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World Cup concludes in Val di Sole

Durangoans deal with mechanicals, injuries and sickness
Christopher Blevins

The 2022 Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup concluded over the weekend in Val di Sole, Italy. Savilia Blunk got a flat tire that knocked her out of podium position in the cross-country Olympic race, but finished her season on an upward trajectory with a 10th-place finish on the elite women’s short track.

Savilia Blunk

“I’m proud of that one no matter the bad luck,” Blunk posted. “A major tire slice on Lap 4 took me out of the fight for a podium. Happened at probably the worst place on course too. I was pushing so hard on the descent to close a gap, and at this level this is really no room for error. P22 in the end, and I gave it everything for 1.5 hours. … Thanks Val di Sole, you’ve made it onto my list of hardest courses on the planet!”

Blunk finished 22nd in cross-country Olympic race after the flat, finishing 9:12 after France’s Paline Ferrand Prevot in first.

In the final cross-country Olympic World Cup standings, Blunk finished 39th out of 111 riders after racing in five of the nine stops. She also finished 42nd in the final short track standings after she finished ninth and 10th in her two competitions.

Ruth Holcomb also raced Sunday in the U23 women’s cross-country Olympic race and finished 41st out of 60 bikers in 1:20:18, finishing 11:42 after the winner, Line Burquier of France.

Christopher Blevins and Riley Amos, however, were unable to compete in the final cross-country Olympic races of the year.

Blevins suffered a concussion when he went for late pass to try and win the elite men’s short track world championship last week in France. He raced on the short track Friday at the World Cup and finished 19th but didn’t line up on Sunday.

“Things have been trending in the right direction after last weekend’s concussion, but the feedback in the short track was that the head is not 100% yet, and I knew I’d still be dealing with it if I race today,” Blevins posted. “It’s a hard call to make, but I know it’s the right one long term. Super grateful for the team around me who helped make the decision. It’s been quite a roller coaster of a season, and I’m looking forward to catching up with myself and properly reflecting on it all.”

Blevins finished 15th in the final short track standings, which Alan Hatherly of South Africa won, and 22nd in the cross-country Olympic standings, which Switzerland’s Nino Schurter won.

Amos also ran into some bad luck in Italy. After recovering from a broken collarbone to compete in the world championships, COVID knocked him out of the World Cup.

“Well .... that’s certainly now how I planned on ending the 2022 World Cup season,” Amos posted. “I had some mild cold symptoms early in the week and unfortunately ended up having COVID … for the third time. It was absolutely heartbreaking to sit the weekend out in a hotel room.”

Racing at five World Cup stops, Amos ended up placing 16th in the final U23 men’s World Cup Standings, highlighted by a third-place finish at Valnord, Andorra.