No sooner is the first round of the World Cup DH done and dusted but yet more number crunching opportunities spring up in the form of the EWS Round 1 in Chile. Not just three sectors but six whole stages of times to geek out over! Jerome Clementz took the win in a thrilling finale but was it all won on the final stage or was there more to it? In an attempt to prove that I’m an all round statistician, with more to my skills that just downhill, here’s the first edition of Enduro Geek Stats!
Six stages – the shape of the race
With so many more stages, I’ll not go into the fine detail of each one like I do with the World Cup DH but look over the whole race to see how it panned out. Here’s a chart showing the placings of the eventual top 10, stage by stage. After the relatively short stage 1, the real shake up happened on Stage 2 – the longest of the race. From this point on the only big movements in the top 5 were Martin Maes clawing his way back up into contention after a relatively poor Stage 2, and Cedric Gracia dropping out of the top 5 on Stage 5. Take a click/tap around the chart to highlight a specific rider and see how they fared…
As well as positions, we can look at how the time gaps panned out over the race. Here is where the titanic tussle between Jared Graves and Jerome Clementz becomes a little clearer. After the relatively short Stage 1, the top 10 were still tightly packed but Graves blew the field wide open on Stage 2, pulling out an 11 second gap on Clementz. Top put this in perspective, only another 20 seconds covered the rest of the top 10 at this point so Graves laid down a huge early marker here. On the final stage of day 1 Graves also managed to grab another 0.6 seconds advantage to go to the halfway point 11.7 seconds up. A decent lead, but given the nature of Enduro racing that could be eroded very easily….
Clementz's reply on day 2 is easy to see, the time gap closed on every stage. 7.4 seconds after Stage 4, only 2.5 seconds at Stage 5 and then finally overhauling Graves on the final stage to take the win by just over 8 seconds. Plotting the gaps to the stage winner for just these two shows just how Clementz pulled it back. You can see the massive gap between Graves (blue) and Clementz (orange) on Stage 2 but then consistent wins by Clementz on every stage on day 2
Just behind these two there was another tight tussle for third place developing. After winning the first stage, Martin Maes had dropped back into the pack by the end of day 1 but he also bounced back on Stage 4 and 5, taking two more stage wins and clawing his way back up to third place with a four second advantage over Florian Nicolai. Nicolai wasn't finished however, and had a storming final stage only two seconds behind Nico Lau and two seconds faster than Clementz. This last effort gave him eight seconds on Maes, enough to grab thrid place at the last!
Consistency the watchword once again
So in enduro surely more than downhill, that word consistency raises it's head again. Clementz won the overall without winning a stage but he placed 2nd or 3rd on five stages and was never lower than 6th place. In contrasts, whilst Martin Maes won an amazing three out of the six stages on his début in the Elite ranks (whilst still technically a junior remember!) he couldn't quite translate this into form on the others with a 10th and two 7ths. Here's the heatmap across all six stage. The darker red and bigger the shape, the better the position across each stage (again, hover/tap to get more detail on riders/stages etc..). You can see that only Clementz has a consistently dark line across the whole race whilst Graves will be rueing his 11th place on the final stage. In fact everyone in the top 5 below Clementz had one or two 'bad' stages around 11th-9th place. When the competition is so fierce that one slip from the top 5 is clearly the difference. One interesting bar on here belongs to Cedric Gracia; he was complaining of stomach troubles at the start of day 1 but managed to recover to take the win on Stage 3, 6th on Stage 4 at eh start of day 2 but then faded again on the final two stages - perhaps the most inconsistent performance of the weekend from the top riders.
So that's edition 1 of Enduro Geek Stats wrapped up and I definitely can't wait for Round 2 on my home turf next month. Can Graves pull himself up from such a tight loss? Can anyone beat Clementz? Will Maes keep up his early season pace? One thing's for sure - it's more likely to be wet in Scotland so pack a few sets of tyres! In the meantime I'll be showing up these DH and Enduro specialists by turning my hand back to downhill next week for the World Cup round 2 in Cairns. See you then!