The Finale – Snowshoe DH World Cup Recap | Presented by SHIMANO

Snowshoe, a small ski resort in West Virginia USA hosted the final round of the 2019 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup season.

Riders perform at UCI DH World Cup in Snowshoe, USA on September 7th, 2019
Danny Hart keeping things fun.


THE TRACK | POV by Greg Minnaar



WOMEN’S RACE

In the WOMEN’S RACE Tracey Hannah’s points lead had been eroded by Marine Cabirou’s wins in the last two World Cups before this event. That meant that if Cabirou made it a hat trick of wins here, Hannah would need to finish in the top six to secure the title. With some tight times in racing, that could mean a mechanical problem or mistake on track could upturn Hannah’s season and gift the series to Cabirou. The duel was set. A trio of Swiss riders sat in the top-three positions early in the race; Carina Cappellari, Camille Balanche and Emilie Siegenthaler put in great rides on this testing new course. But Tahnee Seagrave, back at her first World Cup since injury at Round 2 in Fort William, destroyed the times of the Swiss and smashed Tracey Hannah’s fastest qualifying time in the process. Sian A’Hern was on form throughout the event and laid down another solid run in finals, but couldn’t quite match Seagrave’s speed. Another rider looking at the overall podium was Veronika Widmann. The Italian came into this event off the back of some amazing finishes during the season and hit the track for the last time in 2019 with fire in her belly. Widmann attacked, but rode a clean race, making few mistakes. The approach worked. At the end of the afternoon, she would finish a best-ever third in the race and also the series. Myriam Nicole, the newly-crowned World Champion and the queen of comebacks, still carrying the injury that kept her away for the entire season before the Championships last week, set off at a blistering pace. With the rainbow jersey on her shoulders, Nicole rode with added confidence and, despite opting out of some of the course’s biggest jumps, set the time to beat with just two riders to go. First up, Cabirou. The young rising star from France has no fear of hitting big gaps and sailed as effortlessly over every hit on the course as she did the fierce rock gardens hiding in the trees. Nevertheless, Nicole had been flawless and it was hit-or-miss whether Cabirou would take the fastest time until she sent a huge jump in the final wooded section, saving time and leaping across the finish line with nearly two seconds to spare. With Cabirou in the hot seat, now the race and the season hinged on Hannah’s final run. The pressure must have been immense, but Hannah put every bit of her experience to work and fought hard in the race of her life. She was faster than Cabirou at the first split times but slipped back as the course progressed and, as she went from second to fourth to fifth at the splits, for a moment it looked tight for the sixth place she needed to wrap up the series. But Hannah’s ride was calculated – she was doing exactly what was needed. As Hannah crossed the line in fifth place the dream was complete; she became the first Australian woman ever to win a DH World Cup title.

Riders perform at UCI DH World Cup in Snowshoe, USA on September 7th, 2019
Seagrave had crashed in the previous days qualifying session and started further down the order only to ride herself straight into the hot seat.
Riders perform at UCI DH World Cup in Snowshoe, USA on September 7th, 2019
Seagrave is not scared of the big jumps.
Riders perform at UCI DH World Cup in Snowshoe, USA on September 7th, 2019
Veronika Widmann rode with precision and secured both 3rd on the day and 3rd in the overall.
Riders perform at UCI DH World Cup in Snowshoe, USA on September 7th, 2019
Widmann drops into the steeps.
Riders perform at UCI DH World Cup in Snowshoe, USA on September 7th, 2019
Myriam Nicole resplendent in her rainbow jersey.
Riders perform at UCI DH World Cup in Snowshoe, USA on September 7th, 2019
Nicole rode with added confidence and, despite opting out of some of the course’s biggest jumps, set the time to beat with just two riders to go.
Riders perform at UCI DH World Cup in Snowshoe, USA on September 7th, 2019
Marine Cabirou has no fear of hitting big gaps and sailed as effortlessly over every hit on the course.
Riders perform at UCI DH World Cup in Snowshoe, USA on September 7th, 2019
Hannah’s ride was calculated – she was doing exactly what was needed. As Hannah crossed the line in fifth place the dream was complete; she became the first Australian woman ever to win a DH World Cup title.
Riders perform at UCI DH World Cup in Snowshoe, USA on September 7th, 2019
“I was so safe, so perfect. I don’t even think I made one mistake on the whole track.” – Tracey
Riders perform at UCI DH World Cup in Snowshoe, USA on September 7th, 2019
Podium from left: Seagrave, Nicole, Cabirou, Widmann and Hannah.

RESULTS

  1. Marine CABIROU (FRA) 3:43.032
  2. Myriam NICOLE (FRA) +1.995
  3. Veronika WIDMANN (ITA) +3.482
  4. Tahnee SEAGRAVE (GBR) +3.710
  5. Tracey HANNAH (AUS) +4.825


MEN’S RACE

If the women’s racing was edge-of-the-seat, the men’s was off-the-seat-and-jumping-around-screaming. In a season climax like never before seen, the series title would be decided in the last sector by the last man down the hill – and he wasn’t even in the running for the series win. Thomas Estaque set the pace early in the session with a time unbeatable even by the likes of Aaron Gwin and 2018 World Cup race winner Martin Maes. Estaque would remain in a strong position until the end of racing, finishing eighth and surrounded by talent, with Dean Lucas and Dakotah Norton behind him in tenth and ninth respectively. Rapid runs put Greg Williamson and Troy Brosnan seventh and sixth in that order. After crashing out in qualifying (luckily, qualifying at this final round carried no series points), Amaury Pierron set off much earlier in the pack than his rival for the series win. And it was a trademark Pierron ride, blindingly fast and bordering on the impossible. Amaury attacked and attacked some more, hitting turns with both wheels drifting and launching fully committed into the dangerous rocks. It was a huge run that looked unfathomably fast; could anyone decode it? The wait in the hot seat for Pierron would be long and tantalising. Greg Minnaar was the first to show Pierron’s time could be undone. The tall South African pushed the limits of grip and did some damage in the second split time, going faster than Pierron. But the Frenchman had performed magic through the woods and his lead stood strong as Minnaar stopped the finish line clock with a time good enough for the fifth step of the podium. Much to the pleasure of the hugely supportive crowd, American racer Charlie Harrison laid down a blistering pace on his run. The chants for the supporters’ hero grew from loud to deafening as he edged closer and closer to Pierron’s time further into his run. Harrison was fearless but precise and coped brilliantly with the pressure of his third-place qualifier to cross the line under a second behind Pierron. It was then time for Loïc Bruni to bite the bullet. Superbruni took to the course with enormous pressure on this last ride of the summer. Bruni rode the wheels off it. With the incredible performances of Pierron and Harrison before him, he had to. Assuming Pierron would take the win, Bruni needed to finish no worse than third to confirm his first-ever series title.

As he crossed the finish line, Bruni looked on in disbelief. He was sitting third and there was still one very fast man to go. If Danny Hart, who had blitzed qualifying, finished between him and Pierron, the title would be Pierron’s. Nobody could have predicted what happened next. Hart has had a consistent run of results in 2019, finishing on the podium in all but one of the World Cup races before Snowshoe. But, despite qualifying first at Round 6 in Lenzerheide and also at the World Championships in Mont-Sainte-Anne, he had never found the speed to beat the field in finals. As Hart placed sixth for times at splits one and two, it appeared today wouldn’t be his day either. Sixth would mean the series was Bruni’s. But suddenly Hart was up into second place at split three. This spelt disaster for Bruni, who now stood ready to congratulate his friend Pierron on taking the series at the last minute, literally. Hart was nearly a second slower than Pierron and looked set to equal his season-best second place from Round 1 in Maribor. However, as soon as Bruni had seen it slip away, it was unexpectedly back in his grasp. Hart pulled a miracle and went fastest at split four by a slim 0.7 seconds. If he won, the points from second place wouldn’t be enough for Pierron to leapfrog Bruni in the overall standings. The wait was excruciating, and to make it worse Hart went through the speed trap at 54kph, a full 3kph slower than Pierron at this crucial moment before speeding towards the finish line. All eyes were on Hart and, as he crossed the line to take an incredible win, the whole place erupted. Hart’s win signaled a huge return to form for the Brit, who was rightly ecstatic about his result. As Hart celebrated the second non-French World Cup win of the season, Brunirealised the hard work was over and his astounding World Championship and World Cup-winning season was complete. This was a staggering ending to arguably one of the most exciting seasons of all time.

Kade Edwards performs at UCI DH World Cup in Snowshoe, USA on September 7th, 2019
Kade Edwards loosens things up.
Amaury attacked and attacked some more, hitting turns with both wheels drifting and launching fully committed into the dangerous rocks.
Greg Minnaar performs at UCI DH World Cup in Snowshoe, USA on September 7th, 2019
Greg Minnaar was the first to show Pierron’s time could be undone.
Charlie Harrison performs at UCI DH World Cup in Snowshoe, USA on September 7th, 2019
Much to the pleasure of the hugely supportive crowd, American racer Charlie Harrison laid down a blistering pace on his run.
Loic Bruni performs at UCI DH World Cup in Snowshoe, USA on September 7th, 2019
Bruni needed to finish no worse than third to confirm his first-ever series title.
The crowds were treated to one of those special performances by Danny.
Loic Bruni performs at UCI DH World Cup in Snowshoe, USA on September 7th, 2019
Loic tucking into the 2019 World Cup overall title.
Loic Bruni seen at UCI DH World Cup in Snowshoe, USA on September 7th, 2019
“Winning here is I think the last thing, the only thing I wanted so bad after the World’s, it was like a life goal, it’s so good and I can’t believe it.” – Loic
Competitors stand on the podium at UCI DH World Cup in Snowshoe, USA on September 7th, 2019
Race podium from left: Bruni, Pierron, Hart, Harrison and Minnaar.

RESULTS

  1. Danny HART (GBR) 3:03.627
  2. Amaury PIERRON (FRA) +0.656
  3. Charlie HARRISON (USA) +0.971
  4. Loic BRUNI (FRA) +2.149
  5. Greg MINNAAR (RSA) +2.395


FINAL OVERALL RANKINGS

ELITE WOMEN

  1. Tracey HANNAH (AUS) 1 590 points
  2. Marine CABIROU (FRA) 1 560
  3. Veronika WIDMANN (ITA) 924
  4. Nina HOFFMANN (GER) 819
  5. Rachel ATHERTON (GBR) 730
Competitors stand on the podium at UCI DH World Cup in Snowshoe, USA on September 7th, 2019
Overall podium from left: Cabirou, Hannah and Widmann

ELITE MEN

  1. Loic BRUNI (FRA) 1 462 points
  2. Amaury PIERRON (FRA) 1 422
  3. Troy BROSNAN (AUS) 1 209
  4. Danny HART (GBR) 1 133
  5. Loris VERGIER (FRA) 943
Competitors stand on the podium at UCI DH World Cup in Snowshoe, USA on September 7th, 2019
Overall 2019 podium from left: Hart, Pierron, Bruni, Brosnan and Vergier

Credit: Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull, UCI and Coolheat.



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