Nerding Out - Maribor DH World Cup 2019

Apr 29, 2019 at 7:41
by James Smurthwaite  
AG engaging Apache helicopter mode in the finish area.

Riders hit full 'Bor in Slovenia on Sunday and it was a welcome return for the legendary track. Tahnee Seagrave and Loic Bruni ran out as the winners but how did they do it? It's time to get into the numbers to find out where time was won or lost:

The Track

Gnarly roots aplenty deep in the forest.

Thankfully Maribor had barely changed at all in its absence. A stark contrast of open pistes and deep woods made for an engaging watch. There were plenty of places to lose or gain time and it kept both Eliot Jackson and Ben Cathro busy on site explaining the various line choices on offer. It was a race that required consistency with neither race victor winning the majority of sectors but instead keeping a clean pair of heels on a smooth run.

The track packs down into roughly five sectors of around 30 seconds. Sector 1 covers the top sweeping turns on the grass and the first dive into the woods. Sector 2 covers some decent sized gaps in the woods and yet more clay turns in the open. From Sector 3 onwards it's in the woods all the way to finish straight. The middle sector turned out to be one of the most crucial with the rock garden, Sam Hill's surprisingly tricky right hander off the fireroad and the huge gap jump. Sector 4 started with the fresh cut section, which saw developing lines throughout the weekend, then fed into a series of corners with plenty of camber and options. The final section was the most bike parky. Keeping the rhythm here and flying round the hard packed corners was key to going fast.


Super Bruni was off the rev limiter all weekend.

The men's race was super tight with less than a second splitting the top four. Mixed wheel sizes didn't look like they were slowing anyone down, with Bruni and Hart going 1 and 2, it will be interesting to see how much the other teams will take note of this for the rest of the year.

Each sector was won by a different racer and all but one of the sector winners went on to take a spot on the podium, with Harrison and Walker doing it for the first time. Only Mr Consistent himself Troy Brosnan ended up in the top five at the bottom of the hill despite not being fastest through any of the five designated sectors. Let's take a look at each one in detail to see how the race was won:
The Perfect Lap

Sector 1 Danny Hart - 34.558
Sector 2 Charlie Harrison - 36.251
Sector 3 Loic Bruni - 40.998
Sector 4 Mark Wallace - 31.210
Sector 5 Matt Walker - 34.308

Total 2:57.325

Winning time 2:58.839

Sector 1

Sector 1 was the shortest and the tightest of the race with the entire top 20 within a second. Danny Hart took it by a gnat's whisker with a lead of just 0.006 over Loic Bruni.

The top three from the race start as the top three here and are all within a tenth of each other with loads still to play for. Gwin is also in contention but this will be his strongest split of the day as he fades through the race. Finn Iles also has a super strong start, backing up his second place qualifying We expected him to be fastest from what we saw on the live feed but the clock tells otherwise.

Charlie Harrison and Matt Walker will both end up on the podium but line up 11th and 12th at this point around half a second back.

Sector 2

Split 2 is short again and the times are still tight, especially towards the tail of the top 20.

Harrison and Walker may have been slightly back on split one but they burst into life in the woods. There are no prizes for guessing who's right behind them though, Bruni and Hart.

The split isn't so kind for Gwin, Brosnan and Pierron who all lose a hefty chunk of time.

Check out Adam Rojcek too, the Slovakian delivered his best World Cup result by a significant margin with an 18th and he's mixing it up with the big guns here after a weak start.

Bruni and Hart have already set themselves apart as the strongest riders in this race after just a minute of racing. They are separated by just 0.1 but have a slither of daylight back to Charlie Harrison in third.

Gwin, Brosnan, Walker and Vergier all look to be set up for challenging for the final podium spots but disaster will soon strike for the Frenchman. Pierron leads the chasing pack about a second behind the leaders.

Sector 3

Sector 3 is where Bruni really stakes his claim for the win. He takes the longest split on the track by more than 0.3 and only five riders can get within a second of his blistering pace. As always the rock garden proved to be super crucial and the contrasting styles of Bruni's smooth floating and Danny's full charge both seemed to be effective in their own way.

This is Pierron's best sector of the race while Troy Brosnan starts to recover from a sloppy second sector. Gwin was in a podium spot before this sector but seems to struggle and will slip backwards in the standings. Slovenian Jure Zabjek puts in a great effort for 8th, no doubt taking advantage of the vocal, local support who were willing him through the entire sector.

We're past the halfway point in the race and it's now Bruni's to lose. Hart is his only real challenger at this point and even he sits nearly half a second in arrears.

Pierron's heroics in the rock garden lift him into a podium spot as Gwin gets bumped down to seventh. Loris crashes coming off the fireroad, ending his challenge for a podium spot.

Sector 4

Mark Wallace shows his pace in qualifying can't just be attributed to the rain as he dominates the fourth sector. Greenland and Harrison are neck and neck in hot pursuit with Bruni and Brosnan not too far behind. Aussie Oliver Zwar comes from no where to end up sixth here, if you watch the live feed he was looking super aggressive through these corners.

Danny Hart is about a second back on Wallace and, crucially, half a second back on Bruni too, is this where his challenge for the win faltered? Matt Walker also has a disaster here, he mentioned over-braking in his live feed interview and it cost him dearly as he could only muster 24th on this sector.

Bruni now leads by nearly a second and can afford a few mistakes before the finish line. Hart will have to look over his shoulder in the final split as he has Brosnan and Harrison in hot pursuit.

Gwin rounds out the podium at this point having put in a few consistent sectors but Greenland, Pierron and Wallace all look to be in striking distance. Walker seems like he's thrown it away at this point as he sits in eighth and about 0.5 off the podium.

Sector 5

Walker turns his fortunes around with a blistering sprint to the line - clearly he's been putting in the work over the off season. Dakotah Norton trails him closely with his best split of the race 0.2 back. Brosnan and Harrison secure their podium splits with strong finishes. Hart isn't far off but can only pull back about half a second on Bruni who still takes the win despite a tenth place on this sector.

Gwin (8th), Greenland (14th), Pierron (9th) and Wallace (13th) all lose lots of time to Walker as he leapfrogs them onto the box.

Bruni takes his third career win by 0.4 from Danny Hart. Troy Brosnan racks up third and then two podium debutants in Harrison and Walker make the trip to the box.

Position Changes


Tahnee rode the rocks like a boss

What a race it was for the women! Rachel and Tahnee were trading splits all the way down the track and look set for another struggle of epic proportions throughout the rest of the season.

Tahnee won two of the sectors and Rachel another but there were great performances from Cabirou and Hoffmann to ensure the Brits didn't get it all their own way.
Perfect Lap
Sector 1 Rachel Atherton - 37.909
Sector 2 Tahnee Seagrave - 40.548
Sector 3 Marine Cabirou - 47.974
Sector 4 Tahnee Seagrave - 37.526
Sector 5 Nina Hoffman - 39.668

Total 3:23.625

Winning time 3:25.888

Sector 1

After the first split, Rachel Atherton looks like she's going to start off 2019 how she ended 2018, as the indisputable fastest woman. She smashes through the first sector in 37.909 but Tahnee is just over a quarter of a second back.

Tracey Hannah leads out the rest of the women but she's already over a second and a half back. Marine Cabirou is fourth and then there's a great sector from Mariana Salazar Palomo in fifth - her best of the race. Monika Hrastnik doesn't have the start she would have wanted on home turf and lies eighth.

Sector 2

Tahnee Seagrave starts gearing up and wins the first of the two sectors she will take in the race putting nearly a second into Rachel in second. Hannah, Hrastnik and Hoffman round out the top five in this sector. Marine Cabirou is the big loser hereafter she skims a tree pad just before the timing split. She rolled down eighth and lost nearly three seconds.

Tahnee has a half second lead after the first third of the track but it's far from safe with Atherton ready to strike.

Hannah is all alone 2.5 seconds back and Hrastnik has recovered from a tough first sector to bring herself back into podium contention. Cabirou drops out of the podium spots but is about to change all that...

Sector 3

Cabirou shines through the rock garden and takes the fastest split from Atherton by 0.7, clearly the Frenchwoman will be one to watch when the tracks get steeper and more tech in July.

The third sector proved to be crucial to the winner in the men's race but it's actually fairly weak for Tahnee and she ends up 1.4 back on Cabirou and crucially 0.7 back on Atherton.

Tahnee's troubles have handed the lead back to Atherton but there's less than a tenth in it with just over a minute of the race to go. Cabirou has powered back up the standings and looks like she could start to challenge Hannah's third place.

Hrastnik and Hoffmann continue their battle for the final podium spot with Hoffmann edging ahead into fifth again.

Sector 4

Tahnee takes another sector win, this time from Hrastnik, who is within two tenths of a second. Rachel loses half a second to Tahnee here with Tracey right on her tail. Cabirou has another strong showing meaning all the top five women are within a second.

Tahnee has a lead of 0.4 seconds heading into the final sector but, as Matt Walker proved in the men's race, a lot can change in that sprint to the line. Tracey seems to have plenty of time to play with in third leaving Hrastnik and Cabirou to fight for fourth and fifth.

Sector 5

Nina Hoffmann is the surprise winner of the final sector as she flies into the finish area. Cabirou and Hrastnik both follow her closely and secure their podium spots. Tahnee has her worst split of the race to finish fifth but so does Atherton in seventh, allowing Tahnee to secure the win.

Tahnee takes the win and will get to wear the leader's jersey for the first time in Fort William. Rachel gave the Atherton Bikes prototype a decent christening with a second place finish on its first World Cup outing.

Tracey Hannah is consistent throughout the race with sector times ranking 3rd 3rd, 3rd, 4th and 4th and finishes 3rd. Cabirou and Hrastnik fill out the podium while Hoffmann's heroics in the final can't quite get her onto the box. She finished 1.5 seconds shy but will definitely be one to watch as the season progresses.

Position Changes


  • + 65
 The graphs showing positions changes are pretty sweet. You could almost just use those as a way of explaining the split times and how they impacted overall position. Could the lines be labelled with initials as to better differentiate between colors?
  • + 6
 Agree and it would be cool to see it as a time gap as well as position.
  • + 3
 @Rigidjunkie: yeah a cumulative graph would be cool to see alongside the individual split times.
  • - 1
 The position change charts don't make any sense to me - how could Cappellari be 14th of 10 at the first split? I would also propose starting everyone at split 1 so you don't get the explosion and then contraction.
  • + 4
 @Whitecollar: there was probably faster riders that didn't finished on the top 10 overall.
  • + 1
 Yes, it would be helpful... otherwise it looks like a mushroom trip
  • + 4
 Agree, start from sector 1 ranking would be easier to read, every one starting form zero has non sense
  • + 0
 Those figs are a good idea but a horrible execution. Keep in mind you can use dashes, different weighted lines, less riders, etc. to make it legible. Maybe leave it as top 10? Could be turned into a web app or whatever to track riders the user is interested in. I bet that'll be a thing in the next couple years.
  • + 2
 Also I don't understand how there can be a gap at any given split (e.g. split 1 on women's fig has no racers in positions 5 and 9). Not trying to knock this style, I'm just trying to provide some constructive feedback to make it more clear next time. Thanks PB!
  • + 5
 @dglass: We grab those particular numbers based on finishing position. So in the women's race it's the riders who finish in pos 1-10. The riders in fifth and ninth (Palomo and Curd) at the first split ended up outside the top ten at the finish so do not get included.

Thanks for the general feedback everyone on this thread though, I will work on improving the layout and resolution of the graphs for Fort William.
  • + 1
 This kind of analysis used to be what Seb from would post on Ridemonkey forums for us. He was really good at the data analysis & breaking it down for us. I miss Seb!
  • + 1
 @Whitecollar: I believe it is their placing on the segment overall. She finished in the top 10, but was 14th overall on the segment.
  • + 46
 Really like these breakdowns and the perfect lap. Nice work
  • + 10
 You forgot to mention:

From the Top 5; Loic Bruni was the only one who didn't race at the iXS DH Cup* the week before, which makes his victory much more impressive.

From the Top 10; Bruni, Pierron, and Greenland were the only ones who didn't attend the iXS DH Cup* the week before.

*Same track with some changes.

Loic Bruni 1.
Danny Hart 2, 6 at iXS
Troy Brosnan 3, 1 at iXS
Charlie Harrison 4, 10 at iXS
Matt Walker 5, 3 at iXS
Aaron Gwin 6, did practice at iXS
Amaury Pierron 7.
Mark Wallace 8, 23 at iXS
Laurie Greenland 9.
Dakotah Norton 10, 5 at iXS
  • + 13
 Interesting information, but I think you used last year's Maribor IXS results. Matt Walker won in 2019, followed by Hart and Harrison.
  • + 1
 @Lanclo: Youre wrong. He used this year IXS seeding results but youre right with the rest
  • + 2
 @Lanclo: I intentionally used the iXS qualifying results (2019), because the race list only had 96 people, versus 247 on qualifying, excel did the rest.

Source: here
  • + 5
 I did a little analysis of the women's split times (because they were easy to enter since there were not as many riders) and it is pretty interesting. If there is an easy place to download the data I'd love to do the same for the men and last season if the data is available.

If you remove Split 3 6 riders results would have changed 3 move up 1 spot and 3 move down 1 spot.

If you remove Split 5 Balanche would move up 2 spots and Rubesam would move down 2 spots, this is the only split where someone could swing more than 1 position.

Splits 2 and 3 are the only ones that impact the podium.
Take out 2 and Hannah drops to 4th and Cabirou moves up to 3rd
Take out 3 and Cabirou drops to 5th and Hrastnik moves to 4th.

The theoretical best lap time was a 3:23.6 and Curd was only 9% over that lap which seems pretty close to me. Seagrave was only 1.11% off the theoretical best lap time.
Only 1 rider was more than 10% off the pace on any given split, Hubscher was 10.46% off the best split 2 time.
  • + 2
 I really wish the women's race was more competitive, not to take it away from them at all. It would be so great to see 50 women starters and some really pushing into the Men's times. What would it take?
  • + 8
 @enduroNZ: a complete reshaping of the male/female paradigm? I would also like to see more men in synchronized swimming, but we're going to have to work on gender aspirations. Give it a century or two.
  • + 1
 @enduroNZ: Encouraging girls and young women right now with a longer term sponsorship strategy. ie. not just limited sponsorship slots based on current limited TV coverage and advertising revenues, it will take investment to help grow the sport in this way, unfortunately most team budgets won't stretch to that and companies possibly don't have the inclination over a short term profit.
  • + 4
 The men's race was very interesting:

If you remove Sector 1 17 riders change position, if you remove Sector 3 only 7 riders change position.

Removing 1 Sector could have changed the podium in a bunch of ways:

Remove Sector 1: BRUNI Loic, HARRISON Charlie, HART Danny, BROSNAN Troy, WALKER Matt
Remove Sector 2: BRUNI Loic, HART Danny, BROSNAN Troy, HARRISON Charlie, GWIN Aaron
Remove Sector 3: HARRISON Charlie, BROSNAN Troy, BRUNI Loic, HART Danny, GWIN Aaron
Remove Sector 4: HART Danny, BRUNI Loic, WALKER Matt, BROSNAN Troy, HARRISON Charlie
Remove Sector 5: BRUNI Loic, HART Danny, BROSNAN Troy, HARRISON Charlie, GWIN Aaron

The 2 crashes had huge impacts. Remove Sector 3 and VERGIER Loris comes in 9th. Remove Sector 2 and ILES Finn comes in 12th. There were 7 riders where their final result would have changed by 10 or more positions if 1 Sector was removed.

The best possible time, taking the best sectors and adding them together was a 2:57.3. The worst result was only 12% off that pace, and only 2 riders were more than 10% off the pace. The top 10 were all within 2% of the best possible time.
  • + 4
 The position chart is awesome. Sets up a good story line for the season for the top 6 women. The back and forth between Atherton and Seagrave makes for great racing for the fans. The next round can't come soon enough
  • + 2
 Loved this. Thanks a lot for putting in the work James. It would be an improvement for the position change graph to start with each riders split 1 position. Also brilliant to see some other women looking like they could start to challenge for podium places.
  • + 4
 @ollieF Hey Ollie, yes, I seem to have had that feedback a lot here. I will do that for Fort William and the rest of the season onwards. Thanks!
  • + 1
 @jamessmurthwaite: Nice work. If you chart the sector split differences (ie. time over 1st at the split, such that 1st at each split is 0:00.000) rather than just the overall position at the split then you'll get to see both the position change and relative gap at each split. It also shows you how the field spreads as the losses from sector to sector accumulate.
  • + 1
 @jamessmurthwaite Beat me to the punch up this year! Nice write up though, I like it. The timing charts could benefit greatly by separating the names from the dots. Let me know if you wanna knock heads over some analysis stuff. Here's what I was working with last year
  • + 1
 Hey Pinkbike! Thanks for this, I'm a data whore so love this type of stuff but wondering where I could get hold of the raw data so that I could do some playing with this data myself. Grateful for a point in the right direction
  • + 3
 What's happening with Fairclough?? It's like he needs a better rider on his team to push him. Right now, it's like he's completely dropped off the racing radar.
  • + 3
 Well Dean Lucas is there now. 11th is not shabby. Caribou is podiuming as well, so there shouldn’t be any lack of motivation for Brendog...
  • + 1
 Looks like he focussed a bit too much on backflips during offseason..
  • + 2
 @samjobson: It might not be enough. I mean he was doing really well when it was him and Sam Hill(long time ago, I know). Maybe he needs someone in the top 5 to be on the same team to really push and motivate him.
  • + 2
 @muyguapa: more gym time. A lot more gym time.
  • + 5
 This is some nerdy shit right here...I approve.
  • + 5
 Can't get a better back and forth shootout than that.
  • + 5
 Fantastic work!!! Thank you !!
  • + 3
 Looks like to win you need to be on it from the gate drop. You can't build a run these days. Pin it to win it from the get go.
  • + 1
 Love the breakdown! I knew when I saw Hart & Bruni in the rock section that they were on another level. Loic his usual silky smooth self, and Danny just powering through like nothing was there!

Yesterdays race, both mens & womens, was some of the best racing in the dry I've seen in a while. The season couldn't have started soon enough. Too bad it's only 8 events long and we have to wait 4 or 5 weeks for the next 1.
  • + 3
 This is sooo cool... never thought geeking out so much can be so enjoyable! Great presentation! Thanks.
  • + 3
 Really insightful thanks yall!
p.s. What is a Slocakian? A Slovakian typo I'm guessing?
  • + 35
 Slocakian - a rare breed who eats their cake very slowly, enjoying every bite. Different from the more prevalent "human" who scarfs their cake and immediately goes back for seconds, thirds, etc. until they are ill.
  • + 3
 @Jvhowube: Took me a minute to sound that out wow that's funny! I said it like Slovakian so I figured it out as I typed the question lol
  • + 3
 @mtbmaniatv: I pronounced it like Slovakian in my head as well and yes, it implies a drastically different definition doesn't it? Like maybe a slow bad driver in the UK?
  • + 5
 Tracey is forever third.
  • + 3
 Awesome info! Combined with Wyn's entertaining videos, I'm pretty satisfied with the coverage.
  • + 3
 I really dig the “Position Changes” graph. It tells a good story.
  • + 2
 Which size frame did Gwin race on?
  • + 21
 Not the right one...
  • + 0
 29er. He's crashed or lost since switching. Think he needs to take after Bruni, Brosnan, and Hart.
  • + 1
 @rezrov: I didn't realize 29er was a size of a frame...
  • + 1
 my gf (who barely rides) comments 2 seconds into his run, "his bike looks huge..."
  • + 2
 Why doesn't Eliot Jackson race ?
  • + 1
 I think he still does, just only when he wants to - according to his Downtime Podcast episode (a great listen btw!)

He helps Giant in other ways than just racing, is the main reason, other than them being cool as s&%# to allow that. Eliot's a well rounded dude.
  • + 1
 Charlie Harrison skid save caused Vergier crazy crash??
  • + 1
 Great numbers, smooth, well written summary, keep it going thanks
  • + 1
 Gwin should be on 29 275 he's not tall enough for the bike he's on!
  • + 0
 Awesome rundown of the race! Too bad Brosnan had sloppy seconds, that's never something to brag about
  • + 1
 You beat me to it!
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