After taking a deep dive into the top World Cup DH bikes
and the smallest
winning margins, we thought it could be interesting to look at the different venues that the World Cup & World Champs have stopped at over 21 years of racing. From the spread of venues across the globe to the riders and bike that have claimed the most wins at the highest number of different venues, we have crunched the numbers from World Cups and World Championships.
First up we have taken a look at which countries have been the host to the highest number of World Cup or World Champs racing. The first interesting point from this data is the European centric nature of top-level DH racing. Most of the racing over the past 21 years has stuck to a very small area globally.
While a large amount of the racing has been in Europe, Canada is the country with the highest numbers of races at 25. The only other country to pass the 20 races mark is Austria with 21 races. Interestingly despite just one venue, the UK comes in third with 18 races at Fort William.
Moving to the variety of race venues in each country, the list changes up with France now topping the rankings with eight World Cup/Champs venues. The USA comes closest with six venues on the DH circuit since 2000. Canada, Switzerland and Italy tie with four venues.
While the first map showed how Europe-centric the races are in terms of venues this map shows the big divide in racing between the Northern and Southern hemispheres with no country south of the equator being host to more than two World Cup/Champs venues.
2020 may have felt like we didn't get to watch a whole lot of racing but looking back at the past 21 years of World Cup and World Champs racing it is very impressive that we only lost one race when compared to the previous smallest DH racing seasons. In 2020 we saw five top-level races a drop by one from the six-race seasons of 2002, 2003 and 2007.
In the earlier years on the chart, we see highs of nine races in 2000, 2001, 2005 and 2009 but this period is marked by unpredictable levels of racing with frequent drops in the number of races in a season. Moving to more recent years we saw consistent eight-race seasons from 2014 to 2018 with a bump to nine races in 2019. Although we have seen a drop in the variety of venues used for World Cups.
To no one's surprise Mont-Sainte-Anne and Fort William top the list of venues that have held the most World Cup or World Champ races from 2000 to 2020. Next up is Leogang, holding 11 top-level races. Falling just outside of the top three with 10 races each are Maribor and Val di Sole.
Until last year both Mont-Sainte-Anne and Fort William were on record consecutive race streaks with, respectively, 20 and 18 consecutive years of being World Cup venues. Each venue was unable to hold a race last year so the streaks have now been broken. But Leogang with the third-longest consecutive streak at 11 races is still ongoing so we will have to see how big this can grow before being broken.
Most venues that have held back-to-back World Cups over multiple years fall in the two-year mark with the next most popular consecutive year value at three years before a venue was taken off the World Cup circuit. Fewer than half of returning venues see their run of consecutive hosting last for more than three years.
Producing the biggest wins, Fort William tops the chart with 10 Elite wins resulting in a winning margin of more than five seconds. Fort William sits at almost double Mont-Sainte-Anne, host to five big DH wins. A three-way tie for third sees Kaprun, Maribor and Schladming all sitting with four big-margin Elite wins.
Moving to the small wins, it is Mont-Sainte-Anne that moves to the top with 15 races resulting in a winning margin of less than one second. Maribor is again near the top with nine tight races, and the bike park style courses of Lenzerheide and Leogang sit joint third at eight close finishes.
After 20 years on the circuit and 40 elite races, exactly 50% of finishes at Mont-Sainte-Anne have resulted in a new race winner. As the longest-standing World Cup venue, this should be more expected than other courses with the huge number of riders who have taken on the oldest World Cup course. Similarly, Fort William, the second oldest current World Cup venue, sits in joint second with Leogang as both venues have produced 16 different winners. Maribor is the only other venue to break 15 new winners as it sits in fourth on the chart.
Looking at rider wins from different venues, it is no shock to see Anne-Caroline Chausson topping the list with Rachel Atherton falling just two wins behind at the top. Joint third on the list goes to teammates Greg Minnaar and Steve Peat who have won at 14 different World Cup or World Champs venues. Sabrina Jonnier and Tracy Moseley are the only other riders to win at 10 different courses.
Finally, we thought it could be interesting to look at specific models of DH bike, and it is the Commencal Supreme that tops the list. Winning at 19 different World Cup venues, the Supreme has been very dominant in recent years as Commencal continues to stack its team with top-tier riders. With 16 wins, the Santa Cruz V10 is next up as it edges one win ahead of the Cannondale Gemini, a bike that can thank Anne-Caroline Chausson for many of its race wins in the early 2000s.