fort william world cup 2019 wet muddy race

The Fastest Riders From Timed Practice At The 2019 Fort William World Cup

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Results are in from today’s timed practive at the 2019 Fort William World Cup

Well, it’s been a wet ol’ day up here at Fort William for the 2nd round of the 2019 Downhill World Cup Series. After yesterday’s official track walk session, today would be the first day that riders have been able to get tyre onto the dirt, rocks and mud on the Ben Nevis downhill race track.

And boy were we treated to the full force of the Scottish weather! First it started raining. Then it rained some more. Finally, it rained once again. To say it was soggy is a complete misrepresentation of the word. Up on the mountain, it was mighty windy too, making for challenging conditions for competitors.

Tahnee Seagrave took out last year’s race, but it looks like she might be out of the running this year already.

The biggest news from Friday’s practice session came from Tahnee Seagrave, who has suffered a rumoured broken collarbone following a crash early on in one of her practice laps. Having taken the gold at last year’s race, as well as winning the opening round of the 2019 World Cup series in Maribor, Seagrave was a hot favourite for a podium position this weekend.

Having been escorted down the mountain in the gondola by on-site paramedics, Seagrave was spotted being transported in an ambulance away from the race village. We’re awaiting further news of Seagrave’s condition and will provide an update accordingly, but here’s hoping for some positive news.

Tracey Hannah ended up 5th at last year’s finals. Will she be on the podium in 2019?

With Seagrave missing out on timed training, Tracey Hannah ended with as the fastest Elite Woman of the day with a lap time of 5:39.775. Compare that to last year’s winning time (from Tahnee Seagrave) of 5:10.96. In comparison, Monika Hrastnik, the 5th fastest rider of the day, who pulled a lap time just short of 10-minutes – a significant difference to Hannah.

Elite Women

  1. Tracey Hannah – 5:39.775
  2. Marine Cabirou – 5:46.994
  3. Sandra Rubesam – 6:13.973
  4. Janine Hubscher – 9:37.104
  5. Monika Hrastnik – 9:59.132

Times were a lot closer in the Elite Men’s field, with just 4.7 seconds separating the five fastest riders. Gee Atherton pulled a 4:48.806 on his latest Atherton Bikes prototype race rig, with Cannondale’s Matt Simmonds barely a second behind. Of note, Simmonds, and the rest of the Cannondale Racing team, had their prototype carbon downhill bike only setup with a single rear shock – not the twin-shock setup shown earlier.

cannondale dowhnill prototype
The Cannondale team were all running a single shock on their prototype DH race bikes during today’s official timed training.

Fin Iles ended up with the fastest time of the day, with 4:44.168 on the clock as he crossed the finish line at the bottom of the mountain. Compare that with last year’s winning time of 4:34.45, which is not that far off considering the moist conditions today, and the fact that it was only timed training and riders tend to take a more conservative approach.

Nipping on Iles’ heels were last year’s winner, Amaury Pierron, and the winner of the opening round in Maribor, Loic Bruni.

Elite Men

  1. Finn Iles – 4:44.168
  2. Amaury Pierron – 4:44.574
  3. Loic Bruni – 4:45.073
  4. Matt Simmonds – 4:47.180
  5. Gee Atherton – 4:48.806
Gee Atherton came down with the 5th fastest time of the day in Elite Men while racing his P7 prototype. 

In the Junior field, Atherton Bikes’ Mille Johnset would peg the fastest time by a long way during today’s official timed training, while Thibaut Daprela took pole position in the Men’s category.

Junior Women

  1. Mille Johnset – 6:51.292
  2. Anna Newkirk – 20:00.467

Junior Men

  1. Thibaut Daprela: 4:58.048
  2. Emile Rilat: 5:05.359
  3. Jamie Edmondson: 5:05.815
  4. Kye A’Hern: 5:07.325
  5. Lucas Cruz: 5:11.298

Following today’s wet and wild practice session, we’ll be eagerly awaiting how tomorrow’s qualifying session will pan out. The weather is forecast to ease off slightly on Saturday up at Fort William, before returning to full-blown rain for Sunday’s finals.

Who will reign supreme? Stay tuned throughout the weekend for all our stories coming from the 2019 Fort William World Cup!

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