Seeding Analysis: Leogang DH World Championships 2020

Oct 9, 2020
by James Smurthwaite  
Up close and personal with Finn Iles.

World Champs Seeding is not something we normally give that much heed to. After all, it doesn't determine the start order of the race and, obviously, there are no points associated with it either. It's traditionally more like a Timed Training run, with some riders taking it seriously to see where they stack up and others cruising down, practicing lines and playing it safe.

This year though, it might be a bit different. The weather forecast is looking pretty terrible for Sunday and the UCI has already floated the idea of cancelling the race if it snows. If that does happen, then it's these results that will be used to determine who dons the Rainbow Jersey for 2021. This gave the riders an incentive to put in a race-pace run and means we can now treat this as a mini race.

We're keeping our fingers crossed that racing can happen on Sunday and if it does, here's what we've learned from the Seeding session.

Seeding Results

Elite Men

1st. Loris Vergier: 3:45.479
2nd. Loic Bruni: +1.118
3rd. Finn Iles: +4.783
4th. Remi Thirion: +6.779
5th. Thibaut Daprela: +7.335
Elite Women

1st. Vali Höll: 4:35.662
2nd. Tracey Hannah: +2.651
3rd. Myriam Nicole: +14.249
4th. Tahnee Seagrave: +15.945
5th. Eleonora Farina: +27.866

Full results, here.

Sector by Sector Results

Elite Men

Sector 1
1. Loris Vergier - 50.910
2. Laurie Greenland +0.407
3. Loic Bruni +0.667
4. Thibault Daprela +1.07
5. Troy Brosnan +1.132

Sector 2
1. Loic Bruni - 38.745
2. Luca Shaw +0.848
3. Thibault Daprela +1.176
4. Danny Hart +1.355
5. Greg Williamson +1.393

Sector 3
1. Mick Hannah - 40.443
2. Loris Vergier +0.407
3. Luca Shaw +0.495
4. Bernard Kerr +0.538
5. Benoit Coulanges +0.626

Sector 4
1. Loris Vergier - 52.495
2. Remi Thirion +1.074
3. Greg Minnaar +2.615
4. Finn Iles +3.239
5. Loic Bruni +3.748

Sector 5
1. Finn Iles - 38.191
2. Loic Bruni +0.357
3. Loris Vergier +1.251
4. Jack Moir +1.453
5. Greg Minnaar +1.460

Perfect Lap


Fastest Run


Elite Women

Sector 1
1. Myriam Nicole - 58.339
2. Vali Holl +0.714
3. Tracey Hannah +1.987
4. Nina Hoffmann +2.346
5. Marine Cabirou +2.910

Sector 2
1. Vali Holl - 49.303
2. Tahnee Seagrave +2.567
3. Tracey Hannah +2.637
4. Monika Hrastnik +3.689
5. Myriam Nicole +4.105

Sector 3
1. Monika Hrastnik - 49.733
2. Vali Holl +0.009
3. Camille Balanche +0.09
4. Tracey Hannah +0.411
5. Tahnee Seagrave +0.845

Sector 4
1. Tracey Hannah - 70.952
2. Vali Holl +0.847
3. Myriam Nicole +4.366
4. Tahnee Seagrave +7.008
5. Mikayla Parton +8.231

Sector 5
1. Tracey Hannah - 44.951
2. Vali Holl +0.814
3. Tahnee Seagrave +4.808
4. Myriam Nicole +6.637
5. Noga Korem +7.567

Perfect Lap


Fastest Run


The Story of the Session

Talking Points

Sector 4 was Decisive

Greg Minnaar getting to grips with the steeps. He won last time we had World Champs in Leogang can he make it 2 from 2

As you might expect, this race is going to be won or lost in Sector 4. We don't have the exact location of the splits currently but this can only be the fresh-cut woods section that has rightfully earned all the attention since track walk. In the Seeding session, it blew the field apart and was the deciding factor in both the men's and women's sessions.

For some riders, it totally ruined their runs. Luca Shaw looked like he could have challenged for the win in Seeding but he went from 2nd to 11th in less than a minute's worth of track. Similarly, Bernard Kerr slipped from 6th to 17th and Nina Hoffmann from 6th to 10th. The kind of time gaps we're seeing make us think there were plenty of crashes in this section and we've no doubt news of what happened will filter in throughout the day.

For some riders, it was a chance to significantly improve their standing. The rider that profited most was Minnaar, who finished third in the sector and moved up from 42nd to 16th. Both Finn Iles and Remi Thirion also set up their eventual top five places by putting in great sector times too.

Holl and Hannah were a Class Apart

Vali Holl on home turf for the biggest event of the year.

Two very clear front runners emerged in the women's race - Tracey Hannah and Vali Holl. Just two seconds separated last year's Elite and Junior World Cup overall winners and then there was a gulf of another 12 seconds back to Myriam Nicole in third. It was pretty close between the first six women up to split three but once again Sector 4 blew the field apart and Holl and Hannah started to run away with it.

With Holl faster through the first three sectors then Hannah reeling her in through the final two, it's going to be fascinating watching these two women do battle again on Sunday. Don't discount the other women though, there's still plenty of time to be found on this track and it's still a wide-open competition.

The Track is Going to Get Wetter Before Race Day

Sunny weather over the past two days has seen large parts of the track dry out and patchy, sticky mud in those that haven't. That won't last long though as rain is forecast in Leogang for the next two days. This is likely to totally change the track once again and suit different riders as it settles out. If we do get a race on Sunday, don't be surprised to see some serious shake-ups from the qualifying results.

Riders you Might Have Missed

Danny Hart floating in the cool crisp mountain air.

Here are some riders going fast that you may have missed in a quick glance at the timesheet, these are definitely riders to keep an eye on when you tune in on Sunday:

Laurie Greenland - Second at Split 1 but an issue on course saw him DNF
Mick Hannah - Fastest through Sector 3 and was running in 8th until he hit the woods, finished 62nd
Danny Hart - Comfortably inside the top 10 until the final sector, ended 15th
Luca Shaw - Ahead of Vergier at Split 3 but slipped back to 14th after the woods


  • 20 4
 Do we need to talk about Gwin??
  • 41 4
  • 17 3
 @Paco77: I was just asking for a friend.
  • 2 1
 wot happened? Dakotah was up on splits too for a bit
  • 2 0
  • 22 1
 Gwin: (vs fastest in sector)
Sector 1 - 71st +10.372
Sector 2 - 36th +4.325
Sector 3 - 48th +2.074
Sector 4 - 27th +8.391
Sector 5 - 35th +3.404
  • 4 9
flag paul83uk (Oct 9, 2020 at 8:37) (Below Threshold)
 he must have crashed sector 1 he was there-abouts in the other sectors - and fast in the final which is the big positive for him.
  • 28 11
 Just checked his Insta. Looks like he's too busy with his fashion line and his Prototype bike looks like a Transformer. And not one of the good ones, one of those crappy Michael Bay ones.
  • 22 14
 Gwin is both the most successful and the most disappointing rider in history.
  • 10 0
 @paul83uk: He mentioned on his IG that he went outside the tape and missed a couple tape poles and had to walk back up to get counted
  • 11 3
 @Pedal-Bin: what should he post on instagram, then?
talking shit is cheap, I guess
  • 1 4
 @iiman: Sorry bud, not meaning to upset anyone.
  • 5 5
 @BenPea: disappointing yes. Most I guess most wins in a season, but other than that he holds no records. Yes I realize he still has a chance at most wins....maybe...but it's looking less and less likely that he's ever gonna win a Worlds.
  • 2 2
 Must have forgot his chain again...
  • 1 2
 @Pedal-Bin: I know man, is not like you brang up the topic on purpose or something Wink
You don't like him and that's all right, no one's upset, but this seeding results are quite normal for him and his insta is quite normal for any rider too
  • 3 4
 @Trudeez: ok, arguably the most successful. Most WC wins? Is that Greg? I can't remem. I'm a fan for no reason other than his sheer brilliance on so many occasions, destroying the field by ridiculous margins. But I still feel he hasn't fulfilled his potential, for reasons not necessarily under his control.
  • 19 5
 @BenPea: I would agree with most potential 100%. Bike handling skills....absolutely. All out question. One of the most talented ever and that cannot be denied. Hes mostly lived up to the potential with a large number of WC wins, but until he wins a Worlds hell never be #1. In fact, in most people's eyes hes not even top 3 (Voullioz, Minnaar, Peaty) and also for consideration....Atherton has two Worlds, Danny Hart has two and Loic has three, so theres an argument to be had that he's not even top five (of course we wont know till all of these riders are retired). If he wins a world championship then the conversation changes drastically, definitely a top two ever rider after that point, but the clock is ticking, and he hasn't won sh!t since 2017. Also factor in that hes an insufferable twat and is damn near unsponsorable (cough cough, having to settle for e13, TRP and kenda, and having to buy his own Intense team for bikes and having to shell out of pocket for his Renthal cockpit kits, bouncing back and forth between TLD and Bell and now landing with Alpinestars). I know that personality is not at all related to riding ability but at the end of the day, if you're costing yourself wins because you cant ride the best of the best in components then you aren't the best. Out of curiosity...what are your reasons for saying beyond his control? I know I'll be downvoted to pieces for this comment so fire away.
  • 10 3
 @Trudeez: if you took his win rate from 2010 to 2016, no one has come close to his average.
He was a phenom across those seasons. He destroyed the field in a way no one has done before or since.
Whether or not he is an insufferable twat is a matter for debate. Whether he is sponsorable or not is also debatable.
I really hope he wins the worlds, then rides off into the sunset never to be seen again.
Thanks for ruining the 2011, 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2016 seasons Aaron. Your destruction of the field took all the fun out of it for many years. Please, please win this race and then retire.
  • 2 1
 @BenPea: Most successful??? I’m pretty sure Anne Caro would disagree... lol
  • 8 0
 @Trudeez: I think you forgot about Sam Hill.
  • 4 1
 @Trudeez: insufferable twat? Geez, what did he do to you?
  • 2 1
You must've 'forgot' he won the race where he lost his chain
  • 2 1
 @Trudeez: World Champs is a weird one. It's the Olympicization of a sport that is decidedly unolympic. A one-off that doesn't forgive a single mistake and so could be more vulnerable to the vagaries of the universe. The WC is the best indicator for me given there are 7 times more races in that competition each year, but that's just my view. He has fewer wins than he should both because of contractual shenanigans and injuries, so his problems are sometimes of his own making, sometimes not.
@jaame: yep
  • 3 3
 @Trudeez: you're post is full of bullshit.

As jaame pointed out, he reached a level of domination that no other doer has come close to between 2011-2016. When he didn't win it was usually because he made a mistake or was partially injured.

Also only counting overall wins is an idiotic way of deciding who is the best. Greg's win ratio is very low in comparison to Aaron's. Gees is even lower. In fact every single rider who has ever ridden has a lower win ratio than Aaron and by some distance. Greg has won 21/138 World Cups or 15%. Aaron has won 20/74 or 27%. That isn't even close in terms of winning ratio.

Also, between 2012 and 2015 Greg went 21 world cups without a win. Aaron is currently on his worst winless streak which is 10 World Cups and 2 of those he didn't even start due to injury.

World Champs being marker of success? Not for me. Its one race where the conditions change massively and can have a huge impact on who is "the best" . Its not like running where a running track is the same regardless of where you go and riders can peak towards that race. In athletics World Champs truly is a test of who is the best. That's not the case in Downhill. If world champs was held in Valnord then Remi Thirion would become a contender. Or when it was in South Africa Jared Graves and Mick Hannah were contenders when they wouldn't have been in the running anywhere else. Loic is a great rider but it's still only 3 race wins, they just happen to have the word World Championship stuck after them.
  • 2 1
 @humoroususername: I have no strong views, however, you can't use Greg's longevity against him when comparing stats. As mentioned by a few people, until the careers are over the win ratio isn't finalised. AG could possibly race for next 10 years without a win, although I hope not, as I am an AG supporter. Also, time between Greg's first win and most recent win is impressive and a positive. The win ratio over particular stage of AG's career is a factor, for sure, but you can only race the people at that point in time. If I had to put money on it I'd say that Nico on track at same stage in his career would have beaten AG more often than not, plus champs. Champs is a special race, some people are saying you can't focus on one race but most people would argue that is the very heart of the Champs, one run, handle the pressure, no mistakes, winner takes all. That would be like ignoring Liverpool's dominance in Europe when rating English soccer teams, that would be wrong. I like AG, a lot and I'd absolutely love to see him win as it is a pleasure and a privilege to watch him race, same as people spectating at Nico's peak or Senna or George Best etc. But, you can't be great at one part of downhill and not the other to be a contender fo GOAT. Also, as noted above, AG holds no overall records. It'd make the debate closer if AG was way out with number of wins but no Champs, but he'd still not be GOAT. At the end of the day, Greg's ratio is made lower due to his time spent racing, if AG did the same (stayed at it for same time as Greg, and Greg retired and his ratio was locked in) and AG clocked up same number of wins as Greg then he'd still need at least two champs. End of the day AG has no records and no champs wins, only thing can be said is that at a certain stage of his career he was good at the season races but still not the champs. Having said all that I would absolutely love to see AG win tomorrow. It is not about their personalities so it is sad to see people saying he is not a nice person, I don't know him and have never met him, I only enjoy watching him race and following him. If he was a criminal or had done some very nasty stuff, sure, call him out on it. But, if people just think he is mean, unfriendly or harsh on team mates, sponsors etc then I'd say a lot of top sports people may not stack up well - maybe they shuld be nicer, maybe they are nicer - I will just judge his racing. As for Facebook and Instagram etc. honestly, everyone would be a lot happier if they deleated those things as they are just full of negativity.
  • 2 0
 @mccarthyp: He holds the record for the most overall wins doesn't he? Most wins in a season too? Definitely the highest win rate - that would be a column on Wikipedia if they had an F1-style page (which they may have).

I'm not a fan of Gwin the personality. Not at all. I kind of agree that he's an insufferable twat. When you just consider his skills, especially the seasons on Trek and YT, he f*cked everyone up. He was untouchable. I used to go to bed pissed off several Sundays a year because Gwinner tore them a new one, again.
Domination. He is the only one ever who has done that. He was an unstoppable force. No one else has been.

GOAT is always up for debate. There was that period of time when Minnaar was getting stick for only winning on easy tracks. He wasn't always the golden boy. At the end of the day all you can do is look at the stats at the end of the career. I think Gwin's win ratio is going to be number one forever, as long as he retires soon.
  • 2 0
 @mccarthyp: that's a fair post. However, I'm not using his longevity against him. Merely pointing out the inconsistency of using total number of wins as a measure of success. I think Greg is a legitimate contender for the title of GOAT, but so is AG.

To say he holds no records isn't true. He has the highest winning ratio by an absolute mile. That in itself is a record. It might not be the one people go on about the most but both of them are records. He also jointly holds the record for most overall World Cup titles which surely is more important than most wins?
Greg only has 3 World Cup titles to AGs 5 yet somehow Greg having 1 more race win counts for more in some people's eyes? Makes no sense at all.
  • 1 0
 @jaame: Thanks for the response Jaame, you are so right, the GOAT debate will always be there and AG, Nico and Greg will always feature heavily. It is a lot of fun and a great opportunity for people to reminisce about great races and seasons. Great thing to is that the GOAT debate makes tomorrow's race all the more exciting. Can't wait. Hope you enjoy the race.
  • 1 0
 @humoroususername: very good point, the highest win ratio is a very impressive record. For me it comes down to the champs, but I totally understand your position. Great thing about these discussions is that we all maybe move a little on our position and see all the positive contributions from the contenders. I personally would love to see AG win tomorrow and still see him as a real threat. The year he came back on the YT after injury was massively impressive I thought and I was shocked to see people say he'd never win another race. To come back from injury and on a new bike and still be right in the mix at the camps was amazing in my eyes. Looking forward to tomorrow. Hope you enjoy the race.
  • 3 0
 I want to take back my comment about him being an insufferable twat. He isn't a twat. He just doesn't have much of a personality. I'm surprised he can hold on to the bars because he doesn't have a humorous bone in his body.
  • 1 1
 @humoroususername: gwin is a Christian and American. Pretty cool to hate both now if you're a kid. Being a kid also affords you the ability to not remember 5 years ago when gwin won on this track with no chain.
  • 1 0
 @pistol2ne: wow that was five years ago? That was one of his last wins I think.
  • 1 0
 @jaame: he broke his hand 1 year, covid basically canceled this season.

He got 2nd in leogamg in 2018 which is really recent.
  • 2 0
 @jaame: this is hilarious, what is going on? Has everyone got a collective case of amnesia and started picturing Gwin in an era of black and white racing? He has won 8 World Cups since Leogang 2015 including 3 straight world cup overall titles (2015, 2016, 2017) and he won the first race of 2018.

He will be back challenging next year.
  • 1 0
 @humoroususername: No way. He is done. He will never win another race. There will be two or three races this year, all cold and wet. He won't place in any of them.
Next season will start in June or something, another eight months older for the Gwinner. 3 years since his last win, ten new up and comers pushing the level yet higher.
Gwin in my opinion is the most prolific racer we have ever seen. I rate him higher than Minnaar because of his absolute domination and the sense of inevitiability he brought.

His time is over now though.
  • 1 0
 @jaame: I'm afraid we will have to disagree. I think that's a total exaggeration and not based on fact at all. People were saying the exact same thing back in 2013 when he didn't win a race all year. Its only 1 year since he was on the podium 1.2% off the win with an injury. Minaar proves that age isn't really a factor if the hunger is there.
  • 1 0
 @jaame: Loic got 62n'd and Gwin was 28th. Looks like Loic is done now too.

Saying Gwin is done based on a broken hand season and a covid canceled season is ridiculous. If he sucks next year maybe you'll be onto something.
  • 1 0
 @pistol2ne: when was his last race win? When was the last time he won the overall? How many people "do a Minnaar" and have a few off seasons and then come back to winning ways?
Think about the guys at the top... Sam Hill had a few shitty seasons and then came back to win a couple of races. Gee did I guess. He won the world's that one time but it was kind of a fluke. Who else has done it? No one that I can think of in the last ten years.
I have to agree with you in part, because Gwin definitely has the skill and the pedigree to win again. I don't think he has the hunger though. He's got nothing to prove. His mental edge is gone in my opinion. The competition has got a lot more serious since he embarrassed everyone so badly back then.
I think he deserves a world championship win to cement his legacy... but I don't see him ever getting one. It's a monkey on his back that he will never shake. Too many other very talented riders have stated winning that is their overarching goal. Gwin has previously said he doesn't really care about it, it's all about the WC overall. I agree with him. The overall is the proof of being the best rider.
Realistically the odds are against him ever winning any top level race again. It's not very good odds for anyone given how few races there are in a season. I think his best chance would be to get a YT and put Intense stickers on it, and get 100% of his annual salary to hinge on him winning the overall. That would motivate him perhaps.
  • 8 3
 No talk of Reece Wilson? He had a crash or something before the first split; if you substitute in an average first split time of 55 secs or so for him, he’d have been top 3? i.e. minus 22 secs off his finish line time (the difference in time between his first split and an average one)
  • 7 0
 Yep, it looks like he had a good one too - his splits after the crash were 8th, 14th, 6th (just 0.2 off Bruni on the all-important S4) and 8th
  • 1 0
 sorry, -17 secs not 22. Would still have been 7th though.
  • 2 0
 Yeah weird to include i.e. Masters or Zabjek but not Wilson...
Blanking out sector 1 he was the most constant besides Vergier and Bruni, with 8th, 14th, 6th and 8th in the splits.
With a top 15 time in sector 1 he would have been 4th at least.

....damn mod was faster :o
  • 2 0
 Pschic Oatkinso
  • 2 0
 @humoroususername: haha I should've put money on it!
  • 3 0
 @oatkinso: Nice one!
  • 6 0
  • 2 0
 Luca's race run crash, while 2nd at the split on this bro's insta...he lost a good 10 seconds
  • 4 0
 Ahhh, shame for Mick Frown
  • 3 1
 Her name is Valli Höll (Hoell) I think!

And Gwin usually is using seeding just for more training.
  • 3 0
 waaaaay to much colors in a graph for us color blind
  • 2 0
 Bruni, Vergier, Minnaar top 3 on sunday.
  • 2 0
 good stuff, Pinkbike!
  • 1 1
 Gwinner is so cunning, if he goes among the first... rides on behalf of a dirt track...!
  • 1 0
 So... if it snows on Sunday, then Loris Vergier is the new DH World Champ.
  • 1 0
  • 9 0
 Vital have reported he crashed and broke his bars

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