Photo Epic: 100 of the Best Shots of the Rainbow Stripes from the Past 5 Years

Apr 26, 2020
by Nathan Hughes  



Blessing, curse or just good style? Our recent in-depth Pinkbike nerd analysis of the rainbow stripes concluded that only 3 men have ever piloted this unique blend of color to overall victory the following year. Nico Vouillouz, Sam Hill and the currently active exception to the rule, Loic Bruni. However, in the women's field, there have been no such caveats over the years and as many images of Rachel Atherton in the following story suggest.

If the stats have left us feeling unsure of the jersey's performance connotations, this photo epic sets out to do one thing; put your mind at rest regarding the 'style' element. It's a good look, a strong look, but best backed up with world-leading skill between the tape. Bright white with bands of multicolour isn't for any old brake-dragger. The status it immediately gives its wearer is unparalleled, but as the data and this occasionally mud-stained feature show, it cannot offer immunity to race run disaster. Like Joseph's technicolour dream coat, this is a garment liable to make any rival wildly jealous and a level head is needed to steer it to safety or beyond to victory.

So here comes an extended gallery of the great mix of fortunes we have witnessed from your favourite DH riders in the rainbows over the last 5 years. Please enjoy the fiery action, sky-highs and axle-deep lows, beaming grins and sour scowls... all strictly in the stripes.



Bruni giving it the Blenkinsop treatment full bore down to the line through the huge MSA crowds.
Bruni standing out from the crowd to take the win at MSA 2018.

Vali Holl repping the rainbows on home soil in Leogang Austria 2019.
Vali Holl repping the rainbows on home soil in Leogang Austria.

The odd one out; 2019 champ, Myriam Nicole at team camp with her Commencal crew.

Rachel Atherton calms the nerves before taking the plunge into the beats of a track in MSA.
Rachel Atherton calms the nerves before taking the plunge into the beast of a track in MSA.

Miranda Miller bossing out a race run nac-nac. Props to the World Champ.
World Champ, Miranda Miller, losing her footing at a somewhat key moment at La Bresse.

Bruni Powerwashed with champagne before he can even pop his own.
Bruni power-washed with champagne before he can even pop his own.

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Hart roosting up a storm in the deep Italian Loam of Val Di Sole.

After a mix of massive crashes and bad luck at the last two rounds Manon Carpenter finally had the run everyone knows she is capable of.
After a mix of massive crashes and bad luck, Manon Carpenter finally had the run everyone knows she is capable of.

Battered and bruised but not out. Loic Bruni lost the number 1 plate and leaders jersey but will be hungry to get it back in Leogang next time out.
Battered and bruised, but not out. Bruni after he lost the number 1 plate and leaders jersey.

Champery tribute whips for the Swiss crowds from Danny.
Champery tribute whips for the Swiss crowds from Danny.

Foot out flat out for Loic Bruni on his way to a second place qualifier in Les Gets last season.
Foot out flat out for Loic Bruni on his way to a second-place qualifier in Les Gets last season.

Miranda Miller skipping across a field of rocks in beautiful Losinj back in 2018.
Miranda Miller skipping across a field of rocks in beautiful Losinj back in 2018.

Another World Cup and another win for Rachel Atherton. But this one was not easy and the other women are hot on her heals right now.
Another World Cup and another win for Rachel Atherton. But this one was not easy, with the other women hot on her heels.

Hart gripping Quebec bedrock at MSA 2017.
Hart gripping the Quebec bedrock at MSA 2017.

Brightest of whites for Ms. Holl.

The last time Loic raced here he went home with those rainbow stripes. He was happy to walk away with a third today and has his sights firmly set on defending his world title next weekend in Italy.
The last time Loic raced in Vallnord, he went home with those rainbow stripes. He was happy to walk away with a third at the World Cup the following year.

Bruni hammering the final steep chute down into the open section at Vallnord 2016 for 3rd place.
Bruni hammering the final steep chute down into the open section at Vallnord 2016 for 3rd place.

Atherton looked exceptional on track in more than a few places but in the end a small does of x-factor seemed about all that was missing.
Gee Atherton riding to a podium finish in the stripes at Windham 2015.

Even a flat tire couldn t keep Loic from raining though the main rock garden.
Even a flat tire couldn't keep Loic from powering through the main rock garden.

Gee Atherton has been riding aggressive all weekend and landed himself 4th today.
Fourth place for Gee Atherton after a weekend of aggressive riding.

Finn Iles rebounded from a slow qualifier to grab the top spot once again in the junior race.
Finn Iles rebounded from a slow qualifier to grab the top spot once again in the junior race.

Hopefully not the only sighting we ll get of Myriam Nicole in her World Champs jersey in 2020.
Hopefully not the only sighting we'll get of Myriam Nicole riding in her World Champs jersey in 2020.

Atherton doing the business in front of home-crowd up in the Highlands.
Atherton doing the business in front of home-crowd up in the Highlands.

Manon is sitting third but is a long way back from Emmeline and Rachel.
Manon is sitting third here for MSA, but is a long way back from Emmeline and Rachel.

The golden boy Bruni in his element and seemingly completely unphased missing out on the win and nothing but stoked to be a part of the show.
The golden boy, Bruni, in his element and seemingly completely unphased missing out on the win and nothing but stoked to be a part of the show.

Poor Manon Carpenter will already be trying to etch Leogang 2015 from her memory. Mistakes on track were followed by getting blown through the tape for a DQ. Next time
Leogang 2015 wasn't the race for World Champ, Manon Carpenter, disqualified after blowing through the tape.

Another race and another victory for Rachel Atherton but this one was hard fought and definitely did not come easy.
Another race and another victory for Rachel Atherton, but Lourdes was hard-fought and definitely did not come easy.

The only rain the women saw today was that of Rachel Atherton s champagne.
The closest thing to rain the women saw this day was Rachel Atherton's champagne.

Rachel is under all the pressure once again but has been dealing with it quite well this weekend. With a 13 second lead in qualifying she heads into he finals with an added bit of confidence.
A 13 second lead in qualifying saw Atherton head into the finals with an added bit of confidence.

Gee Atherton wants to end a tough 2015 with a bang and get the confidence levels nice and high for Andorra when the time comes to defend his stripes.
Gee Atherton taking the rainbows for a walk in the Lourdes woods to scope lines before qualies.

The crowds made it all the way tot he top to cheer as Finn Iles drops into the track on his qualifying run.
The crowds made it all the way to the top to cheer as Finn Iles drops into the track on his qualifying run.

Fancy fresh threads for Rachel at Val Di Sole.
Another set of fancy fresh threads for Rachel at Val Di Sole 2016.

6th for Loic Bruni after steadily climbing up the ranks through the splits.
Bruni surviving La Bresse 2018... One of the most punishing finals since the great Lourdes deluge of the previous year.

Rachel Atherton has made a remarkable return from injury to take 2nd on the day and only half a second back from the win.
Rachel Atherton makes a remarkable return from injury to take 2nd on the day, and only half a second back from the win.

Logic s fans will stand by him no matter what and he was greeted at the finish line by a hero s welcome.
Loic's fans will stand by him no matter what, and he was greeted at the finish line by a hero's welcome.

Loic Bruni
Austrian rainbow scrubs from Bruni.

Rachel made a huge mistake and almost ended here day in the second corner then made another one dropping into this steep chute. Definitely not the type of run she want s to be having when it all counts tomorrow.
Atherton made a huge mistake and almost ended her quali day in the second corner, then made another one dropping into this steep chute.

Finn Iles drops into the finish arena with the fastest time of the day in juniors.
Finn Iles drops into the finish arena with the fastest time of the day in juniors.

Covered in Mud from a crash Rachel Atherton boosts the big step down on her last training run.
Covered in mud from a crash, Rachel Atherton boosts the big step down on her last training run.

Loic enjoying the spoils of victory
Bruni enjoying the spoils of victory.

Finn Iles proved he is ready to make the jump to Elite s next season putting down a blistering run that would have been good enough for 10th in the men s race.
Finn Iles putting down a blistering run that would have been good enough for 10th in the men's race.

Loic Bruni making up for a difficult qualifying by doing it when it matters most and winning in Leogang in 2019.
Loic Bruni making up for a difficult qualifying by doing it when it matters most and winning in Leogang in 2019.

Danny Hart was going for it today but a crash in the woods put an ends to his hopes of victory.
Danny Hart was going for it today, but a crash in the woods put an end to his hopes of victory.

Vali Holl power to a dominant win in junior women by 18 seconds. A time that would have gone 3rd in the Elite race.
Vali Holl powered to a dominant win in Junior women by 18 seconds. A time that would have gone 3rd in the Elite race.

Miranda Miller raced for the first time in the rainbow jersey but unfortunately a puncture would push her down to 20th.
Miranda Miller racing for the first time in the rainbow jersey.

Loic Bruni getting a big drift on around the final corner that even Sam Hill would be proud of.
Loic Bruni getting a big drift on around the final corner that even Sam Hill would be proud of.

Before crashing with just 40 seconds of track to go Loic was on the same tenth of a second as race winner Amaury Pierron. So he knows he has the speed as we head into Andorra.
Before crashing with just 40 seconds of track to go, Loic was on the same tenth of a second as race winner Amaury Pierron.

Rachel ATherton is wearing that rainbow jersey for a reason and you can bet she will dig a bit deeper to pull back time tomorrow.
Rachel Atherton is wearing that rainbow jersey for a reason, and you can bet she will dig a bit deeper to pull back time tomorrow.

Loic Bruni was racing on quite a bit of pain after having a massive hole in his backside sewn up after a qualifying crash. 8th on the day is not what he was after but all might just be forgotten after watching Loris claim a long awaited victory.
8th on the day for Bruni was not what he was after, but all might just be forgotten after watching Loris Vergier claim a long-awaited victory.

Last round winner Loic Bruni came down in the rain and mud for 6th.
Last round winner Loic Bruni came down in the rain and mud for 6th.

The last time we seen Danny Hart in the rainbow jersey in Val di Sole in 2017.
The last time we saw Danny Hart in the rainbow jersey in Val di Sole in 2017.

Loic Bruni truly has become the new people s champion and they love to see him win.
Loic Bruni truly has become the new people's champion, and they love to see him win.

Vali Holl once again up to her winning ways in the Junior Women s race.
Vali Holl once again up to her winning ways in the Junior Women's race, Maribor 2019.

Across the line and into the hottest for Loic Bruni
Across the line and into the hot seat for Loic Bruni.

Pure domination once again from Rachel Atherton.
Pure domination once again from Rachel Atherton in the Andorran dust.

The fact that Loic Bruni could even get on his bike today was impressive in its own right. The fact that he was able to put in a time good enough for 8th is incredible.
The fact that Loic Bruni could even get on his bike after a crash the day before was impressive in its own right. The fact that he was able to put in a time good enough for 8th is incredible.

Two wins out of three tires this season or Loic Bruni.
Two wins out of three tires this season for Loic Bruni.

Small mistakes added up to 3 second deficit for Danny Hart in qualifying.
Small mistakes added up to 3-second deficit for Danny Hart in qualifying.

Loic Bruni through a sliver of light coign does into the finish area.
Loic Bruni through a sliver of light down into the Leogang finish area.

Vali Holl sending the final jump that nearly all the women are skipping.
Vali Holl sending the final jump that nearly all the women are skipping, Les Gets 2019.

No better sight than some freshly laundered rainbows the morning of race day.
No better sight than some freshly laundered rainbows the morning of race day.

Loic Bruni on pace and into 2nd
Loic Bruni on pace and into 2nd on the Andorran steeps.

Loic Dropping into the finish area on what looked like a winning run
Loic dropping into the finish area on what looked like a winning run in front of the home crowd.

Atherton feeling beat at the end of her working day at Lenzerheide after coming in 2nd to Nicole.
Atherton feeling beat at the end of her working day at Lenzerheide after coming in 2nd to Nicole.

Loic above the crowd off the infamous ski jump
Loic above the crowd off the infamous Val di Sole ski jump.

Danny Hart retrieves the Rainbows 5 years after his Champery gold.
Danny Hart retrieves the Rainbows, 5 years after his Champery gold.

Rachel Atherton floating over the Maribor roots in 2019.
Rachel Atherton floating over the Maribor roots in 2019.

Danny Hart always a good sport even when things go sideways.
Danny Hart; always a good sport, even when things go sideways.

Kye A Hern wearing the rainbows for the first time and riding right to the top of the result sheet in junior men
Kye A'Hern wearing the rainbows for the first time and riding right to the top of the result sheet in junior men.

Tracey Hannah gave Rachel Atherton a run for it today but Atherton s power down the last minute of the track was untouchable.
Tracey Hannah gave Rachel Atherton a run for it, but Atherton's power down the last minute of the track was untouchable.

World Cup DH finals La Bresse 2018
The terrible outfit-staining power of the DH finals at La Bresse 2018.

There nothing better for Rachel Atherton than winning at home in Fort William.
There's nothing better for Rachel Atherton than winning at home in Fort William.

Second at the first two splits Rachel Atherton slipped back down the ranks with her skethcy moment but hung onto the last spot on the podium.
Rachel Atherton on a tumultuous run through the Quebec forest, hanging on to the last spot on the podium.

A mistake in the first split dashed Loic Bruni s chances of holding onto the leaders jersey and today he settled for 8th place.
A mistake in the first split dashed Loic Bruni's chances of holding onto the leader's jersey and he was forced to settle for a top 10.

What a start for the World Champ and quite a contrast from last season s injury disaster.
What a start for the World Champ, and quite a contrast from last season's injury disaster.

Vali Holl got taken down fair and square by Johnset on this track and Holl was the first to admit she struggled with this slippery Italian serpent from the start.
Vali Holl going to war against the dark and deadly Italian serpent on VDS race day 2019.

The mud brought out some big holes and even Super Bruni was not immune to their treachery
The mud brought out some big holes and even Super Bruni was not immune to their treachery.

And we thought bullets were banned...
Manon Carpenter reflects on a holiday to the Highlands gone wrong.

Finn Iles in his final World Cup race as a junior in 2017.
Finn Iles in his final World Cup race as a junior in 2017.

Loic Bruni taking the win the year before the Cairns World Champs.
Loic Bruni taking the win the year before the Cairns World Champs.

Hart finding the grip on the technical East Coast rock.
Hart finding the grip on the technical East Coast rock.

Determined as always Loic Bruni pushed hard and this time around some small mistakes added up. It wasn t the repeat performance from last year s World Champs but a close third.
Loic Bruni pushed hard in Lenzerheide, but some small mistakes added up. It wasn't the repeat performance from last year's World Champs but a close third.

Manon Carpenter looked good in practice but a few moments in her quali run means she ends the day in 7th.
Manon Carpenter looked good in practice, but a few moments in her quali run mean she ended the day in 7th.

Full gas and determination to the line for Loic Bruni but it was not enough to hold off Amaury Pierron
Full gas and determination to the line for Loic Bruni but it was not enough to hold off Amaury Pierron.

Rachel Atherton embibes just one more bottle of Scottish champers.
Rachel Atherton imbibes just one more bottle of Scottish champers.

Rachel Atherton storming across the moors to Victory at Fort William 2016.
Atherton storming across the moors to Victory at Fort William 2016.

Hart smashing the dusty lower turns during qualifying at Lenzerheide.
Hart smashing the dusty lower turns during qualifying at Lenzerheide.

Rachel Atherton charging hard to the line to take her first win aboard her own bike brand in Fort William last season.
Rachel Atherton charging hard to the line to take her first win aboard her own bike brand in Fort William last season.

Finn Iles riding the classic track of Fort William complete with the rainbow jersey in 2017.
Finn Iles riding the classic track of Fort William complete with the rainbow jersey in 2017.

Loic Bruni smashing the final berm in Vallnord 2018.
Loic Bruni smashing the final berm in Vallnord, 2018.

Dan the man almost doing the impossible at the 2017 wash-out in Mont Sainte Anne before Aaron Gwin had his say.
Dan the Man almost doing the impossible at the 2017 wash-out in Mont Sainte Anne, before Aaron Gwin had his say.

Rainbow victory for Rachel at Lourdes 2017.
Rainbow victory for Rachel at Lourdes 2017.

Tight white rainbow goodness in the Andorran switchbacks.
Tight white rainbow goodness in the Andorran switchbacks.

Myriam Nicole Tahnee Seagrave and Marine Cabirou taking home the hardware
Myriam Nicole, Tahnee Seagrave and Marine Cabirou taking home the hardware at 2019 Worlds in Quebec.

First at the first 3 splits but a 14th place finish for Bruni in the stripes at Lourdes 2016.
Number 1 at the first 3 splits, but a disastrous 14th place finish for Bruni in the stripes at Lourdes 2016.

A 6.5 second winning margin for Rachel Atherton at Vallnord 2016.
A 6.5-second winning margin for Rachel Atherton at Vallnord 2016.

Kye A Hern keeping it tight to the trees in the World Champs jersey he won the previous weekend in Mont Sainte Anne.
Kye A'Hern keeping it tight to the trees in the World Champs jersey he won the previous weekend in Mont-Sainte-Anne.

The future is bright bright white with the rainbow stripes for Vali Holl at Snowshoe 2019.
The future is bright; bright white with the rainbow stripes for Vali Holl.

Miranda Miller finding a brief moment of calm in the chaos of the Crotian rocks in Losinj in 2018.
Miranda Miller finding a brief moment of calm in the chaos of the Croatian rocks in Losinj in 2018.

Mistakes before the top split would salt Gee s game today and second in the speed trap could only push him up the ranks to 6th sadly missing the podium.
Gee Atherton pinning the final turn for a 6th place finish at Leogang 2015.

A hard fought battle would get Loic Bruni 6th in La Bresse.
A hard-fought battle would get Loic Bruni 6th in La Bresse.

The World Champ just hanging in the ether at Leogang 2017.
The World Champ just hanging in the ether at Leogang 2017.

The freshly crowned World champ Myriam Nicole with a rare chance to test her jersey at the final WC round in West Virginia 2019.
The freshly crowned World Champ, Myriam Nicole, with a rare chance to test her jersey at the final World Cup round in West Virginia 2019.

Loic has never been so happy to congratulate Danny Hart on a World cup win. Had Danny gone 0.65 slower Loic would not be World Cup Champ
Loic has never been so happy to congratulate Danny Hart on a World Cup win. Had Danny gone 0.65 slower, Loic would not be World Cup overall Champ.

Vali Holl takes a moment of solitude before being called to the start hut in Les Gets last season.
Vali Holl takes a moment of solitude before being called to the start hut in Les Gets last season.

World Champ and WC series leader Loic Bruni went off track in a big way towards the end of his run today. He is bruised and berated up but should be good to go for tomorrow s race.
World Champ and WC series leader, Loic Bruni, went off track in a big way towards the end of his run. He was bruised and berated up but was able to save face in the next day's race.

World Champs Buck is already sporting the stripes for Sunday s showdown.
World Champs Buck sporting the stripes ahead of a Sunday showdown.

GOLD
What color goes best with blue, red, black, yellow and green? The answer is of course; gold.



60 Comments

  • 21 6
 Where is kade Edwards? Not even a picture of him on the podium when he won? Seems unfair
  • 4 1
 Its only rainbow jersey wearers??
  • 6 0
 @jonlees: he won junior world champs in 2017 so there'd at least be pictures of him wearing it on the podium even though he never got to ride it as he went straight into elites the year after.
  • 13 0
 Kade is phenomenal rider well worthy this post, but the fact is juniors rarely get to race in the rainbow stripes - Vali and Finn are about the only juniors in the last five years to win in their first year so get to wear them for the season. This year Kye A'Hern had a rare chance to ride in them because Worlds came before the final round in Snowshoe. A podium shot from every year of junior racing would not have improved the story IMO - I wanted to keep it mostly action but with a few podium and lifestyle shots to break it up. Cheers Smile
  • 1 4
 @nathanhughes: update it and stick one of him in there he won the stripes and didn't get to race in them he deserves to be included
  • 12 0
 Where the hell was Sam Hill?!

I'll suggest the need to do a 'retro' version next time..
  • 9 8
 They had to cut him to make sure Rachel Atherton was adequately represented.
  • 7 0
 @TheR: Rachel Atherton wore the stripes 3 of the 5 last years hence featuring heavily here.
  • 2 1
 @nathanhughes: Yeah, it’s all good. I got nothing against Rachael, and what she did while she was on top is incredible. I was just laughing to myself while going through it thinking a better title would be “About 80 photos of Rachael Atherton, and a few more of some other world champs.”
  • 13 1
 Headline found be “Bruni’s last five years and some other photos we found...”
  • 5 1
 “Bruni’s last five years in 35 photos and some other photos we found...”
  • 3 0
 But Bruni has won many times. 6 years ago we were not using the widescreen format on Pinkbike and before that many of the current photography staff were not shooting the races. The cut off has to be somewhere after all...
  • 9 3
 Simply incredible pictures.... I hope you do an XC version as well.
  • 2 0
 We shall Smile
  • 5 0
 *100 of the best shots of the Rainbow stripes by our photogs is more accurate....
  • 2 1
 *100 of the best shots of the DH Rainbow stripes by our photogs is more accurate....
  • 2 0
 Fair and true.
  • 5 0
 100 pictures..... of 6 people
  • 2 0
 Yes. Not everyone gets to be World Champion and some people seem keen to hang onto the stripes.
  • 1 0
 @nathanhughes: you just can't give away good pictures to some people
  • 5 0
 Damn I miss Manon on the circuit Frown
  • 1 0
 Has there been an interview with her to see why she retired from WC racing?
  • 2 0
 the photo of "Bruni hammering the final steep chute down into the open section at Vallnord 2016 for 3rd place" seems to have the odd effect of looking like a reverse mullet, or is that just my hungover eyes?
  • 2 0
 One of the pics of Hart looks the same. Also I've noticed it elsewhere. Distortion from the camera or something I guess...
  • 4 0
 We got a dog pic but no XC pics?
  • 3 2
 be honest, dogs are cooler and way more interesting.
  • 3 0
 Doing the laundry must really suck for these guys. The problems of being the world champ.
  • 1 0
 Cool pictures. I still love the June 2010 cover of Dirt Mountainbike magazine. It probably can't be featured here but it sure is special.
  • 1 0
 "Rider advice #1 : always look far ahead" . Bruni Leogang 2019 : jumping a step down with some bump in front of him, still looking far away. Amazing.
  • 1 0
 He's gone to Ireland to enlist the help of a leprechaun to help him find the gold... to be sure to be sure
  • 2 0
 Loic and rainbow stripes go hand in hand
  • 2 0
 Meh, who cares about rainbow stripes. I have many participation trophies.
  • 1 0
 Anyone else miss seeing Manon Carpenter on the WC scene? Come back Manon, PLEEEEEASE????
  • 2 0
 Best sport in the world
  • 1 0
 when i see miranda i think of poor tracey. so close
  • 1 0
 Minnaar missing in action....
  • 1 0
 did not even remember of Manon.... Sorry
  • 1 0
 you'll never forget her after this.. youtu.be/vBYZZ001_rw
  • 3 4
 Definitely not the "best" shots of the past five years considering you left out most of the industry photographers. Maybe Dave, Nathan and Ross's #best rainbow stripe shots.
  • 2 1
 Atherton/Bruni love in or what?
  • 2 0
 White is for win
  • 1 0
 Seeing Rachel and Gee in shorts looks weird now...
  • 1 0
 WHERE THE CRAP IS SAM HILL
  • 1 0
 i apologise it's last 5 years only i clearly can't read
  • 1 0
 Buck is the best! We want more riding pics of him! What a good boy!
  • 7 6
 Where's Gwin?
  • 29 1
 Looking for the rainbow... I guess
  • 2 0
 Gwin would have liked to be part of that post, but...
  • 1 0
 How about Peaty?
  • 1 1
 You guys are so good at photography, I wish I was as good as you.
  • 1 0
 Best of Bruni
  • 5 6
 DH only?... No XC?... Very lame!
  • 1 3
 Fine us a picture that doesn't pale in comparison.
  • 4 0
 Actually we do have an XC story coming soon. Originally we included both together but it was too long for one piece.
  • 2 0
 @nathanhughes: Thanks Nathan... I look forward to seeing those photos!
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