1st. Jolanda Neff 2nd. Sina Frei 3rd. Anne Terpstra
The womens race was basically Jolanda Neff dominating a roster decimated by injuries. Many of the top riders fell during practice and the race itself. And these weren't light crashing or tires losing grip either, you have riders breaking noses, getting black eyes, needing stitches; ouchie ouchie stuff.
Yup, it's a gnarly track, with the 2 rock gardens comparable to some of the World Cup DH courses. Cannondale DH rider Kenta Gallagher said so himself - he was part of the British delegation helping the riders out by scoping lines and giving advice on how to tackle the technical DH areas. You heard it right, Great Britain brought a DH World Cup rider to get lines and approaches dialed. The track is that hard. It also helps that Kenta is half-Japanese and can speak Nihongo.
Ariana was unlucky in that her rear derailleur got snagged as she was hit by Japan's Urara at the opening lap. She crashed once but that was due to another rider. Ariana cleared all the technical features.
1st. Nino Schurter 2nd. Victor Koretzky
3rd. Luca Braidot
The mens race was a more tense affair.
A lead pack of some of the world's best pulled away, with the actual lead changing hands on the first 4 laps between Avancini, Schurter, Braidot, and Koretzky. Nino started to attack in the last 2 laps but the other riders probably expected it. Nino-san (what the Japanese fans are calling him) led by a few bike lengths while sprinting to the finish.
I think it's a direct response to Peter Sagan qualifying for mtb at the Rio Olympics. They made sure the track was really technical to prevent roadies from trying out XC as a sidegig during the Olympics.
Even the B lines were crazy in Izu, probably the reason why there were so many crashes, even from the top riders.
That's what i don't get, if the athlete is talented enough, then why not? It's their pro career on the line anyway if they get injured. Besides, qualifying would still take a lot of skills and not just a one off lucky ride.