Rain in Let Gets brought us one of the most epic DH races ever!
Britain’s Tahnée Seagrave and French shredder Thibaut Dapréla secured big victories as the 2021 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup downhill season arrived in Les Gets, France.
After epic 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.
Mille Johnset (4th), Myriam Nicole (2nd), Tahnee Seagrave (1st), Camille Balanche (3rd) and Monika Hrastnik (5th) are seen on the podium at UCI DH World Cup in Les Gets, France on July 3rd, 2021
In the elite women’s race, Mille Johnset lay 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.
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 favourable conditions, laying down a time that looked more and more impressive as the weather and track began to deteriorate. Of course it seemed the rain started hitting hard when Troy Brosnan hit the track making it unpredictable to say the least in what must have been ridiculously frustrating. Following a serious crash last week when he bit through most of his tongue, France’s Dapréla had been on a liquid diet for much of the week and his participation in the race hung in the balance. 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 Dapréla’s time. Reigning World Champion Reece Wilson looked like he might tame the track with the wildest of runs of all time before a huge (half fronty to tuck no hander) crash sent him into the crowd and out of the running…
Brook Macdonald sending it!
Spectators at UCI DH World Cup in Les Gets
As the pre-race favourites struggled, it became clear that no-one would beat Dapréla’s time. The Frenchman ultimately winning 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. Connor Fearon slotted into fourth and Dean Lucas ended up in sixth place, well deserved results which will boost both riders confidence going forwards!
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!
Men’s Les Gets downhill result 1. Thibaut Dapréla 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
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
Women’s Les Gets downhill result 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
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