A team's value is worth more than just any individual rider and over the past decade, we have seen some incredible groups of riders come together to create something special. From Steve Peat, Greg Minnaar and Josh Bryceland on the Santa Cruz Syndicate to the stacked 2019 Commencal team, here are some of the legendary teams from the past decade. 1. Monster Energy Specialized: 2010-2011
After great success with Monster Energy/Iron Horse, 2009 marked a big move for Sam Hill and Brendan Fairclough when the team switched frames to Specialized. Keeping the Monster Energy name, the team brought young Australian rider, Troy Brosnan, onboard and the team quickly proved its worth at the top of the sport when Troy took the Junior title and Sam took the Elite title at the World Championships at Mont-Sainte-Anne in 2010.
Both Brendan and Sam struggled with multiple injuries over the two seasons but also both delivered multiple World Cup podiums across the two years and both also finished in the top 10 at Worlds in Champery.
Coming into 2011, while still technically a junior, Troy took a huge step and from the third race of the year, broke into the top 20 in the world. That started a result streak that has seen him only ever drop outside the top 20 in races he has finished once. Troy would continue to bring the team success with another Junior World Championships title in 2011.
Three World Championship titles; Both Junior and Elite gold medal at the 2010 World Championships in Mont-Sainte-Anne
At the end of 2011, Brendan Fairclough would move on from the Monster Energy team and would join the Scott team for 2012. Both Troy and Sam would stick with the Monster Energy team for another year with Sam eventually moving onto his current team of CRC Nukeproof in 2013 and Troy staying on Specialized to race alongside Aaron Gwin.
2. Santa Cruz Syndicate: 2010 - 2016
With an incredible 13 World Cup wins and 34 podiums, the Syndicate team of Steve Peat, Greg Minnaar and Josh Bryceland is one of the most successful we have seen this past decade. The depth of talent from the three riders, who have all becomes legends in their own right, proved itself both on and off the track as they back up their great race results with the great team videos that provided an inside look at their racing antics.
Of the three riders, Greg Minnaar was the most unstoppable force securing 10 wins and 23 podiums in the seven years of the trio's World Cup racing this decade. Alongside this, he won a World Champs title in 2012 and silver medal in 2015 and bronze in 2010. Josh Bryceland was the next most successful rider on the team as he took his first Elite World Cup win and in 2014 he almost managed to win the World Cup overall and the World Champs title but after landing to flat on the last jump in Norway he threw away his chances at the rainbow jersey and had to settle for second. Steve Peat delivered two podiums from 2010 to 2016 and then seamlessly transitioned into a manager role for the team following his retirement from racing.
13 World Cup wins and 34 podiums
Two World Championship titles in 2012/2013 and two silver and bronze medals
You can't talk about the Syndicate without mentioning their amazing videos. Producing videos alongside each race they definitely offered a different look at the world of downhill racing that has less emphasis on training and preparation and more about having fun with your mates. With downhill and racing becoming more professional in recent years, we probably won't see a team like this again.
3. GT Bikes: 2012 - 2015
Under the Athertons, the GT bikes team rose to the top of the sport once again as they brought home a staggering 28 wins between 2012 and 2015, 19 of which came from Rachel alone. Throughout the four years, the Atherton siblings rode for GT they were accompanied by a sizeable list of riders that includes the likes of Martin Maes and Marc Beaumont.
Rachel Atherton was by far the most successful rider on the GT team with two World Championship titles and two silver medals alongside her World CUp wins. Also during the 2015 season, she would start her winning streak that saw her set a new record of consecutive World Cup wins. During this time, Gee Atherton fared well as he secured three World Cup wins and stood on 16 podiums. Alongside his sister, he also managed to take a World Championship title and received a silver medal at the 2012 World Champs.
The Athertons also worked to bring on the future of the sport and helped Martin Maes, Taylor Vernon, Mille Johnset and Kade Edwards break into the sport through their Academy program. Maes, in particular, would get some incredible results as he won twice in the Junior downhill World Cup races at Fort William and won the multiple EWS races in the Junior category. Taylor Vernon would also take one Junior World Cup win and sit on five podiums.
28 wins and 36 podiums at the downhill World Cup and EWS
Three gold medals at the World Championships and two silver medals.
Starting off with GT on the old and odd-looking GT Fury with the I-drive system, the Athertons work with the bike brand to develop a new downhill bike that helped to kick-start Rachel's incredible record-breaking streak of DH wins. Similar to the Syndicate, the Athertons built their brand off the track with the continuation of their online video series. and Clay Porter's Four by Three video series which showed some incredible insight in the tough life of a World Cup racer and showed us the Quarry Line edit that was a precursor to Dan Atherton's Hardline track.
4. Scott/SRAM Racing: 2019
Coming into 2019 with two current World Champions, the Scott/SRAM team was already looking strong but throughout the season we saw standout performances from Nino Schurter and Kate Courtney that proved they are riders at the top of their fields. Accompanied by strong riders like Andri Friscknecht and Lars Forster there is no weak link in this team.
The season started with an impressive win for Courtney in Albstadt that was backed up by a further two more wins and two podium places through the rest of the season. She only dropped outside of the podium on three occasions. Despite her best efforts, Courtney couldn't defend her rainbow jersey this year but she did take the overall World Cup title in a nail-biting last race against her closest rival, Jolanda Neff. Nino Schurter had some questions hanging over him after the offseason and a lower than expected 6th place at Albstadt. But through the rest of the season, the Swiss rider proved all the doubters wrong as he also took three wins and four podiums. Schurter also convincingly took the overall title again this year and he once again took home the rainbow jersey.
Seven World Cup XC wins and six podiums
One World Championship title and two World Cup overall victories.
The glory wouldn't all go to just Schurter and Courtney as at the last round of the year in Snowshoe Lars Forster would get his well deserved first World Cup XC win. He was close to achieving this at the first round in Albstadt but an unfortunate crash took him out of contention for most of the season. He will be coming in strong to 2020.
5. MS Mondraker: 2016 - 2017
After a reimagining of the team in 2015 that saw Emmeline Ragot return to the team and top British rider Danny Hart leave Giant for Mondraker, there was an uptake in results following the drought of wins from their successful first year on the World Circuit in 2012. For 2016, Danny Hart would stay with the team alongside Markus Pekoll, but with Emmeline Ragot retiring they would hire Laurie Greenland who was coming off a gold medal at the 2015 Junior World Championships.
Danny Hart had a tough time following his early World Championships gold medal in 2011 at Champery but in 2016 he would finally secure his first World Cup win in Lenzerheide and he would subsequently secure three more wins in a row. This included a gold medal at the World Championships in Val di Sole. Laurie Greenland had a great first year in the Elite category and managed one podium at the World Cup and he followed closely behind his teammate Hart at the World Championships in second place.
Four World Cup downhill wins and seven podiums
One gold and one Silver medal at the 2016 World Championships and second place in the 2016 overall World Cup title.
Similar to teams like the Santa Cruz Syndicate, it's hard to pick a specific period for the Mondraker team because alongside some great results between the tape they have worked hard to expand the sport and have helped to launch the careers of some high-level riders. Since 2012, they have had riders such as Johannes Von Klebelsberg (The Denim Destroyer), Brook Macdonald (current team member but also featured on the team in 2012) and Morgane Charre.
6. Trek World Racing: 2011 - 2012
Not many teams can claim they have won the Elite men's series, the Elite women's series and the Team series in one season. Apart from World Championship titles the Trek World Racing team won everything in 2011 and in the same year Aaron Gwin also managed to become the first man to win five World Cups in the same season.
Aaron Gwin's time with Trek was his most prolific with nine World Cup wins and four podium finishes. The American rider had an incredible two years riding the Trek Session and for 2011 at least he was mostly unstoppable. Another incredible rider onboard the Trek in 2011 and 2012 was British rider Tracy Moseley, who took four wins and the Elite women's overall title in 2011. Coming off an incredible World Champs win in 2010, Moseley held back the curse of the rainbow jersey and had an amazing year. The other two riders Justin Leov and Neko Mulally wouldn't quite match the success of their teammates, but with solid results, they helped to put the team at the top of the rankings for 2011.
13 World Cup downhill wins and seven podiums
Two World Cup overall titles in 2011 and the Team win
This period of racing would end in controversy for Trek World Racing after Aaron Gwin made the late announcement about his move to Specialized to 2013 which came as a shock to fans but it was an even bigger surprise for the team management who had planned and thought Gwin was already racing for them in the next season.
7. Lapierre Gravity Republic: 2013 - 2014
The Lapierre Gravity Republic team has seen some great results with it being the home of Loic Bruni when he took his first World Championship title in 2015. But during the 2013 and 2014 World Cup season it had a great lineup of riders across both Elite and Junior categories. The young French rider Loris Vergier hadn't quite made it to Elites at this point but he was showing promise as he battled for the overall title with the likes of Luca Shaw. Alongside Loris, there was Sam Blenkinsop and Loic Bruni who was getting his first tastes of Elite racing. The team also featured another French rider with Emmeline Ragot racing in the Elite Women's category.
With five podiums over the two years, Sam Blenkinsop was never far off the leaders at each race. Loic Bruni was not quite the unstoppable force we know now, but being at the younger end of the Elite category and still scoring four podiums was an impressive feat. Loris Vergier had an incredible two seasons as a Junior rider after securing four wins and nine podium finishes. He managed a silver medal at the 2013 World Championships and just a year later he took gold in Norway. Emmeline Ragot was coming to the end of her career racing World Cups during this time and was facing off fast British riders like Rachel Atherton and Manon Carpenter but she still managed to get four wins and 10 podiums under her belt onboard the Lapierre.
Eight World Cup wins and 28 podiums
One Junior World Cup title in 2014. Alongside a silver in Juniors the previous year and a silver in the Elite women
Just like other teams in the past decade, there was a big push to document the experience of racing World Cups in video format. But the Lapierre Gravity Republic took a different approach in 2013 and 2014 as they produced two feature-length documentaries that released after the season had finished. These showed an even deeper level of insight into the highs and lows of World Cup racing.
8. Commencal Vallnord: 2018 - 2019
The Commencal Vallnord team could be the biggest team at the World Cup with six riders across multiple categories they have a top rider in most of the racers. With this, it's no surprise that is is often this team taking the team win at most rounds of the World Cup. Although the team has been hit with quite a few injuries, most notable of which is Myriam Nicole who was injured for most of 2018 and for most of 2019 with two different injuries. But the depth of talent on the Commencal team more than makes up for if one or two riders are missing.
Amaury Pierron has had an incredible two years on this team with his first win in Fort William back in 2018 kicking off a French revolution in mens downhill that so far has only been broken by Laurie Greenland and Danny Hart. Since starting on the team in 2018 Pierron has racked up six World Cup wins and six podium finishes. This includes a bronze medal at this year's World Championships. Another extremely fast French rider on the team is Thibaut Daprela who has dominated the Junior mens field for the past two years. Daprela has taken the win 10 times and a podium on four occasions, although just like Pierron the rainbow jersey has alluded him.
Myriam Nicole hasn't had the best two seasons with injuries that have meant missing a large number of races, but her results have been incredible when she does make it to the start gate. Two wins and five podiums are nothing to complain about, especially when this includes a bronze medal at the 2018 World Champs and the rainbow jersey from this year's event at Mont-Sainte-Anne. The only other rider on the six-person roster to make a podium place is Remi Thirion who hasn't quite found the pace on the race course in recent years, but he is always a man to watch.
17 World Cup downhill wins and 16 podiums
Elite, Junior and Team overall titles in 2018
Women's World Championship title in 2019
As we move into the next decade of racing the Commencal Vallnord team is definitely going to be one to watch as they seem pretty unstoppable right now. In 2018, they managed to take the Elite men, Junior men and Team overall for the season. In 2019, they secured the Junior mens title once again and came very close to the other two titles.
9. Fox Factory/Yeti: 2014 - 2015
Not many teams can say they won the overall EWS titles back to back with two different riders but that is exactly what the Fox Factory/Yeti team managed for the 2014 and 2015 season. With Richie Rude and Jared Graves both making the switch to focus on the EWS as their main discipline, they used the skills they had developed from racing other formats and proved that Enduro racing rewards well-rounded riders.
Jared Graves managed to secure the most wins of the two riders with four first places under his belt over the two year period. He also finished on the podium in three other races. He top results meant he could secure the overall title in Finale Ligure at the end of 2014, the second-ever EWS series. Richie Rude may not have performed quite as well as Jared but with consistent results and three race wins Richie was able to round out the 2015 season with a series win.
Eight EWS wins and five podium finishes
Overall winners in the Elite men's racing for both 2014 and 2015
Jared Graves would move onto Specialized for 2016 but Richie Rude has stayed with Yeti and has seen even more great results with the team. Although both riders were caught in controversy when they tested positive for banned substances at the 2018 EWS round in Olargues, France.
10. Specialized Racing: 2013 - 2015
The pairing of Troy Brosnan and Aaron Gwin on Specialized could be one of the best we have seen this decade. Who wouldn't want one of the most successful riders of all time alongside one of the most consistent? The Specialized Racing team may not have dominated the World Cup circuit between 2013 and 2015 but they did get quite a few top results.
Troy Brosnan could be the most consistent rider we have seen in the history of downhill and his time on Specialized Racing was pretty incredible with his results for three seasons of racing averaging at 6th place. In this period, he had 11 podium finishes. Brosnan's ability to find himself on the podium is simply unmatched by any other rider. His teammate Gwin may not be the most consistent of riders but his less calculated style of riding produces incredible results, as can be seen from his win on the drenched Mont-Sainte-Anne track in 2017. In the three seasons Gwin raced with Specialized he racked up five wins and won the 2015 series overall.
Six World Cup downhill wins and 16 podium finishes
Troy Brosnan achieves an average of 6th place at every race between 2013 and 2015
Specialized has always been good and finding pairs of riders that work well together and in more recent years they have seen the likes of Bruni and Vergier and Bruni and Iles team up to take on the World Cup circuit.