Downhill racing is more cutthroat than ever. Under 11 seconds was the difference between qualifying fastest and not qualifying whatsoever in the elite men today in Les Gets; the final spot in tomorrow’s finals was clinched by just 0.05 of a second. The high speeds and limited line choice have riders scrounging for tenths, even thousandths of a second, but they’re easier lost than found.
The French continued their domination, but it wasn’t Bruni leading the charge, for now at least. Reigning WC overall winner Amaury Pierron carved a 1.5-second buffer over Bruni in second, in behind them were the usual suspects of Brosnan, Hart, Vergier, and Minnaar. The likelihood of hearing La Marseillaise
ringing out over Les Gets at some point tomorrow is pretty high, but who it’ll be for is up for debate. That said, there are more than a few people out to spoil the French riders' fun throughout the categories.
The top of the women’s field was just as tightly fought with Tracey Hannah taking another fastest qualifier by just half a second over Marine Cabirou. With Rachel Atherton departing from the fight with an injury sustained yesterday, it looks like it could be between these two for not only the win tomorrow, but for the overall too. Salazar, Farina, and Balanche can all be content with their day's work in 3rd, 4th, and 5th respectively. Nina Hoffmann would have and should have been in the mix if not for a big crash off the final drop; expect her to jump up the order substantially tomorrow.
Holl and Daprela took up their usual number one in the juniors, although they were joined by a few unfamiliar faces in the top spots. Seth Sherlock and Sam Gale rounded out the top three junior men, while Spanish pinner Ainhoa Ijurko slotted into third behind Newkirk and Holl in the women.
The speeds are ridiculous and the action is eye-popping. Be sure to tune in tomorrow for what looks to be a classic in prospect.