SPOILER ALERT! Probably best not to read on unless you’re up to date with what happened at Loudenvielle last week(end).
We’re just past halfway through this year’s brave new world of Downhill World Cup racing. How has it been? What have been the highlights and lowlights?
With yesterday’s racing at Loudenvielle – Peyragudes complete, five out of the season’s total of eight races are done. We thought we’d just take a moment to assess.
Generally speaking, whilst the new format and new TV coverage haven’t been the total disaster predicted by some folks at the start of the year, it’s fair to say that there have definitely been some issues.
Without wishing to waffle on any more than is absolutely necessary, here is our 2p…
- The Semi-Finals. The novelty has most definitely worn off and they now seem to dilute the intensity as opposed to add to it. Maybe they’ll come good nearer the final rounds when the Overall points battle comes more into focus.
- The commentary. Now, the commentary is not as horrific as some claim but… it’s not great. Rob Warner was not just shouting, he and his co-commentators just provided more insight.
- Camille Balanche and Amaury Pierron crashing themselves out of the whole season.
- The cancellation of Junior Finals at Loudenvielle – Peyragudes. The organisers were between a rock and a hard place certainly but the apparent lack of much consulting with the Junior racers themselves feels like an error.
- Bit of an odd complaint this, but the real victim of the New Era of DH has been the Enduro World Cup. The coverage and general attention of ‘EDR’ has felt really reduced this year.
- It’s not free-to-view.
- The whole ‘Us vs Them’ of the vibe between the racers and the organisers is at best a shame and at worst could lead to real problems.
- The TV coverage. We’ve been generally pretty impressed with the coverage. Sure, some teething troubles with sky-happy drones but it feels like we’re seeing more of the track, albeit only (understandably) when it comes the final twenty ish racers. Getting top to bottom footage of the final riders is undeniably brilliant.
- Juniors getting their dues. Whilst we imagine that not loads of people are watching the Junior racing, it’s worthy and worthwhile coverage.
- You know, the actual racing. This is nothing to do with the UCI/ESO/GCN etc. The racers themselves have been better than ever and every category is still tight enough to be interesting.
- The tracks. So far, so good. No dull ones. Some are arguably not entirely weather proof but we’d rather have that than a whole season of super-armoured bikepark motorways.
- GCN+ streaming reliability. Maybe it’s just us, but we’ve had no troubles with stalling feeds or broken footage, compared to the Red Bull TV era.
- Returning to the racers – because that’s who we should be talking about – our two favourite moments of the season so far are:
Your collective tuppence
How has the DH World Cup Series been for you so far? Comment below 👇
Current standings and remaining fixtures
- 07-17 September, Les Portes Du Soleil
- 27 September-01 October, Snowshoe
- 05-08 October, Mont-Sainte-Anne
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