How to Improve Your 2016 DH World Cup Predictions in 10 Easy Steps

Apr 5, 2016
by Nathan Hughes  
Finally! Right? A simple 'how to' on the seemingly complex issue of how to pick out the winners for the race season ahead... it's long overdue on Pinkbike. Well sorry for that; it's here now. No longer will you have to stand up, wipe the honey lager froth from your upper lip, stick out your delicate neck and take that risky punt in front of your friends, blurting out names willy-nilly just in time for the live-feed to come beaming in and explode your far-flung theories into a soul-destroying ash of regret and shame. This is a clear-cut way to make the right predictions and gain the respect and pocket-money rewards you deserve among your mountain bike fellows and females. You know what great riding is after all, so who's taking those wins? Let's dive right into the method.


Ones to Watch - the World Cup 2016 season ahead.
The world cup Doomsday Clock shows two minutes to midnight and stoke is high as we await the first tracks of 2016.


Step 1: Study Up


Past performance predicts future results, everybody knows. This might involve a little effort, reading even, and a visit to at least one rather indispensable ranking site, but a little research goes a long way. What could be better than a straight-forward appeal to the facts?


Ones to Watch - the World Cup 2016 season ahead.
Ones to Watch - the World Cup 2016 season ahead.


On his refreshed spree of dominance following his 2013 sabbatical and Gwin is the name on everyone's lips. Add in a fresh ride, a sharp haircut and a winter of burpees and blowing up Cali corners and you have the ultimate solution to your inability to gamble wisely. While the cream of the crop talk about 'what it takes to win' Gwin's thinking 'what doesn't it take?' and finding answers like, for example, drivetrain. Is he the top pick for Lourdes? Hell, the man's on for three-peat for Round 1 victories anyway...


Ones to Watch - the World Cup 2016 season ahead.
Stack up the numbers and one guy's on top of the pile. Or the bottom even, because he has the lowest numbers - but never mind - it's, of course, the mighty AG.


Step 2: Listen to Your Heart


How many of the world's best mention 'having fun' in their interviews about the races? There's no stat for it, but we can say it's a lot. Well, surely there's something in that? Before long, those who have the best time on the bikes will surely prosper. Did you see Remi Thirion destroying the rainy ruts of Vallnord at mach-a-billion? How about Brendan super-hooning the chicanes of Mont St Anne? And Danny's famous whip at Champery a few years back? Say no more - your choices on who can do it this year should revolve around who you can see is visibly sending it to the moon and those who stink the most of stoke.


Ones to Watch - the World Cup 2016 season ahead.
Ones to Watch - the World Cup 2016 season ahead.
Ones to Watch - the World Cup 2016 season ahead.
Year of the dog? Or back to the rat once more?


Step 3: Choose Experience


Over 100 World Cups and still racking up the wins, it makes hella sense to add the official 'greatest of all time', Greg Minnaar to your hotlist. Never count him... ah you wouldn't count him out, especially as he took two wins last year and there's literally no reason to doubt the unrelenting magnificence of the veteran South African GOAT. So who else has done it all before in recent years? Well there's a little-known, old-timer by the name of Sam Hill who appears to have a clean bill of health and a long-haired Englishman known as the Ratboy who made 2014 his own who landed 5th overall last season. Throw into the mix 2013's dominant force and we could have some sort of massacre on our hands all over again.


Ones to Watch - the World Cup 2016 season ahead.
Sam Hill tattoos
Ones to Watch - the World Cup 2016 season ahead.
We wouldn't fall over backwards if a healthy and revitalized Stevie 'The Chainsaw Massacre' Smith steps up and knocks it out of the park from the off.


Step 4: Go With a Young Gun


Ah, the upward curve, just look at the trajectory of these guys - take Mike Jones in the latter half of 2015: 76th at Mont St Anne, then 10th at Windham... come Worlds in Andorra he gets 4th, so what's next!? Seriously though, there's this solid troop of these relative newcomers climbing the ranks that just can't be ignored.


It seems like we have a fresh young gun hitting the podium just about every round this year. This time French were the colors... Welcome to the club Loris Vergier
CRC had a cracker out here last season with the whole crew finishing in the top 10. Jones goes hunting for the repeat...
Ones to Watch - the World Cup 2016 season ahead.


Loris Vergier, Luca Shaw, Dean Lucas and Mark Wallace are all ready to send it onto the podium this year, once again in some cases. Then we have Alex Fayolle who broke the top 10 last time now on Polygon, Gwin's promising young team-mate Angel Suarez with a point to prove and none other than Junior World Champ Laurie Greenland on a Mondraker. All are ready to make their mark or perhaps leave a more punishing scar on the face of the old guard. Strike while the iron's hot and call it now on an up-and-coming prodigy before everyone else sees their potential.


Step 5: Think 'Balls'


'Pain is temporary, glory is forever'... says the tattoo on the inside of this kind of rider's lip. If you're going to back someone to storm this season, select a smasher who truly throws caution to the wind and goes on the rampage. Look at Richie Rude, continuing to bulldog his way to the top at the EWS. Heck, look at the Bulldog himself. When he gets angry, he gets podiums and the rocks get out the way.


Ones to Watch - the World Cup 2016 season ahead.
Choose Brook, Branny or maybe 'Big Balls' Danny for the Top Step.


Step 6: Pick a Woman

Ones to Watch - the World Cup 2016 season ahead.
Ones to Watch - the World Cup 2016 season ahead.


How could you forget? The women's category is ripping along just nicely these days and there's a lot of scope for a good shake-up of the 'musical podiums' of recent years gone by. Rachel Atherton's out in front, no question, but Manon Carpenter already took her down before in 2014. Who else is right up there now ready to scrap for Queen and country? Tahnee Seagrave is. With the gap less than 100 points behind her Welsh rival at the close of play last season, it's obvious she has the pace and consistency to take a win and we should expect 2016 to be the year to produce those very goods. Tahnee's your gal.


Ones to Watch - the World Cup 2016 season ahead.


Tracey Hannah's won two world cups previously, Morganne Charre was of course 2012 World Champion and these she-demons will be mixing it with podium-capable Miranda Miller, Emilie Siegenthaler, Curd and more.


Ones to Watch - the World Cup 2016 season ahead.
Myriam Nicole will sadly miss the start of the season once again with a superbly unlucky second strike of shoulder injury, but look for her to pounce mid summer.


Step 7: Scout Video Talent


Evidence by edit goes a long way. Why? Because the camera never lies. George Brannigan has all the right moves. Connor Fearon's 'in the know' too. Both of these guys have almost pipped it with second place runs in their careers and both look like they mean it now more than ever. Think about Kerr; able to snatch a cold beer mid-stoppie. These are horses that should be backed. Case closed.


George Brannigan refound some solid form today finally refinding the top 10.
2015 s unluckiest man at the World Cup Connor Fearon is in town looking for some quality retribution amongst the Andorran dust. We can t wait to see Kona s number 1 come out swinging.


Step 8: Remember True Athletes Make Champions


Wheelies and whips sure look awful nice, but let's be real; downhill is physically brutal and it will take an inhuman balance of raw power and endurance to come out on top. Best to go with someone who can win Fort William or hey, come third overall, like Troy Brosnan. Not forgetting an enduro behemoth like Sam Blenkinsopp, who's capable of seeing a long season though to the end with the lethal finesse it demands.


Ones to Watch - the World Cup 2016 season ahead.
Ones to Watch - the World Cup 2016 season ahead.


How about a boss-man like Marcello Gutierrez or say a proven, multi-time, world champion, powerhouse such as Gee Atherton. Yes, you should pick him.


Ones to Watch - the World Cup 2016 season ahead.


Step 9: Look out for Wild Cards


Always be vigilant of anyone who looks canny on track and obviously any rider that's ever lurked in and around the podium previously. Heath, Simmonds, Hannah, Dale, Needles, BEAUMONT, Mullaly type folks... and be wary of an almighty send-off resurgence for the man, the myth, Steve 'Peaty' Peat. Be suspicious of such individuals, and remember to voice your suspicions...vocally. Perhaps putting your money where your mouth is a little bit. Also bear in mind those sneaky Masters bros and the new boys on Cube and Propain. Anyone on a new team looking feisty in fact.


Ones to Watch - the World Cup 2016 season ahead.
Cheers Sambo.


Step 10: Consider 'Who is the World Champion?'

Loic Bruni. Loic Bruni is the World Champion. And he was second overall last year, so he's going to tick the consistency box also. He has a new Specialized bicycle as well.


Ones to Watch - the World Cup 2016 season ahead.


So with all said and done, that just about wraps it. 10 simple and definitive steps; all pretty straight-up and logical. Thanks for reading, we hope you've picked off all the info you were hoping for and when the time comes to fire up the old Red Bull TV, you'll know what to do! Clearly with the application of a little well-placed thought, just as we've shown, it's possible to cut right through the 'what if's' and those dastardly 'how about's' and get right down to the nitty-gritty, bottom line decisions...

Who's got it this time? Boom! Done. You're welcome, friend.




MENTIONS: @natedh9




146 Comments

  • + 315
 Finally WC DH. is back. Now I can stop pretending to give a sh8t about enduro.
  • + 22
 lol. u not the only one
  • + 35
 Damn right! Nothing beats the wc dh circus
  • + 13
 Hahahaha! Too true. I actually read half an article about some enduro race series thing they were doing the other day. I had to give up about half way through, but I did try...
  • + 7
 Can someone explain why the US is skipped this year as a host? It ain't like der no mountains 'round these parts.
  • + 3
 @ryan83: they either didn't place a bid to host a W.C or they were bumped down the queue in favour of somewhere else.
  • + 1
 Dont fall too hard for the spring fling, just a tease and then gone for over a month or so...
  • + 5
 Fantasy DH is the next thing maybe? Predictions fall fast to conditions which make DH racing soo exciting to watch.
  • + 1
 League name : 2016 GLOBAL PB WC DH LEAGUE
password : 123456789
  • + 1
 @jrocksdh:
Actually only 2 weeks to wait for the next race .
  • - 1
 release THE CLAUDIO !!.. let the frenchie talk!
  • + 18
 @cikudh: He's Swiss, not French.
  • - 13
flag torero (Apr 6, 2016 at 4:32) (Below Threshold)
 EWS>DH WC
  • + 2
 @cikudh: Claudio Claudio Claudio!
  • + 0
 Because they're also beauuuutiful mountains out of the states...
  • + 1
 such a great article, loved it!
  • + 141
 Rule 1: Pick Aaron Gwin
Rule 2: Pick no one else but Aaron Gwin
Rule 3: Laugh at everyone else that's picking someone other than Aaron Gwin

There you go, I condensed it down into 3 easy steps.
  • + 86
 So you think this Gwin guy might do ok then ?
  • - 6
flag groghunter (Apr 5, 2016 at 12:59) (Below Threshold)
 How'd that go at World Champs last year? Big Grin
  • + 41
 @groghunter: Hey, the title says DH World Cup, not World Champs Wink
  • - 25
flag groghunter (Apr 5, 2016 at 13:14) (Below Threshold)
 @lobohusky: OK, then how'd that go in 2013? Razz
  • + 88
 @groghunter: How did your WC season go?
  • + 44
 @somismtb: It was f*cking awesome, I got to watch amazing racing, probably one of the best seasons ever.
  • + 34
 You forgot Rule 4: Pray it doesn't rain and get muddy for any of Gwin's runs
  • + 15
 Vote for the french guy
  • + 35
 @Tuckshop: Rule 4 doesn't apply to Gwin, he does the praying for you
  • + 9
 There is no doubt Gwin is the best rider right now. But remember a bike change never ended in a successful start for Gwin.
  • + 6
 @Tuckshop: When its muddy, everyone can pretty much go screw themselves.
  • + 12
 @leopaul: Except when he switched from Yeti to Trek... He made the move after the 2010 season and the following season he dominated.
  • + 8
 @leopaul: PMB. Gwins first WC race on a session . what was that margin? 6 seconds?
  • + 7
 @leopaul: @leopaul: Uhhhhh, the year he changed from Yeti to Trek he won 5 World Cup races, so...
  • + 6
 @hashtag-enduro: I choose Myriam Nicole, you can have all the dudes you want!
  • - 1
 Am i the only American who doesn't really care about Gwin?
  • + 2
 ^^^^^and dont forget rule four (pinkbike specific) BE A DICK ABOUT IT!!!!
  • + 1
 @Tuckshop: I know he sure does! Heyooooo
  • + 1
 @justincs: I'm with you Justin! I choose to ride with myriam!!!
  • - 1
 @shankes3: Go look at how many upvotes the "burn" on me for daring to make a joke about Gwin got. The sad part is I like Gwin, but apparently daring to make a joke about the fact that no, he doesn't always win is me being just a terrible, terrible person.
  • + 2
 @leopaul: it's not directly comparable to WC DH but he won a NV series bootleg DH race by over..7 seconds on his new YT, with mechanical (tire) and crash
  • + 1
 Can be so bad year like in 2013, after the change team
  • + 1
 @hashtag-enduro: solid bump, so far so good.
  • + 70
 Who else just looked at the pictures?
  • + 72
 I'll summarize for you HOLY CRAPBALLS THERE ARE SO MANY RIDERS KILLING IT THIS YEAR THE ONLY CERTAIN WINNER IS US BECAUSE WHOOOO BOY, THIS IS GONNA GET CRAZY.
  • + 2
 Double reply somehow
  • + 2
 First time through, yes...It's actually a great article! So excited for the season!!!
  • + 53
 Let me think- young gun= loic bruni
Consistent=loic bruni
World champion=loic bruni
Guy riding last year's winning bike=loic bruni
Trains like a professional athlete=loic bruni
Came second last year and wants it even more=loic bruni
Went to the lengths of wind tunnel testing=loic bruni
Masses of resources=loic bruni
I know who I'm voting for!
  • + 100
 Aaron Gwin?
  • + 17
 Hahahaha this is why I love Pinkbike!
  • + 7
 Loic Bruni? Did i understand that correctly?
  • + 8
 Soooo, you're vote is for a proven Gwinner.
  • + 4
 @nhp890: yes I think @piersgritten is choosing Aaron "gunna" gwin
  • + 1
 As much as I'd like to see Bruni win the first round, I'm guessing it'll end up being Gwin. From what I've heard he's completely up to speed on that new bike. Plus, he did really well at Lourdes last year.
  • + 1
 @bikesandfun: he has gwinned his first three races this year
  • + 1
 @weebleswobbles: Those weren't exactly world-cup level competition though
  • + 1
 @bikesandfun: I would agree on that. I do know one thing its gonna be an awesome summer of racing..just riding for me and watching every race
  • + 47
 I don't remember clicking on a Buzzfeed article. How did I get here?
  • + 6
 Seriously. If they start making us click for next pages or next posts I'll be pissed.
  • + 25
 There are a few guys I really pull for, but I'm never disappointed with who wins. With so few races and so much talent, every win should be celebrated. They all seem like guys I'd love to hang with and ride with.
  • + 10
 I'd love to see more done with it (more races, even better coverage, etc) but I think it's hard to argue that, between how good the bikes are now, how good the coverage is, & how amazingly competitive the field is, that there's ever been a better time to watch MTB DH.
  • + 21
 Where are these bars that live stream the world cup races?
  • + 10
 Cedrics bar in Andorra?
  • + 18
 (AG + YT = WC) EZ Math!!!!
  • + 7
 AG + YT = First Year Struggles. I could be wrong though but it's happened in the past when he hops on a new bike.
  • + 1
 @robd420: YT is a horst link licensed from specialised so not too much difference - (maybe a techy can confirm???)
  • + 5
 @Prof: the patent is over. Its a free for all now
  • + 1
 @Prof: Err Spesh licensed it from Horst Leitner (if memory serves) until the patent lapsed.
The YT V4L is a different take on it www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5UFr-WuS6w
  • + 5
 @robd420: Did everyone forget the 5 World Cup wins the year he switched to Trek?
  • + 1
 @herzalot: apparently they did when considering whether they should think about Gee.
  • + 1
 @robd420: I think he's gonna need 1 season to get used to the new YT, next year he's gonna kill it again
  • + 14
 #3 Choose Experience - Ok makes sense.
#4 Go with a young gun - uh wait didn't you just tell me to go with experience?
  • + 2
 I think they mean the young gun with experience...aka Loic Bruini!
  • + 1
 #4 was an excuse to stick Bruni in the list without saying "Pick Bruni".
  • + 3
 sounds like a hiring ad in Europe - "looking for a young specialist with 20 years of experience"
  • + 15
 That picture of Myriam Nicole is really nice! Heal up fast Pompon!
  • + 14
 Is not the picture. Pompon is hot Smile
  • + 4
 @torero: and can probably smoke any of us pinkbike users by riding one armed...
  • + 13
 It would be nice to see Stevie Smith get back on some podiums, can never really count out Minnaar too. Cant wait to watch some racing!!
  • + 14
 there are a lot of filthy good riders
  • + 10
 PB what's your men's podium for Lourdes? the winner gets a magister on the school of armchair engineering. I'm gonna go with the status quo, for the first round my podium will have people who stayed on his team, so
1.- Brosnan
2.- Minaar
3.- Hill
4.- Ratboy
5.- Gwin (because he is Gwin and could be running a one wheeled shopping cart and would still be a threat)
  • + 15
 Remember the gap Gwin won by last year? Everyone else was battling for milliseconds and he came out and put out a 4 second gap I recall correctly.
  • + 4
 Bruni to quali first and crash mid way through a winning run. Gwin to win. Gee number 2 and Bryceland 3rd. Beaumont between 10th and 20th.
  • + 3
 do you remember the margins when he left trek? new bike, new season
  • + 4
 @JoseBravo: Do you remember the margins when he joined Trek?
2nd Place at his first world cup on Trek, 8 seconds winning margin at the 2nd round, and then he went on to become the only rider ever to win 5 world cups in a season
  • + 1
 Im pretty sure Gee is also gonna do well this year. The new bike and the hard off-season-training can only help him
  • + 11
 Hans Rey all the way
  • + 2
 Wish I could upvote you more
  • + 7
 1. take 5 cubes 2. every favorite rider stands for one cube 3. have a throw 4. the highscore wins 5. repeat if not you fav rider won
  • + 7
 Well that cleared things up. Happy to put the house down now!
  • + 8
 S M I T H
  • + 6
 I just hope that stevie come back to his full potential for 2016, and also connor fearons to be at the top too.
  • + 3
 Brosnan's performance last year somehow flew under the radar. There were a couple races where he had massive crashes and still podiumed. It can be said about a lot of riders, if they hadn't crashed they were on pace to win. But he wasn't just on pace to win, he would have devastated the whole field. Not saying i'm a bigger fan of him than other riders... just that he had a hell of a season and showed potential to win multiple races.
  • + 2
 Exactly. I think he crashed at Windham, Val De Dole and Andorra and podiumed in at least two of those races? If he can just pull the reigns back a little he's a serious threat.
  • + 4
 I usually put more time and research into these WC "Who will win?" polls than my buy-in fantasy sports team rosters, then ultimately pick "Other" for Claudio Caluori.
  • + 3
 I predict big things this year from Gwin (of course), but also Brosnan, and I think Gee will make a comeback and surprise some people. Remember he raced on a broken hand last year.
  • + 2
 Ok it's Peaty's last year. I'm rooting for the Brits this year all the way. So much color there. The legend Peaty, the wild Ratboy, the classy professionalism of the Atherton clan, the sexy Mannon Carpenter, Danny Hart etc. The Brits rule mate!!
  • + 1
 Right now, there are really a few riders who can take the top step of the podium. If we base it on last year, Gwin and Bruni are the prime contenders. But both have new bikes so it makes it a little more interesting and unpredictable this year. But damn their new videos looked fast! And if these 2 don't feel like winning, there is Greg Minnaar. That is how 2016 is going down for me at least.
  • + 1
 I'm not sure of my predictions as of yet but I definitely want to see Beaumont and peaty doing well and am really looking forward to watching Fearon, coming off last season and Bruni with the new team. Either way I'm just stoked that WC season is coming back!
  • + 1
 I figured they'd only have pictures of Aaron Gwin if they were going for the ironic root. I was expecting something better than a sarcastic buzzfeed article here. You can't have one bullet point say go for experience, and the next say pick a young gun. f*ck. What is this world?
  • + 5
 That's a long phrase for an inside lip tattoo.
  • + 1
 This might be my favorite comment hahaha
  • + 5
 This is going to be the best World Cup season ever! I cant wait!!!
  • + 3
 Is not every new year the best one ever? 2017 is gonna be killer! You just wait!
  • + 4
 Does it really matter? All that matters is that the wait is over. Let the 2016 DH season begin!!!
  • + 1
 f*ck the rest of them, I want to see Rat Boy smash it again.

One of the few young riders who reminds me of what downhill was when I was a kid. (Be that good or bad, I still love it.)

Come on, son!
  • + 1
 I have a feelin' about Gee this year - and if it's a wet track - kaboom!
  • + 4
 I'll have a fiver that brendan get a podium !
  • + 1
 I hope you're right. Cause I'll take that fiver!
  • + 4
 Jesus I can't wait for this.
  • + 1
 Absolutely love wc season. It the best sport in the world. Go all the Aussies and go ratboy. Every year it keeps getting better.
  • + 3
 Since I'm old I'm going with the old, Sam Hill or Greg Minnaar...
  • + 1
 Truthfully i just looked at the pictures. I spent so much time riding my mtn bike in high school and college that I can't read or do the rithmatics
  • + 2
 Step 11. Choose the dude with the longest manual. Atwill is going to crush it!
  • + 1
 1. Bruni
2. Brosnan
3. Gwin
4. Gee
5. Josh
This is based on scientific methodology and fact....Do you think the bookies will give me odds??
  • + 3
 Thank god its time to race - Why is this sport not on tv?
  • - 1
 considering who's the world champion (step 10 here): BULLSHIT !!!! World championships or just WC it's the SAME!!! it's a race.. riders don t push harder at worlds and thi is all = > GWIN > bruni
  • + 1
 Danny Hart is a total wild card for most tracks and I don't think he was even mentioned?
  • + 3
 He's mentioned a couple of times and has a photo too
  • + 1
 @russthedog: lol my bad then haha
  • + 2
 That Mark Wallace picture... that poor bike... holy shmoly...
  • + 2
 Best article of 2016 thus far. So excited! Smith for the win!
  • + 1
 Step 1: Pick a winner
Step 2: Kill off the competition
Step 3: ...?
Step 4: Profit
  • + 2
 Its going to be the year of the "Flying Kiwi's"!
  • + 1
 Just answer one siple question: YT? And there you have it!
  • + 1
 The absolute legend that is Sam Hill.
  • + 1
 Who is running a fantasy league?? Any links???
  • + 3
 dirt magazine
  • + 1
 Here is a link to a pinkbike mini league I am running

http://www.pinkbike.com/forum/listcomments/?threadid=185445&pagenum=1+
  • + 1
 There is no one else than Gwin is it clear to everybody?
  • + 1
 Bruni
  • + 1
 Dakotah Norton.
  • + 1
 Get the App
  • + 0
 Loic's helmet is straight sex.
  • + 1
 Peaty.
  • + 1
 The year of the meercat
  • + 0
 go BRUNI!
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