The Big Top 3
25-time world champion Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde), 2016 world champion Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Severne / Shamal Sunglasses) and two-time vice-world champion - Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / Duotone / Chopper Fins) - have established themselves as the big top 3 in the Men’s Slalom after completing the overall podium in 3 out of the last 4 seasons.
This season they completed the podium in 4 out of the 6 events, while between them they won 5 out of the 6 events with Albeau and iachino winning two events each, while Mortefon won the final event of the year in Sylt. The only other man to win an event this year was Finian Maynard in Costa Brava when all 3 of Albeau, Iachino and Mortefon missed out on the only winners’ final. As such dominating figures in the world of Slalom, we thought we’d take a look at these racing machines in numbers…
|Qualifying Rate Winners' Finals||84.21%||89.47%||84.21%|
So, while Iachino may have had the highest qualification rate for winners’ finals with 89.47% after qualifying for 17 out of 19 winners’ finals this season, the Italian still just missed out on a second world title after crucially missing out on one winners’ final in the finale in Sylt. Meanwhile, Albeau and Mortefon both qualified for 16 out of 19 winners’ finals - 84.21%.
And if you delve slightly deeper into the numbers you can begin to see why Albeau has won 25 world titles as once qualified for the winners’ final the Frenchman had a win rate of 68.75% this season compared to 29.41% for Iachino and 6.25% for Mortefon. It is Albeau’s ability to win winners’ finals that makes him so dangerous as even with one bad race he can quickly convert consecutive bullets when needed. This instinct to win can be clearly highlighted this season when Albeau won all 4 eliminations in Fuerteventura.
If you then take a look at the next closest rival - Jordy Vonk (Fanatic / Duotone) - who finished 4th overall this season (his best ever performance) the flying Dutchman qualified for 73.68% of winners’ finals, which is still an excellent percentage, but still not a match for any of the top 3 and you can see why the big top 3 are so dominant as a result.
Furthermore from the 19 winners’ finals completed this season Albeau, Iachino and Mortefon won 17 out of those 19 eliminations (Albeau 11, Iachino 5 and Mortefon 1) - 89.47%. The only other people to win an elimination were Finian Maynard as previously stated in Costa Brava and Cedric Bordes (Tabou / GA Sails) in Portugal.
Can anyone rival the big top 3 next year? Perhaps, but based on this year’s performance the rest of the fleet would require a big step up from one of the chasing pack or for one of them to falter - however on recent stats that looks unlikely as it is that unbelievable level of consistency that currently separates Albeau, Iachino and Mortefon from the rest of the pack.