2019 Pinkbike Awards: Best Performance Nominees

Dec 16, 2019
by Sarah Moore  
2019 Pinkbike Awards


Best Performance Nominees


It seems like every year the athletes get better, the courses get more difficult and the winning margins get smaller. Even if you're the best in the world, it's not enough to compete within your comfort zone, you still have to be on the edge of your limits to win. There's no room for error whether you're competing in World Cup DH, XC, enduro, slopestyle or freeride.

This year's selection for Performance of the Year consists of gold-medal veterans like Sam Hill, Brandon Semenuk, Amaury Pierron and Danny Hart as well as a couple of underdogs like Chloe Woodruff, Emil Johansson, and Marine Cabirou. There's nothing like the excitement of seeing David take the win against Goliath, but it's always impressive to see those who have the world's expectations on their backs perform despite the pressure.

Last year it was Kate Courtney and her World Championships win in her first year as an Elite that took the award. Who will win this year? A newcomer to the podium or a seasoned veteran?








Why he's nominated

The atmosphere was electric on Bastille weekend at the Les Gets World Cup. As the top qualifier and last man down the hill, Amaury Pierron had the pressure of a nation on his shoulders. Somehow, he managed to back up his qualifying time with a run that saw him roar to victory with more than two seconds to spare.

The run itself was one of the most exciting to watch of the season, with Pierron finding the limit of what was possible on the track that day. Likely the wildest run of the season, the defending overall World Cup champion two-wheel drifted on more than one of the flat grass turns and hardly looked like he touched the brakes from top to bottom. Commitment, technique and precision all boiled down into a performance far above the rest of the field. The crowds got what they wanted - that all-important French victory.








Why she's nominated

At 32 years old, Chloe Woodruff has been racing World Cup cross-country for over a decade. But until this year in Nove Mesto, the American had never reached the podium. Woodruff had proved herself domestically in the United States in short track races, and she said that she lined up in Nove Mesto believing she could win after compatriot Kate Courtney's win in the Albstadt short track the week before. There's a big difference between believing you can do something and going off the front of the pack of the world's fastest female cross-country mountain bikers and suffering on your own for two whole laps.

With that early break from the pack, Woodruff was able to carry the momentum to her first-ever World Cup victory. In a race that often ends in a photo finish, Woodruff finished an entire eight seconds ahead of second-placed Annie Last. A remarkable performance from the American rider. Woodruff said on her Instagram after the race that "Everything came into alignment for that race in Nove Mesto, and I still can't quite believe I got away with the move I pulled. What is the saying? Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity."









Why he's nominated

The overall title for the 2019 Enduro World Series all came down to one race in the Swiss town of Zermatt. Going into the weekend, Florian Nicolai was leading the standings by a slim margin of 60 points, with Sam Hill trailing in second. Zermatt was a brand new venue so it was a level playing field for the final round of the battle royale between the two riders.

With consistent speed throughout the five-stage race, Sam Hill didn't buckle under the intense pressure of three-peating as World Champion and picked up second in the event behind Richie Rude. Hill would have had to have lost 8 seconds on the final stage to Richie Rude to lose the overall title, but instead he beat him by 17 in a Hollywood-like performance.

With his second-place finish and win on the Queen stage, Hill took the overall by 40 points over Nicolai. Hill becomes only the second enduro racer to win three titles in a row after Tracey Moseley’s domination of the early years of the sport.








Why she's nominated

As she stood in the start gate at the final round of the World Cup in Snowshoe, there was still a small chance that Marine Cabirou could win the 2019 overall title. Instead of letting the nerves get to her, she put down a flawless run, finishing an impressive two seconds ahead of second-placed Myriam Nicole and nearly 5 seconds ahead of overall winner Tracey Hannah, who played it so safe she almost missed out on the overall title with her 5th place. One spot lower and the overall title would have gone to Cabirou.

Cabirou was the only woman to jump the doubles near the end of the track in her bold run, putting as much pressure as she possibly could on Tracey Hannah. When it counted most and she was able to lay it all on the line with no regrets. We expect great things from the young French rider in coming years as she has proved she can perform her best under massive pressure.









Why he's nominated

Last year, Emil Johannson won the Comeback of the Year award for his impressive 4th place finish at Red Bull Joyride after ten months off the bike due to a congenital 6th lumbar vertebrae defect combined with an auto-immune disease that slowed down his ability to recover and rehab from his back injury. This year, he came into the event healthy, but with the likes of Brett Rheeder and Nicolai Rogatkin in the contest, he was far from the favourite to take the win.

With a stunning first run on a freshly redesigned course filled with new features and challenging jumps, Johansson stood at the top nervously awaiting a second run. To his relief, he didn't need to do one and was able to celebrate with a victory lap. "If anybody would have beat my run, I would have needed to improve the run that I already did and I don’t even know if I could have got all of those combos again in a row since it was so hard just to get them together," he said after the event. "I’m pretty stoked on the last three whip to unturndown. I had never done that before off of a big step down. It’s been a rough past few years. If you had told me two years ago that this was going to happen, I probably wouldn’t have trusted you." The best performances are when the winner is as gobsmacked at the result as the crowd is.








Why he's nominated

Brandon Semenuk's Red Bull Rampage didn't go according to plan last year as he failed to complete in either of his two runs. This year, he came back for redemption, and redemption he received. The seventh rider of the day, Semenuk scored a 92.33 with a massive run that included a backflip into his lilypad feature. The score held, not just for the remainder of the first run, but for the entire day.

"There were some little things I knew I could add to it, but it was pretty minimal," he said of his line after the awards were finished. "I definitely threw it everything for the most part. We built the line for that stuff specifically and that's what we got. I'm really stoked for my first run. With the win, Semenuk becomes the second rider to win the event three times, proving he really can put it all on the line when it counts most.








Why he's nominated

Since joining Madison Saracen at the start of last year, Danny Hart has picked up nine podiums and has only fallen outside of the top 10 twice in World Cup racing. An impressive feat, and yet the Redcar Rocket hadn't managed to put it together for a win in nearly two years. His first-place qualifying time in Lenzerheide translated to a fifth place in the final results, something that he wanted sorely not to repeat after winning Qualification in West Virginia.

On race day, it finally came together for Hart to the delight of his fans (and Loic Bruni!). Hart undoubtedly won the race in the rock garden where he managed to pull out more than 1.5 seconds on Amaury Pierron in an incredible display of technical riding. Hart's performance had him win the race by 0.656 seconds.





Incredible performances from Hill, Woodruff, Johansson, Semenuk, Cabirous, Hart and Pierron in the world's most difficult mountain bike events. Which one has your pick?







113 Comments

  • 253 3
 Denim Destroyer.
  • 5 0
 Yeah!!! 100%!!!
  • 2 0
 They're doing athlete of the decade soon, he's the only contender in that.
  • 1 0
 Shout out and honorable mention to Wyn Masters for his privateer championing efforts and bring the Denim Destroyer to light....
  • 141 2
 Whoever chose the font color on Danny Hart's photo needs to rethink a few things
  • 20 0
 it's Magic Eye, if you stare long enough it goes 3D
  • 6 1
 They Just need a different photo.
  • 1 0
 Still not as bad as some of their survey data
  • 97 2
 Sam smashed it so hard Flo had to find a new team. lol
  • 74 10
 Sam Hill - why he’s nominated? - cuz he’s Sam Hill
  • 24 9
 FLAT PEDALS WIN MEDALSSSSSS!!!!
  • 3 0
 That was rude mate Razz
  • 73 0
 You clearly missed that Strava KOM I got earlier this year on that new trail. I know its dropped to 147th over the last couple months, but still.
  • 2 0
 I'm still 2nd on a little single in my backyard, but hey, same second as the kom so weeeeell deserved.
(@jgainey 147 is an Italian word that sounds cool, particularly if followed by gta )
  • 51 2
 I've watched the replay of that Pierron run, again and again, it's just amazing. It will stand the test of time, race run of the year for me.
  • 3 0
 I just watched another replay of it again, total disregard of self preservation on that run!
  • 4 1
 Sticking that skinny ass, absolutely necessary rut off the sender was indeed bananas.
  • 2 0
 If the Pierron run does not win this award, it is entirely possible I've lost all grip on reality.
  • 26 0
 Eddie Masters win at Les Orres, I've never been so stoked for some dude I've never met, racing in places I'll never get to go to.
  • 33 9
 So... Brendog? Watched Rampage in person and Semenuk was great, but Fairclough was on a whole other level.
  • 19 1
 Brendog is keeping freeride alive in a big mountain slopestyle comp
  • 2 0
 He’s now got rob me tattooed on his butt !
  • 1 0
 @Matt115lamb: you're joking :ooo
  • 1 0
 @KiwiEnduro128: he showed me ! Haha
  • 20 2
 Brandon for me! Amazing run, amazing style, flawless execution. That's what a "performance" looks like in my book.
  • 5 0
 It's hard to comprehend how good he is on a bike.
  • 14 0
 Danny - Takes a win, that's he's been hunting for awhile - decides who gets the overall - Danny. His run was one for the books.
  • 15 2
 Sam hills gotta take the win here, each and every race he was the definition of consistent, and that may be one of the hardest things to do with racing
  • 13 0
 Most entertaining performance...Andreu Lacondeguy at Rampage.
  • 12 0
 No Jenny Rissveds? Her win in Lenzherheid was the most inspiring mountain biking moment of the year.
  • 1 0
 that performance is nominated under comeback of the year. She should win imo
  • 11 1
 Was going Amaury but then Danny's run which I don't think anyone thought was gonna happen or be of consequence just blew it all away.
  • 1 0
 I think for all out guts, skill, determination etc. Amaury, but Brendog at Rampage should have been nominated. Marine winning would be nice
  • 14 2
 Sam Hill for the win!
  • 10 1
 Sam. Mutha. Funkin. HILL! Stomping his legend status on a second discipline now.
  • 6 0
 Lots of great stories this season. I like Danny since his win was largely overshadowed the second he finished his run--but it was his insane performance that decided the overall winner.
  • 8 4
 So usually its easy for everyone to get behind Sam Hill, but most likely Maes would have won, had his wins not been stripped.

So whats the pinkbike consensus? Was Maes really cheating and covering it up, or is it still and injustice that he was banned/stripped? I don't know where we are on this subject anymore.
  • 5 2
 ...burnt out.
  • 3 3
 the uci needed to set a precedent, unfortunately maes took the fall for the rest of the ews athletes, whether or not he cheated doesn't really matter. now the ews field knows that they need to pay more attention to there diet and supplement intake.
  • 10 1
 Maes was certainly taking probenocid for a much longer period than claimed, and it's not generally prescribed in the circumstances used in the explanation.
  • 1 0
 @jason114: I can see two other precedents that were precedents
  • 1 0
 @Benlow: What is the source of this news? I would mean that he was cheeting...
  • 4 1
 With a team built jsut to plan everything for him, it is absolutely impossible for any of these guys to "accidentally" take a banned substance. They will always make these claims since you aren't guilty until it can be "proven beyond a doubt" but I just don't see this being accidental. Kind of like how difficult I find it to believe Rude test positive for a banned substance for "taking a sip from a fellow racers bottle". They both seem incredibly far fetched to me.... Especially considering Richie never seemed to disclose who the bottle belonged to and we never saw the rider receive a ban; which, to me, indicates that it was his bottle sadly.
  • 1 0
 @fracasnoxteam: if you mean Rude and graves, that happened before UCI joined the ews
  • 2 0
 @jason114: Yeah, I know, just another example of people making up plausible, but likely fabricated, reasons/excuses for how they ended up with banned substances in their system.
  • 1 1
 @giantkid97: do you actually know what the f*ck happened to Maes? Sounds like you have no idea.
  • 1 0
 @Benlow: Correct
  • 2 0
 @cRen: 1990's BMX pedals....You should see my shins, I should be dead by now, or at least amputated.
  • 8 0
 Why no Isabeau Courdurier? She had a flawless EWS season.
  • 2 0
 My thoughts exactly. Absolute domination!
  • 5 1
 Where is Vlad Dascalu?
U23 XCO World Champion, World Cup Winner, European Champion, National Champion. Smashing his competitors, qualifying at the Olympic Games after an amazing season.

Oh wait, he's a Romanian, so he doesn't count.
  • 1 0
 This feels like solid and objective third party support given the username.
  • 3 0
 no bruni!? winning his first world cup overall AND his fourth world championship this year (putting him above hill, peaty, minnaar, atherton, and hart, and closest to vouilloz's seemingly untouchable record). how was is that not worthy of a nomination of best performance of the year???
  • 3 0
 Sam's consistency is the real performance. Overcoming sickness at the start of the year to fight back has it for me. Who's to know if he would have beaten Maes, but the record books will only show one thing!
  • 2 0
 Is Sam Hill the oldest out of all the nominees? If so that's a no brainer, back to back to back overall Enduro world champion. Ask yourself, will any of these athletes perform similar in success at his age and be on the top of their respected field. To each their own, all are skilled on the bikes either way, plus they getting paid to ride so that's a win in itself
  • 2 0
 I am a die hard DH fan having raced - admittedly not against, but - with these guys but I have to say that Emil seems the obvious pick to me. Watching the way he battled back from looking like a cancer patient to become the man everyone was watching was absolutely inspirational. Everyone one of these athletes is absolutely god tier, but the way Emil overcame all of the adversity he faced was absolutely next level, especially at such a young age!
  • 2 0
 If Van Der Poel would have raced in the last 3 UCI cross country races he would have beaten Nino for the overall title, he is a beast on a bike. For the EWS series Richie Rude would have won if he didnt miss the first 3 races of the season, because of that so called doping infraction.
  • 3 1
 Man they were all impressive! And I got to witness two of them at Snowshoe, but I have to go with my favorite U.S. racer for the past several years - Chloe. It was awesome to see all those years of hard work payoff for her.
  • 4 0
 Seriously, no Myriam Nicole winning World Champ just coming back from injury?
  • 4 0
 Wait for comeback of the year
  • 6 2
 PFP and Jenny Rissveds both laid down awesome performances in XC, surprised neither of them is included
  • 7 2
 Kaos's Hardline run was easily number one
  • 5 0
 Surely you forgot Jenny Rissved’s XCO win
  • 1 0
 What ? Someone can beat (more than once) superstar Nino Shurter after years of domination... and it's not enough to be considered ?

Mathieu Van der Poel, does it tell you something ? xc, cx , road... name it... The biggest cycling star of the year.
  • 2 0
 Sam proved that you can win despite having a rough start to the season, never giving up is what made the difference IMO. All are worthy, what a time to be a fan of MTB!
  • 4 0
 That's a tough one. I tend towards the Amaury win. That one blew me away.
  • 4 0
 wow can all of them win. What a year!!
  • 4 0
 Mitch Ropelsto or Jenny rissveds
  • 2 1
 Tracey Hannah for actually winning the World Cup overall? Nominating someone for putting pressure on someone but not for actually consistently getting the results and winning an overall?
  • 1 0
 I assume that Van der Poel just gets an award without an election?

I mean, he beasted the calendar ACROSS disciplines. His achievements in XC alone would be worth a nomination.
  • 1 0
 Got to be Sam. Rough start to the season with illness, but absolutely dogged determination to take the overall. Realistically, how many athletes would have the strength of mind to pull that off?
  • 2 0
 OHHH you have your hands full with this one! I wouldn't want to be the person who has to choose!
  • 3 0
 I really enjoyed Cabirou’s run at snowshoe. Glad that made the list.
  • 1 0
 Sam H1LL has gotta take this, so much consistency and killer instinct still for a guy 16+ years as a pro. Pleeeeeeeaaaaaaase vote Sam H1Ll!
  • 4 0
 wheres my name???
  • 2 0
 Brandon's run was a flawless as it gets. I think he should get it. Amaury's was pretty remarkable too..
  • 1 0
 Hmmm... 1 run perf to Pierron and overall season perf to Marine who stepped her game and became a permanent winning threat. No patriotism here hehe
  • 2 0
 Where is Isabeau Courdurier on this list? Thought she didn't lose a single race?
  • 2 0
 "If you're not first, you're (Annie) Last."
  • 3 0
 Danny FTW for me
  • 1 3
 Instead of selling my mountain bike, I am raffling off my last years GT Carbon Force Enduro Bike (talk about a sweet christmas present!) and also donating $500 of the money to Can’dAid. It’s only 50 spots at $80 a ticket. I will be donating $500 to can’daid which gets bikes to kids who otherwise wouldn’t have the means to have them! In addition Can’dAid is matching donations until December 31st so I want to try and get this done before then so it can be $1000!!!

Check out the page in the link for all the info!!!

www.facebook.com/groups/3515753245165020
  • 1 0
 Where’s Pompon???? Injured in February, worked hard for 6 month and took the gold at worlds.... ????
  • 2 0
 Vali Hoell, for beeing fastest Lady on the hill, but still a junior!
  • 1 0
 You're forgetting about Brook Macdonald and his incredible performance in rehab sessions.
  • 1 0
 yeahhhh....this is too hard. way too hard to settle on even the top 5 of these nominees.
  • 1 0
 Marine Cabirou... for climbing the ranks to podium and showing that women have some style and steez on the course.
  • 1 0
 Pierron, of course, but what about Myriam Nicole or PFP return-winning-worldchamp-run ?
  • 1 0
 Holy Hay-Zeus! I could reason for any one of these to win. Just amazing runs this year by all of them.
  • 1 0
 Chloe's domination in that Short Track race was unreal! Our favorite racing moment of 2019 for sure.
  • 2 0
 Sam.
  • 2 0
 Semenuk
  • 3 1
 Brendog got robbed.-
  • 1 0
 Poor choice of font color pinkbike!!!
  • 1 0
 Erm... Brendog did a backflip....
  • 1 0
 I'm pretty sure Maes won at Zermatt with hill 2nd and Rude 3rd.
  • 1 0
 Jenny Rissveds Best Performance
  • 1 0
 Chloe FTW!
  • 1 0
 Pierron
  • 1 0
 Allez Sam!
  • 1 0
 Bruni?
  • 1 0
 sam for ever
  • 1 0
 Hill!!!
  • 1 0
 Hill!!!
  • 1 0
 Sam Hill, The Chaser....
  • 1 0
 Caribou for me
  • 1 0
 Amaury and Emil!!
  • 1 0
 Brandon Semenuk
  • 4 5
 You had me at - #notKateWeatherly


Downvote me now at your pleasure.
  • 1 2
 MAES
Below threshold threads are hidden

Post a Comment



Copyright © 2000 - 2020. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv65 0.019423
Mobile Version of Website