Specialized Gravity won by 1.8 seconds from Canyon CLLCTV MTB Team’s Troy Brosnan. Bruni’s teammate, Finn Iles rounded out the top three.

In the Elite women’s race, just 1.8 seconds separated the top three riders. World Champion Vali Höll showed her new team and bike were a good fit, beating Santa Cruz Syndicate’s Nina Hoffmann by half a second. British rider Tahnée Seagrave showed she’s back to her fighting best, finishing third in a stacked field.

How it happened

Don’t be fooled by the dry track thinking it ran smoothly – it didn’t, as Bernard Kerr and his busted rim might tell you. Friday saw the Elite qualifications take place, with Seagrave topping the leaderboard ahead of Hoffman and Anna Newkirk. In the Elite men’s, Bruni and Isles showed their form, ahead of Luca Shaw.

Fort William WC 24

Bruni whips it over the final jumps in his winning race run Credit: Bartek Wolinski

Moving onto the semi-finals, and the women’s World Champion, Höll, was back on the top step ahead of Seagrave and Balanche. Mikayla Parton finished in 5th, which was a promising ride from the Brit. Unfortunately her race run wasn’t quite as polished and she only managed 9th, but shows she’s got more to give this season.

In the men’s semi-finals, World Champion Charlie Hatton was a surprise loss after a crash. He doesn’t have protected status after missing part of the season last year due to injury, so he didn’t make the finals. This was where Brosnan showed his face, however, beating Iles and Bruni onto the top step ahead of finals.

The finals

It was incredibly tight in the Elite women’s field, with just 1.8 seconds separating the top three – we reckon we’re in for some exciting racing this season! Until Höll took to the starting ramp, Hoffmann was the woman to beat, with Seagrave’s second sector falling short and pushing her into third place. Höll’s composed race run saw her sit in second until the final, nail-biting sector – the tension evident on Hoffmann’s face as she watched victory slip from her fingers as the World Champ came hurtling over the final jumps.

In the men’s Elite race, there was no shortage of crashed, with Greg Minnaar crashing on a left-hander in the top section, ruining his chances of a result. At the top of the scoresheet, however, was the Frenchman Bruni, who was particularly pleased as a win at Fort William has been one that’s eluded him. He held on to win by 1.8 seconds from Brosnan, who kept Bruni’s teammate Iles at arms length by a further 1.9 seconds to round out the top 3.

Greg Williamson was the best-placed Brit in the Elite men’s race, finishing in 7th. Matt Walker rounded out the top 10.

The next round of the World Cup will take place on 17-19 May in Bielsko-Biala, Poland.

Seagrave looks to be back to her best as she finished 3rd in a close Elite women’s race. Credit: Bartek Wolinski

Full results

Elite Women’s race

  1. Vali Höll – 4:41.424
  2. Nina Hoffmann –  4:41.985 / +0.561
  3. Tahnee Seagrave – 4:43.255 / +1.831
  4. Camille Balanche – 4:45.381 / +3.957
  5. Gloria Scarsi – 4:48.651 / +7.227

Elite Men’s race

  1. Loic Bruni – 4:04.264
  2. Troy Brosnan – 4:06.104 / +1.840
  3. Finn Iles – 4:06.253 / +1.989
  4. Dakotah Norton – 4:07.353 / +3.089
  5. Luca Shaw – 4:07.943 / +3.679