From the Top of the World and the Podium in Whistler, to the King of the Mud in La Bresse
He has only been on the racing scene since 2012 and had already started to imprint his name into history. But the 22-year-old really made his mark in August, when within 13 days, he won the EWS in Whistler
and the final round of UCI DH World Cup at La Bresse. Now, winning the EWS was is no easy feat, especially if you put 25 seconds into Sam Hill on the final Top of the World stage and take the win by 42 seconds over only one day of racing. Fun fact: this was the biggest winning margin at EWS Whistler in six years (Elite Men's category), Rude came close with a 40-second demolition in 2016, but usually wins here have been by 10 seconds or less.
All he had to do then was recover from a monster post-EWS-winning party, fly across to Europe, recover from jet lag, get to La Bresse
and learn a new course and bike, then beat the best downhillers in the world at their own game.
Naysayers who claim that he had better conditions should wind their neck in - it was wet for everyone and his name is at the top of the results sheet in a discipline he's not focussing on.
More Races and More Winners
Crankworx, EWS, and UCI DH
Maes' legendary wins are covered above, but there is still loads more racing to talk about. Mont Saint Anne was another epic race
, and it was great to see Bruni and Atherton take solid wins. Crankworx Slopestyle
was another insane event and Rogatkin finally won that massive Triple Crown cheque. Atherton won the women's event in La Bresse
and also took the overall title, which the new kid on the block, Amaury Pierron had already wrapped up the men's overall by the time MSA was over with one round to play with.
There were loads of other great events happening all over the world in August, from IXS European Downhill Cups
, the Swiss Trail Trophy
, the US Open
, French Enduro Cup
, Trans BC, and the massive 'Ard Rock Enduro and Festival
in the UK that was won by a certain retired downhiller called Steve Peat.
Bike Geeks Rejoice
Fox's Live Valve is finally here, plus a bunch of new bikes and kit.
Trek's Remedy was updated
There are a lot of people that have been waiting for Fox's Live Valve
, and after years of waiting and teasing, it is finally out in the open. The electronically controlled suspension promises a super efficient pedaling platform on any bike but can open and gobble up bumps faster than you can blink. As well as Live Valve, we spotted more electronics in the form of RockShox's battery powered Reverb post
As well as electronics, there were a ton of new bikes that either appeared from nowhere or finally had an official release after months of being in the public eye between racers legs. To name but a few: GT's Fury downhill bike
and Sensor and Force trail/enduro bikes were launched and We saw Yeti's SB150
which finally has a real bottle mount.
, Cannondale dropped a big wheeled Jekyll
, Devinci's 29er Wilson
is available to buy, an ex-Norco engineer surprised us with the 130mm travel Forbidden Bikes high-pivot 29er
, Kona's carbon Process
, Scott's 170mm Ransom
, Polygon's new XquarOne downhill bike
is official and Giant's new Trance
and Liv Intrigue
also came to market.
More riding time = more time in the face of danger
With all the racing and riding happening when the Summer was in full swing during August, injuries
become more common. Graham Aggasiz went over his whip-limit
at the Whip Off Worlds in Whistler and broke his scapula. Ines Thoma
also blew up in the Whistler dust during EWS practice and broke two bones in her neck and back, as well as her nose. Melamed also popped in practice
at the same event and a broken thumb put the hometown hero, and last year's winner, out of action - another blow to the Canadian after a string of injuries from multiple fractures in Finale last August, to a broken collarbone in France earlier this year.
Gee Atherton not selected for World Champs
Gee Atherton has been selected for Great Britain's World Championship team every year since 2001. In those 17 years, he has only missed out one of the competitions due to injury in 2016. On the flip side of that he has bagged two Junior and three Elite podiums that include a metal haul of a brace of silver as a boy and a pair of gold's as a man.
For somebody of his caliber, his previous two seasons might not look great on paper, but injuries and bad luck taint his palmarés. In the last two World Cup races he was back in true form with an 8th and 2nd place. He has made it on to the reserve list, though, along with Joe Smith, so if another rider drops out we could see a substitution. In 2016, when Gee dropped out with injury, Bernard Kerr took his place and sent it down Val Di Sole into 5th spot and the best result of his life. It's not the first time something like this has happened, just last year, Morgane Charre wasn't selected for the French squad despite meeting all criteria but has been selected for Lenzerheide after only competing in one World Cup this year.