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Fantasy Form Guide: Pinkbike's Predictions for the Bielsko-Biala DH World Cup 2024

May 16, 2024 at 9:33
by Ed Spratt  
Loic Bruni picked up in 2024 right were he left off in 2023

Fantasy Form Guide presented by Five Ten
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As riders are checking out the fresh new course in Poland for this weekend's racing, we have taken a look through the data to give our best guess of who might be the ones to watch at the second round of the 2024 Downhill World Cup series. Before the riders practice the course, here are our thoughts on who could be in the running for a top result in finals.



Who Was Fast In Fort William?


3rd for Tahnee Seagrave

After an off-season full of team moves, rumours and even some actual racing, the opening round of the 2024 World Cup series in Fort William was the first real chance for riders to test themselves against their peers and see if all the training had paid off.

In the elite women's category, pre-race favourite Vali Höll took the win, but Tahnee Seagrave came out fighting as she secured the top qualifying spot, a second in qualifying and third in finals. Nina Hoffmann has also started the season in strong form as she was on pace to win in finals before a final push from Höll saw her take the lead at the bottom of the brutal Fort William track to win by 0.561 seconds.

Loic Bruni was the man to beat for the elite men as he won both qualifying and finals while only giving up two places and 0.071 seconds to Troy Brosnan and Finn Iles in the semi-finals. After great results in Fort William, Brosnan is back at the sharp end of racing and seems to be enjoying the slight change in format as he never dropped outside the top four in Scotland. While his teammate may have taken the race-winning glory, Finn Iles' performance saw him take two second places and a third across the weekend and he will be on the hunt for the top step in Poland.




Elite Women


1st. Vali Höll: 4:41.424
2nd. Nina Hoffmann: 4:41.985 / +0.561
3rd. Tahnee Seagrave: 4:43.255 / +1.831
4th. Camille Balanche: 4:45.381 / +3.957
5th. Gloria Scarsi: 4:48.651 / +7.227



Elite Men


1st. Loic Bruni: 4:04.264
2nd. Troy Brosnan: 4:06.104 / +1.840
3rd. Finn Iles: 4:06.253 / +1.989
4th. Dakotah Norton: 4:07.353 / +3.089
5th. Luca Shaw: 4:07.943 / +3.679


Full elite results, here.




Looking closer at each track sector across the race weekend in Fort William, the race winners were unmatched with Vali Höll and Loic Bruni topping the ranks. Höll left round one with seven out of 15 winning sector times while Loic Bruni had five. Tahnee Seagrave sits third in the rankings as she was fastest through four sectors. Although not making it into the top three riders at round one, it's worth watching Camille Balanche and Benoit Coulanges as they were fastest through two and three sectors respectively.



Who Was Consistently Making Finals in 2023?


Vali Holl showed everyone why she is the defending champ taking the win in a nail bighter of a final run

With our new point Fantasy League point structure for 2024, you can either go all out and try to pick a race winner or field a team full of less expensive riders who have the chance of scoring big points. After the first round of fantasy results and having crunched the numbers behind the scenes, a potential winning strategy could be trying to find riders who can consistently make it to finals and score points. Looking back at the 2023 season only four women and nine men raced every finals across the season. Of these riders, all but Jackson Goldstone, who is injured, and Dylan Levesque made it to finals in Fort William.


Elite Women


Vali Höll (Fantasy Price: $1 Million)
Nina Hoffmann (Fantasy Price: $1 Million)
Marine Cabirou (Fantasy Price: $682,500)
Monika Hrastnik (Fantasy Price: $588,000)

Elite Men


Loris Vergier (Fantasy Price: $990,367)
Loic Bruni (Fantasy Price: $1,000,000)
Jackson Goldstone (Fantasy Price: $666,000)
Troy Brosnan (Fantasy Price: $1,000,000)
Andreas Kolb (Fantasy Price: $938,383)
Bernard Kerr (Fantasy Price: $802,667)
Luca Shaw (Fantasy Price: $964,700)
Dylan Levesque (Fantasy Price: $276,000)
Ronan Dunne (Fantasy Price: $801,067)



Elite Women's Picks


Vali Holl looking like the one to beat tis weekend

Vali Höll

After her near-dominant first round of racing in Fort William, Vali Höll is our top pick for this weekend. Höll has shown she intends to carry on in 2024 as she ended her incredibly successful 2023 season and we think she could secure another victory in Poland.

Hoffmann firing through the rough turns of the mid-upper track.

Nina Hoffmann

Nina Hoffmann came so close to victory in Fort William proving her off-season training has brought her in touch with the 2023 World Champ and World Cup series winner. While she may not have won she will carry a lot of confidence into the fresh course built for round two.

Tahnee Seagrave on the top of there track

Tahnee Seagrave

Our final main pick for the elite women's racing is Tahnee Seagrave who rivaled Vali Höll through qualifying and semi-finals before ending the weekend in third place. After tasting victory with a top qualifying time at round one, Seagrave will be after more in Poland.



Elite Men's Picks


Loic Bruni with the number one plate

Loic Bruni

After finally winning in Fort William, Loic Bruni has shown he is coming into 2024 with big intentions as he is defending the 2023 overall title and hungry for another rainbow jersey. Bruni just missed out on a perfect weekend by 0.071 seconds in Fort William showing that even on a track he has previously struggled with, he has the speed to win.

6th for Benoit Coulanges and just a few tenths of a second off the podium

Benoit Coulanges

Benoit Coulanges may not have made a big splash at the opening round, but after taking sixth place in finals he was the only elite male rider other than Loic Bruni to secure more than one fastest sector time. Coulanges has shown he can go fastest through individual sectors, but he will want to tie it together across a full race run this weekend to back up his 2023 win in Les Gets.

Big bars on the front of Dakotah s bike

Dakotah Norton

A new team and bike didn't slow Dakotah Norton down in Fort William as he started the year off with a fourth place in finals. After a string of first-place results leading into the World Cup series Norton has the speed to win and the course in Poland might just be the one where he can make it onto the top step of the podium.



Wildcard Picks


While we have made our main predictions for potential winners above, there were other riders we need to mention as potential top performers for the first round this weekend.

Charlie Hatton rode the track as if it were dry putting a few seconds into Suarez s time.

Charlie Hatton

The current World Champ had a tough time in Fort William and as he didn't make finals, he will be pushing even harder this weekend to recover his losses from round one.

Balanche peeping at the green lights as she flies in towards the hotseat.

Camille Balanche

Camille Balanche was another rider who was fast through individual sectors, but just couldn't quite create a full race-winning run at round one. Balanche will have been happy with fourth at round one after a big crash last year, but with signs she has winning speed, we may see a top-three-worthy run for finals.



Who Do You Think Will Win?


We shared our thoughts and picks for this weekend, but who do you think will be going for the top of the podium?

Who Will Win the Elite Women's Race?



Who Will Win the Elite Men's Race?





Fantasy League Stats


After one round of racing and the first dynamic rider price change this season we have compiled some stats ahead of the team editing window closing before qualifying on Saturday.












Pinkbike Fantasy Downhill League in Association with Five Ten

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32 Comments
  • 36 0
 Since we can only afford one marquee athlete, it would make more sense spending time with info and data about some of the lower ranked racers. Everyone's going to pick one really good rider, and then have to guess at a few others. This would be a good place for PB to do some features on lesser known riders or up and coming riders. Maybe do some comparisons of their results on similar tracks.
  • 17 0
 This is a great idea thanks! I will add this to our next Form Guide.
  • 6 0
 @edspratt: injury report would be super helpful
  • 13 0
 Love or hate dynamic pricing, you can see in the selection stats that it is clearly changing team roster strategy. Value is much bigger factor this year than outright point potential.
  • 11 1
 I don't know if I agree with the fantasy league pricing. Having multiple riders at $1,000,000 - and many others very close to that? You can maybe include a single top rider on the men's or women's side - but you'll probably do that on the women's side since there's a bit more certainty on who'll do win right now. The men's, you basically can't pick anyone on this list if you're hoping to do well in points. It's kind of removing a lot of variability in your choices.

"
Finn Iles $1,000,000 28
Troy Brosnan $1,000,000 29
Dakotah Norton $1,000,000 27
Loic Bruni $1,000,000 30
Loris Vergier $990,367 23
Benoit Coulanges $984,400 25
Luca Shaw $964,700 26
Andreas Kolb $938,383 22
Bernard Kerr $802,667 17
Ronan Dunne $801,067 20
Jordan Williams $754,333 19
Matt Walker $746,267 21
  • 2 3
 well there's 2 riders in there guaranteed at least 30 points. They will get more than that most likely but the rest of that list has a chance of getting nothing.
  • 3 3
 it's abysmal. Dont get how they've come up with these price changes. Ruined the game. Top riders too expensive so therefore everyone will just have the same mid priced riders. If prices go up then your budget should too. I.e if you pick riders and their prices go up next round, you should be able to keep them and your budget goes up accordingly. Vice versa if their price goes down, you should get a lower budget. Whatever this is now is terrible. I've played fantasy football for years and i appreciate this is a much lower scale but the mechanics could still be the same. Vital's fantasy is far better. Only issue with that is that you can pick your team after semis so then you just pick everyone who qualifies with your budget, taking any skill out of it.
  • 5 2
 Honestly, you can't pick one of the top riders. You have a $1m rider on your team you've got next to nothing for the rest of your team. You're basically picking people you HOPE might qualify, maybe.

I proposed an immediate bump to $2m with consideration for raising it even more later on. $2m allows you to have at least 1 top end athlete and a few top 20's.

Reality is... we all have to deal with the same rules so the winner is the person that picks the best performing mid pack athletes.
  • 3 0
 @onemanarmy: Yeah, it seems like a weird system. My 'fantasy' team is made up of a bunch of mid-pack guys who didn't win or podium? Not exactly how I'd choose to build a team in real life.
  • 4 4
 @jayacheess: in real life would you have a endless budget? I think it opens the whole competition up and makes it much more of a game of chess and not 'picking big dogs' bravo Pinkbike
  • 1 0
 @SimonVD: no but if you buy something and it goes up or down in value, your budget adjusts accordingly. Not just stays the same.
  • 1 0
 @bgoldstone: they all have a chance at getting nothing
  • 1 0
 @Joe89: true but Loic and Loris are protected to the finals. Unless they get dq’d they’ll score points no matter what.
  • 1 0
 @SimonVD: Previous iterations were never about only picking 'big dogs' either. But now, you're even more limited.
  • 1 0
 @bgoldstone: That's good insight right there.... protected athletes are good to have because you know you'll have finals points at the very least. Avoid zeros. That alone is worth something.
  • 5 1
 A near exponential rate for rider pricing and a linear rate for points makes absolutely no sense. If I spend 1,000,000 and Bruni wins, I am rewarded with 30 points but if I spend 1,000,000 total across 4 consistent fast males riders, I'll be rewarded around 60-70 points, that makes no sense. If the points spread is going to be linear, so do the rider prices or else this whole becomes a race for 15th.
  • 2 0
 Nailed it.
  • 6 2
 Would love to see a season long league next year...maybe you get to pick 10 total riders and rotate them in and out for each race.
  • 1 0
 It's a brand new track with no defined lines bedded in yet. Does Loic perform well with these types of conditions or is his MO dialling in his lines and strategy in a very methodical way?
  • 3 0
 Bike parkish style race with tons of jumps...Gracey comes to mind. just saying...
  • 1 0
 That's what I thought too, but those soft loamy areas that are ever changing, combined with the off camber turns might give her pause.
  • 1 0
 Even with his dodgy shoulder, Greg has a point to prove.. Gracey can out jump most of the girls, if she gets into the right headspace she's my winner
  • 1 0
 In the "Who Will Win The Elite Men's Race" poll, if I ever fail to tick the "Danny Hart" button you may safely assume I've had some sort of cognitive impairment.
  • 2 0
 It'd be nice if we could watch this on Redbull.....
  • 1 0
 Spending the most on the Women's picks, smaller field and more consistent results should gain more points, Right?
  • 2 3
 Still a bit of a shame that the rider roster isn't up to date at the Fantasy game. Maes isn't riding DH in Poland so he shouldn't be in there..
  • 1 0
 Good thing I saw your post. I thought he was riding and had him on my team. Maes seems like such an underrated rider. That guy shreds Enduro then shows up and puts down solid DH runs on an ebike lol. Imagine if he had a proper DH bike to ride.
  • 1 0
 @WalrusRider: Especially when conditions get sketch. I originally had him on my team as well. There's a number of guys that run EWS that are finals level DH guys. At least 4-5 of them when they show up to ride I pay attention.
  • 1 0
 How did Jackson only lose $74k?
  • 2 0
 Injured riders with *no* results lose less per round than riders with bad results. By the time he's back his price should be pretty low though.
  • 2 0
 @brianpark: has he updated his return timeline? I thought his season was over?
  • 2 0
 @slickwilly1: Kids young and he's a freak. My understanding is they still have plans to potentially run some late season races.







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