Wet weather’s given us some wild racing over the last week, but finally the sun came out and for the second of the weekend’s races. Four changes to the course from Friday, plus a re-taping of the rock garden entrance, made for another thrilling final. Here is all you need to know:
The women’s race runs followed form from qualification with the green splits coming thick and fast as the riders sped down the track. World Champion Camille Balanche pulled off a clean run to take the hot seat, then Monika Hrastnik went fastest with another tidy ride, both riders safely avoiding crashes that had upset their round one runs.
Tracey Hannah was next to cross the line and duly sliced even more off the fastest time. The overall winner from last year revelling in the drier conditions rather than the semi-slick surface of qualification.
However, Hannah had no time to get comfortable on the hot seat as Marine Cabirou once again saw green at the finish. The winner from Friday was back with that no-nonsense style that makes her such an exciting rider to watch.
Cabirou was immediately under pressure from Nina Hoffmann. With both red and green splits appearing as she descended down to the finish, there was minimal room for mistakes. A supremely precise ride over the jumps and into the arena was enough to post the fastest time with just two riders to go.
Tahnée Seagrave had struggled to get up to speed during round one on her comeback from injury. However, a second place in qualification yesterday nodded towards confidence returning and the chance to see her back on the podium. It wasn’t to be for the Brit, however, with a mistake early on leaving Hoffmann with just one more rider to challenge her time.
Myriam Nicole had gone fastest in qualification by 3.895s, an eternity on a track this fast. However, a costly front-wheel wash out and then a second crash ended all hope of the win for Nicole.
Hoffmann took her maiden World Cup win by 1.899s over Cabirou, who won back the overall leader’s jersey from Nicole who still managed to finish fourth. Eleanora Farina went one better than Friday to take third and Tracey Hannah rounded out the podium in fifth.
With the top 30 qualifiers of the Men’s Elite about to get underway, Benoît Coulanges was keeping the hot seat warm with a time just 1.143s shy of Loïc Bruni’s winning qualification run.
Andreas Kolb was next to see the gantry lit up green as he crossed the line. Then, after a qualification run that didn’t go to plan, Greg Minnaar’s trip back to the drawing board yielded the improvement he was looking for and he took up position in the hot seat. It would be some time before he was bested by Ángel Suárez who, on an impressive comeback from injury, was again pushing the pace and going 0.422s faster.
Into the top 10 and Aaron Gwin, Finn Iles and Matt Walker all went fastest, shaving just a few 10ths off each time.
Then came another stellar display from round one winner, Loris Vergier. The splits went green all the way down as he perfected lines over the relentless roots and carried speed across the cambers. Vergier had set down the standard.
Troy Brosnan was the only rider able to deny the French another win, but the Australian never really looked like he could steal that top spot.
Two-time the Junior World Cup overall winner, second in his first ever Elite World Cup, and the penultimate man down the mountain today was the young super-talent, Thibaut Depréla. An incredible week didn’t end with another podium, but what an exciting prospect for the future.
Now just Loïc Bruni stood between Vergier and two World Cup wins in three days. The split times went red by only as much as 0.773 and green by just 0.233, and there was a palpable holding of breath as Bruni came over the final jump and into the finish bowl. The gap was a mere 0.057s, but it was in the red for Bruni. Vergier celebrated victory again and cemented his hold on the overall leader’s jersey.
UCI MTB World Cup downhill – Maribor race two
1. Nina Hoffmann GER 3m 38.602s
2. Marine Cabirou FRA +1.899s
3. Eleanora Farine ITA +4.212s
4. Myriam Nicole FRA +6.075s
5. Tracey Hannah AUS +8.875
1. Loris Vergier FRA 3m 7.771s
2. Loïc Bruni FRA +0.057s
3. Matt Walker GBR +0.403s
4. Finn Iles CAN +0.863s
5. Troy Brosnan AUS +1.016s
Source: Red Bull Content Pool