Nerding Out: Vallnord World Cup DH 2019

Jul 8, 2019
by James Smurthwaite  
No doubt Greenland has more to give this season and will be extra mad for it heading to the French Alps next week.

A fully blown out Vallnord track proved to be a real puzzler for the riders in Andorra. Surviving was as much of a challenge as going fast and an inch off-line either way could mean disaster. The toughest steel is forged in the hottest fires though, and those that prospered delivered some truly stunning runs in a race that will go down in World Cup folklore.

Splits, stats and socks, we've got it all here in the latest edition of Nerding Out. Let's get stuck in:

The Track
2nd in the splits but mistakes cost the series leader in the lower steeps and she lost 60 vital points to Atherton rolling into 3rd on the day.

Vallnord was slightly changed from last year, most significantly with a couple of bus stops in the bike park sections up top. Times were about 10 seconds slower than last year but this is probably half accounted for by the slippery conditions as much as the changes in the layout. The dust lay deep in woods which affected vision as well as grip and meant riders couldn't attack as much as they would like or they would risk losing traction and end their race in an instant.

Remi Thirion put down a heater of a run and stayed in the hotseat all the way through until Brook Macdonald had a say about it. Keep in mind that Brook dropped in with less than 10 riders to go.

The splits are fairly uneven in Andorra ranging from 20 to 90 seconds in length. Most of them are concentrated in the woods, which gives us a really good picture of how the hardest part of the course breaks down, but some more information about the bike park sections where both Rachel and Loic seem to have won the race would have been interesting too.

Sector 1 From the start gate, through most of the bike park section to just above the big jumps in the open.
Men ≈ 90 seconds, Women ≈ 105 seconds

Sector 2 The open section including the photographers' corners to just before the woods.
Men ≈ 40 seconds, Women ≈ 50 seconds

Sector 3 The top half of the woods down to the Red Bull Funny Bridge/Estaque Sender.
Men ≈ 55 seconds, Women ≈ 68 seconds

Sector 4 A short blast in the heart of the woods.
Men ≈ 23 seconds, Women ≈ 30 seconds

Sector 5 Finally emerging from the woods, down the grassy turns and into the finish area.
Men ≈ 47 seconds, Women ≈ 60 seconds

Men
Kona s Connor Fearon put down a clean top 20 despite having a few mechanicals in practice holding him back.


Bruni only won one split but it was a significant one and the longest of the race. In the bike park section he pulled nearly three seconds and didn't look back. He wouldn't win another split in the rest of his run but didn't need to as he kept in touch with a flying Loris Vergier to claim the win. The last time a rider won three splits but didn't take the win was Greg Minnaar on this same track in 2017. In that race, Troy Brosnan won the top split but Minnaar won 2, 3, 4, then messed up the last turns and potentially threw away a win. Only in 2013 has the winner on this track not won the first split proving that as much as the woods get all the attention here, the top section is absolutely crucial to getting a good result.

The Perfect Lap

Sector 1 Loic Bruni - 1:24.836
Sector 2 Loris Vergier - 41.489
Sector 3 Loris Vergier - 52.890
Sector 4 Loris Vergier - 22.660
Sector 5 Amaury Pierron - 45.430

Total 4:07.395

Winning time 4:11.055

Sector 1
From the start gate, through most of the bike park section to just above the big jumps in the open.


Look at the lead Bruni finds in Sector 1! He ends the first 80 seconds of the track with a lead of more than 2 seconds, making him 2.75% faster than anyone else here. Of the final podium riders, Pierron gets off to the worst start in eighth. Dean Lucas and Greg Minnaar both make great starts and score their best splits of the race in sixth and seventh.

Speed Trap

The Speed Trap was also taken in the top section and not shown on the live feed. Here are the results from that:


Sector 2
The open section including the photographers' corners to just before the woods.


Vergier takes the first of his three sector wins of the day with Loic keeping him in check not too far behind. After a weak first split where he ended up 51st, Finn Iles is greatly improved here and the only other rider within a second of Vergier. Unfortunately, Iles suffered a mechanical further down meaning both his qualifying and race run were blighted with problems and we never got to see the true pace he was undeniably carrying all weekend. Further down, Brosnan, Hart and Pierron are all within touching distance with Laurie Greenland in the mix too.


Bruni still holds a significant lead as we pass the halfway point in the race with Vergier the only rider able to pull back any time on him. The top three are all already in their final position with Pierron the only podium rider who isn't in the top five at this point.

Sector 3
The top half of the woods down to the Red Bull Funny Bridge/Estaque Sender.



Vergier goes fastest again and this time puts more than a second into Bruni, making his run look beatable for the first time. Pierron and Brosnan also make up time on Bruni and will begin to move up the standings. This is also a great split for Bernard Kerr who was looking rapid in the woods all weekend and could well have been on for a great result but a mistake in the next split will see him fall back.

Further down the standings, Mike Jones, Greg Williamson and Johannes Von Kelelbsberg are starting to pick up pace as the track steepens.


Bruni's lead has now been reduced to less than a second and a half and Vergier is gaining fast. The top three looks pretty settled now with a decent gap back to Hart in fourth and Pierron in fifth. Kerr reaches his highest place of the race but a mistake in the next sector will scupper his chances of a great result.

Sector 4
A short blast in the heart of the woods section.


The shortest split of the race produces some huge time gaps as Vergier puts the field to the sword. Brosnan just about sticks with the Frenchman but everybody else loses at least half a second. Bruni has his worst split of the race in eighth and it costs him more than a second of his hard-earned lead. Conversely, there are great splits for Trummer, Thirion and Dickson who make up heaps of time on their rivals in the techy steeps.


Bruni's lead is cut again and he now has just a quarter of a second to play within the final sector. Brosnan also gains while Pierron jumps ahead of Hart to take fourth. The big losers are Bernard Kerr and Thomas Estaque who fall from 7th and 8th to 24th and 12th respectively. Trummer's great split moves him up from 11th to 7th.

Sector 5
Finally emerging from the woods, down the grassy turns and into the finish area.


Pierron takes the final split by nearly a second from Troy Brosnan. Bruni is in third but crucially beats Vergier and secures the win. Adam Rojcek comes from nowhere to have a great final split, putting himself right up in the mixer. Thirion and Trummer have great splits again while Bernard Kerr recovers from his mistake in split four.

Red Bull's Key Section - The Wall

N.B graphic not shown for Vergier, Pierron, Brosnan or Bruni

1. Kerr - 20.836
2. Dickson +0.008
3. Trummer +0.082
4. Wallace +0.289
5. Thirion +0.313


... And across the line! Bruni takes the win by 0.4 from Vergier with Brosnan around a second back. Pierron is all on his own and Hart rounds out the podium, just holding off MacDonald. Thirion makes a last-second gasp for eighth, just edging out Greenland.

The story of the race
By position

By time

By Split
Views: 532    Faves: 0    Comments: 0


Women
Marine Cabirou rode strong all weekend in these tough conditions. She d finish second behind Atherton.


In a similar pattern to the men's race, Rachel's win was built on a great performance in the top sector. Cabirou played the Vergier role winning the next three sectors then Rachel secured her win in the final dash to the line. Rachel is now within reach of Anne Caroline Chausson's all-time win record and has just overtaken her podium tally, with only Greg Minnaar having stood on the box more times than her now.

Marine Cabirou still picked up her best ever result in second after what she has called a disappointing start to the season. Tracey Hannah will have to rue what might have been as she finished third with a crash, she still keeps the leader's jersey though with a 60 point buffer back to Atherton.

The Perfect Lap

Sector 1 Rachel Atherton - 1:38.842
Sector 2 Marine Cabirou - 49.109
Sector 3 Marine Cabirou - 1:04.508
Sector 4 Marine Cabirou - 29.289
Sector 5 Rachel Atherton - 55.536

Total 4:57.284

Winning time 5:00.622

Sector 1
From the start gate, through most of the bike park section to just above the big jumps in the open.


Rachel gets off to a great start but she has Tracey Hannah hot on her heels. Nina Hoffmann and Marine Cabirou are scrapping for third. Mariana Salazar has her strongest split of the race in seventh with Emilie Siegenthaler, who will end up on the podium by the bottom of the track, sitting in eighth.

Speed trap

The Speed Trap was also taken in the top section and not shown on the live feed. Here are the results from that:


Sector 2
The open section including the photographers' corners to just before the woods.


This is the tightest sector of either race with the top five riders within 0.7. Marine Cabirou takes this one but Hoffmann, Widmann and Hannah are right on her coattails. Although she's only in fifth, this is Atherton's worst split of the race, which just goes to show how consistent she was on Saturday.


Rachel holds on to her lead but she only has 0.4 seconds of breathing space back to Tracey Hannah now. Hoffmann and Cabirou stay third and fourth while Veronika Widmann is on a great run in fifth.

Sector 3
The top half of the woods down to the Red Bull Funny Bridge/Estaque Sender.


Cabirou takes this one as well, this time by a huge margin of nearly 2 seconds. The rest of the top five are tightly packed with just 0.4 separating Rachel in second and Tracey Hannah in fifth.


Marine Cabirou starts to move up the rankings, overtaking Hoffmann to take provisional third. Hannah and Atherton are still super tightly bunched, although Rachel has secured herself a bit more breathing room up front.

Sector 4
A short blast in the heart of the woods section.


Deep in the woods, Hoffmann is the first of the front runners to suffer misfortune. Her run had been fairly scrappy and it ended in a cloud of dust in the woods. She valiantly carries on though with just a sock on one foot as she was blown out of her shoe. Cabirou takes her third split of the race but she's only a whisker ahead of Widmann, who looked to be heading for her best-ever World Cup result.

Rachel, as always, is not too far behind the leading pair while Hannah and Farina end up a dead heat through this split in joint fourth.


Atherton's lead gets cut again as Cabirou overtakes Hannah and gets to within 0.4 of the World Champion. Hannah hasn't lost much ground though and sits just over a second back. Widmann moves up to fourth as Hoffmann's crash drops her three places to seventh.

Sector 5
Finally emerging from the woods, down the grassy turns and into the finish area.


Rachel Atherton re-asserts herself at the bottom of the track and takes the final split with a commanding margin of over a second. There's trouble for Hannah and Widmann though who both crash in sight of the line, Widmann was especially unlucky as she had to wait for a photographer to untangle his camera from her bike before continuing.

Emilie Siegenthaler and Eleonora Farina both have a great splits and secure their podium spots. Special mention should go to Nina Hoffmann who finishes ninth in this split and only loses 5 seconds despite riding in socks.

Red Bull's Key Section - The Wall

N.B graphic not shown for Cabirou or Hoffmann

1. Widmann - 24.929
2. Atherton +1.458
3. Hannah +1.501
4. Farina +1.747
5. Siegenthaler +1.778


Rachel takes the win by nearly 2.5 seconds as Cabirou fades at the bottom of the rack. Tracey Hannah's crash doesn't end up costing her a spot as she finishes third. Emilie Siegenthaler and Eleonora Farina both pick up their first podiums of the year. Veronika Widmann's crash puts her back to seventh and Nina Hoffmann rescues some valuable points in ninth.

The story of the race
By position

By time

By Split
Views: 59    Faves: 0    Comments: 0



45 Comments

  • + 25
 Loic should race Enduro too....
  • - 35
flag jaydawg69 (Jul 8, 2019 at 11:21) (Below Threshold)
 only when you can't win at DH anymore...
  • + 30
 @jaydawg69: Ever heard of Maes?
  • - 51
flag waxman (Jul 8, 2019 at 13:05) (Below Threshold)
 Enduro is for failed DH riders
  • - 36
flag nismo325 (Jul 8, 2019 at 14:30) (Below Threshold)
 so many hurt enduro riders with the down votes! lol its soo true though! everyone heads to enduro when they can't cut it in DH anymore. the only exception being maes. hate all you want but you can't prove us wrong. I mean name a enduro rider that has won a DH race other than maes? ill wait......
  • + 9
 @waxman: Aren't you too old to be trolling in the pinkbike comments
  • + 22
 @nismo325: Sam Hill, Check Mate
  • - 15
flag nismo325 (Jul 8, 2019 at 15:07) (Below Threshold)
 @femto505: lol you owned yourself! he was a DH rider first and was placing pretty far back before moving to enduro. he has never won a DH race since he retired to enduro. try again bud
  • - 13
flag nismo325 (Jul 8, 2019 at 15:29) (Below Threshold)
 @femto505: Really almost all the top enduro riders raced DH with mediocre results before heading to enduro. lots of DH racers will race enduro for an event or two in their free time and normally finish in the top 10 if not better but you almost never see an enduro rider race DH and finish well ( yes yes i know maes won ONE DH race)
  • + 9
 @nismo325: you never stated that in the your initial clause. It's poor wording on your behalf. All that was simply required was "name a enduro rider that has won a DH race other than maes?".
  • + 0
 the data shows a rider has better results in Enduro than DH.... What's the best place Ed Masters did this year in DH? or his brother, or Connor. Jill Kitner gets 2nd in her first Enduro race, how did she do in WC DH races? What about Miranda Miller? The list goes on.....
  • + 4
 @nismo325: someone find the clip where Greg minaar gets passed by either fabien barel or Jerome Clementsz. Pretty sure troy tried one too and got smoked.
  • + 0
 @nismo325: Sam Hill won garbanzo
  • + 1
 @Jimmy0: was Barel who passed him
  • + 2
 @jaydawg69 Who... cares?
  • + 1
 @Garethccc: goes back to my original comment but obviously some do.
  • + 2
 @jaydawg69: also Miranda Miller is a dh world champ
  • + 2
 @Jimmy0: 1 race... how did you do last season or the season before in DH? Also look at Remi G... how did he do in WC races? Do you think Ed M would win a WC race?
  • + 0
 @jaydawg69: Miranda Miller was injured all last season.
  • + 2
 @Jimmy0: how about the season before that?
  • + 0
 @jaydawg69: I believe that was her world champ season? Idk man I have things to do
  • + 1
 @Hambo24: lol so what? not even a uci event and most the top racers were not there.
  • + 1
 @Jimmy0: lol miranda has never been that fast at DH do you even watch the races? she did what every DH rider did that cant win WC DH races.... moves to enduro lol!
  • + 1
 @femto505: Sorry for my wording but i feel it was pretty clear. but if it makes you feel better name an enduro rider that races the full enduro series that can still win a WC DH race other than maes. lol so many hurt people here trying to find a way to convince them selves that enduro riders are on the same level as top DH riders. down vote all you want your just lying to yourself lol
  • + 1
 @nismo325: Ed masters seems to be doing just fine in both disciplines. Wouldn't exactly call him a "failed DH rider" lol
  • + 2
 @femto505: not too mention winning 6th at world champs in 2017 is pretty decent for a washed up DH rider lol
  • + 8
 Guys check out Eliot Jackson's website that offers a position replay that seems a little more intuitive than these static graphs. worldcup.eliotjackson.com/results

and results go back to like 1991.
  • + 1
 That's cool, except that the final results from Vallnord aren't up there yet.
  • + 1
 I think his vallnord page are showing Leogang results
  • + 7
 Love these posts, thank you and keep it up!
  • + 7
 If Kerr can stay on the bike he would be right up there
  • + 6
 Nice analysis!
  • + 2
 some of these graphics are the same as those used by endurotribe for their EWS analyzeshttp://www.endurotribe.com/2019/07/en-travers-des-chiffres-ews-val-di-fassa-2019-une-pause-simpose/
  • + 1
 My head is hurting looking at these numbers. How in tarnation is it possible that the women are so much slower? Sector 4, 7 seconds, 30% slower. How is this possible? There's not even any pedaling.
  • + 5
 Read all of that
  • + 3
 Bruni at the top.... someone check that dude for an e-motor. He was so freaking fast up top it was insane.
  • + 3
 I mean to finish without a shoe. Awsome
  • + 1
 Such a great breakdown of an exciting race. These posts really help me understand exactly what happened where during the race. Keep it up!!!
  • + 2
 Nina Hoffmann! I have a new hero of DH tough. Rides half the course in a sock!
  • + 3
 Nina Hoffman, what a beast
  • + 2
 Those three Baguettes and Troy Boy are so hot right now!
  • + 2
 Loic, the park rat! Jokes aside sick race
  • + 1
 This is is so sick, I need my benadryl
  • + 1
 I love statistics all over my face!
  • + 1
 Loic cut the course!

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