Hafjell World Cup Preview

The South African dust has settled and the Santa Cruz Syndicate’s hangover’s have too, so it’s on to Norway for the penultimate race of the 2013 season. Where did the year go by the way!?

This is where the World Cup train rolls into for the weekend.

Hafjell is going to be an interesting one, Steve Smith is on superb form of late and with his fastest ‘qualifying’ time in PMB was looking good to take the stripes. Denied after a mistake in the first corner Minnaar eventually took the win after leaving Mick Hannah warming the hot seat most of the afternoon.

Last year’s Men’s podium, Smith, Brannigan, Minnaar, Atherton and Beer.

Smith took his first win here last year and the podium was defined by Devinci making it not just memorable for each rider but especially for team manager Gabe Fox. First World Cup win for Steve Smith, first ever podium for team mate George Brannigan (now of Trek World Racing) who took 2nd spot only 0.400s behind Smith. The Devinci crew put a solid few seconds into Minnaar and Atherton who filled the podium 2.134s and 2.289s back whilst the final Devinci rider Nick Beer took 5th spot.

Relive the last race of the 2012.

Looking back at the quali times the top five didn’t change much when it came to the podium, dropping Ratboy Bryce and Robin Wallner from the qualifying results.

Top 5 Women, Atherton, Ragot, Charre, Brown, Harmony

In the women’s Rachel Atherton was dominant in qualifying, putting almost 7 seconds into Manon Carpenter who will be hungry for some more champagne after losing out at Worlds. We can’t discount Pugin too who was flying last year until a hand injury finished her weekend, could the GSTAAD Scott rider take to the podium again? The top 5 gap last year stretched to 21.811s in the women’s race so can we expect anything but another Atherton title or will Manon put the run down she needs and take a big result? We’re also hoping Dirt Norco and master of the whip Casey Brown can pin another solid result.

If you want to properly geek out the check out last years race stats!

Dan ‘the man’ Stanbridge from the Dirt Norco Team is here with a helmet talkie cam from last year, what rhymes with Falafel again?

Remember that massive gap? Chris Ball (MTB Technical Delegate at the time) said he didn’t even think that it was a gap and that riders would roll down it!

Looking at the course map we reckon she’s still in there:

The track drops 480m over it’s 2.2km length.

Here’s the schedule for the weekend, plenty of practice going down and the Men’s Elite Finals rounding the weekend off.

Here are the top Men.

Atherton – 847
Smith – 727
Minnaar – 538
Hill – 509
Thirion – 430
Gwin – 417
Bruni – 408
Hart – 408

Atherton – 835
Ragot – 775
Carpenter – 695
Pugin – 580
Nicole – 513
Charre – 511
Siegenthaler – 382
Seagrave – 246

Rachel Atherton is looking solid in the women’s field having a 60 point lead over her nearest rival Emmeline Ragot who leads our other Brit Manon Carpenter by 80 points. Floraine Pugin is 115 points adrift of Carpenter but a healthy 67 points ahead of 5th place Miriam Nicole.

So then, who do you lot think will take it? This is pretty much how it’s going at the Dirt office now but surely you have your money laid somewhere? Make sure you check your Fantasy League team too!




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