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We always hear about how timed practice means nothing, because a number of the riders won't really go for a pinner run with nothing on the line except the risk of an injury putting them out of the actual race - but we wanted to check the stats to see if this is actually true. We dug into the archives over the past 4 seasons specifically to see how winners of timed practice actually went on to place in the race, and perhaps just as important, how did race winners approach timed practice. Data and answers below (the percentage calculations exclude the 3 races in 2013 where timed training was cancelled).

2012 - 2015 World Cup Timed Training Analysis


If You Win Timed Training, How Will You Place in the Race?

The popular opinion is that timed training means nothing, but in reality, winning timed training gives you a 45% chance of ending up on on the podium, and a 9% chance of actually winning the race. The double has only been done by 2 riders, Stevie Smith at MSA in 2013 and Gee Atherton at the Cairns race in 2014, but in a small sample size like this one, that's still significant. Perhaps most encouraging for timed training winners, if you exclude race day anomalies (flats, crashes, etc), they finish close to 6th place in the race on average.

Stevie Smith at MSA in 2013, one of only two riders to pull off the TT/Race Win double - photo Sven Martin

If You Won The Race, How Did You Do in Timed Training?

Looking at the issue from the other angle, we took a look at how the race winners actually did in timed training, before going on to win the race. The most significant number here tells us that in 41% of the races we examined, the race winner came from the top 5 finishers in timed training. In other words, once again, if you are up there in timed training, there's a good chance we'll be seeing more of you on race day too. Note that within the remaining 59%, there's Aaron Gwin who clearly doesn't care about timed training but won 7 races during the time period we sampled- if he did, this percentage would likely be a lot higher.

Ratboy took the win in Windham last year, after only placing 14th in timed training. There was the moshpit thing though... - photo Sven Martin.

Who's Best At Timed Training?

The undisputed champ of timed training over the last 4 seasons has been the Gee-man with 5 wins, followed closely by Danny Hart who stands on 4. If we add in yesterday's TT win in Windham, Marcelo Gutierrez now sits alone in third place with 3 timed training wins. Will he go on to claim his first ever World Cup win this weekend? Time will tell, but at least the odds are better than you might have thought!

9 timed training wins between them, Gee and Danny know how to get up to speed quickly, like in Lourdes earlier this year - photo Johan Hjord

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