Pinkbike's Predictions - Maribor World Cup DH 2019

Apr 25, 2019
by Pinkbike Staff  
Photos: Rick Schubert

It's race time! 242 days after Martin Maes crossed the line as victor in La Bresse, we're going to be back between the tapes. Maribor returns to the circuit for the first time in nine years for the first round.

We're on the same track again this year as then with a few minor changes and some off-season buffing put in. More than 300 racers have already rattled their way down in the iXS meaning it's well ridden in and ready for the weekend ahead. If you look at the headcam footage there's a lot of crafty lines that need to be taken on this track that's traditionally taped wide and open. It's riders with a high downhill IQ who will do well.

Although nine years encompasses a third of the history of World Cup downhill, there are a lot of racers still going fast who were here in 2010. So will one of the returning racers use their experience to take the win or will one of the young guns from 2018 continue to upset the old guard and take the top step? Let's get into some predictions:


1st. Aaron Gwin

Gwin is impossible to bet against because he's got such a great record of first-round wins. He's got a massive point to prove with this new program as well with the very public break up with YT, we think he'll be riding with more motivation than ever before being the team owner.

2nd. Troy Brosnan

Troy Brosnan is ready for a good result this weekend and can have a sniff for the win. Videos from Maribor looked like he was just cruising and yet he was still within striking distance of the winning time.

3rd. Dakotah Norton

Dakotah Norton showed good form at Sea Otter. He's fit, he's lean and he backed it up with a solid result at the iXS Cup in Maribor. He also had terrific early season form last year in Croatia.

Podium potential

Getting to the top is one thing but staying at the top is harder and we're wondering whether Amaury Pierron will be able to come back with such dominance. Last year, he got to build that momentum under the radar but now everybody's expecting him to win. So, is the pressure going to get to him?

Matt Walker was faster than Danny at the first race of the year and it looks like he's coming into his own. He's matured physically as well and he looks like an elite male athlete now.

Thomas Estaque is one to watch. He did really well at Vallnord, especially through those bottom turns. Maribor isn't as steep but it has a lot of corners where fractions of a second can be lost or gained and his cornering is next level.

Southern hemisphere riders typically do well at the opening rounds of the World Cup, for example Dean Lucas got third at the opening round last year. He had a concussion, he's now moved to Fox, he didn't have the best off-season results but people who winter in the warmer climates typically do well in the first two rounds.


1st. Rachel Atherton

Rachel Atherton pushing on through the final fast grass corners during her timed training run which would place her fastest.

On the women's side of things, Rachel hasn't really shown her cards on the new bike yet. Gee and Mille Johnset's results from the weekend may hint that the bike isn't where it needs to be but but we still think Rachel has enough in the bag to take the win.

2nd. Tahnee Seagrave

Photo: Callum Philpott

Tahnee could possibly beat Rachel but so far she hasn't shown the form to do it. We expect her to be closer than she was at the British National though after spending some time getting her set up dialled.

3rd. Tracey Hannah

Despite some great off-season results, we think Tracey will come third.

Podium potential

Monika Hrastnik will be in fourth, using her local knowledge and support from the home crowd to get her over the line. Fifth is likely to fall between Marine Cabirou and Emilie Siegenthaler.

Think you've got some better predictions? Put your money where your mouth is in the Fantasy DH league:

The Fantasy Downhill League is Presented by Trek and SRAM.


  • 49 3
 You guys keep massively underestimating Pierron
  • 50 5
 "Well Pierron killed it last year and took the overall so we're going to give him "3rd place underdog". On the other hand, Gwin repeatedly ate shit on his new 29er, so we're giving him "definite 1st place" since he's on yet another new bike.

Oh and Danny Hart and World Champion Loic Bruni don't exist.
  • 3 0
 From my point of view it is really hard to say who will win. There are the super fast old guys and for example Matt Walker seems to be very fast too. So it will be interesting
  • 1 0
 @rezrov: deep breaths, whatever their prediction is - it ain't influencing the final results.
  • 2 0
 @Milko3D: I'm Canadian. Any deep breaths in a confined space get you stoned 90% of the time.
  • 2 0
 @rezrov: hahaha, fair enough, moderate breaths
  • 24 3
 Rachel will be first, Aaron might get the win, but don’t count out the French just yet.
  • 15 1
 Amaury Pierron didn't feel the pressure. He just drink it.
  • 7 0
 So many fast Americans at the moment, which is why I think that Charlie Harrison seems to fly under so many radars. Don't be shocked if he sticks his nose into the business of being the fastest rider from the States by season's end.
  • 9 0
 I would bet on Greg Minaar… Nobody s expecting him… less pressure and still my favourite after Steve Peat! go Greg!
  • 1 0
 I saw a clip where Minaar said he was riding his DH bike more than usual this off season and that he is feeling really good on the bike currently. I definitely have him on my fantasy team!
  • 8 0
 Hart not in the top 3!? Don't forget that we are talking about rain, mud and roots on Sunday!
  • 8 0
 Damn it - I can't afford this with what PB gives me for my fantasy team...if that ain't a crock of crap
  • 9 1
 Uniform kit predicted winners - Tahnee Seagrave & Jack Moir
  • 7 0
 What if someone called you 'fit and lean' on the internetz?
  • 6 1
 Biggest story I have found so far is over on cathrow vision and Redbulls new wa%k stain 3 min on venue footage rule. Makes the whole thing a joke
  • 2 1
 The what and the what? Links man, links!
  • 2 0
 Pretty sure it was a rule last season too - however Sneaky Cathrow worms his way around it..... He is so smart, s.m.r.t
  • 1 0
 Cathro clarified in his track walk video that he was mistaken and that he actually can show more than 3 minutes now. Read the first comment.
  • 3 0
 HAHA, and those are your picks... would have been better not to say anything! TBF with that line up you ain't winning the fantasy team. I thought PB knew what they were talking about... Where are the French?
  • 1 0
 I know, Gwin and that Brosnan guy never make the podium on a consistent basis or do well overall in the World Cup.
  • 4 0
 Is there an official statement from Martin Maes? During off season he said he will race the first two EWS and DH races.
Now no one is talking about him? Will he race or not?
  • 3 0
 I dont think they predicted rain, that being said, these predictions are bunk.
  • 3 0
 is that 1st pic kaos seagrave? Bit tight if it is...
  • 3 0
 Mr.Minnaar for the repeat win Smile
  • 3 0
 Why do I keep reading this as MORDOR World Cup?
  • 3 0
 Don't base your fantasy team on these predictions.
  • 2 0
 When will the Women's podium change?
  • 3 3
 Aaron Gwin will crash in training, hurt himself, do poorly in the race, and the team will disband at the end of the year with him riding for Spec after.
  • 1 0
 I think Luca Shaw will be somebody to watch for sure. Surprised he wasn’t high on this list
  • 1 0
 When and where will the race be streamed online?
  • 1 0
 its posted in a different article
  • 4 3
  • 2 0
 Getting confused with having two riders named Matt Walker, how about placing a “z” on the end of the kiwi one “Matt Walkerz” to distinguish them? Besides that, it’s gotta be UK Matt Walker for the win!
  • 2 0
 @endlessblockades: Nope, its not on there.
  • 3 0
 @dan23dan23: Thanks Mister.
  • 1 0
 @shredright: it's on Sunday.
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
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