|Britain’s Tahnée Seagrave and Frenchman Thibaut Daprela secured impressive victories as the 2021 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup downhill season arrived in Les Gets, France.
– After glorious sunshine on Friday, the clouds rolled in on Saturday morning as riders faced a brand new track with multiple lines. Littered with roots, peppered with jumps, and physically demanding, there was plenty of action as fans returned to a World Cup event for the first time since 2019.
– In the elite women’s race, Mille Johnset laid down an early marker on a greasy track. Her time was quickly overhauled when Seagrave, who was carrying a neck injury and had struggled in qualifying, put together an exceptionally smooth run.
– Reigning world champion Camille Balanche was the first to challenge Seagrave, but a big mistake at the top of her run and a superhuman save halfway down meant she failed to threaten the leader.
– Valentina Höll looked uncharacteristically uncomfortable as she crashed at the final corner, while French rider Myriam Nicole produced an impressive recovery to give herself a chance of victory. However, she finished 0.252 seconds shy of her first World Cup win on home soil.
Myriam Nicole missed out on the win by only 0.252 seconds. Photo by Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool
– Following the race, a tearful Seagrave said: “It was a clean run, but I don’t feel like I have the fitness at the moment so I was so, so surprised. But I guess on a track like this, in conditions like that, it paid to be clean and smooth and safe.”
– The rain kept coming and the elite men had to deal with a track that was unrelenting in its unpredictability.
– Max Hartenstern took full advantage of the early favorable conditions, laying down a time that looked more and more impressive as the weather and track began to deteriorate.
– Following a serious crash last week when he bit through most of his tongue, France’s Daprela had been on a liquid diet for much of the week and his participation in the race hung in the balance.
France’s Thibault Diprela took the win in the Elite Men’s class and took over the lead in the points standings. Conditions steadily deteriorated during the men’s finals. Rain made the course muddier and slipperier during the race runs so that the top qualifiers faced steadily worsening conditions as the day progressed. Photo by Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool
– However, showing plenty of grit, determination, and no small amount of skill, the two-time Junior World Champion took the lead with a sensational run.
– Even the clean run of Finn Iles, the experience of Greg Minaar, the superb straight lines of Brook MacDonald and the style of Benoît Coulanges couldn’t get close to Daprela’s time.
– Reigning World Champion Reece Wilson looked like he might tame the track with the wildest of runs before a huge crash sent him into the crowd and out of the running,
– As the pre-race favorites struggled, it became clear that no one would beat Daprela’s time. The Frenchman ultimately won his first Elite race ahead of Hartenstern, who hung on for second and became the first German man to make a DH World Cup podium since 1999.
– Daprela, 20, said: “It’s amazing. Last week I crashed really hard and this week I win. Only yesterday I almost couldn’t ride, but today I just sent it!”
Most of the UCI’s top male downhill riders did poorly in their race runs in the slippery mud.
Greg Minnaar, who has more World Cup downhill wins (22) than anyone else in history, took seventh place.
Great Britain’s Bernard Kerr, placed 16th.
France’s Loris Vergier ended up 25th.
Finn Iles placed 33rd.
Aaron Gwin, who has 20 World Cup downhill wins and 5 World Cup downhill titles to his name, placed 36th.
Troy Brosnan, who won the last World Cup downhill race before this one, took 41st place.
American threat Dakotah Norton placed 44th.
Four-time UCI Elite Men’s Downhill World Champion Loic Bruni took 50th place.
America’s Luca Shaw took 52nd place.
Two-time UCI Elite Men’s Downhill World Champion Danny Hart placed 57th.
And finally, near the very bottom of the rankings, 2020 Elite Men’s Downhill World Champion Reece Wilson of Great Britain placed 58th.
Top Five Men’s Les Gets downhill results
1. Thibaut Daprela FRA 3:33.424
2. Max Hartenstern GER +2.416
3. Baptiste Pierron FRA +2.520
4. Connor Fearon AUS +2.590
5. Mark Wallace CAN +2.781
Top Five UCI MTB World Cup men’s DH standings
1. Thibaut Dapréla FRA 390 points
2. Troy Brosnan AUS 270
3. Baptiste Pierron FRA 193
4. Max Hartenstern GER 190
5. Greg Minnaar RSA 180
Baptiste Pierron placed third among the Elite Men in Les Gets and moved into third in the men’s points standings. Photo by Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool
Top Five Women’s Les Gets downhill results
1. Tahnée Seagrave GBR 4:10.566
2. Myriam Nicole FRA +0.252
3. Camille Balanche SUI +4.914
4. Mille Johnset NOR +5.536
5. Monika Hrastnik SLO +6.531
Top Five UCI MTB World Cup women’s DH standings
1. Camille Balanche SUI 390 points
2. Tahnée Seagrave GBR 336
3. Valentina Höll AUT 330
4. Myriam Nicole FRA 320
5. Monika Hrastnik SLO 282
COMPLETE RESULTS FOR ELITE WOMEN
COMPLETE RESULTS FOR ELITE MEN