Nerding Out: Les Gets World Cup 2021

Jul 5, 2021 at 10:45
by James Smurthwaite  
Vali Holl lost it in the last turn and was left to run over the line. She s on the pace and just needs to be patient. Her time is coming.

Les Gets' new track delivered by the bucket load. Riders were frothing all week to ride its steep tech while its constantly changing lines and conditions kept things interesting from start to finish for the fans.

A rainstorm on Saturday afternoon turned the whole race on its head, especially in the men's field, and the last ten riders were battling to stay upright just as much as they were to turn the clock green. Of course, there's no doubt Thibaut Daprela benefitted from those conditions, but 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.

In the women's field, Tahnee Seagrave overcame niggling injuries to take her first win for more than two years. That's her longest win drought since first taking to the top step of the podium at Leogang in 2017 so she'll be happy to put it behind her and will head to Maribor full of confidence and hopefully fully fit.

Let's get into the splits and sectors to see where the race was won.

Results



Elite Women


1st. Tahnee Seagrave: 4:10.566
2nd. Myriam Nicole: 4:10.818
3rd. Camille Balanche: 4:15.480
4th. Mille Johnset: 4:16.102
5th. Monika Hrastnik: 4:17.097


Elite Men


1st. Thibaut Daprela: 3:33.424
2nd. Max Hartenstern: 3:35.840
3rd. Baptiste Pierron: 3:35.944
4th. Connor Fearon: 3:36.014
5th. Mark Wallace: 3:36.205


The Sectors

Screenshot: Red Bull TV

Sector 1 From the start gate, across the ski piste cambers and over the fearsome step-down. The split ends just before the first road crossing.
Men ≈ 68 seconds, Women ≈ 80 seconds

Sector 2 Over the two road crossings and sprinting around the lake.
Men ≈ 22 seconds, Women ≈ 25 seconds

Sector 3 Over the tabletops and doubles in the woods and down through the 'Leprechaun Off Camber'.
Men ≈ 60 seconds, Women ≈ 70 seconds

Sector 4 Into the Gates of Hell 70% steep section until just above the River Gap. Also includes most of the Red Bull Key Section.
Men ≈ 50 seconds, Women ≈ 65 seconds

Sector 5 Over the river gap and out onto the ski piste. It includes the final grass section and the motorway jumps to the finish line.
Men ≈ 34 seconds, Women ≈ 42 seconds

Total Length: 2.5km / 1.55 miles

Total Drop: 545 metres / 1788 ft


Sector by Sector Results



Men
Sector 1
1. Joe Breeden - 1:05.760
2. Thibaut Daprela +0.269
3. Elliot Vallon +0.756
4. Greg Minnaar +1.125
5. Loic Bruni +1.261

Sector 2
1. Phil Atwill - 21.914
2. Connor Fearon +0.106
3. Hugo Frixtalon +0.480
4. Joe Breeden +0.539
5. Loris Vergier +0.633

Sector 3
1. Thibaut Daprela - 57.320
2. Taylor Vernon +0.325
3. Baptiste Pierron +0.406
4. Laurie Greenland +1.094
5. Joe Breeden +1.098

Sector 4
1. Taylor Vernon - 30.543
2. Mark Wallace +0.031
3. Baptiste Pierron +0.066
4. Mike Jones +0.121
5. Matt Walker +0.543

Sector 5
1. Sam Blenkinsop - 34.809
2. Mark Wallace +0.055
3. Joe Breeden +0.199
4. Kade Edwards +0.239
5. Dean Lucas +0.301

Perfect Lap

3:30.346

Fastest Run

3:33.424


Women
Sector 1
1. Myriam Nicole - 1:14.431
2. Tahnee Seagrave +0.385
3. Vali Holl +3.425
4. Eleonora Farina +4.704
5. Monika Hrastnik +5.837

Sector 2
1. Tahnee Seagrave - 25.418
2. Eleonora Farina +0.106
3. Camille Balanche +0.265
4. Vali Holl +0.524
5. Myriam Nicole +0.566

Sector 3
1. Camille Balanche - 1:08.719
2. Tahnee Seagrave +0.457
3. Eleonora Farina +0.480
4. Monika Hrastnik +2.293
5. Vali Holl +2.452

Sector 4
1. Myriam Nicole - 38.719
2. Mille Johnset +0.215
3. Camille Balanche +0.347
4. Monika Hrastnik +0.511
5. Eleonora Farina +1.355

Sector 5
1. Mille Johnset - 36.914
2. Camille Balanche +0.962
3. Myriam Nicole +2.907
4. Monika Hrastnik +3.009
5. Tahnee Seagrave +3.504

Perfect Lap

4:04.201

Fastest Run

4:10.566



The Story of the Race




In Depth



Men

Sector 1
From the start gate, across the ski piste cambers and over the fearsome step-down. The split ends just before the first road crossing.


Although he finished the race by just nipping inside the top 10, Joe Breeden was the fastest rider through the top half of the track. There's over a minute of racing done before we get any times and that includes everything from grassy ski slopes to gnarly step-downs and slick roots but Joe emerges as fastest from it all.

The eventual winner on the day, Daprela is Joe's closest rival with Elliot Vallon in third. We mentioned Vallon in our qualifying analysis that young French riders were stepping it up on home soil and Vallon seriously impressed during the race yesterday despite later taking a huge OTB. Minnaar and Fearon make up the rest of the top 5 with the rest of the top 20 falling within a second of those two.



Sector 2
Over the two road crossings and sprinting around the lake.


Sector 2 is super-short so it's hard to give it too much weight but we can probably say with some confidence that Phil Atwill is looking back to his best again in 2021. He was running in second in Leogang through the top section and only just missed out on the top 20 after some dabs in the woods. Although he didn't feature on the live stream this weekend, he was putting himself back up at the business end of things again in Les Gets and went fastest through Sector 2.

Connor Fearon also had a great second sector and then there's a decent gap back to the rest of the field, led out by Hugo Frixtalon. Joe Breeden puts in another solid sector time in fourth while Loris Vergier defies the conditions for fifth.


Breeden extends his lead over Daprela by 0.2 and he now has more than half a second's advantage as the track begins to pitch downwards. Fearon's two strong sectors leave him third while Vallon continues his great run in fourth. Phil Atwill's winning sector time earns him 19 places as he marches up from 30th to 11th.



Sector 3
Over the tabletops and doubles in the woods and down through the 'Leprechaun Off camber'.


In Sector 3, Thibaut Daprela starts his bid for the win and takes the fastest time by 0.325 ahead of a name not too many people will have expected to be at the sharp end, Taylor Vernon. Vernon is a former GT and Unno rider who has been competing as a privateer for the past couple of seasons and was taking on only his second race of the year in Les Gets. He may be flying a bit more under the radar this year but he's clearly just as fast as always.

Third at this split was Baptiste Pierron who just proved that his family always go well here in Les Gets. A quartet of Brits led by Laurie Greenland are the next fastest through this sector including Joe Breeden who once again finds himself near the front.


Daprela takes the lead of the race after going more than a second faster than Breeden through Sector 3. The pair of them now have a significant lead over the rest of the chasing pack but only one of them will be able to make it stick until the finish. Baptiste Pierron takes a big step forwards from 17th to 3rd while Taylor Vernon is also a big winner going from 52nd to 33rd. Fearon and Atwill fill out the podium spots at this point.



Sector 4
Into the Gates of Hell 70% steep section until just above the River Gap. Also includes most of the Red Bull Key Section.


Vernon goes even better in Sector 4 and takes the fastest time by a whisker. Vernon is just ahead of Wallace, Pierron and Jones - who was clocked fastest through the Red Bull Key Section.

This is where you start to see the fastest qualifiers really struggle and this is the only sector where none of the last ten riders down the mountain feature in the top 20. The best-placed of those is Reece Wilson who came down 36th fastest but he still loses 2.2 seconds despite the wild heroics that ended in disaster.


As Joe Breeden takes a spill, Daprela is now the clear leader with only 30 seconds of track left to run. Pierron cuts the gap to 0.6 seconds but it's going to be too little, too late to challenge for the win now. At the moment, Fearon, Atwill and Hartenstern make up the rest of the podium spots but there's still going to be a big shake around in the final section.



Sector 5
Over the river gap and out onto the ski piste. It includes the final grass section and the motorway jumps to the finish line.


It's Blenki who takes the fastest sector time over the line with Mark Wallace right up there again just 0.05 behind him. Joe Breeden recovers well from his crash and puts in another strong sector in third. For those keeping track of the podium battle, Max Hartenstern is fastest, more than half a second quicker Fearon and two faster than Atwill.

Daprela has his worst sector of the race with 17th place but his win is already all but secured, especially as Pierron also doesn't have a particularly great finale to his run.


Daprela secures his first World Cup win by nearly 2.5 seconds but it's all change behind him with Max Hartenstern leaping into second place to take the first German Elite Male podium for more than 20 years. Pierron drops to third with Fearon fourth and Mark Wallace coming in as a late charger in the final spot.



Women

Sector 1
From the start gate, across the ski piste cambers and over the fearsome step-down. The split ends just before the first road crossing.


Out of the start gate, Myriam Nicole and Tahnee Seagrave announced themselves as the riders to beat this race. Backed by a roaring home crowd, Nicole took the fastest time in the first sector but there was only 0.4 separating the two women. Vali Holl was best of the rest with Eleonora Farina and Monika Hrastnik rounding out the top five.

Camille Balanche has a disappointing first sector and she later explained on Instagram that issues with her goggles meant she had to go around the road gap and hit a tree. This puts her ten seconds back after the first sector and spoiled what could have her chance at the win.



Sector 2
Over the two road crossings and sprinting around the lake.


Tahnee goes one better in Sector 2 and is fastest in the sprint past the lake. The time gaps are tight in this short piece of track but she still manages to find more than a tenth over Farina. Balanche recovers well from her issues in split one and comes third in this sector.

Vali Holl came fourth in this sector and it's already clear this isn't the dominant Vali that we saw a month ago in Leogang. She said after the race that she "Can’t keep it together at the moment," but is happy she ended up ticking off all the features and will be working on finding her mojo again before Maribor.


Tahnee picks up enough time on Pompon to take the lead at Split 2 and she'll keep a tight grasp on it until the end of the race. She may have expressed doubts about her niggling injuries at the post-race interviews but it's clear that the raw pace is there for her when she returns to full fitness. Vali Holl kept it consistent for third just ahead of Farina and Hrastnik. Balanche only managed to move up one place despite her fast sector time.



Sector 3
Over the tabletops and doubles in the woods and down through the 'Leprechaun Off camber'.


Camille Balanche has definitely found her stride now and takes the fastest time in Sector 3. Seagrave and Farina are neck and neck just behind her then it's Hrastnik and Holl around two seconds back. Myriam Nicole crashes in this section but only loses just over 3 seconds thanks to a quick recovery.


With Nicole losing time scrabbling to get back on her bike, Tahnee extends her lead to nearly three seconds with just over a minute of racing to go. Eleonora Farina has been riding under the radar but holds solid in third just ahead of Holl. Camille Balanche is continuing her march up the leader board and that fastest sector time has her within reach of the podium, just behind her team mate Hrastnik.



Sector 4
Into the Gates of Hell 70% steep section until just above the River Gap. Also includes most of the Red Bull Key Section.


Now back up to speed, Nicole shows her technical prowess and takes her second sector victory of the day. Second to her is Mille Johnset who produced a coming of age performance in this race. Mille has been slowly developing in the Elite ranks for the past couple of years but she delivered on her promise in Les Gets and picked up her first podium with a super-composed run through the technical woods.

Tahnee's worries about her fitness seem to come to fruition in the last minute of the track as she starts to lose time to her competitors. She only manages eighth fastest through this sector losing more than two seconds to Nicole.


Tahnee Seagrave's lead has been cut right down to less than a second and she'll now have to dig deep to hold off a charging Nicole to secure the win. Sector 4 hasn't changed the order of the top riders at all but it won't stay that way by the time the riders cross the line.



Sector 5
Over the river gap and out onto the ski piste. It includes the final grass section and the motorway jumps to the finish line.


Johnset continues her high-speed final half of the track and takes the fastest time in the final sector by almost a second ahead of Balanche. Nicole once again beats Seagrave in this sector but it won't be enough to take the win when the dust settles. The big losers in this sector are Vali Holl, who crashes on the final corner for the second race in a row and Eleonora Farina, who had looked so solid all race but seemed to case the motorway jumps and lose a bit of time.


Seagrave ends her more than two year absence from the top step in Les Gets. She grew up and learned to mountain bike in neighbouring Morzine so it was a hugely important win for her in Les Gets. In the end, just a quarter of a second separated Seagrave and Pompon, who will no doubt be rueing that crash that almost certainly cost her the win. Balanche moves up to third to retain the leader's jersey while Johnset takes a best-ever fourth place.





30 Comments

  • 32 0
 Frames don't win races French people do
  • 6 0
 Agreed. It's pure co-incidence that they're almost all on the same frame.
  • 1 2
 @chakaping: If frames gave results we would all be using noodly Canondale frames to ride huge freeride lines after Cedric took the podium on one of them in the 2000s
  • 17 0
 Joe Breeden lost approx 6 seconds in his crash and finished less than 4 seconds back. Top 5 splits in all but the sector he crashed. Might need to add him back to the Fantasy team. He is on fire!!!!
  • 2 0
 same for vernon, he lots loads of time in one split but was 2nd fastest then fastest in the one after that
  • 3 0
 Full credit to him though he did start 8th out of 63 riders so he had significantly different conditions to the top 20.
  • 1 0
 @Ds1234: yeah good too see Taylor back in the mix. He got some bad luck all his career, I remember his horrific crash in Val di Sole
  • 6 0
 Love these write-ups. It'd be cool to see your Sector plots colorized by starting order, that would probably help reveal the impact of conditions on various parts of the track.
  • 20 0
 I made this but decided not too include it in the end as it’s a bit confusing www.pinkbike.com/photo/20900932 . I read it as Minnnaar, Daprela, Pierron and Walker ‘beat’ the conditions but I could cut it down to the top 10/20 if you’d be interested in seeing it.
  • 3 0
 @jamessmurthwaite: Could you plot qualifying time against finals time as a scatter plot? If conditions were the same this would show a roughly straight line (albeit with noise) but if conditions affected things you’d get a curve emerging.
  • 7 0
 @jamessmurthwaite: obviously the run order mattered a ton here. And who went right before our winner?
Troy, the man on top, Greenland, who was all over the gnarliest podiums in 2019, then last year’s overall winner Matt Walker.
Sure the top qualifiers were hosed but
Daprela had much more of a qualify win than some might credit him. He beat a ton of people before his turn on the track. And he dropped in amongst a slew of top protected riders.
  • 2 0
 @snomaster: If he carries on the way he's going I can see him soon becoming the man to beat.
  • 1 0
 @jamessmurthwaite
Thanks for the cool analysis. Where did you get the raw data from? I might like to have a look myself.
  • 1 0
 @jamessmurthwaite: That chart is amazing! Shame it can't be interactive on here - i.e. highlight a line and it shows you the rider (or vice versa).
  • 2 0
 @snomaster: I couldn't agree more. Thibaut Daprela was on a flyer, although the conditions probably gave him the win.

You just need to ask the questions, would Thibaut Daprela have won if everybody had the same conditions? Maybe not. Would Thibaut Daprela have made the podium and been close to the winner if everybody had the same conditions? Most probably yes.
If the times making up the podium at a WC are close then it's probably just luck or kit that's separating them.
  • 5 0
 9 different sector winners - I hope Red Bull / UCI take note and realise that gnarly tracks make for more exciting racing, rather than their obsession with easier tracks for tighter time gaps.
  • 7 0
 Blenki proves pedaling in the air is faster.
  • 5 1
 Jackson Goldstone was over three seconds faster than the perfect lap. Really impressive
  • 8 0
 Dry track. Be great to see nerding out in the last ten riders in the wet.
  • 6 0
 It would be interesting to compare. He was 4 seconds faster than Bruni's qualifying run in the dry.
  • 1 0
 These are great articles but the formatting always drives me crazy. You start with the women on the left of the page and then swap them to the right, after that you put the men's graphs first. The order and formatting is just all wrong for easy reading.
  • 4 1
 (Levesque) ‘why do I have to be Mr Pink.....?’
  • 1 0
 Camille Balanche was in the top 3 of all splits except the first one where she had the goggle issue. That is really impressive!
  • 2 0
 Man I love those sector plots!
  • 1 0
 Nerding out is the best thing right after watching the live feed!!
  • 1 0
 The last graph pattern looks like a subway plan
  • 1 0
 10010100111001101001110011000101101001010
  • 1 0
 Very cool stuff, thanks.
  • 1 2
 Analysing a lottery win...
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