Tomáš Slavík wins his third Red Bull Valparaíso Cerro Abajo

Tomáš Slavík on the infamous narrow stairs at Red Bull Valparaíso Cerro Abajo
(Image credit: Red Bull)

The incredible spectacle of the annual Red Bull Valparaíso Cerro Abajo, one of the world's best downhill mountain bike events took place on Sunday, February 12th. It saw Tomáš Slavík, despite carrying an injury into the finals, take his third win of the famed race down Chile's steeply streeted port city. 

Although you might not have been aware of it, urban downhill mountain bike racing has been thrilling crowds for years. With the select few riders riding at suicidal high speeds down the narrow course with lots of stairs and massive jumps. While thousands of spectators and quite possibly a stray dog or two on track watch the action unfold. 

Throw in parked cars, pigeons with a death wish, the odd random resident who seems oblivious to what's going on, and Rob Warner with his excitable commentary and you have quite the combination for an exciting downhill mountain bike series.

Tomáš Slavík at Red Bull Valparaíso Cerro Abajo

Tomáš Slavík on his way to third win at Red Bull Valparaíso Cerro Abajo (Image credit: Red Bull)

The gravity discipline is set to get even bigger with the launch of the Red Bull Cerro Abajo series for 2023 and the first round of the series took place in the narrow residential streets of the UNESCO city of Valparaíso, Chile. It gave the field a true urban downhill mountain bike challenge as riders rattled over a rooftop and rode through an actual house, with the owners happily cheering and waving flags as each rider rode at speed through their home.

Mountain biker riding through a house at Red Bull Valparaíso Cerro Abajo

Riding through a house is the norm at Red Bull Valparaíso Cerro Abajo  (Image credit: Red Bull)

Every edition sees a subtle change to the course, with staircases just wider than bars, difficult drops, and man-made obstacles to navigate. The 2023 edition saw the placing of a boarded wallride with a difficult approach into and out of it and brought the athletes a host of challenges.

The wall ride at 2023 Red Bull Valparaíso Cerro Abajo

The new boarded wallride caused the riders a host of challenges. (Image credit: Red Bull)

Qualifying whittled down 26 riders to a 16-man final, two-time Red Bull Valparaiso Cerro Abajo winner and home favorite Pedro Ferreira was unable to compete after suffering wrist injuries in a practice crash. Notable riders making the final include Chilean enduro mountain bike specialist Pedro Burns, Red Bull Monserrate Cerro Abajo 2022 winner Camilo Sánchez, regular British UCI World Cup racer Phil Atwill, Scottish rider Lewis Buchanan, and Frenchman Adrien Loren who was a previous Cerro Abajo winner.

Czech rider Slavík would take the race win with a time of 2m 16.815s which was just under 1.5s faster than Columbian Juanfer Vélez, who was last down the course during finals as the fastest qualifier. In third place, Brazilian national downhill champion Lucas Borba rounded out the podium on the day.

Mountain bike rider at Red Bull Valparaíso Cerro Abajo

Riders rattled over a rooftops and rode through houses at Red Bull Valparaíso Cerro Abajo (Image credit: Red Bull)

Slavík's winning run was remarkable given that he suffered an ankle ligament injury on his right leg from a practice crash before qualifying where he dug deep to finish with the third fastest time and he spoke to Red Bull on the finish line "I'm super stoked. Breaking the ligaments in my ankle, I thought this chance of taking a third win, it's just like, gone and I was already thinking about next year here. Whenever the journey is hard, then the victory tastes better. So today tastes real good."

Tomáš Slavík with his trophy at Red Bull Valparaíso Cerro Abajo 2023

Tomáš Slavík was stoked to take his third win at Red Bull Valparaíso Cerro Abajo 2023 (Image credit: Red Bull)

The Czech, second last year, won previously in 2017 and 2018. Slavík also leads the 2023 Red Bull Cerro Abajo series overall going into the next race at Red Bull Medellin Cerro Abajo on March 4. Watch his epic winning run below and follow the series on Red Bull TV.

Paul Brett
Staff writer

Paul Brett is a staff writer for BikePerfect.com. He has been an avid cyclist for as long as he can remember, initially catching the mountain biking bug in the 1990s, and raced mountain bikes for over a decade before injury cut short a glittering career. He’s since developed an obsession for gravel riding and recently has dabbled in the dark art of cyclocross. A fan of the idea of bikepacking he has occasionally got involved and has ridden routes like the North Coast 500, Scotland and the Via Francigena (Pilgrim Route), Italy.

Current rides: Marin Alpine Trail 2, Ribble 725, Cube Stereo 160

Height: 175cm