World Cup Geek Stats | Round 1, Lourdes
So round one of the 2015 season was groundhog day on the top step of the podium with Aaron Gwin taking the win in Lourdes and starting the season with a win for the second successive year, but it was all change from there on down. Where did Gwin win it and the others lose out then? Let’s take a look…
At split 1 times were tight. Less than a second covered the top seven places and only 2.2 seconds covered the top 20. Loic Bruni was just in front of Gwin but only by 0.2 seconds. Troy Brosnan had a good start in third at Split 1 but the most surprising resident in the top 10 was Harry Heath who was only 0.7 seconds off Bruni in 5th place at Split 1.
Josh Bryceland and Danny Hart started relatively slowly in 17th and 20th place respectively after the first minute of racing:
Sector 2 was where Gwin really put the hammer down. He was nearly two seconds faster than Danny Hart and to put this into conext, the gap from 2nd down to 20th place in the sector was only 2.5 seconds! That second fastest time in sector 2 was enough to lift Hart up to 5th place overall at split 2 while Brendan Fairclough also shot up the overall standings to 3rd with the 3rd fastest time on the sector. Loic Bruni hung onto 2nd place but gave up nearly three seconds on Gwin.
At this point Sam Dale didn’t look to be setting the race on fire with 8th in sector 1 and 14th fastest in sector 2 to put him 8th overall at split 2. His training partner Josh Bryceland managed to make up some ground in sector 2 though. The fourth fastest sector 2 time pulled him from 17th up to 7th overall by split 2. The other slow starter Danny Hart went second fastest in sector 2 to move up to 5th overall:
Although he did most of the damage in Sector 2, Gwin didn’t let up in Sector 3. Bruni chased valiantly and took the second fastest time to cement second place overall but he gave away another 1.2 seconds to a dominant Aaron Gwin. The big winners in Sector 3 were Sam Dale and young Canadian Mark Wallace. Dale went fourth fastest in the sector and this, along with Brendan Fairclough only managing to make the top 20 here, meant that he moved up to 5th and onto his first ever World Cup podium. Mark Wallace went even faster and took the third fastest sector 3 which was good enough to push him up from 34th at split 2 to 14th place at the finish and his best ever World Cup result.
The other big mention has to go to Mike Jones for his first World Cup podium. He took third place overall with the 6th fastest sector 1, 7th fastest sector 2 and 5th fastest sector 3. It just goes to show how consistency pays off, especially when people are crashing and breaking bikes all over the place!
Wrapping it all up
So what can we tell from the numbers after round 1? Well the Brits and the French certainly liked the track, with 12 of the top 20 coming from either side of the Channel (7 Brits and 5 Frenchmen). The results saw a few unfamiliar names pushing up the leaderboard as well. This is proven by the fact that only four of the top 10 from Pietermaritzburg a year ago made it into the top 10 last weekend (Gwin, Bruni, Brosnan and Dale).
We’re only one race into the season and while Gwin dominated, one thing to remember is that defending champion Josh Bryceland has more points after round one than he did this time last year when he started his year with 43rd place in PMB. With a bunch of new faces in the top results, and the old guard surely not giving up just yet, one thing’s for sure – this is shaping up to be another great season. See you in Fort William!