Mid season Geek Stats
Photos: Sebastian Schieck
After back to back World Cup weekends we’ve had a few weeks to step back and take a breath. Going into round 4 at Lenzerheide this weekend we’re nearly over the halfway point in the season which seems like a good time to take stock and see where we’re at after three rounds of racing…
In the men Aaron Gwin has a commanding lead of 189 points. Remember the maximum number of points you can score in a weekend is 250 (50 for the top qualifier and 200 for the race winner) so another good result over his main rivals in Switzerland will put him well on course for his third World Cup title.
Top 10 men overall – points by round
|Marcelo Gutierrez Villegas||0||49||15||140||12||75||291|
Positions by race
While Gwin is streaking ahead with two wins and a second place, Greg Minnaar is the only other rider to have made more than one trip to the podium this season. Without the thumb ligament injury that he sustained in New Zealand at the start of the year he would have been pressing Gwin much harder than he already is.
Top 10 men overall – positions by round
|Marcelo Gutierrez Villegas||36||32||10||3||13||10|
Loic Bruni and Troy Brosnan are the only others apart from Gwin to have consistently made the top 10 in every race so far. Talking of consistency however, Brosnan currently takes the prize by being one of only two riders in the men’s field to have scored points in all six runs so far this year (Remi Thirion being the other) and he’s also the only rider to have made the top 10 in every final and qualifying run. It looks like Troy has at least got something to teach his team mate when it comes to putting in a decent qualifier. That’s where Gwin slightly missed out at the start of the season with a disqualification in Lourdes and ‘only’ 11th place in Fort William. Still, he seems to have even worked that out in Leogang with his first top qualfying position of the year.
Still a way to go…
One of the reasons that last year’s overall was so exciting was that every rider made a mistake somewhere in the season. Josh Bryceland started off the 2014 season with 43rd in Pietermaritzburg and went on to take the title. There’s a few big names that have already used up their one weekend off for the season. Minnaar and Atherton were both in damage limitation mode at Lourdes, while Josh Bryceland had crashes at Fort William and Danny Hart was injured for Leogang. All of these riders have been top 10 for two rounds but haven’t quite managed to keep it together for the full season.
So, the next question is, will Aaron Gwin manage to keep it together for the full series? If he does then he could have the overall wrapped up by the time he arrives at his home race in Windham. Remember though, by this point last year he was also the only rider to have been on the podium in all three rounds but that didn’t give him the momentum come the end of the season. I guess you could say that he should have had an off day when he snapped his chain out of the start gate in Leogang but we all know how that ended up…. Still, the one thing you can predict about downhill racing is that it is far from predictable and with four rounds still to go Minnaar and Bruni and perhaps Brosnan are all still in the hunt.
As in the men’s category, the defending champion isn’t having as good a time of it this year. Manon Carpenter has suffered crashes and disqualificatons and lies in 5th place overall and over 300 points behind Rachel Atherton who leads the series on 670 points. It’s tighter at the top than the men though, with Emmeline Ragot only 85 points behind in second place.
The most exciting development so far though has to be Tahnee Seagrave following up on her undoubted potential to take two podiums so far this year and third place in the overall after three races. There’s a lot of talk about momentum in the downhill game and it certainly looks like Tahnee is working up a head of steam herself. After an average start in Lourdes and a poor qualifer in Fort William she’s put otgether three top 3 runs in a row. Will we see another maiden World Cup winner in the women’s category this year? Lets hope so…
Top 10 women overall – points by round
Positions by race
Looking at the breakdown of race and qualifying positons so far you can see how Rachel Atherton has dominated so far, with Fort William qualifying as the only run where she’s been outside the top two. However Emmeline Ragot is keeping the pressure on with a set of results almost as consistent as Atherton – never being outside the top 4 so far this season.
Top 10 women overall – positions by round
On the face of it, Rachel Atherton’s results are better than Aaron Gwin’s so far this year, identical performances in final runs and better in qualifying, but for Atherton (while most of the men’s field has had at least one off day), Emmeline Ragot is keeping up the pressure. This is the time of the season where the narratives start to become clear. One mistake in the next couple of rounds and Ragot could be out of it, but a mistake from Atherton and things are going to get very interesting indeed…
This time next week we’ll be past the halfway point in the season and as the circus heads to North America we’ll have a slightly better picture of how this season is going to pan out. There’s two very experienced riders at the head of the men’s and women’s fields just now but there’s also some proven racers in the likes of Emmeline Ragot and Greg Minnaar in hot pursuit. I wonder if Steve Peat’s been giving his team mates any inside tips on this track he’s been helping to design…