Nerding Out: The Biggest Winning Margins in World Cup Downhill from 1997 to 2019

Apr 26, 2020
by Ed Spratt  
Loic and Amaury held their breath as their fates lay at the hands of Danny Hart as he crossed the line.

With World Cup racing on a (hopefully) short hiatus, we thought it would be interesting to take a look back through the history books at some of the biggest winning margins in downhill racing. Check out who managed to pull more than five seconds out of their opponents and take the top step of the podium from 1997 to 2019 below.


We have started at the 1997 season because race result data is not fully accurate or complete for the seasons from 1993 to 1996.


1997

Winning Margins Over 5 Seconds


Elke Brutsaert

Elite Women
Stellenbosch
1997 World Cup Round 1


Winning Margin:
- 5.58 seconds
- 1.83%


Corrado Herin

Elite Men
Nevegal
1997 World Cup Round 2


Winning Margin:
- 8.33 seconds
- 2.7%


Anne-Caroline Chausson

Elite Women
Nevegal
1997 World Cup Round 2


Winning Margin:
- 6.29 seconds
- 1.79%


Anne-Caroline Chausson

Elite Women
Sierra Nevada
1997 World Cup Round 3


Winning Margin:
- 7.41 seconds
- 2.71%


Nicolas Vouilloz

Elite Men
Château d'Oex
1997 World Championships


Winning Margins:
- 6.19 seconds
- 1.65%


Anne-Caroline Chausson

Elite Women
Château d'Oex
1997 World Championships


Winning Margin:
- 19.63 seconds
- 4.77%


Views: 3,039    Faves: 4    Comments: 2





1998

Winning Margins Over 5 Seconds


Anne-Caroline Chausson

Elite Women
Les Gets
1998 World Cup Round 3


Winning Margin:
- 16.57 seconds
- 4.3%


Anne-Caroline Chausson

Elite Women
Big Bear Lake
1998 World Cup Round 4


Winning Margin:
- 8.40 seconds
- 3.03%


Anne-Caroline Chausson

Elite Women
Snoqualmie
1998 World Cup Round 5


Winning Margin:
- 27.79 seconds
- 10.72%


Nicolas Vouilloz

Elite Men
Sierra Nevada
1998 World Cup Round 6


Winning Margin:
- 5.48 seconds
- 2.13%


Nicolas Vouilloz

Elite Men
Kaprun
1998 World Cup Round 7


Winning Margin:
- 6.04 seconds
- 2.15%


Anne-Caroline Chausson

Elite Women
Kaprun
1998 World Cup Round 7


Winning Margin:
- 13.16 seconds
- 4.23%


Anne-Caroline Chausson

Elite Women
Arai Mountain
1998 World Cup Round 8


Winning Margin:
- 27.18 seconds
- 6.22%


Anne-Caroline Chausson

Elite Women
Mont-Sainte-Anne
1998 World Champs


Winning Margin:
- 10.56 seconds
- 3.35%




1999

Winning Margins Over 5 Seconds


Anne-Caroline Chausson

Elite Women
Les Gets
1999 World Cup Round 1


Winning Margin:
- 17.23 seconds
- 3.61%


Anne-Caroline Chausson

Elite Women
Maribor
1999 World Cup Round 2


Winning Margin:
- 7.30 seconds
- 2.51%


Anne-Caroline Chausson

Elite Women
Nevegal
1999 World Cup Round3


Winning Margin:
- 8.24 seconds
- 2.87%


Anne-Caroline Chausson

Elite Women
Squaw Valley
1999 World Cup Round 5


Winning Margin:
- 13.16 seconds
- 4.45%


Anne-Caroline Chausson

Elite Women
Bromont
1999 World Cup Round 7


Winning Margin:
- 18.71 seconds
- 5.9%


Anne-Caroline Chausson

Elite Women
Kaprun
1999 World Cup Round 8


Winning Margin:
- 13.586 seconds
- 3.16%


Nicolas Vouilloz

Elite Men
Åre
1999 World Champs


Winning Margin:
- 6.42 seconds
- 2.21%






2000

Winning Margins Over 5 Seconds


Anne-Caroline Chausson

Elite Women
Vail
2000 World Cup Round 5


Winning Margin:
- 8.91 seconds
- 3.26%


Anne-Caroline Chausson

Elite Women
Kaprun
2000 World Cup Round 7


Winning Margin:
- 5.97 seconds
- 1.75%


Cédric Gracia

Elite Men
Leysin
2000 World Cup Round 8


Winning Margin:
- 9.14 seconds
- 2.51%


Anne-Caroline Chausson

Elite Women
Leysin
2000 World Cup Round 8


Winning Margin:
- 40.85 seconds
- 9.75%






2001

Winning Margins Over 5 Seconds


Anne-Caroline Chausson

Elite Women
Durango
2001 World Cup Round 4


Winning Margin:
- 5.43 seconds
- 2.36%


Nicolas Vouilloz

Elite Men
Arai Mountain
2001 World Cup Round 5


Winning Margin:
- 6.47 seconds
- 2.62%


Katja Repo

Elite Women
Leysin
2001 World Cup Round 6


Winning Margin:
- 6.30 seconds
- 1.91%


Anne-Caroline Chausson

Elite Women
Kaprun
2001 World Cup Round 7


Winning Margin:
- 9.45 seconds
- 2.31%





2002

Winning Margins Over 5 Seconds


Chris Kovarik

Elite Men
Fort William
2002 World Cup Round 1


Winning Margin:
- 14.02 seconds
- 5.11%


Tracy Moseley

Elite Women
Fort William
2002 World Cup Round 1


Winning Margin:
- 6.48 seconds
- 1.96%


Anne-Caroline Chausson

Elite Women
Maribor
2002 World Cup Round 2


Winning Margin:
- 9.17 seconds
- 4.42%


Anne-Caroline Chausson

Elite Women
Kaprun
2002 World Champs


Winning Margin:
- 6.60 seconds
- 2.02%





2003

Winning Margins Over 5 Seconds


Marla Streb

Elite Women
Kaprun
2003 World Cup Round 3


Winning Margin:
- 6.63 seconds
- 3.75%


Anne-Caroline Chausson

Elite Women
Lugano
2003 World Champs


Winning Margin:
- 12.41 seconds
- 4.09%





2004

Winning Margins Over 5 Seconds


Steve Peat

Elite Men
Les Deux Alpes
2004 World Cup Round 2


Winning Margin:
- 5.77 seconds
- 3.33%


Sabrina Jonnier

Elite Women
Mont-Sainte-Anne
2004 World Cup Round 4


Winning Margin:
- 9.75 seconds
- 5.02%





2005

Winning Margins Over 5 Seconds


Sam Hill

Elite Men
Schladming
2005 World Cup Round 3


Winning Margin:
- 8.17 seconds
- 3.4%


Sabrina Jonnier

Elite Women
Angle Fire
2005 World Cup Round 6


Winning Margin:
- 12.79 seconds
- 4.36%


Sam Hill

Elite Men
Pila
2005 World Cup Round 7


Winning Margin:
- 6.75 seconds
- 2.83%





2006

Winning Margins Over 5 Seconds


Tracy Moseley

Elite Women
Fort William
2006 World Cup Round 2


Winning Margin:
- 7.58 seconds
- 2.55%


Sam Hill

Elite Men
Schladming
2006 World Cup Round 6


Winning Margin:
- 5.51 seconds
- 2.54%






2007

Winning Margins Over 5 Seconds


Sam Hill

Elite Men
Schladming
2007 World Cup Round 4


Winning Margin:
- 5.14 seconds
- 2.26%


Rachel Atherton

Elite Women
Maribor
2007 World Cup Round 5


Winning Margin:
- 8.63 seconds
- 4.61%




2008

Winning Margins Over 5 Seconds


Rachel Atherton

Elite Women
Vallnord
2008 World Cup Round 2


Winning Margin:
- 8.47 seconds
- 5%


Rachel Atherton

Elite Women
Schladming
2008 World Cup Round 7


Winning Margin:
- 13.67 seconds
- 4.91%


Rachel Atherton

Elite Women
Val di Sole
2008 World Champs


Winning Margin:
- 11.99 seconds
- 5.44%





2009

Winning Margins Over 5 Seconds


Tracy Moseley

Elite Women
Pietermaritzburg
2009 World Cup Round 1


Winning Margin:
- 6.380 seconds
- 2.55%


Sabrina Jonnier

Elite Women
La Bresse
2009 World Cup Round 2


Winning Margin:
- 5.020 seconds
- 3.38%


Tracey Moseley

Elite Women
Fort William
2009 World Cup Round 4


Winning Margin:
- 9.020 seconds
- 2.84%


Views: 27,640    Faves: 245    Comments: 43





2010

Winning Margins Over 5 Seconds


Rachel Atherton

Elite Women
Maribor
2010 World Cup Round 1


Winning Margin:
- 9.730 seconds
- 4.19%


Tracey Moseley

Elite Women
Mont-Sainte-Anne
2010 World Champs


Winning Margin:
- 7.500 seconds
- 2.46%






2011

Winning Margins Over 5 Seconds


Danny Hart

Elite Men
Champery
2011 World Champs


Winning Margin:
- 11.699 seconds
- 5.46%


Emmeline Ragot

Elite Women
Champery
2011 World Champs


Winning Margin:
- 15.291 seconds
- 5.27%





2012

Winning Margins Over 5 Seconds


Aaron Gwin

Elite Men
Val di Sole
2012 World Cup Round 2


Winning Margin:
- 7.850 seconds
- 4.22%




2013

Winning Margins Over 5 Seconds


Rachel Atherton

Elite Women
Fort William
2013 World Cup Round 1


Winning Margin:
- 10.139 seconds
- 3.82%


Rachel Atherton

Elite Women
Hafjell
2013 World Cup Round 5


Winning Margin:
- 7.631 seconds
- 3.03%


Rachel Atherton
Elite Women
Hafjell 2013 World Cup Round 5

Winning Margin:
- 7.631 seconds
- 3.03%


Rachel Atherton

Elite Women
Pietermaritzburg
2013 World Champs


Winning Margin:
- 8.632 seconds
- 3.38%






2014

Winning Margins Over 5 Seconds


Rachel Atherton

Elite Women
Cairns
2014 World Cup Round 2


Winning Margin:
- 11.655 seconds
- 4.16%


Emmeline Ragot

Elite Women
Fort William
2014 World Cup Round 3


Winning Margin:
- 8.710 seconds
- 2.93%





2015

Winning Margins Over 5 Seconds


Rachel Atherton

Elite Women
Fort William
2015 World Cup Round 2


Winning Margin:
- 7.989 seconds
- 2.6%


Rachel Atherton

Elite Women
Lenzerheide
2015 World Cup Round 4


Winning Margin:
- 5.006 seconds
- 2.4%


Rachel Atherton

Elite Women
Windham
2015 World Cup Round 6


Winning Margin:
- 9.360 seconds
- 5.3%





2016

Winning Margins Over 5 Seconds


Rachel Atherton

Elite Women
Cairns
2016 World Cup Round 2


Winning Margin:
- 7.098 seconds
- 3.12%


Rachel Atherton

Elite Women
Fort William
2016 World Cup Round 3


Winning Margin:
- 12.049 seconds
- 3.88%


Rachel Atherton

Elite Women
Leogang
2016 World Cup Round 4


Winning Margin:
- 5.370 seconds
- 2.25%


Rachel Atherton

Elite Women
Mont-Sainte-Anne
2016 World Cup Round 6


Winning Margin:
- 11.116 seconds
- 4.03%


Rachel Atherton

Elite Women
Vallnord
2016 World Cup Round 7


Winning Margin:
- 6.568 seconds
- 2.37%





2017

Winning Margins Over 5 Seconds


Tracey Hannah

Elite Women
Fort William
2017 World Cup Round 2


Winning Margin:
- 10.245 seconds
- 3.07%


Tahnée Seagrave

Elite Women
Mont-Sainte-Anne
2017 World Cup Round 6


Winning Margin:
- 5.737 seconds
- 2.17%


Tracey Hannah means business this season.




2018

Winning Margins Over 5 Seconds


Tahnée Seagrave

Elite Women
Fort William
2018 World Cup Round 2


Winning Margin:
- 8.251 seconds
- 2.7%


Rachel Atherton

Elite Women
Mont-Sainte-Anne
2018 World Cup Round 6


Winning Margin:
- 5.087 seconds
- 1.76%


Rachel Atherton

Elite Women
Lenzerheide
2018 World Champs


Winning Margin:
- 9.983 seconds
- 5.42%





2019

Winning Margins Over 5 Seconds


Marine Cabirou

Elite Women
Val di Sole
2019 World Cup Round 6


Winning Margin:
- 11.776 seconds
- 4.62%




Total number of wins from riders with more than two five-second plus wins

It's no surprise to see the top name is Chausson who has 23 wins with a margin of more than five seconds, but Rachel Atherton is not far behind with 20 and is likely to equal or pass ACC in the future. Sitting in joint third are two more downhill legends; Tracey Moseley and Nico Vouilloz, who both have five to their name.



The 10 biggest winning margins by time difference

When breaking down the results by time difference alone ACC dominates the list with the top seven biggest winning margins since 1997. The only other three riders to make the list are Emmeline Ragot, Chris Kovarik and Rachel Atherton. All three of which come very far off ACC's biggest win at Leysin, 2000, which saw her take the top spot by an unimaginable 40.85 seconds and beat more than half of the men's field.



The 10 biggest winning margins by percentage difference

Looking at the percentage results tells a slightly different story. Although ACC still holds the top four spots we now have the likes of Danny Hart and Sabrina Jonnier joining Emmeline Ragot, Chris Kovarik and Rachel Atherton in the list.

The most interesting point from both graphs is the absence of any results past the 2011 World Champs run in Champery, which hints at how racing has become a lot tighter in recent years. This is especially apparent in the men's racing with no winning margin of over five seconds since Gwin's win at Val di Sole in 2012.





79 Comments

  • 166 3
 Danny Hart run in 2011 in Champéry will forever be the most mind blowing run I've ever seen
  • 58 0
 STAY ON YOUR BIKE DANNY!
  • 36 0
 The thing that amazed me the most about that ride by Danny was watching the other guys struggle so bad in their runs, Gee + Gwin etc.
Danny was on another planet
  • 34 0
 @raph11 never gets old watching that run! And that Whip
  • 18 2
 Danny Hart Elite Men Champery 2011 World Champs Gives me goose bumps and a hard on every time
  • 27 0
 HE LOVES THESE JUMPS - OOOOHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

Love this video from the commentary booth. The #1 most entertaining Mountain Bike Video on the Planet

www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KZV7zfMGTg
  • 7 3
 I was there, it was very impressive. I recall that the rain deteriorated the soil very quickly until it was barely rideable. However, the more it rained, the more it got washed out, the less sticky the mud became and the more grip there seemed to be. I recall track conditions earlier in the race as downright impossible, at the very end 'only' as extremely difficult (for the last few riders).
Not to take anything away from that amazing race run, but to me that day, it explained the enormous differences between some of the riders. I remember Gee basically falling / jumping (on foot, barely on his bike) down one of the steepest parts of the track.
  • 14 0
 "How does Danny sits down with balls that big"
  • 9 0
 I agree but didn't Gwin crash after Danny's run?
  • 3 0
 Agreed!!!! Loved that run, most exciting run I ever watched. Sadly my fat fingers down voted your comment by accident, sorry
  • 3 0
 @Shiny-side-up: Just ride it like it is dry, do that & will go real well until you realize what your doing, at that point it can go really wrong?
  • 1 0
 @swellhunter: Thank you for linking this video hadn't seen it before!
  • 1 0
 Too bad the rain didn't start earlier in 2007, Hill would probably have had an even bigger margin after his 14s win in qualifying
  • 124 0
 Unimpressed. I get beat by 20 seconds all the time.
  • 39 0
 I remember watching DH racing back in the 90's and getting bored seeing Anne-Caroline Chausson winning all the time. As time went by, I started appreciating her more and more as a person and recognizing her accomplishments. They way she came back after overcoming cancer, I can only say my respect for her grew exponentially. She is a fantastic role model to have and I feel blessed having witnessed her career unfolding.
  • 31 0
 Men’s DH hasn’t had a winning margin greater than 5 seconds since Gwin’s infamous Val Di Sole run in 2012. That just shows that the depth of field in men’s DH is crazy good now...
  • 2 0
 I was thinking the same thing. The competition on the men's field has gotten really close lately.
  • 2 0
 I actually think Gwin's vds run is the most dominating of all time because it happened in dry conditions in the super-competitive modern era.
  • 31 1
 This is why for me, ACC is the goat.
  • 7 0
 I knew of all the world champs and overalls she won, but didn't realized she was that dominant. Her 1998 and 1999 season are stunningly dominant, Nicolas hold my beer.....
  • 10 5
 Indeed she is. Racheal is great but when people say she’s better than ACC I have to laugh.

ACC not only beat her female competition handily she also was the closest any female has been to the men.

We’ll see if Val is ACC reincarnated in the next few years
  • 15 0
 ACC is truly the best, by far (and I’m not French). What seals the deal for me is her coming out of ‘retirement’ to win Olympic Gold in BMX in 2008.
  • 3 1
 @meathooker: yeah I think VH is going to be the next dominant force in Elite DH
  • 3 0
 @fjm35: That was amazing. She just ruined the competition too. The finals weren't even close.
  • 5 0
 ACC was in a league of her own
  • 2 0
 @big-red: Shanaze Reade gave her a good race until she crashed in the final corner: www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGeBp34Etxw
  • 2 0
 @antennae: I forgot about that. She handled that last triple before the crash so nicely too.
  • 20 0
 More interesting if you adjust the results for how competitive the race was (eg divide winning margin by time from 1st to 10th). A 2s win is much more impressive in 2019 men than 1995 women.
  • 16 0
 The strength and depth in women’s DH is 10 years behind men’s. ACC’s achievements are awesome but Danny Hart at Champery is by far the most impressive relatively.
  • 3 7
flag SintraFreeride (Apr 27, 2020 at 5:19) (Below Threshold)
 I have to disagree. ACC fell during a muddy race (can't seem to remember which one). Had to push up a steep bank, lost a ton of time and STILL beat everyone else by a hugh margin. Danny Hart could only wish to come close to that.
  • 12 1
 Unfortunately this does nothing to satiate my longing for the WC race season.
  • 11 0
 It’s crazy how much smaller the margins have gotten over 20 years.
  • 6 4
 Yeah! It really puts a point on how amazing Rachel is.
  • 10 1
 It really shows how much deeper the talent pool is these days. It was easier to produce a standout performance when there were only a handful of truly competitive riders.
  • 7 0
 Also shows how far the technology has come over the last twenty years.
  • 4 0
 @toast2266: Agreed.

I think it's more a case of the talent pool growing.

When ACC was dominant, not many women were in any form of professional cycling, much less WC DH. Her BMX background in of itself was highly unique. I have no doubts about her skills, but WC DH is one of those sports where champions throughout the years can't really be compared because tracks change, tech changes, and excellent riders come and go.

I think the men's field is probably pretty stacked with GOAT talent. Look at how many former WC DH podium finisher still race and how long they've been racing: Minnar (Overall in 2001), Hill (think of how good the EWS field is to stand a chance against him) (2nd in 2004), Gee Atheron (3rd in 200Cool , Gwin (3rd in 2010), Brosnon (3rd in 2014), Bruni (2nd in 2015), Hart (2nd in 2016). The fact that Minnar placed in 3rd in 2017 is a testament to his skill throughout the ages, and even more impressive is Pierron coming out of no-where to beat all the proven, experienced winners.
  • 1 0
 @PHeller: definitely. The fast guys always were (and continue to be) fast. There's just a whole lot more guys that are right on their heels these days.
  • 13 3
 If men and women compete in different categories I do not understand why not here...
  • 4 0
 Agree this would be much more interesting separated by men/women. Surprised this isn't a top comment.
People in 2020 are scared to keep it real or say anything that doesn't sound "woke".
  • 2 0
 @sarahlh: yeap so much data crossing for failing in such obvious one...
  • 4 0
 Anne Caroline Chausson put on a clinic at Snoqualmie Pass in 1998. Loved seeing her shred down the 8-foot-tall, near-vertical rock wall corner in “The Black Forest” section, blasting past many of the top pro men who had crashed or were floundering they way down during practice. ACC and Shaums March (#1 qualifier) put on a timeless show of skill, power, and confidence on one of the gnarliest, steepest, and most challenging tracks in World Cup history. Seeing Steve Peat win his first WC was quite memorable as well.
  • 2 0
 I wish I had been alive to see this race
  • 6 1
 for obvious reasons, the analisys must be based on different information. How many women finish inside a 10 seconds difference and how many mans? Come on...
  • 3 1
 Kovarik did it for the men? When I see videos of him his style looks crazy, the older videos he just looks sloppy compared to the more calculated riders. He’s results speak for themselves but his style never progressed the sport, like Sam Hill did.
  • 2 1
 Lazyarse, you are entitled to your opinion, but I think, on the whole, you're wrong. Heaps of people bought Intense M1s and M3s trying to emulate Kovarik's style. He certainly had a bulldozer style, but countless riders, much better than you and I, marveled at his ability to put the bike in places few could. That takes precision, skill and strength few could match. I would argue, few outside Palmer and Peat have influenced the sport more than Sam, so your comparison isn't really valid.
  • 1 0
 DH was a far different sport back then, training was punching runs all day and sinking beers all night - it was fast and loose and riders who were also fast and loose were rewarded. Didn't quite have the level of precision & training modern DH does...
  • 4 0
 ACC's domination was great and her skills especially in the wet unbelievable...not sure but I think she even made it into the top 20 in the men's field...
  • 6 0
 Must be pretty demoralising coming second and being 40 seconds back.
  • 2 0
 Possibly got top 20 at 1999 Bromont WC
  • 1 0
 @starblanket:...as a rider who qualified for finals from time to time she was hard to beat...
  • 5 0
 Anne-Caro \m/
  • 5 1
 Just imagine if Rachel was French!
  • 16 1
 For a start, her English might be easier to understand. JK!
  • 4 0
 ACC is the motha frecking GOAT!!!!
  • 4 0
 Sam Hill and Schladming .... perfect match.
  • 1 0
 Would be interesting to see winning times on same courses as years have gone by. Probably quite hard to get a direct comparison though as often courses are changed slightly each year.
  • 1 0
 To much math for Sunday morning . But ACC is a machine had the pleasure of watching her compete in person many times . Also a lovely person in general
  • 2 0
 Rachel’s windham and Lenzerheide runs were particularly out of this world
  • 2 0
 What's amazing is the men's field has become super tight the last few years as no 5s plus wins since Gwin in 2012.
  • 3 0
 So is ACC is pretty good huh
  • 4 1
 ACC = G.O.A.T. bar none.
  • 1 0
 Records are made to be broken but I'm pretty sure nobody will every win a world cup race by over 40 seconds, that's one record that will never be broken. Long live ACC.
  • 2 0
 Amazing to see the ACC domination!
  • 2 0
 Sexy time with the data, very nice!
  • 1 0
 Was a lot bigger winning margins with 26" Funny how small the wheels look now!
  • 1 0
 Smallest winning margin?

Bruni retaining the World Champs title in 2020 by 0.00 seconds ????
  • 2 0
 It's Corrado Herin not Carrado
  • 1 0
 I hope Rob Warner reads this article so he can stop calling Greg Minnaar the GOAT...
  • 2 0
 ACC is the GOAT, period. She's the only one.
  • 1 0
 If anyone needed a reminder of how amazing ACC was on course, this is it. Utter and complete domination, GOAT!
  • 1 0
 Anne-Caroline Chausson was nemesis on 2 wheels. Then Rachel came...
  • 2 0
 Bonjour
  • 2 3
 Basically just a list of Rachel Atherton’s wins
  • 1 2
 mans=men, right?
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