How Would the 2022 World Cup DH Have Looked with a Semi-Final Round?

Firecrest MTB’s main man Ian Warby plugged himself into the matrix and put together a 2022 World Cup simulation with semi-finals.

One of the big talking points about the 2023 UCI Downhill World Cup is the addition of the semi-final, which carries a fair amount of series points and further clips the qualifying field prior to the finals.

Ian Warby of Firecrest MTB took a look back through the 2022 Elite Men’s results to see what the likely outcome of a 2022 season with semi finals would have looked like.

Photos by Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull.

The motivation to run this simulation came from the introduction of the semi-finals to the UCI Downhill World Cup weekend and I set out to see if the addition of the Semi Finals would have changed the overall result of the 2022 World Cup Downhill Season. To do this I based the simulation on the results of the 2022 season and the new points scoring system and semi-finals introduced for 2023.

The simulation uses the results from 2022’s qualifying and finals to predict the result of the semi-finals. Using these these results to create the simulation has created a huge data set to draw from and some interesting insights and conclusions as to what the introduction of the semi-final might do to the racing in 2023. Along with what the overall could look like if the racers show the consistency (or lack of it) in some cases that they did in the 2022 season.

The simulation also set out to see if the semi-finals were really going to shake up the racing. Along with looking at the suggestion from some that the semi-finals had just been added to get the field down to 30 riders for the televised finals and avoid the new rights holders ESO the embarrassment of having to go back on their word that the number of finalists wouldn’t be reduced from 60 riders for the 2023 season.

A question that the simulation didn’t really answer definitively, although the following notes do highlight the number of racers including some top names that wouldn’t have made the finals. Although the simulation didn’t protect racers that weren’t already protected in the 2022 World Cup season. It does highlight how crucial protection in the qualifying and semi-finals will be if the number of racers are reduced, and we go straight to a 30-rider final in the future.

It also underlines and how hard it could be for some of the racers and the personalities that make downhill mountain biking what it is and have been regular finalists to make the finals with the new format. Underlining how much of a loss that would be to the appeal and character of downhill mountain bike racing going forward.

Round 1 Lourdes

Result Comparison based on Qualifying predicting Semi-Final Result.

Just 10 points separate Loic Bruni and Amaury Pierron on 430 and 420 points respectively in the overall standings after the first round. As expected, the semi-final Points keep things tight at the top. Finn Iles also has a good race netting 400 points in 3rd with Benoit Coulanges in 4th on 292.

For the purpose of simulation, the final can only be scored based on all 60 riders qualifying so points are given to the following riders who would not have qualified based on their semi-final position and the top 30 riders going through to the final.

Kade Edwards – Qualifying position 31st final points 55
Bernard Kerr – Qualifying position 33rd final points 20
Rudy Cabirou – Qualifying position 37th final points 10
Thomas Estaque – Qualifying position 38th final points 12
Hugo Frixtalon – Qualifying position 39th final points 35
Taylor Vernon – Qualifying position 41st final points 25
Dean Lucas – Qualifying position 42nd final points 14
Jacob Dickson – Qualifying position 51st final points 13

Result Comparison based on Final predicting Semi-Final Result.

With the Final Results Predicting the semi-final Pierron is over 80 points clear of Iles with 480 and 400 points respectively. Bruni nets 370 points in 3rd place illustrating how important the Semi Final Points are to the points haul from an individual round.

In this simulation the result of the semi-final is predicted by the final. With the semi-final Points being award down to 60th place and then the top 30 riders awarded the final points down to 30th position.

Round 2 Fort William

Result Comparison based on Qualifying predicting Semi-Final Result.

Laurie Greenland comes out on top in Fort William with a 30 point advantage over Pierron on 430 and 400 points respectively, despite Pierron taking the win. Greg Minnaar takes 3rd spot but there’s over 120 points between him and Pierron just showing how the points for the semi-final can make a big difference when it comes to the overall points tally from a race weekend.

For the purpose of simulation, the final can only be scored based on all 60 riders qualifying so points are given to the following riders who would not have qualified based on their semi-final position and the top 30 riders going through to the final.

Ronnan Dunne – Qualifying position 31st final points 40
Connor Fearon – Qualifying position 32nd final points 59
Reece Wilson – Qualifying position 35th final points 61
Ben Cathro – Qualifying position 37th final points 36
Oliver Zwar – Qualifying position 39th final points 36
George Gannicott – Qualifying position 44 final points 29
Roger Vierra – Qualifying position 52nd final points 22
Austin Dooley – Qualifying position 53rd final points 27

Result Comparison based on Final predicting Semi-Final Result.

When the final predicts the semi-final it’s a near perfect weekend for Pierron with 475 points. A 100 point advantage over Thibault Daprella with 370 points in second tied with Laurie Greenland who’s qualifying win boosted his overall total from his weekend on home soil.

In this simulation the result of the semi-final is predicted by the final. With the semi-final Points being award down to 60th place and then the top 30 riders awarded the final points down to 30th position.

Round 3 Leogang

Result Comparison based on Qualifying predicting Semi-Final Result.

Matt Walker demonstrated how a consistent weekend can really bag points in the overall. With 420 points added to his overall total. Danny Hart’s consistency over the weekend also paid off with 360 points in the bag in 2nd place overall from this weekend. Finn Iles rounded out the top 3 with 315 points added to his season total. Amaury Pierron would have relied on protected status to make it through to the final based on qualifying predicting the semi-final results. Regardless he still lost a lot of points this weekend with just 187 points added to his season total.

For the purpose of simulation, the final can only be scored based on all 60 riders qualifying so points are given to the following riders who would not have qualified based on their semi-final position and the top 30 riders going through to the final.

Jacob Dickson – Qualifying position 40th final points 71
Dean Lucas – Qualifying position 41st final points 37
Antoine Pierron – Qualifying position 55th final points 19
Baptiste Pierrron – Qualifying position 59th final points 16
Amaury Pierron – (Protected top 20) Qualifying position 34th final points 187
Lorris Vergier (protected top 20) – final points 110
Bernard Kerr (protected top 20) – final points 11

Result Comparison based on Final predicting Semi-Final Result.

Matt Walker nearly puts together the perfect weekend when the finals predict the semi finals. A total points haul of 480 points to Danny Harts 385 underlines how much of an advantage it can be to place well in the semi’s and the finals. Angel Suarez-Alonso leaves Leogang with enough points to take 3rd place underlining again underlining how a good semi and finals can really add to a rider’s points tally.

In this simulation the result of the semi-final is predicted by the final. With the semi-final Points being award down to 60th place and then the top 30 riders awarded the final points down to 30th position.

Round 4 Lenzerheide

Result Comparison based on Qualifying predicting Semi-Final Result.

Amaury Pierron’s first clean sweep of the season taking maximum points in Qualifying, the Semi’s (based on qualifying) and the final. 500 points in the bag and a huge boost to his series total and overall chances. With Benoit Coulanges in 2nd on 290 points it gives Pierron a huge margin of 210 points over second place in just one weekend of racing! Kolb in 3rd and Vergier in 4th place in the points standings both demonstrating how a consistent weekend can really push you up the in terms of series points from a weekends racing.

For the purpose of simulation, the final can only be scored based on all 60 riders qualifying so points are given to the following riders who would not have qualified based on their semi-final position and the top 30 riders going through to the final.

Dylan Levesque – Qualifying position 31st final points 60
Oliver Zwar – Qualifying position 33rd final points 38
Antoine Rogge – Qualifying position 34th final points 62
Henry Kerr – Qualifying position 35th final points 44
Baptiste Pierron – Qualifying position 38th final points 35
Lutz Webber – Qualifying position 43rd final points 31
Phil Atwill – Qualifying position 44th final points 32
Tuhoto-Ariki Pene – Qualifying position 47th final points 69
Loic Bruni (protected top 20) final points 17
Laurie Greenland (protected top 20) final points 14

Result Comparison based on Final predicting Semi Final Result.

Amaury locked in the perfect weekend and a maximum points haul. Finn Iles, Greg Minnaar and Andreas Kolb all added over 300 points to their season totals too when the semi-finals were based on the finals.

In this simulation the result of the semi-final is predicted by the final. With the semi-final Points being award down to 60th place and then the top 30 riders awarded the final points down to 30th position.

Round 5 Vallnord

Result Comparison based on Qualifying predicting Semi-Final Result.

SDG Tellis V2 Dropper Leaderboard

Loris Vergier left Vallnord with the perfect score following Amaury’s example at the previous round in Lenzerheide. 500 points on the board for the overall and 120 points clear of Loic Bruni with Fin Iles starting to build on his consistency taking 3rd overall in Valnord. Aaron Gwin showed his hand with 4th and an indication of the form that he was coming into as the season progressed.

For the purpose of simulation, the final can only be scored based on all 60 riders qualifying so points are given to the following riders who would not have qualified based on their semi-final position and the top 30 riders going through to the final.

Max Hartenstern – Qualifying position 33rd final points 93
Adam Brayton – Qualifying position 39th final points 34
Loris Revelli – Qualifying position 37th final points 37
Ethan Craik – Qualifying position 44th final points 35
Dean Lucas – Qualifying position 46th final points 34
Davide Palazzari – Qualifying position 47th final points 31
George Branningan – Qualifying position 52nd final points 52
Baptiste Pierron – Qualifying position 54th final points 17
Thomas Estaque – Qualifying position 58th final points 63
Thibaut Daprela (protected top 20) final points 45

Result Comparison based on Final predicting Semi-Final Result.

Vergier’s perfect weekend saw him add maximum points towards his overall total. Loic Bruni’s deficit reduced by 10 points with the finals predicting the semi-finals, but Vergier still had a margin over 110 points when it came to his points haul from this round. Aaron Gwin’s overall points total also benefited from a better result in the finals than qualifying adding 15 points to his overall score when the semi-finals were based on the finals.

In this simulation the result of the semi-final is predicted by the final. With the semi-final Points being award down to 60th place and then the top 30 riders awarded the final points down to 30th position.

Round 6 Snowshoe

Result Comparison based on Qualifying predicting Semi-Final Result.

Amaury Pierron was back up to speed stateside with another maximum points haul, 120 points clear of Benard Kerr with 500 and 380 points respectively from the weekends racing. Andreas Kolb was 85 points adrift of Bernard Kerr in 3rd and 205 points away from Pierron which underlines how the points awarded in the semi-final can really shake up the overall standings.

For the purpose of simulation, the final can only be scored based on all 60 riders qualifying so points are given to the following riders who would not have qualified based on their semi-final position and the top 30 riders going through to the final.

Oliver Zwar – Qualifying position 31st final points 44
Fin Isles – Qualifying position 33rd final points 44 (Protected)
Wyn Masters – Qualifying position 35th final points 45
Connor Fearon – Qualifying position 39th final points 38
Adam Brayton – Qualifying position 40th final points 33
Charlie Hatton – Qualifying position 47th final points 29
Simon Chapplet – Qualifying position 48th final points 25
Jacob Jewitt – Qualifying position 55th final points 19

Result Comparison based on Final predicting Semi-Final Result.

Again, Amuary Pierron’s perfect weekend meant he was untouchable in the overall points. But Bernard Kerr’s final result predicting the semi-finals closed the margin by 10 points and Kolb points haul improved by over 45 points when basing the semi-finals on the final.

In this simulation the result of the semi-final is predicted by the final. With the semi-final Points being award down to 60th place and then the top 30 riders awarded the final points down to 30th position.

Round 7 Mount Saint Anne

Result Comparison based on Qualifying predicting Semi-Final Result.

Finn Isles added his name to the list of riders scoring a perfect weekend bagging the maximum score of 500 points racing on home soil. With an advantage of 170 points over Troy Brosnan in second overall for the weekend on 330 points. Bernard Kerr continued his strong finish to the season taking 3rd place overall with a weekend total of 272.

For the purpose of simulation, the final can only be scored based on all 60 riders qualifying so points are given to the following riders who would not have qualified based on their semi-final position and the top 30 riders going through to the final.

Luke Meir-Smith – Qualifying position 31st final points 50
Lucas Cruz – Qualifying position 32nd final points 42
Austin Dooley – Qualifying position 33rd final points 45
Kirt McDowall – Qualifying position 34th final points 42
Ronan Dunne – Qualifying position 37th final points 64
Mark Wallace – Qualifying position 38th final points 38
Aaron Gwin (protect top 20) final points 160

Result Comparison based on Final predicting Semi-Final Result.

Whilst Finn Isles was untouchable on a perfect score the final really shook up the predicted Semi-final and the resulting overall. Laurie Greenland took second overall from the weekend showing how crucial protection in qualifying could be with a total of 360 points from just the semi-finals and finals. Troy Brosnan slipped to second overall for the weekend and Aaron Gwin benefited from a consistent weekend to add 301 points to his season total.

In this simulation the result of the semi-final is predicted by the final. With the semi-final Points being award down to 60th place and then the top 30 riders awarded the final points down to 30th position.

Round 8 Val Di Sole

Result Comparison based on Qualifying predicting Semi-Final Result.

Andreas Kolb topped the overall with a total of 460 points. Loris Vergier was just 20 points adrift on 440 and Dakotah Norton made the most of a consistent weekend to take away 350 points to add to his overall score. Bernard Kerr’s 20th in qualifying really reduced his points haul from the weekend based on qualifying predicting semi-finals a result that’s really reflected in the overall points standing when the semi-finals are based on qualifying.

For the purpose of simulation, the final can only be scored based on all 60 riders qualifying so points are given to the following riders who would not have qualified based on their semi-final position and the top 30 riders going through to the final.

Matieo Iniguez – Qualifying position 42nd final points 69
Stefano Iniguez – Qualifying position 43rd final points 31
Johannes Fischbach – Qualifying position 44th final points 32
Nuno Reis – Qualifying position 45th final points 30
Dean Lucas – Qualifying position 51st final points 55
Antoine Rogge – Qualifying position 52nd final points 49
Connor Finnis – Qualifying position 54th final points 26
Thibault Laly – Qualifying position 56th final points 15
Matthew Walker – Qualifying position 58th final points 28
Johan Garcin – Qualifying position 59th final points 14
Troy Brosnan (protected top 20) final points 35

Result Comparison based on Final predicting Semi-Final Result.

Vergier and Kolb swap the top two spots when the finals predict the semis, with Vergier opening up a 80 point advantage over Kolb as he tops the points for the final weekend. Dakotah Norton stays in 3rd overall from the weekend, but Gwin closes the points gap to 43 points. Bernard Kerr’s points haul based on the finals predicting the semi-finals put’s him up to 5th overall for the weekend underlining how the semi’s might effect a riders season when it comes to overall points and placings much more than the individual race weekends.

In this simulation the result of the semi-final is predicted by the final. With the semi-final Points being award down to 60th place and then the top 30 riders awarded the final points down to 30th position.

Conclusions

There are 4 Overall Data sets to compare:

The first and the baseline is the Overall Standings from 2022 where Amaury Pierron was the clear winner with a total of 1253 points over Loris Vergier in 2nd on 1008 points and Finn Iles in 3rd on 996 points.

Qualifying Predicting Semi Finals.

With Qualifying predicting the semi-finals and the 2023 scoring applied the top 3 riders remain the same but as you would expect with so many points on offer Amaury Pierron’s constancy throughout the simulated season means that he hauls in 2920 points overall to Vergier’s 2173 points with Iles now on 1911 points.

The biggest changes on the overall in this simulation are that Andreas Kolb and Bernard Kerr swap places with Laurie Greenland taking 4th overall and Beniot Coulanges taking 5th. With Kolb dropping down to 6th and Kerr falling to 8th overall.

Overall standings with points removed for riders that didn’t qualify to race in the finals.

When the overall is calculated using Qualifying scores minus the points for riders that didn’t progress from the Semi’s due to their qualifying position being outside of the top 30. These points have been calculated without riders being protected for the ease of simulation. The top 3 stays the same with Thibaut Daprela and Greg Minnaar benefiting most moving into the top 10 in 7th and 8th place respectively. With many riders just moving up or down 1 or 2 positions in the overall.

Final results predicting the Semi-Final

When the Final predict the Semi Finals again very little changes in terms of the overall with Brits Greenland and Kerr swapping 5th and 6th places and Coulanges dropping from 7th to 8th in the overall swapping places with Aaron Gwin.

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