WC 3: Val Di Sole, Italy



Round 3 of the UCI World Cup took the teams back to the infamous Val Di Sole, in Northern Italy to take on the Black Snake, arguably the roughest track on the World Cup circuit.

The trail team had been hard at work on the track over the past year, making some key adjustments and adding dirt to the track. Track walk showcased a much improved and faster overall track however, this didn't last long. Practise conditions were dry to start which meant the track got blown out fast, paired with a signifcant storm later on and rainfall into day 2 practise and qualifying. The track was changing rapidly and riders were having to adjust setups and tyre choices accordingly.



The two Elite Women in the Continental Nukeproof Factory Racing team, Louise Ferguson and Veronika Widmann were first on track for qualifying with only 15 spots available for the Semi-Finals. Louise Ferguson laid down a great time just missing out on the elusive spots by seconds. Hailing from one valley over from Val Di Sole, the hometown hero Veronika Widmann was keen to make an impression and secure her spot in the Semi-Final, which she did with an impressive 11th.

An unfortunate crash in practise resulting in a wrist injury took Chris Cumming out of play for the main race but with his split times super competitive we know he'll be back swinging for the next round. Wild Irishman Ronan Dunne, who's had a brilliant start to the 2023 DH World Cup season showed his consistency qualifying in 12th, on a tricky and changing track.

With two riders into the Semi Finals, the comaraderie of the team really shone through. Despite being on the sidelines for the Semi Finals, team mates Chris Cumming and Lou Ferguson offered support, encouragement and advice to Veronika and Ronan before heading up.



Threatening rain throughout the Elite Womens wasn't reassuring for the athletes but with 10 years of World Cup experience, Veronika Widmann went into her race run with confidence and came out with a spot in the final and an eventual 9th place, top 10 in these DH World Cups is no joke and a testement to Vero's commitment, skill and training.

The first half of the Men's final had the track dry, similar to that in practise but as it reached the top 20, the rain started. As the rain started , Irish rider Ronan Dunne was feeling quietly confident, wet slick tracks are something he's fairly accustomed to in Ireland.

Ronan was in the last 15 to drop in following some of the world's fastest riders have unpredictably difficult runs in the changing conditions. It was evident from the start Ronan was prepared to put everything on the line with a wild run putting him in the hot seat for a number of riders. The final 10 to drop in were history making runs, the wildest, fastest and most committed runs all trying to secure that top spot. Ronan held onto 12th position on the day, an incredible achievement made even sweeter with good buddy and fellow youngster Jackson Goldstone securing his first World Cup win of his career.



The team put down some incredible results at Val Di Sole and cementing themselves as one of the most competitive teams on the circuit. The behind the scenes effort and stoke that is seen in the Continental Nukeproof Factory Racing team is admirable, from mechanics Jack and PJ prepared for any eventuality, Team Manager Harry Molloy providing a calm head and good sense of humour to Team Owner Mark Cummings showing the utmost support to the team and providing an incredibly welcoming and fun pit space (and being Chef extraordinnaire), the Continental Nukeproof Factory Racing team are a family, and a successful one at that.

All four riders have a short break before World Cup racing resumes in Andorra at the end of August.


Check out the Continental Nukeproof Factory team in action

Watch the highlights from each round here

With big thanks to all the sponsors for the 2022 season