What a race! Les Gets hasn't lost any drama or excitement in its 15-year hiatus and it was great to see some old-school, grassy turns make a return to the World Cup circuit. The track produced the highest average speeds of the season with Pierron in excess of 41km/h (25mph), making it the fastest race since Leogang 2017. Pierron aside, the track also produced some super-tight racing with places 2 to 45 in the men spread by about 10 seconds and the top ten women spread by 12.135. Why exclude Pierron? Well, he was simply on another level with his second dominating run
of the season leaving us slack-jawed in amazement.
Let's get straight into the numbers to see who went fast where. We've changed up the format this week and started off with the topline figures first and then more in-depth analysis for those after a deeper dive below. Let us know if you like the changes or not in the comments.At a GlanceSector Times
The Story of the SessionMenBy timeBy positionWomenBy timeBy positionIn DepthThe SectorsSector 1
1. Amaury Pierron - 37.320
2. Ed Masters +0.934
3. Mike Jones +0.952
4. Thomas Estaque +1.031
5. Loris Vergier +1.057
1. Amaury Pierron - 45.111
2. Mike Jones +0.481
3. Loic Bruni +0.621
4. Thomas Estaque +0.863
5. Laurie Greenland +0.910
1. Loic Bruni - 37.049
2. Amaury Pierron +0.227
3. Troy Brosnan +0.703
4. Laurie Greenland +0.848
5. Brendan Fairclough +0.871
1. Laurie Greenland - 38.324
2. Davide Palazzari +0.066
3. Amaury Pierron +0.098
4= Brendan Fairclough +0.137
4= Jack Moir +0.137
1. Amaury Pierron - 18.879
2. Hugo Frixtalon +0.461
3. Finn Iles +0.485
4. Troy Brosnan +0.512
5. Mark Wallace +0.543
1. Tracey Hannah - 42.471
2. Marine Cabirou +0.580
3. Veronika Widmann +1.251
4. Nina Hoffmann +1.418
5. Agnes Delest +1.735
1. Tracey Hannah - 54.115
2. Marine Cabirou +0.867
3. Camille Balanche +0.996
4. Nina Hoffmann +1.114
5. Sian A'Hern +1.816
1. Mariana Salazar - 44.498
2. Marine Cabirou +0.004
3. Veronika Widmann +0.949
4. Tracey Hannah +1.203
5. Eleonora Farina +1.559
1. Mariana Salazar - 42.867
2. Tracey Hannah +0.145
3. Marine Cabirou +0.844
4. Camille Balanche+1.101
5. Eleonora Farina +1.102
1. Mariana Salazar - 21.688
2. Marine Cabirou +0.363
3. Eleonora Farina +0.496
4. Tracey Hannah +0.633
5. Nina Hoffmann +1.632
From the start gate, over the first wooden road gap and through the first techy, off camber section.Men ≈ 38 seconds, Women ≈ 43 secondsSector 2
Starting with the remaining open corners then past the middle lift station and diving into the first half of the woods.Men ≈ 46 seconds, Women ≈ 55 secondsSector 3
The second half of the woods before bursting into the open once again. Includes the Red Bull Forest key section.Men ≈ 38 seconds, Women ≈ 45 secondsSector 4
The bottom open turns including the ski jump sender and the speed trap, ends just after the slow road crossing.Men ≈ 38 seconds, Women ≈ 43 secondsSector 5
The final few gaps to the line including the flat-landing huck into the finish arena.Men ≈ 19 seconds, Women ≈ 22 secondsMen
When Amaury Pierron wins, he wins big. Just as in Fort William, he tore the field apart and will have other riders scratching their heads about how to beat him on his day. His winning margin of 2.3 seconds would be significant on any track but when 2nd to 45th were spread across 10 seconds, it's almost unbelievable how much advantage he was able to find on this flat-out track.
Pierron was joined on the podium by the usual faces of Brosnan, Bruni and Vergier but Danny Hart was missing for the first time this year, he had a tough day at the office with a run he would later describe as "just mistake after mistake". Greenland took full advantage though and earned his first podium of the season, almost a year to the day after his last one. He'll be hoping he won't have to wait another 12 months for another. The podium could have looked very different though with both Mike Jones and Thomas Estaque on pinned runs before crashes and mechanicals respectively ended their days.
Let's take a look through all the numbers to find out where the time was made and lost for the top racers:Sector 1From the start gate, over the first wooden road gap and through the first techy, off camber section.
Pierron gets off to an unbelievable start on the grass turns at the top. In qualies on Friday, he put 0.7 seconds into the field up top but on race day he extended that to nearly a second. Just as we saw in Vallnord
(and we will see again further down this track) Pierron is the grass turn master of the current World Cup field. Further back, Ed Masters and Mike Jones start strong and are the only riders able to get within a second of Pierron. This is a weak split for most of the podium finishers with Vergier in fifth, Bruni in sixth, Greenland in 14th and Brosnan uncharacteristically off the back in 18th.Sector 2Starting with the remaining open corners then past the middle lift station and diving into the first half of the woods.
Pierron goes fastest again but this split isn't quite as dominant as the first and he pulls just under half a second on Mike Jones. Jones and Estaque are both on great runs at this point having put in two top-five sectors each. Bruni puts in another solid split and Greenland starts to get up to speed as well in fifth. Fairclough is picking up his pace here too, he started slowly with a 22nd in Sector 1 but he has moved up to 14th on this split with plenty more to come.
If we combine splits 1 and 2, Pierron now has a lead of nearly 1.5 seconds back to Mike Jones in second. Loic Bruni lies third and Estaque is having a great ride in fourth. Greenland moves into the top five this split but Vergier and Brosnan are still a little bit back on the podium spots. After a super-strong first split, Ed Masters begins to slip backwards and sits 15th, a drop of 13 places.Sector 3The second half of the woods before bursting into the open once again. Includes the Red Bull Forest key section.
Pierron gets beaten for the first time in Sector 3 as Loic Bruni takes his turn to lead out the field. Pierron is tracking Bruni closely though and only 0.2 is chiseled out of his huge lead. Brosnan, Greenland, Fairclough and Wallace are the only other riders within a second of Bruni through the second half of the woods. Thomas Estaque has his first weak split of the race as he breaks his derailleur and he starts to fall backwards from this point on. Disaster also struck for Mike Jones who crashes and throws away a blinding run.
Pierron and Bruni are now the class apart at the top of the rankings. Bruni pulls back a small margin on Pierron but it's not enough to challenge his dominant lead. As Mike Jones crashes, Estaque moves up to third but he only has a slim margin over Greenland and he's going to struggle without a drivetrain for the rest of the track. Minnaar sits in the final podium spot at this point with Brosnan and Vergier breathing down his neck.Red Bull's The Forest Key Section
1. Loic Bruni - 23.740
2. Amaury Pierron +0.176
3. Troy Brosnan +0.375
4. Laurie Greenland +0.540
5. Hugo Frixtalon +0.551Sector 4The bottom open turns including the ski jump sender and the speed trap, ends just after the slow road crossing.
Laurie Greenland takes this split but it's not by much, in fact, everyone is super close with the top 16 within 0.5 and the top 33 within a second. Davide Palazzari is second fastest here and he was fastest in this sector in qualifying the day before too, clearly he's doing something right but looking at the speed trap that might just be keeping his fingers off the brakes.
Pierron extends his lead once again and reclaims the tenths he lost in the bottom half of the woods from Bruni. Minnaar is the big loser here, he looked cautious on the live feed and was 37th through the sector, which dumps him out of the top five and into seventh with only 20 seconds left of the track. Thomas Estaque also slips back, which moves Brosnan and Vergier into the podium spots.Speed TrapSector 5The final few gaps to the line including the flat-landing huck into the finish arena.
You may not think that there's much time to be made in a 20-second sprint to the line but Amaury Pierron begs to differ. He pulls out nearly half a second here with the French crowd willing him home. The rest of the field obey the laws of physics with Hugo Frixtalon leading out Finn Iles and just one second separating 2nd to 46th.
The last 20 seconds doesn't make a huge difference to the standings with the top 7 staying the same. Estaque loses another second and slips behind Trummer, who picks up his second top ten in a week. Women
Tracey Hannah wins her third race of the season and puts herself back in the leader's jersey in a frenetic afternoon in Les Gets. Her race run was actually slower than her qualifying run, which shows just how much the track deteriorated overnight. One woman who didn't go slower in race runs than qualies was Vali Holl though, her time was faster than any elite woman and she would have won the final three sectors outright. Take it with a pinch of salt though, as Ben Cathro explained yesterday
, she was on a fresher track in the morning.
The big talking point in the women's race was the final drop that only five of the women elected to hit at full pace. The rest rolled it and lost plenty of time, it probably even cost Veronika Widmann a podium. Let's get into the sectors and see where the rest of the time was won and lost.Sector 1From the start gate, over the first wooden road gap and through the first techy, off camber section.
Tracey Hannah makes a flying start and puts herself out in front from the off. She beats Marine Cabirou by around 0.3 and Veronika Widmann is in third just over 1 second back. Agnes Delest also starts strongly, the Frenchwoman isn't a World Cup regular but put in a great run on home soil to end up with a top ten.Sector 2Starting with the remaining top, open section then past the middle lift station and diving into the first half of the woods.
Hannah leads out Cabirou in split 2, this time by more than 1 second. Cabirou, Balanche and Hoffmann are closely bunched and split by around 0.25 seconds in the battle for 2nd. After a great third-place split up top, Widmann loses nearly 3 seconds. It wasn't shown on the live feed but we assume she had an issue in the woods.
Hannah is now sitting on a 1.5 second lead and looking like she might run away with it. Cabirou and Salazar have other ideas though and they will start to pick up pace towards the bottom of the track. Widmann drops four places after her mistake while Balanche and Hoffmann both move forward at her expense.Sector 3The second half of the woods before bursting into the open once again. Includes the Red Bull Forest key section.
Salazar picks up her first-ever sector win and will in fact be the fastest rider from here to the bottom of the track. Her previous fastest sector was a third in Mont Sainte Anne last year so this represents a huge step forward for the rider from El Salvador. Marine Cabirou is beaten by the tightest of margins with the next fastest rider, Veronika Widmann, just under a second back. Hannah loses nearly all the lead she had built up in this section.The bottom open turns including the ski jump sender and the speed trap, ends just after the slow road crossing.
Cabirou is right on Hannah's tail again and her challenge for the win is back on. Salazar's great third sector sees her overtake three other riders and she now sits third, just ahead of Nina Hoffmann. Red Bull's The Forest Key Section
1. Mariana Salazar - 28.682
2. Marine Cabirou +0.156
3. Tracey Hannah +0.238
4. Veronika Widmann +0.418
5. Eleonora Farina +0.973Sector 4
Salazar wins another split, this time she beats Tracey Hannah by just over a tenth of a second. Marine Cabirou is 0.8 back and then Balanche, Farina, Widmann and A'Hern are all split by less than a tenth.
Salazar's second sector win gets her closer to Cabirou but with just 25 seconds to go, she's not likely to overtake her now. Hoffmann loses another spot, this time to Widmann. You may think the positions are settled at this point but the final drop will change everything here.Speed TrapSector 5The final few gaps to the line including the flat-landing huck into the finish arena.
There's a clear divide here between the women that took the drop and those that didn't, with the women who slowed down and rolled losing about 2 seconds. The only exception here is Hoffmann who did the drop despite a crash on it in qualifying but went off line and cost herself a bit of the time she saved. Salazar goes fastest for the third time and it's easy to see why, she looked the most comfortable off the drop and even threw in a little bar turn.
Quite a lot changes in the last sector of the race. The top three stay as they are but Elenora Farina bustles her way into fourth after committing to the drop while Widmann loses out on what would have been her third podium of the year and finishes sixth.