UCI Downhill – Cairns, Australia & Sprinting Technique

uci cairns

The second round of the downhill championship took place last weekend. Rachel Atherton continued her dominance in the women’s competition beating Tracey Hannah by over 7 seconds and Loic Bruni took his first win in impressive fashion.  If you missed it then you can click here to head to Red Bull TV and watch the Cairns action unfold.

This website’s all about improving your riding though and so it’s pointless watching the aspirational stuff if we’re not going to learn something from it.  There’s 2 take aways I’ve picked out from this round of the world cup.

1. Top speed isn’t everything, average speed wins races

It seems like common sense to think that the rider hitting the highest speeds on the track will be the fastest overall but what this race showed is that this isn’t true.  If you look at the Tissot time sheets below you’ll see that Rachel Atherton recorded only the 4th highest speed and Loic Bruni recorded the 39th highest speed!!!!!  (To see what I mean click the links below)

UCI Downhill Cairns 2016 Womens Results

UCI Downhill Cairns 2016 Mens Results

2. Straight line sprinting’s where it’s at

The Cairns track is infamous in downhill for its 250m sprint finish (mainly because you don’t get a lot of sprinting going on in downhill racing).  The footage of this section allowed us to get a glimpse of each riders technique and what it showed is the faster riders were generally ‘tighter’ in their sprinting technique.  I’m putting together a post on ‘straight line paths’ in a few weeks but, until then, below are two clips, one of Rachel Atherton and one of Tahnee Seagrave.  Now Tahnee’s no slouch but take a look at how much more sideways body and bike movement Tahnee produces and how much more front wheel movement etc there is compared to Rachel…….with a higher percentage of Tahnee’s energy going in to moving the bike side to side rather than forwards it’s no surprise that Rachel is the faster sprinter!



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