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5 Things We Learned From the Les Gets DH World Cup

Jul 6, 2021 at 8:02
by James Smurthwaite  
Both Winners Battled Injuries

Thibaut Daprela looking frustrated after crashing on Day 1 in Les Gets. Photos submitted by Thomas Dupret.

Both Thibaut Daprela and Tahnee Seagrave battled injury to take the wins on Saturday. Less than a week before the race Thibaut Daprela was being airlifted from a French Cup race with a battered face and a tongue that had to be stitched back together. He spent the week subsisting on chicken and rice milkshakes and then crashed again on the first day of training. His stitches were apparently coming loose during his race run but he battled through to beat the conditions and his competitors for a first Elite win that we're convinced won't be his last.

Tahnee Seagrave was also struggling coming into the race weekend. It sounds like she had all but written off the chances of a win before the weekend and ended up surprising even herself. A neck injury picked up just before Leogang has meant a lack of bike time for Tahnee and the Les Gets track was far from the easy re-introduction she'll have been hoping for. However, like most of the women racing, Tahnee overcame her demons with the track and was able to prove her pace with a run that will without doubt be a huge confidence boost for the rest of the year.

Thibaut Daprela Bossed the Wet Conditions

Thibaut Daprela full tuck on the final off-camber grass. It would take more than a broken nose and lacerated tongue to stop him.

Thibaut Daprela wasn't just riding through his own pain barrier but also the torrid conditions. It's probably fair to say that the conditions worsened from Brook MacDonald onwards but Thibaut's run was still done in far from optimal conditions.

Despite coming down in the wet, Daprela's time was just two seconds off Loris Vergier's dry winning time in qualifying, he was also head and shoulders above the riders who dropped in around him - the five riders before him finished 13th, 26th, 41st, 51st and 5th, while the five riders after him finished 59th, 36th, 40th, 46th and 61st, so it's clear he was on heater, rain or not.

Yes, there will be a lot of riders taking a philosophical look at the weekend, whether those who were gifted some overall points by the deluge or top qualifiers who will rue losing their opportunity to take a podium but unfortunately unpredictable mountain weather is a big part of mountain sports. Credit where credit is due, the UCI and Red Bull have done as much as possible to avoid afternoon Alpine storms such as re-jigging the race schedules in 2018 and introducing the protected rider system, but sometimes, there's not much you can do when a big storm is due to roll in just after lunchtime.

Yes, it can sometimes be disappointing to not see the world's top riders battle it out in identical conditions but equally watching riders such as Coulanges, Minnaar, Kerr and Wilson skillfully slither down the waterlogged course was equally as exciting to watch.
A graph showing riders starting vs finishing position. Any riders whose line goes lower did better than their starting position. Of the top 25 riders, only Ronan Dunne, Mark Wallace, Matt Walker, Greg Minnaar and Thibaut Daprela achieved this.

French jump builders don't mess around

Reece Wilson may have used one of his 9 lives today

For the second year in a row, the builders in Les Gets provided the riders with some seriously intimidating airtime. In 2019, the finish line fly off left Rachel Atherton with a ruptured Achilles' Tendon and this year the new track provided some more aerial challenges for riders. The step down near the top of the course claimed a number of victims including Marine Cabirou, who had to pull out after her front wheel washed out on the take-off and she missed the landing.

On race day, there were crashes all over the mountain but the biggest and most discussed must surely be Reece Wilson's on the river gap. This booter got rutted up throughout the week then the rain on race day softened it up between training and racing. Reece hit it at full throttle but ended up being bucked and thrown over the bars. A dab of brakes may have saved Reece Wilson's visor but that's usually the last thing on a rider's mind in a race run.

We loved the tech and wide taping on offer on the new track but riders also need to feel safe to push their limits the whole way down a track. In future, we'd love to see jumps designed to survive a whole weekend of racing with clean and predictable entries and exits that cater to all the different race categories to keep the racing safe as well as great to watch.

French Crowds Make Races

Euro 2020 DH edition.

With the crowds back at the races in Les Gets, it felt like we were watching a 'proper' World Cup for the first time since 2019 and there is no better crowd to welcome back first than the rabid French. With chainsaws, flares and finish area invasions they showed us exactly what we've been missing due to COVID and we're hoping for more of the same at the rest of the races this year.

At the Enduro World Series in Val di Fassa last week we also praised the pit atmosphere, comparing it to the World Cup pits parites of old. Well, if the few clips that made it to social media are anything to go by, that party culture hasn't gone anywhere from dh either.

Jackson Goldstone Follows in Finn Iles and Vali Holl's Footsteps

Jackson Goldstone on his way to winning the junior men s race

We've spent a lot of time hyping up Daprela's run in this piece but he actually wasn't the fastest rider of the day, that honour goes to Jackson Goldstone. The first year junior posted a 3:26.950, which is not only 7 seconds faster than Daprela's time but also 5 seconds faster than Vergier's qualifying time. It goes without saying that the conditions were obviously different between the runs but there's no denying Goldstone put down one hell of a run.

Since the introduction of the junior classes, only two riders have posted the best times for their gender while racing in the junior ranks. Vali Holl did it twice in 2019 and Finn Iles did it at the rain-affected Mont Sainte Anne race in 2017. In repeating this feat, Goldstone confirms his potential to be one of the world's fastest racers.

Keep an eye out for Phoebe Gale too. The young British racer is under the tutelage of Tahnee Seagrave on the Canyon Collective FMD team and took the win in her second ever World Cup. Her time of 4:21 would have seen her place seventh in the women’s race, just behind Eleonora Farina and ahead of Vali Holl. Britain has a long pedigree of fast women racers and Phoebe Gale may be next in line to carry that on.

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Member since Nov 14, 2018
1,770 articles

  • 223 13
 "In future, we'd love to see jumps designed to survive a whole weekend of racing with clean and predictable entries and exits that cater to all the different race categories to keep the racing safe as well as great to watch."

  • 77 1
 The #1 killer is sketchy takeoffs on big jumps. Know a guy who got sideways off a root before a 10 foot drop and broke both legs. Big drops/jumps should always have enough room to either compose yourself or pull out if something's gone wrong on the setup
  • 102 2
 @medievalbiking: and it should be filmed for the live feed
  • 23 28
flag Matt115lamb (Jul 6, 2021 at 11:54) (Below Threshold)
 @medievalbiking: look at sx jumps when it rains , gotta deal with what’s in front of you . “ it ain’t the air that hurts , it’s the ground “ !
  • 8 19
flag vinay FL (Jul 6, 2021 at 12:20) (Below Threshold)
 But, is it that sketchy conditions are more likely to cause injury? Question, I don't have any stats. I have read though that in road traffic, most serious accidents are in pretty weather. Not when it is wet, windy etc. Similarly illuminated roads see more accidents than when they switch off the lights. So yeah, when something is clearly sketchy, is it more likely to cause injury than when it appears smooth, grippy and bermed? I for one have learned that my worst injuries (on the mtb) were when I was confident and relaxed.
  • 34 11
 I think they should have made the b line such that it was only half second or second slower, that way it wouldn't be a do or lose the race feature.
  • 5 1
 @kcy4130: this!
  • 15 0
 @vinay: The problem with those "total number" type stats, is that they can be seriously affected by the total number of people doing the activity. More riders on nice days, more riders on lighted roads, etc. It's very hard to get the data you want, which would be % of riders injured in any given condition.
  • 19 0
 We can all agree that all these riders are perfectly capable of hitting those features, but you cannot expect a race weekend where everything always goes according to plan for everyone and for that case you have to have features you're able to survive without breaking your neck. Healing vibes to Nina, Marine, Thibaut, Amaury and everyone else nursing an injury!
  • 28 58
flag gabriel-mission9 (Jul 6, 2021 at 12:52) (Below Threshold)
 Better yet. Just remove all the features altogether. DH races should all be held on a smooth, well maintained tarmac road with a gradient of no more than 2 degrees. Someone might get hurt otherwise!!!!
  • 9 0
 @vinay: lots more people ride bikes in better weather = more accidents

Lots more people ride during daylight than illuminated conditions = more accidents

Statistically more more people doing something obviously leads to a higher amount of accidents.

Hardly relevant
  • 21 1
 @gabriel-mission9: i have a feeling you dont understand nuance in the arguments being made.
  • 9 0
 @Matt115lamb: ruts are a different thing when you are on a several hundred pounds mx bike with 50+HP. Not a real comparison.
  • 3 0
 @gabriel-mission9: @gabriel-mission9: There's an Inside Line podcast with Duncan Riffle where he expressed essentially that exact thing, but with complete sincerity. Thought tracks should be without features and it should just be about speed.
  • 8 1
 Those jumps had the entrance and exit of sketchy fun features on local pirate trails. Super fun but not safe for the best in the world to go race pace off of.
  • 1 0
 @medievalbiking: agree. I still think it's just about impossible to build a jump to Cater for all levels though.
  • 2 3
 @bnflynn: I wasn't talking about absolute numbers. Either way, what I've read from people who monitor road safety, they think that people pay less attention in clear weather than in the dark, rain or hail. And obviously there are no warnings given in bright weather. People also ride faster. There may not necessarily be fewer crashes in poor weather but the crashes are less severe.

I largely based my statement on this news article, but unfortunately it is in Dutch. Not sure how well these automatic translation services work for you, but it may be worth a shot. nos.nl/artikel/2383296-opvallend-veel-zware-ongelukken-op-de-weg-bij-mooi-weer-let-je-minder-goed-op
Could you cite a source that supports your opposite statement?

Not sure how this translates to bike racing on a closed course. Yet still somehow it feels like more riders are getting injured in fast predictable conditions than in, say, the past two races in Leogang where loads of riders went down but few (if any) got injured. Maybe I'm wrong but it seems like indeed more riders go down in slippery conditions (Champery, Leogang lately) but the serious injuries are sustained in more "ideal" conditions.
  • 1 0
 @adrennan: More importantly!
  • 2 0
 @vinay: I don't think you can actually fully transfer what the article states to racing and especially to the discussion about the difficulty of track features. As the main point is that people pay less attention when the weather is nice compared to bad weather conditions. The lack of attention then causes more severe accidents.
I would think the riders who crashed on the gap jump probalby even payed extra attention. So that shouldn't be the problem here.
But I think in a general sense that it is correct for mountainbiking. If you pay less attention because you think everything is easy you might not be ready if something goes sideways. Plus you are probably going faster in "ideal" conditions further increasing the likelyhood of a more severe crash.
  • 2 2
 @ZTom: Yeah, things never fully transfer over. But I think my initial comment was misinterpreted. I was talking about the likelihood of injury, not the likelihood of crashes. Whereas it usually takes a crash to get injured, people typically adapt their riding. If crashes are very likely, they adapt their riding such that they can get away with it. Whereas in fast road cycling (which seems incredibly scary to me) most people don't expect to crash, yet ride at speeds and conditions where a crash could have serious consequences. Some would argue that it is safer to ride these roads than a DH track yet it is in Tour de France racing where I hear of riders dying, not in WC DH racing. So I'm not sure if my point came across as intended, but I just think that even though in slippery conditions more riders crash out, fewer actually get seriously injured.

What should be noted of course is that the bail/crash options should be safe. It shouldn't be like you crash into a pile of boulders if something foreseeable goes wrong. Basically, don't follow Gee Atherton down his own lines. But for Les Gets, I think they did well. Andreas Kolb did miss the jump and safely crossed the taping. Yes Reece Wilson took a big tumble but he did land on a grassy downslope (for as far as I could see). If there'd be a mess down where he landed then yes, I'd say that was unsafe. What I do agree on is that the rider should have the option. If the take off appears too slippery upon arrival, there should still be a chicken line around the outside to opt for.
  • 2 1
 @vinay: professionals disputing a championship is a very different concept from every single joe just trying to get home. One must take risks to be the fastest, the other can afford to lose some minutes and their goal will be achieved nonetheless.
Your point of view is not considering a lot, and I mean a shitload ton of variables, and using articles comparing to vehicles and average Joes is an insult to every professioanl or rider that take some risks to have fun.
  • 3 2
 @kcy4130: If the b-line feature is comparably fast yet less risky then no one's taking the harder line. Would make for lame racing.
  • 2 0
 @adrennan: Agreed! Why didn't Redbull film the biggest obstacle on the whole track - muppets...
  • 1 0
 @adrennan: nuance?
  • 3 1
 This is not your local race "beer" event, or weekend slide, this is Worlds Best of the best should be called/raced in for a reason
  • 3 0
 I say this without malice - but is Gwin officially washed up?
  • 1 0
 @Vlad-Putin: he's lost it man!
  • 55 0
 #6 Reece Wilson is tough as nails
  • 12 1
 I think you misspelled "Scottish" Wink But for real, the dude is an absolute boss for not only surviving a frightening crash, but he was putting in quite a heater himself up until that point. I want to say it was mainly him and Minnaar that made the most the sense of the track after it got really out of hand, and I think he would've been on the podium or Top 10'd it if didn't explode off that gap wonky jump. But he also got very lucky that he'd get injured hitting spectators (or their pets) and/or severely injure said spectators. If I had survived something like that basically uninjured, I would stagger straight to the nearest pub and start buying lottery tickets.
  • 35 2
 Given his freeride background I thought the superman to roll out was an unconventional way to eject but it looked really good. 10/10 style points
  • 14 0
 @jackalope: I think you need to add Bernard Kerr to that list!
He manhandled it in the very worst conditions.
  • 4 0
 @JamesR2026: can't edit my original post, but 100% agree about the sick Bern. He should use Judas Priest's "Breaking the Law" on his race-run POV video, as he broke multiple laws of physics.
  • 4 0
 Reece put down one of the most exciting runs in history, even without that jump. It will become the stuff of legend.
  • 37 9
 Another thing we learned, redbull needs better race coverage, especially at the more interesting features.
  • 30 10
 Why do people complain about this so much when Red Bull TV is free? Would you rather have to pay a full subscription for this stuff? Red Bull do a huge favour to everyone by making it simple and free to watch. Why complain when you don’t put money into their company
  • 4 0
 They have time allocations on each rider so if you take away some of the end in favour of more sections being shown you have a fragmented timeline that would be difficult to manage in real-time as a live feed. If a rider crashes off-camera, where do you cut to, the end, all the while the next rider is now on course. Not saying it's impossible, but the production crew would be having a mighty sweat on and we'd probably be complaining we missed stuff.
  • 3 0
 Indeed, the huge road gap was definitely missing.
  • 6 1
 @archiesgm: Of course it´s awesome, that we get to see all this stuff for free! But I think it´s fair to say, that the race coverage wasn´t ideal. For example the big road gap versus the two small jumps on the lower third which were nearly identical to watch for every rider
  • 10 0
 @mc-marshie69: Dude they aren't doing it for charitable reasons. They sell 7,500,000,000 cans a year.
  • 5 7
 @mc-marshie69: Yup, i'd be fine with that. I'd rather pay subs, then get practice, qualifiying and full race runs.. That'd suit me nicely. Call it £10 a month in terms of a subscription fee, sign me up.
  • 2 0
 @mc-marshie69: they do get publicity for their products, their riders must say some words, they might get money to display other sponsors while livefeeding... It's not an enduro race where day long coverage is really hard, but starting to happen.
Also, they cover the hole XC course for the race, I'ts not that big of an invetiment for them to have the hole DH track covered. Especially with those GoPros lying down.
I also drink some redbull now and then, so I put money into the company.
  • 3 1
 @mc-marshie69: as the old saying goes, if you aren't paying, you are the product.
  • 5 0
 @mc-marshie69: tbh this is the first time I've ever complained about redbull and usually feel the same way as you. Love that company and they could easily get better coverage, they usually do a far better job. Criticism isn't always about complaining, it's about improving, unless you take offense to it.
  • 3 0
 Full course coverage would need one of three things to happen.

1) Shorten all of the courses to be under 3 minutes
2) Increase the gap between riders starting
3) Have multiple feeds, flip-flopping between riders

There are 2 people on course at any given time during the race, so they can't just show full race runs for everyone.

Everyone wants to see the finish line and the start hut, so something in the middle has to be cut out. Usually that's something near the top so there can be uninterrupted coverage from some point to the finish line.

Enable old man mode>

At least you don't need to wait until a few months after the end of the season to buy the DVD to watch the races anymore.
  • 1 0
 @ertman: Show the livestream as is. Release the replay with full runs. They could even get away with just the raw sound from the footage until the commentary cuts in halfway down. All it would take is a few extra gopros and some simple editing after the race ends. It'd cost redbull essentially nothing. Go on @Redbull, it'd be sick!
  • 28 9
 I understand the gripe with the jumps - they are sketchy

With that being said a good percentage of the riders made it over them - Im thinking those gaps were pretty on the nose for a world cup race - shouldnt be easy jumps right??
  • 40 2
 I think the complaint people have is the consequence associated with them (at least that is how I felt). A percentage is going to eat it all over the course, but when a feature is such that screwing it up could be an extreme injury, then you should build it in a way where fewer people might wreck.
  • 19 1
 I think you can still make jumps intimidating without being sketchy. You could say almost all made it out OK (so it's fine) but when you're taking out some of the best competition, and this is the best of the best, it's a bit of a sign.
  • 28 3
 Define easy. You cannot deny that this jump caused a lot of problems, a lot were casing it, overshooting, going over the berm, completely missing the landing, etc etc. It wasnt properly built. thats it.
  • 18 0
 @adrennan: 100% agree. This isn't hunger games. Obviously there is inherent risk with downhill racing, but builders should also work to minimize risk where they can.
  • 22 0
 I don't know about everyone else but I was actually watching riders over the last wooden gap hoping nothing bad would happen, we're used to mtb riders doing crazy things but they never make me worry for their safety, this felt quite different.
  • 19 2
 WC courses should be challenging, but I don't think they all have to have sketchy, high-consequence features to make for interesting racing--and arguably high-consequence features make the racing LESS interesting by thinning the field with avoidable injuries. If I just want to see people sending insane gaps, there's always rampage and hard line...
  • 8 0
 just need to watch the videos from practice days too see how many top riders weren't getting that top jump right guys like Bernard Kerr and Fearon casing and overshooting into the bushes. I've never seen so many riders standing about and looking at a jump like that before
  • 4 2
 @DC1988: and before the comparison is made to red bull rampage or whatever. those guys are building their line and control their risk. when your field is this big, someone is going to fall on big sketchy features at some point. it is inevitable because of probability.
  • 12 1
 Difficult does not (necessarily) need to equal sketchy. Those were sketchy, and they were breaking people.
  • 3 0
That's a good point, you can't really call DH a calculated risk when the conditions you are riding in and the state of the course are an unknown
  • 2 2
 While we all like the excitement of fresh tracks, an advantage of racing the same track year after year is that features causing injuries can be reworked to make them safer.
  • 3 1
 @ryetoast: This is absolutely true. There's an interesting example in road racing too. People claimed that the first week of the Tour de France was the most exciting it's been in years due to all the crashes. However as a consequence, the winner of the race has been all but decided, all within the first week.
  • 4 0
 Don't confuse hard with dangerous.
  • 2 0
 @pablo-b: yes Pablo. The jumps need some kind of bike park style all weather gritty coating so they hold up wet or dry. It's all very well having a dirt takeoff as long as it doesn't rain. Consistency is key when you're going to be leaving the ground.
Having said that, wind makes jumps dangerous too. Surely riders could choose not to hit them.
  • 5 0
 @Thebluelion: I don't think people have been calling the TdF the most exciting for years due to the crashes. It's been due to the incredible performances and passionate stage winners. Everyone hates the crashes.
  • 2 0
 @thingswelike: I exaggerated a bit and didn't mean to imply that people thought it was exciting only because of the crashes. Most cycling fans including myself hate crashes, but you can't deny that the crashes grabbed a lot of mainstream media attention and got a lot of casual fans watching
  • 2 5
 @thingswelike: no, not everyone hates the crashes. I love seeing roadies crash as long as no one dies and I know I'm not alone.
The tdf is boring because it's too long. There is a reason why they can easily make a five hour day into a 20 minute highlights package - because nothing happens for the most part. It's like test cricket. A great day out to hang around getting drunk with your mates while ostensibly "watching sport". It's hardly a spectacle. The sprint finishes and crashes are the entertainment, and they last seconds.
  • 5 0
 There should be a guide with 3 parameters, approach, jump and landing. Only one can be sketchy. If the aproach is sketchy, the jump must be perfect and the landing must be forgiving. If the Aproach is perfect, the jump can the sketchy, but the landing must be forgiving, If the aproach and the jump is just right, the landing can be demanding. The big road gap had a somewhat decent aproach and the jump was perfect, there were almost no accidents on race day. The big sketchy jump at the end of the venue was perfect, as was the broad landing, but the approach was sketchy as hell because of the high speed and the tight turn right before the jump. Those two jumps were very very challenging, had some victims, but were kind of OK. The one over the river, despite of the broad landing, had a very short sketchy approach, the jump itself was sketchy and getting different each time a rider hit that thing. The one that took Rachel Atherton's tendon out was just a big gnarly drop to flat. It was very badly designed and one man with a shovel had 3 hours and 8 litters of champagne to dig that. Thats why it was rubbish.
  • 1 0
 @Thebluelion: So I guess "Opi and Omi" should be proud of their creative little signmaking grandaughter!
  • 1 0
 Have watched Redbull Hardline ?@Notmeatall:
  • 1 0
 @flyingfox49: Yes, and I love it. But as the name suggests, it's the hardest line. Yet, there were less crashes and the gigantic features that could lead to major injuries were all very well designed.
  • 15 0
 Good summary. I agree, jumps should be built considering all weather conditions and the fact that conditions change dramatically through out the course of the event. Too many pros getting hurt and potentially ending their season because of the sketchy builds.
  • 15 1
 Conditions got WAY worse after Thibaut went down. Way worse. But saying that... that run was a straight heater. Hell of a ride. Dude is legit and should be a podium contender for a long long time. Honestly I think the most impressive run of the day was Minnaar's 7th place run. He did that in terrible conditions when everyone around him was posting 25-55 times. And the Bulldog is an absolute animal. That dudes run was bonkers to watch. I went back and watched it 3 times then showed my brother the next day. Pretty rad to see Jackson putting up these sorts of results already. He hasn't been truly focused on DH for all that long. Crazy to see a dude that small rip that hard.
  • 6 1
 I'm borrowing this from a poster on RM, but Brook's run was "the filthiest thing I've seen since watching german porn"
  • 11 0
 I’d quite like to learn why there were no cameras at the end of section 1 where most of the favourites lost the race.
  • 4 0
 Seriously that was annoying. So many guys who looked super fast for most of the course but lost hella time in the first section and the only info they had was "something must have happened". I need more lol!
  • 1 0
 There was a "lake" that formed there according to several reports. No way to prepare for that from a camera placement perspective.
  • 2 0
 @salespunk: but when you know it’s there, you could send someone up with a camera. There weren’t any still photographs either.
  • 1 0
 @DylanH93: Bernard Kerr's full race run is on YT. Around the 19min mark is the start of the bit we didn't see. To be honest there isn't a lot to see other than it doesn't look very steep, so carrying speed through the mud must have been really hard.
  • 2 0
 @greasyrider: Redbull cameras are hardwired to the production truck at the bottom meaning they actually run fiber from the truck to each camera on the hill. No reasonable way to move cameras during the race since it takes hours to setup each one.
  • 11 0
 Fastest qualy is bruni's..isn't It?
  • 7 0
 Regarding the jumps on track:

I'm not sure how I feel on this one - you can't tell the racers 'if you can't hit this then take the ride around' since no one will use the ride around, but also you need to keep things difficult so that the top tier guys can separate themselves. One thing that needs to be noted is that for the early practice runs & elite category race runs, the track was really muddy and close to the worst case scenario safety-wise. The river gap where Reece Wilson crashed was smaller but the run in was pretty janky (especially in the mud) and he admitted that he took the straight line, didn't touch his brakes and just couldn't hang on. Bernard Kerr also mentioned taking 'the Reece line' into that jump in practice and it was too fast, which is a lot coming from him. I think the river gap is a good jump to have, but will get a bad rap because of how bad that crash looked in Wilson's race run. On the other hand the road gap had a smoother setup and landing but was way higher consequence (as seen by the various injuries from the weekend). I don't think a step down needs to be that large to differentiate the skills of the riders, especially for a jump that wasn't even on the red bull feed. I should note that I will never jump anything close to that in my life. It's gotta be tough for a course designer to make a track that's 1) challenging for the best in the sport with good weather 2) Is still rideable & safe enough in the wet 3) Good to watch on a live feed with limited numbers of cameras.
  • 6 0
 that big step down had an off-camber run into a berm landing that if you overshot, you were into the trees...
  • 1 0
 @adrennan: Like I said there's no way I'm hitting that in real life, but It's almost better to be built like that where it limits speed instead of the river gap where the goal as a racer is to hit it as fast as possible. It seems like you could make the road gap much smaller and still require similar amounts of skill to nail it and go fast, but lose some of the consequences of when it goes bad enough to cause a crash.
  • 2 1
 The huge gap in Leogang ( ep1.pinkbike.org/p4pb19529750/p4pb19529750.jpg ) has a chicken line around it, and last year most women took that, because they didn't have the speed to hit the jump. Vali tried to hit it in the practice, cased the jump and broke an ankle. IMO there should always be a (slightly slower) alternative for those who just aren't ready to hit jumps that big, or don't feel like hitting them on that particular day/run.
  • 1 0
 @f00bar: holy crap thats a jump and a half
  • 9 0
 ...and if you build such gnarly features, the cameras should be placed accordingly... the riders tisk their health for the show - and it's not even shown...
  • 7 2
 One of the biggest thing I learned is that Vali is going to have an uphill battle tgetting past the mental hurdles of Elite racing. Her recent mistakes my not all be caused by her mental space, but they are all piling up at the very crucial transitional point in her career. I certainly hope she can get past it, and regain that all-important confidence.
  • 1 0
 Yep, that's a very perceptive point. I think she maybe needs some predictable dry racing to lessen the variables and build that confidence. She's still the best bet in the long run, but how long?
  • 12 7
 Let’s don’t forget, these are professional events at the highest level el. I think the obsticles/jumps where spot on. Pretty much every mens class rider was ecstatic in practice and quailes that I saw in the videos. I think this is what the best riders want. I do think the ride around lines could have been better for riders not wanting to jump though.

Please don’t dumb the tracks down and make them all bike park tracks just because of a few crashes.
  • 8 0
 I think most spectators would be just happy if the jumps/features were built more to last, instead of crumbling. Make them as gnarly as you wish, but I’d prefer to watch races where essentially the whole event isn’t decided upon how deteriorated 1 or 2 takeoffs/landings become throughout the morning.

Ideally I’d like to watch the best of the best battling each other on equal footing, rather than watch them battling the elements and/or lucking out with starting position.
  • 5 1
 For all of you moaning about the jumps why don’t you take up road cycling and watch Tour de France, the track is the track either ride it or sit at home on the sofa no one has a gun to your head, if pros most often crash as there pushing not cause they can’t do it or it’s sketch, so any jump crashes would of been caused by them pushing to hard jump before approach to take off and not getting correct run in, other wise moan about the tree roots and ask for them to be taken out as well
  • 3 0
 Interesting topic of conversation but I keep seeing a lot of riders on high pivot bikes getting bucked by the steep jumps. With the bike having rear wheel travel and the wheel base getting longer as the bike travels up the lip I wonder how bad that buck has to be to deal with. Of course this year with Reece and then there was Amaury almost losing it on the final jump in 19
  • 2 0
 Did they also both have 29ers? Reece said he sat on his back wheel in the compression which pitched his weight forward, so probably nothing to do with the pivot on that occasion.
  • 1 0
 @thingswelike: that's a good point. Nothing like a crack full of back tire to pitch you forward
  • 2 0
 Or Reece & Amaury (plus Thibault) are just the biggest senders on the circuit?
  • 4 1
 The end comment sounds like Pinkbike are becoming political. The safety concerns should be vocalised by the participants, the riders, the ones risking their health in the pursuit of glory. As far as I am aware most of the riders thought that this was the best track in years. A real downhill track. I believe in personal choice and freedom of choice. Every rider had the decision to assess what was safe or not when they dropped in to race...to choose a speed to ride at. It is a sport on the edge and you could see that some riders chose to test that edge and others were more reserved. Changing conditions are part and parcel of racing downhill and pointing the finger and pushing blame on to the course designers for accidents in the heat of competition is wrong. Sanitising this beautiful sport would be a mistake and i salute the French, Les Gets and the course designers for putting something together that was a real test for the worlds best downhill riders.
  • 8 4
 They should find a better way for the start list , the fastest should be able to pick a slot before it starts . Course havoc for tv but tough !
  • 3 1
 Yup, like sx...pick ur gate
  • 4 0
 This x100. Fastest qualifiers should always get the benefit even if it means they leave the gate first instead of last.
  • 6 0
 I think this would be so boring to watch.... Remember the days when Gwin started early and everyone else was just batteling for the second place... it´s not the same in my opinion. And if the top riders could start first you won´t be so hyped for the other riders. It´s not easy to find the best solution, but in my opinion the system we have today is entertaining to watch
  • 2 0
 An out there option. would be to cancel race day training if the weather forecast looks like changing during the race. Would save at least 2 1/2 hours.
Would mean redbull would have to be on board
Some parts of Europe have very predictable weather forecasts.

Didn’t crankwoks rejig there slopestyle times to get less wind because of inclement weather recently?
  • 4 0
 Am I the only one that almost fell out of my chair watching Benoit's run?!! Insane he kept it up riding that loose. Best run of the way IMO.
  • 2 0
 In addition to the messed up jump building, the race was certainly missing trail builders all weekend! The fact that riders had to clean up the worst ruts on the first stepup (after it ended Charlie Hatton's weekend) is just ridiculous.
  • 3 0
 I heard from the riders that they course builders worked really hard and did a great job through the week. They were probably focussed on the woods.
  • 2 0
 Whilst good to see someone new winning it’s pretty obvious the weather probably had the biggest impact on the results. You only have to look at the state of the later riders gear compared to those on the podium.

There was some “he deserved the win” being said through gritted teeth in public.
  • 2 0
 Yes, DH races are dangerous and will always be, but:

No matter how dangerous a feature is, the builders have to take precautions if „things go wrong“.

Another point to consider: The speed with new bikes, suspension, wheelsizes during the last 10 years increased dramatically, and this should be considered when building a racetrack.
  • 7 2
 Love enthusiastic fans, HATE the smoke flares. That stuff has got to go.
  • 7 1
 It's a reason I'd think twice before attending a WC in person. Not many places left on a track without having to hear a chain saw (which I mute even on the feed) or the smoke shows or at Les Gets the spray painted French flag car being bounced off the rev limiter and on.

TLDR: I'm crotchety and some might say old; get off my lawn.
  • 1 0
 @heatproofgenie: only WC race I’ve attended was VDS and it was incredible.

The tracks are long, plenty of spots to avoid the really noisy shit
  • 1 0
 @heatproofgenie: You're only 45! Live a little more before you surrender! Go catch a tag on a dumpster or something - anything
  • 6 0
 Vote for Jackson!
  • 1 0
 In one of the vital raws you can hear Minnaar casing the road gap and riding it out. But lets not forget, rock gardens are just as higher risk. Its downhill people, taking risks vs reward is what it always has been about. Riding that fine line between crashing and glory. Amazing how many moaned how courses were too bikepark previously.......think this is going to.be the year DH starts to get great again.
  • 1 1
 if a team knows storms are in the forecast...why not use a little strategy and have your rider not put down a heater to have top qualifying position? Points made in qualifying? Actually asking, not being a keyboard warrior.

It just would seem to me if you know there's potential rain later in the day then look to have a slower time and go first in the drier conditions.
  • 3 1
 This used to be a solid tactic in the earlier days of DH tournaments, and was exploited. Now, however, there are points up for grabs in the qualification round and the UCI rules state this:

'Any rider whose time being 100% slower of that of the first established time is listed in the results as DNF (did not finish) and is not awarded any points. This rule is applied for qualifying rounds and finals'

So they really can't mess around too much...
  • 5 0
 Plus I believe protected riders have to race their run within the televised segment, so even if they qualify outside of the top 20, they are bumped up into it so they are shown on the telly.
  • 1 0
 Another measure is that years ago if you qualified last you went first in finals, now the protected system makes them go 30th or 20th from the end. So previously you would be able to leave 2-3 hours ahead of the best qualifier with some strategy, now it is more like an hour so a much bigger gamble.
  • 3 0

I think the only way to be 100% slower is to get a DNS…
  • 1 0
 @jamessmurthwaite Apart from Marine and Nina who else got injured on the road gap? I've heard lots of other people saying about other riders, but I can only find info about these two.
  • 1 0
 Red bull should take the whole event more seriously. Why don’t they also show the qualifying!? As mentioned before. I’m happy to spend money on subscription and really good coverage.
  • 3 0
 I was under the impression bikes won races with people on em...
  • 6 0
 People win races on top of bikes.
  • 2 0
 @mammal: I thought it goes French people win races (on top of bikes)
  • 2 0
 7) There is something in the South Australian water. Per head of population no other jurisdiction close.
  • 1 0
 Have you drunk the water in Adelaide? There's definitely something in it, it tastes awful!
Their beer is pretty good though.
  • 1 0
 @JamesR2026: Maybe its a balance of the two?. Too often the success goes to a singular attribute, when its a holistic system that makes for a healthy balance? I just dont see anyone from NSW here, or anyone else from Oz let alone two.
  • 1 0
 @FoesKnows: Newcastle/Lake Macquarie region has been pretty close to Adelaide in producing world cup downhillers with Jack Moir and Muddy. Awaba DH track is definitely a big factor in that!
Meier- Smith Brothers are from NSW Mid North Coast I think.
I don't think we've had one from here in Sydney/Blue Mountains since Rennie.
  • 1 0
 @JamesR2026: Look boys I love those riders as much as anyone but I don't think based on constancy or results over the last decades its not currently comparable. And I really like Moir and think his results at the moment are deserved and long rewarded for some shocking bad luck but why not occasionally racing DH as side hustle to enduro as vice verca. Probs injury concern while at pointy end of one competition - ok fair enough.

But no on paper Adelaide vs Newcaste - even National DH Champions, let alone World Cups?
  • 1 0
 @FoesKnows: As far as I remember, Rennie and Sam are the only WC champs we have had so that kinda skewers your Adelaide theory.
Your theory is almost entirely based on Troy. Troy is incredible! Conner is a great rider but not an outlier by Aus standards.
If you look back a bit further in history, Cairns was the hot spot with Ronning and McCarrol, and Canberra has produced a lot of amazing riders too, like Rando and Ben Cory. SE QLD produced Kovarik and Grubby.
Perth has thrown up some other shredders too with Johnny Waddell back in the day.
I think if you did a bit of analysis you would see that the areas that produce great riders at any particular time have healthy racing scenes and tracks that build skills.
Unfortunately at the moment Auscycling (and its predecessor MTBA) are doing their best to ruin DH racing, killing off the national series and giving no support to our juniors and not allowing them to go to worlds for the last 2 years.
  • 1 1
 'Torrid' means blistering heat. I wasn't there so maybe the term applies - just saying...

"Thibaut Daprela wasn't just riding through his own pain barrier but also the torrid conditions."
  • 6 0
 In the UK torrid also means full of difficulty.
  • 1 1
 @commental: In can also mean that here in the States, our friend here just doesn't realize it.
  • 1 0
 @phobospwns: @commental

Synonyms & Antonyms for torrid


ardent, boiling, broiling, burning, fervent, fervid, fiery, hot, piping hot, red, red-hot, roasting, scalding, scorching, searing, sultry, superheated, sweltering, ultrahot, white-hot


algid, arctic, bitter, bone-chilling, cold, freezing, frigid, frozen, glacial, ice-cold, iced, icy
  • 1 0
 @commental: I think it's more about (blistering) speed as in Torrid Pace
  • 1 0
 @suspended-flesh: I suppose you could be right , but personally I'm sticking to my interpretation.
Dictionary definitions;
full of difficulty.
"he'd been given a pretty torrid time by the nation's voters"
3. ADJECTIVE [usually ADJECTIVE noun]
If someone or something has a torrid time, they experience a lot of difficulties.
  • 2 0
 Les Gets, eats you alive...
  • 2 0
 Somebody send Daprela a mouth guard
  • 1 1
 True, why they don't use them !?
  • 1 2
 @TARTARA: harder to breathe and also a risk of easily swallowing them
  • 1 0
 A study of dental injuries presenting at our local hospital showed that wearing a full face helmet with out a neck brace did not prevent injuries occurring to the lower jaw and teeth. It is highly likely that the type and severity of injury is decreased by wearing a full face helmet with out a neck brace A neckbrace prevents the helmet riding up and your chin hitting the ground or your chest and then biting your tongue or smashing your teeth together
  • 3 0
 @mc-marshie69: a risk of easily swallowing a, *checks notes* mouth guard? This has to be a joke. Plz let it be a joke.
  • 1 0
 @ryd-or-die: I had them knocked back into my mouth while playing rugby, I've never choked on one because they just get stuck and make you gag like f*ck until you rip it out
  • 2 0
 @T4THH: ok so the risk of gagging on one is higher. I understand what you meant to say. But as a speech pathologist at a hospital who does swallow evaluations practically all day, swallowing a mouth guard is practically impossible, and is different from gagging on one.
  • 1 0
 @ryd-or-die: Ye i meant to say that if it gets dislodged, you'll be okay
  • 2 0
 I learned I need to do better with my fantasy picks
  • 3 2
 'French jump builder dont mess around' .....or 'French jump builders create dangerous jumps that injure elite riders'
  • 1 0
 6. dont let your marshalls allow cars to cross a track during someones run like a dumbass.
  • 1 0
 The bike can help for sure.
  • 1 0
 #6 Check the weather report before logging in your fantasy downhill team.
  • 18 17
 6) Gwin is done
  • 4 0
 Pssh, wouldn't bank on that. Check that man's history.
  • 2 0
 He needed that TUES.
  • 1 0
 Gwin is one of the all time greats, such talent and blinding speed don't just disappear. My guess is the bike isn't working and it just isn't coming together as they'd like. That man is an awesome talent, just can't rule out him getting back on pace.
  • 2 0
 @mccarthyp: Controversial statement coming.... He needs to stop training in So Cal and get over to Europe to train on the real WC tracks. I think he's just not sharp enough right now to compete with the Frenchies and some of the Brits.
  • 2 1
 daprela is my young god
  • 2 10
flag murfio (Jul 6, 2021 at 14:11) (Below Threshold)
  • 1 1
 I watched it on fs1 in America
  • 1 0
  • 1 1
 #6: Bikes don't win races, weather wins races.
  • 2 0
 @mybaben Force majeure (term ironically from the French) not declared, outdoor sport. Give it up.
  • 2 1
 Weather fluctuation wins the race in this case.
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