What we learned... Hafjell World Cup

Old dogs, bewilderment and some learnings from the weekend

Steve Smith in action at the UCI DH World Cup at Hafjell on September 15, 2013
© Sven Martin

Talking to World Cup commentator Rob Warner and the production team post race, there was a slight feeling of bewilderment among the crew. Much of the initial promise and hope that hung on the Hafjell finals was blown out of the water by a downpour that saw the world’s elite going down left, right and in Gee Atherton’s case, dead centre.

So what did we learn this weekend?

01 Manon’s in the mix

If you’ve crunched the numbers you’ll know that Manon Carpenter is still in with a shot at the overall. A long shot it may be, but the young Brit is fast becoming Rachel Atherton’s biggest rival.

02 There’s more to come from Mick

Following up on a second place finish at the World Champs with second in qualifying, Mick Hannah looked hungry for a result. After over-cooking it into a berm during his final run any chance of an upset faded relatively early on, but a fourth place finish at last year’s Leogang World Champs combined with what’s looking like a peak in performance could lead to something special at the final round.

03 There’s life in the old dog

Steve Peat has been quiet of late but a sixth place finish for the 39yr-old in Hafjell gave us a glimpse of why he’s one of the most winningest riders of all time. There was a three-year gap between winning his last World Cup overall and the World Champs win in Canberra. Could we see a return to the podium?

04 It’s tight at the top

It seems like only yesterday that we were staring down the crosshairs of yet another World Cup season, one that would most likely be dominated by Aaron Gwin. How things change. There are 17 points between Gee Atherton and Stevie Smith. At the Leogang World Champs in 2012, Gee Atherton edged Stevie Smith into third place by less than a second. It doesn’t get much tighter.

05 The 2013 UCI World Cup overall winner is…

Tune in next Sunday 22nd September to find out