World Cup Geeks Stats 2016 - Lourdes
Where the race was won
So the World Cup kicks off for another year and the UCI/Red Bull/whoever are really spoiling us this year with two extra splits, meaning a full FIVE sectors of timing goodness to pore over! Our man Mark Shilton breaks in all down for us...
Photos: Seb Schieck
First up lets take a look at the make up of those splits by looking at Aaron Gwin's winning sector times:
As you can see, the first two sectors were the longest, making up more than half of the total time. A good sector 1 and 2 set you up for a good overall position. You couldn't make up a lot of time in sector 3, at less than 20 seconds long but you could certainly lose some. The final minute of racing was split across the last two sectors at just under 30 seconds each. Let's take a look at how the top 20 fared across the sectors...
After qualifying, Loic Bruni looked to have some serious speed and he started off this race run the same style, going a full second faster the Amaury Pierron (+1.063) and Aaron Gwin (+1.074) in second and third at the first split.
He then lengthened that lead in sector 2, taking another 0.8 seconds off Gwin with Pierron losing over 1.4 seconds to Bruni in sector 2. Josh Bryceland had a slow start in sector 1 - only 21st fastest, 4 seconds back but he was back up to speed in sector 2 with the third fastest time on the sector, 0.8 seconds behind Bruni.
Troy Brosnan, Danny Hart and Stevie Smith were all in touch at split 1 and Hart and Smith only lost small amounts of time in sector 2 but Troy Brosnan had a some issues in the mid section of the course, only going 17th fastest in sector 2 and 53rd fastest in the very short sector 3 giving away a full 2 seconds to the front runners here.
Into sector 4 and Bruni was still motoring. He'd consolidated in sector 3, giving away only 0.3 seconds to Bryceland and then again went fastest in sector 4. This sector was where some of the initial front runners started to crack.
Amaury Pierron lost 3.2 seconds to Bruni here and slipped back to 6th overall at split 4. Crucially though, there were a few riders still hanging in the there. Gwin, Hart and Smith all gave away time, but only a second or so...
And then the twist in the tail in the final sector of the final run. Bruni went down and lost 10 seconds that handed the win to Gwin, and also a first ever podium to his fellow countryman Amaury Pierron. In contrast, Troy Brosnan was fastest in the final sector and hauled himself back up from 8th overall at split 4 and onto the podium in 4th.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
With five splits it's interesting to take a look at how the riders moved up and down the rankings as they moved through the sectors. This chart shows each of the top 20 riders' overall position at each split. Bruni's dramatic drop to 14th between split 4 and the finish catches the eye but there's some other interesting points as well.
Troy Brosnan had a mid race dip down to 10th place before recovering to 4th at the finish. Josh Bryceland also shows up as a slow start but recovering by the mid sector and just being pipped to a podium slot by Brosnan's late charge in the final sector. In contrast, his Syndicate team-mate Greg Minnaar had a solid start but dropped gradually back through the field as the race went on to finish a disappointing 15th by his standards.
The final way we can cut this is to look at the heat map of individual sector positions for the top 20 riders. The heatmap shows better placings in darker colours (exact placings are in the boxes).
This is where it gets really interesting. Of the top 3 overall, none of them took a fastest sector but, as is often the case, their consistency was what pulled them through to a top finish. Steve Smith went 4th, 10th, 7th, 3rd and 10th but this was enough to take 2nd place overall as others made mistakes around him.
The light coloured holes highlight where riders lost time and positions. for Troy Brosnan it was sectors 2 and 3, from Pierron it was sector 4. Another inconsistent rider that shows up here was Bernard Kerr. 5th place in sector 2 and 2nd in sector 5, but out of the top 20 in sectors 3 and 4.
As is often the case then, consistency won in the end, and when it's consistency you're after then Aaron Gwin is your man. All change with the bike and team but business as usual on Sunday afternoon. One thing's for sure though, Bruni has signalled his intent. If he can stay on his bike for a few final runs this could be a very exciting season ahead.