Nerding Out: Maribor World Cup DH 2021

Aug 16, 2021
by James Smurthwaite  
Myriam Nicole takes her first win of the 2021 season.

For the first time in 2021, we watched a World Cup where there could be no excuses. The weather gods left the Slovenian track alone all week and its surface was baked dry by the time Sunday's finals came around.

Precision was key for riders with multiple lines forming and several tricky gaps had to be greased to carry the most speed down the track. The track was also coated in a layer of slippery dust that obscured visibility and meant any riders pushing their luck could very quickly find the limits of control. It was the shortest race of the year so far but also one of the most physical as huge holes appeared in between the brutal root and rock sections leaving no place for riders to recover.

In the end, Loris Vergier and Myriam Nicole came out on top. Both French riders have shown great pace all year but haven't been able to translate that into victories. With the weather out of the equation, they both were able to lay down flawless runs and put on a show for the Maribor crowd.

Let's get into the splits and sectors to see where the race was won.

Results




Results:


Elite Men


1st. Loris Vergier: 3:05.064
2nd. Thibaut Daprela: 3:06.819
3rd. Laurie Greenland: 3:07.904
4th. Greg Minnaar: 3:07.986
5th. Loic Bruni: 3:08.078


Elite Women


1st. Myriam Nicole: 3:35.909
2nd. Eleonora Farina: 3:37.231
3rd. Camille Balanche: 3:39.103
4th. Monika Hrastnik: 3:40.402
5th. Tahnee Seagrave: 3:40.406



The Sectors

Screenshot: Red Bull TV

Sector 1 From the start gate, across the ski piste and into the first woods section.
Men ≈ 40 seconds, Women ≈ 45 seconds

Sector 2 Through the woods then back out into the open, the split ends after the re-entry to the next woods section.
Men ≈ 32 seconds, Women ≈ 35 seconds

Sector 3 Includes the long rock garden, the fire road sprint and the big man-made double in the woods.
Men ≈ 40 seconds, Women ≈ 47 seconds

Sector 4 Another section that takes place completely in the woods, it includes the natural step-down triple and some tricky cambers and turns.
Men ≈ 32 seconds, Women ≈ 38 seconds

Sector 5 The final sector is longer this year and includes the rhythm section in the woods and the new jumps down to the tarmac finish.
Men ≈ 46 seconds, Women ≈ 54 seconds

Total Length: 2.05km / 1.27 miles

Total Drop: 443 metres / 1,453 ft


Sector by Sector Results



Men
Sector 1
1. Thibaut Daprela - 38.435
2. Loic Bruni +0.287
3. Loris Vergier +0.312
4. Danny Hart +0.344
5. Greg Minnaar +0.651

Sector 2
1. Loris Vergier - 30.566
2. Thibaut Daprela +0.079
3. Laurie Greenland +0.204
4. Matt Walker +0.278
5. Phil Atwill +0.301

Sector 3
1. Greg Minnaar - 38.008
2. Loris Vergier +0.500
3. Loic Bruni +0.949
4. Luca Shaw +1.093
5. Phil Atwill +1.222

Sector 4
1. Angel Suarez - 31.305
2. Benoit Coulanges +0.007
3. Loris Vergier +0.292
4. Loic Bruni +0.554
5. Laurie Greenland +0.648

Sector 5
1. Loris Vergier - 45.646
2. Thibaut Daprela +0.437
3. Laurie Greenland +0.542
4. Benoit Coulanges +0.582
5. Luca Shaw +1.566

Perfect Lap

3:03.960

Fastest Run

3:05.064


Women
Sector 1
1. Tahnee Seagrave - 44.034
2. Myriam Nicole +0.269
3. Vali Holl +0.386
4. Jess Blewitt +1.017
5. Camille Balanche +1.232

Sector 2
1. Myriam Nicole - 34.594
2. Camille Balanche +0.734
3. Elenora Farina +1.008
4. Monika Hrastnik +1.094
5. Tahnee Seagrave +1.450

Sector 3
1. Camille Balanche - 45.953
2. Eleonora Farina +0.718
3. Vali Holl +0.792
4. Myriam Nicole +0.902
5. Mille Johnset +1.159

Sector 4
1. Eleonora Farina - 36.469
2. Myriam Nicole +0.347
3. Monika Hrastnik +1.351
4. Mille Johnset +1.996
5. Camille Balanche +2.133

Sector 5
1. Eleonora Farina - 52.889
2. Tahnee Seagrave +0.281
3. Monika Hrastnik +0.313
4. Myriam Nicole +0.442
5. Mille Johnset +0.981

Perfect Lap

3:33.939

Fastest Run

3:35.909



The Story of the Race




In Depth



Men

Sector 1
From the start gate, across the ski piste and into the first woods section.


Anybody who thought Thibaut Daprela only took the win in Les Gets because of the weather can put that to bed after yesterday's race. Daprela showed he can compete with the world's best on any track and in any conditions as he puts a quarter of a second into the rest of the field before the end of the first woods section.

Bruni trailed him in second before Vergier rounded out an all-French top 3 just ahead of Danny Hart. The front four already had a gap back to the rest of the field, which was led out by Greg Minnaar. Laurie Greenland would end the day in third place but had already lost around a second at this point. Thankfully there was a lot of track left for him to make up time.



Sector 2
Through the woods then back out into the open, the split ends after the re-entry to the next woods section.


In Sector 2 Vergier went fastest but with Daprela less than a tenth behind him. Next is Greenland who started to get up to speed after a middling top section. Special mention should go to Phil Atwill who picked up a puncture between the lift and the start gate and apparently didn't even have a wheel in his bike 10 minutes before the start of his run. He was fifth in this sector and turned a near disaster into a solid top 20 result.

After going fastest in Sector 1, Bruni slipped to 11th in this sector, his worst of the race, and lost half a second.


Daprela held on to his lead over Vergier and the pair already had a half second advantage over Hart in third at the end of the first two sectors. Danny Hart was the only other rider within a second of the lead at this point. The big loser in sector 2 was Greg Minnaar who dropped from fifth to eighth but he was about to make it back up in a big way.



Sector 3
Includes the long rock garden, the fire road sprint and the big man-made double in the woods.


The rock garden is usually selective in Maribor and 2021's race was no exception. Ben Cathro has already dug deep on the line that turned the race on its head in this section and that's backed up in the numbers too. Only two riders were on that line - Greg Minnaar and Loris Vergier - and clearly Minnaar was able to execute it best, as he put half a second into Vergier with only Bruni able to come within a second of him.

Luca Shaw was fourth in this sector and Atwill was up there again in fifth. The leader before this sector, Thibaut Daprela, lost 1.5 seconds into seventh.


It was all change at the top as Vergier took a lead he would keep hold of until the end. Minnaar made a huge stride forward into second. Daprela didn't fall too far and was third and within a second of Vergier's time, then Bruni and Luca Shaw rounded out the top 5.



Sector 4
Another section that takes place completely in the woods, it includes the natural step-down triple and some tricky cambers and turns.


It was clear from the live timing that Coulanges had put down a heater in Sector 4 as rider after rider failed to beat his hot seat time, but he actually wasn't fastest there. Angel Suarez took the fastest time in Sector 4, but Coulanges was only seven hundredths behind him. It's tough to see exactly what the pair did differently on the live feed but we've reached out to them to see if they'll spill any secrets.

Vergier was consistently fast again and in fact, didn't finish outside of the top 3 in any sector of the race. After a scorching sector through the rock garden, Minnaar finished 16th in this sector, his worst of the race, and Thibaut Daprela stalled in the big left hander so lost nearly a second.


With just 45 seconds of racing still to go, Vergier had a substantial lead over the field. The battle for second was heating up with Daprela, Bruni and Minnaar separated by 0.12 seconds. There would also be a battle for the final podium spot between Shaw, Hart and Greenland, who were roughly within a tenth of each other. Coulanges' and Suarez's sector 4s lifted them from 15th to 9th and 12th to 8th, respectively.


Sector 5
The final sector is longer this year and includes the rhythm section in the woods and the new jumps down to the tarmac finish.


While the rock garden normally grabs all the headlines in Maribor, the new layout of the finale fractured the field the most this year. Vergier won his second sector of the race to secure the victory, then it was Daprela, Greenland and Coulanges who all fell around half a second back. Then there was nearly a second before Luca Shaw, who led out Minnaar and the rest of the field.


In the end, Vergier's victory was by a comfortable margin of 1.755 seconds. It was his first World Cup win for Trek and means he's now unbeaten on this track in the last four races. Daprela extended his lead in the overall standings to 237 points, a formidable margin with just 3 World Cup races to go. Greenland, Minnaar and Bruni rounded out the podium places.



Women

Sector 1
From the start gate, across the ski piste and into the first woods section.


In both races, the winner in Les Gets also went fastest through Sector 1 - in the women's race that meant it was Tahnee Seagrave who took the early initiative. Myriam Nicole and Vali Holl were in hot pursuit and then Jess Blewitt was fourth with a deficit of around a second. It was a great start for Blewitt who also competed in Formation earlier this year.



Sector 2
Through the woods then back out into the open, the split ends after the re-entry to the next woods section.


Myriam Nicole took her first and only Sector win of the race and it was by a significant margin of 0.7 seconds back to Camille Balanche. Eleonora Farina was just over a second back in third and then the local, Monika Hrastnik, was fourth. After starting the first Sector so strongly, Tahnee Seagrave finished this one in fifth. She said after the race that she was still recovering from a crash sustained in Friday practice, and this held her back from her full pace when the race came around.


Myriam Nicole already had a lead of a second over the rest of the field in the first two sectors of the track. Holl and Balanche were neck and neck around 1.6 seconds back and then Farina lay in fifth.



Sector 3
Includes the long rock garden, the fire road sprint and the big man-made double in the woods.


While the big rock garden was decisive in the men's race, it didn't seem to have been so in the women's. Camille Balanche was fastest through it but it's the joint worst of the race for the eventual winner Myriam Nicole. Eleonora Farina started to pick up speed there and she was the fastest woman from Split 3 to the bottom of the track.


Nicole still led but her advantage had been cut down to under a second by a flying Balanche. The Swiss rider seems to be the woman to beat when it gets steep and technical in 2021. At the halfway point in this race, Holl was third, Seagrave fourth and Farina fifth, but Farina was about to make some big strides forward in the lower half of the track.



Sector 4
Another section that takes place completely in the woods, it includes the natural step-down triple and some tricky cambers and turns.


Eleonora Farina took the first of two consecutive Sector wins in the lower half of the woods, with only Myriam Nicole able to keep her within her sights. Farina is a local to Val di Sole and if her performance on the fast, rough and dusty Maribor proved anything, it's that she could be a favourite for the World Championships in two weeks' time.

Monika Hrastnik and Mille Johnset put in strong sectors but Camille Balanche slipped back slightly after her flying third sector. Vali Holl was back in seventh in this sector. She said on social media she was focussing on not crashing in her race run and may have played it slightly too safe to challenge for the win.


Myriam Nicole's lead was well-established and she could cruise into the line to secure the victory. Farina took a huge stride forward into second and was carrying a lot of momentum into the track's finale. Balanche, Holl and Hrastnik rounded out the top three after Sector 4.



Sector 5
The final sector is longer this year and includes the rhythm section in the woods and the new jumps down to the tarmac finish.


In the longest sector of the track, Farina went fastest again with Seagrave making a late surge to finish second. Hrastnik was third and Nicole lost minimal time in fourth to secure the win.


Myriam Nicole took her first World Cup win of the year and catapulted herself into joint first in the overall standings alongside Camille Balanche. Elenora Farina took her best-ever World Cup result in second and set herself up for a great result in her home World Championships in two weeks' time. Balanche was third, Hrastnik squeezed into fourth, just 0.004 seconds ahead of Seagrave in the run to the line.


36 Comments

  • 61 0
 Always fun to watch Greg take the kids to school in certain tricky sections. MSA gap, this rock garden, middle section of the Lousa track, and the Ft Bill motorway. Never gets old (literally and figuratively haha)
  • 25 0
 GM is basically a glitch in the matrix.
  • 36 0
 Is my math correct that Vergier averaged 25mph (40kph) for his run? If so...damn.
  • 1 0
 Math is cool!
  • 3 1
 Your maths is correct, we won't get into pluralisation or how to spell pluralisation though. Big Grin

25mph average is effin quick, Vergier was so impressive to watch.
22.5mph average for Pompon is also insanely fast.
  • 2 0
 @Steventux: It's super quick considering the top part of the track and like 200-300m in the bottom run much much slower so the speed on most of the 2nd part of the track was probably 28-30
  • 25 0
 Other notable point : Vergier won the last sector by a good margin despite being the only one (During the live feed) that don’t even put a single pedal stroke in this sector. Magic
  • 3 0
 full aerodinamic shit
  • 7 0
 Andreas Kolb in the top-20 on that sector didn’t even have a chain. He seemed to riding a little safe without moving the pedals much as his cranks may have gotten jammed up by the chain too.
  • 8 0
 I agree . Compare the size of him in the photos below. He seems very committed to his tuck and gets low as possible, early as possible. decreasing frontal area more than others and for longer. He probably wears a smaller helmet compared to most other riders ( more aero)
Also his clothing fits very very well when he is tucked. Flapping clothing waste a huge amount of watts(20 to 40watts just for upper body) then add full length pants with stiff material)) Way more than can be saved by ceramic bearings(6W - 9W) and fancy waxed chains(4W).
Look at team Atherton continental clothing. Pinkbike previously showed pictures of Rachel having her jersey fit adjusted by hand sewing at the event

racing.trekbikes.com/stories/tfr-downhill/leogang-dh-and-xc-world-cup-preview-big-debuts-big-hills-big-speed-oh-my




@LuccsPB:
  • 4 0
 Coasting aero tuck is underrated so often. Just cause you can pedal doesn't mean you should.
  • 2 0
 @gcrider: the team on the PB podcast have talked about how skinsuits are banned in DH so everyone has pretty form fitting gear to minimize drag, given the speeds that they’re carrying and how tight the racing is.
  • 1 0
 Yeah. And even Phil Atwill is tucking his jersey in now!!
At Let Gets the first thing he did when he finished his run was to untuck his jersey which made me laugh.
There is still advantage in tucking ,better longer and having tighter cloths even if everyone else is doing it. But you can’t make your head and helmet smaller ( no not that head) so he still has that advantage
I hope Luca Shaw is getting good $$$ for racing with his go pro. It wont be doing his time on that last split any favours.
And putting it under his visor probably won’t help if it blocks of air flow under the visor.
@Giddyhitch:
  • 16 0
 This reminds me of Roots & Rain
  • 14 0
 Seems like not enough people know about Roots & Rain...
  • 4 0
 @suspended-flesh: for shame. Nothing better than needing out after a weekend of racing
  • 8 1
 I could easily see that .6 of a second uncharacteristic bobble from Minnaar at the start taken out of the equation, along with the spiked heart rate because of it, tranlating to atleast a second off his final sector putting him atleast in 2nd. That would be his usual mo of starting smooth and picking up speed the whole way down the course, much like Luca
  • 7 0
 I thought we talked about posting this stuff during my (formerly) productive work hours, sheesh.
  • 3 0
 Amazing that Loris was able to put almost half a second into everybody in the last split without even a pedal stroke. Smooth is fast!!!!!
  • 1 0
 To me it looks like the women's race is decided by the physical differences. Especially in the last part of the race they all drop massively against Pompon. Also in Les Gets already noticeable, despite the victory of Seagrave but there she has already lost a lot at the end. Here it was to be observed with Höll.
  • 3 0
 Looks like Farina and Seagrave both beat Nicole in the last section of track here though
  • 3 0
 Correct me if I’m wrong but I’m pretty sure Jess Blewitt is the first female Kiwi racer inside the top 10 since 2008?
  • 7 1
 Depends on who you're talking to and how they define female racer. UCI says Jess is not the only one: www.rootsandrain.com/rider136238/kate-weatherly/results
  • 1 0
 @adamdigby: true, my bad!
  • 1 0
 The first table of sector times tells the tale - it's not just being fastest, but consistently fast. Vergier, Nicole and Farina are the only riders in the top 5 in every sector.
  • 1 0
 From all the riders I've seen this weekend I was the most impressed with Daprela. His riding was super smooth and the bike seemed dialed and dead quiet.
  • 1 0
 Could we see qualifying position versus final position? If only that the last five of the men's will be at 45 degrees.
  • 1 0
 One thing despite several mistakes, The GOAT is still on the pace....watch out Frenchies.
  • 1 0
 thanks for that geeky stats . important to enjoy a bit longer this race
  • 1 0
 What happened to Vali?
  • 7 0
 she posted a story on instagram saying that she just rode too carefully, she seemed to imply that her main goal/strategy for the race was not to crash because she said it "worked" but wasn't good enough for the win
  • 3 0
 @mllachance: She does have an issue with going a bit too HAM and taking herself out of it. She's an awesome rider, but so young that she probably hasn't mastered her own mental game yet.
  • 3 0
 @mllachance: ahh good to know, to be honest I think it's a good strategy for her now. It's a difficult balance between too much / too little risk. She proved that she is incredibly fast already, and tried finding the balance from the risky side, and crashed twice. Now change it up and try to build upwards from a safer standpoint. All the best for her!
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