Cycling News

Finn Iles leads Canadians with second in qualifying at Fort William

Finn Iles leads Canadians with second in qualifying at Fort William

It was a day of highs and lows for Canadians in qualifying at Fort William, the first World Cup of 2023. Finn Iles launched off to a flying start to his season. Bodhi Kuhn also impressed, making it through qualifying in his first elite World Cup. Gracey Hemstreet also makes it through to semis while Mark Wallace and Kirk McDowall miss out by the narrowest of margins.

Elite women

Gracey Hemstreet finished 22nd in Qualification. She makes it through to semis as a protected rider. But she’ll have to find more speed to make it to finals as, with UCI’s tiered protected rider scheme, isn’t protected in semi-finals.

Tahnée Seagrave (Canyon Cllctv) set the fastest qualifying time, followed by Nina Hoffmann (Syndicate). Young U.S. racer Anna Newkirk (Beyond Racing) had a huge start to her season, qualifying third. Camille Balanche (Dorval AM) rode back into her first World Cup since a mid-season injury in ’23 with a fourth while reigning world champion and World Cup overall winner Valentina Höll qualified fifth in her return to the YT Mob

What are protected riders, and how many are there?

Since this is the first race of 2024, lets do a quick review of the new race format WBD/Discovery introduced in 2023. Qualification starts the weekend. For women, only the top 15 women make it through to semi-finals. The top 10 riders coming into the race are “protected,” meaning if they crash or get a flat in their qualification run, they still advance to the next round. The idea behind protected riders is to ensure the overall points race isn’t disrupted by, say, a flat tire or unlucky timing with a changing weather. From semi-finals, the 10 fastest women make it through to finals plus protected riders. Five women are protected through from semi-finals to finals. So, in theory, that’s a 15-rider women’s final, if all five protected riders get a flat tire.

These numbers are different for the men, where 20 riders are protected in qualifying and 10 riders are protected in semi-finals. But 60 men make it out of qualification and another 30 make it through semis and into final.

Elite men

Finn Iles started his season off with a big second place in qualifying. He’ll have some work to do to catch his Specialized Gravity Racing teammate, Loic Bruni, though. Bruni was fastest by 3.293 seconds in Fort William on Saturday. After Iles, it’s tightly spaced with Luca Shaw and Troy Brosnan qualifying third and fourth for Canyon Cllctv and Oisin O’Callaghan (YT…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at Canadian Cycling Magazine…