1. The 2020 World Champs Weren't as Much of a Lottery as We Thought
Last year's woods section was a constantly shifting, minefield of roots and ruts and while it produced a pair of World Champions that not many people predicted beforehand, it seems it wasn't actually as much of a lottery as it appeared.
At World Champs last year, Camille Balanche was the only woman to make it down the course without crashing and this year again she looked the most comfortable in the woods, not putting a foot wrong and even popping out of the speed-sapping low line off the drop without needing to put in a pedal stroke. Monika Hrastnik also repeated her third place finish from World Champs, this time just behind Vali Holl instead of Myriam Nicole.
In the men's race, Brosnan jumped from eighth up to first but if you look at the fastest woods times, it's the same names that crop up this year as last year. Reece Wilson was fastest through the Red Bull key section and in fact all of Sector 4 with Remi Thirion, who won bronze at that race, just over a second behind.
Adapting to a changing track and reacting to a bike that's moving unpredictably beneath you are valuable assets for a rider to have and seeing the same names near the top of the timesheets once more is a clear indication that skill rather than luck allowed riders to prosper in Leogang's tricky new woods section.2. Switzerland Earns its First Elite Downhill World Cup Win Since 2007
Despite its deep heritage in cross country, with legends like Schurter, Sauser, Neff, Frischknecht and Blatter, Switzerland has never enjoyed the same level of success in downhill. It's a country that holds some of the most legendary tracks in the World but on Saturday Camille Balanche became only the third ever Swiss rider to win a downhill World Cup.
3. It's Been a Long Time Coming for Brosnan
It has been more than a decade since Marielle Saner last recorded a victory for Switzerland on home turf in Champery in 2007. Saner also won a World Cup in Schladming in 2004 and prior to her, Sari Jorgensen won in Nevegal in 1998. Camille Balanche has not been in the sport long but she's already one of Switzerland's most decorated downhill riders with a World Cup and World Championships win to her name. She just needs another World Cup win to equal Saner's record and judging by her run on Saturday, we don't think it will take her that long to achieve.
On Saturday, Troy Brosnan became the 22nd member of the 3 win club for Elite men at World Cups. His last World Cup win was at Vallnord in 2017 and his first goes all the way back to Fort William in 2014. This gap of seven years marks the longest time a rider has ever had to wait between getting their first World Cup win and their third. The next rider on that list is Gee Atherton who took six years between his first win in Schladming in 2004 at his third at 3rd at Fort William in 2010, then Cedric Gracia and David Vazquez both have five years between their first and third.
Despite the victories coming sporadically, Brosnan has been relentlessly consistent in the past seven years and has stood on the podium 26 times since that first win in 2014. The fact that he can still be competitive and challenging for wins seven years after he first broke through is testament to his mental fortitude and perseverance. Brosnan is always going to be knocking on the door and with the form he's carrying into this season, we don't think he'll be awaiting another three or four years for his next win.4. Commencal is Dominating the Numbers Game
There were times over the weekend when it seemed like every other bike on the mountain was a Commencal Supreme. The Andorran brand is supporting five teams this year - Commencal / Muc Off by Riding Addiction, Commencal 100%, Dorval AM Commencal, Commencal Nobl and Commencal 21. As you might expect, it was a successful weekend for the brand with half of the available Elite podium spots split between its riders.
Commencal now occupies the top two spots in the UCI Teams rankings with Dorval AM (on the current Supreme) in first place on 88 points ahead of Commencal / Muc Off by Riding Addiction (on the new Supreme) in second place on 71 points. The next nearest team is the Canyon Collective Factory Team but they currently sit on 53 points, already a fair way back on the two super-strong Commencal teams. With so much talent in its ranks, we expect the Commencal teams to be the ones to beat as the season progresses.Other Notes:
• It's obvious that Vali is a force to be reckoned with. There's a generational shift taking place in women's DH; but, is it wrong for us to hope for at least a short period of time where Vali, Rachel, Tahnee, and all the other top women are all healthy and on form?
• Thibaut Daprela, wow
• We've seen people gap into the wall before, and we're not sure if it's appreciably faster, but seeing Brook Macdonald attacking the course like that makes us happy.