Throwback Thursday: Sam Blenkinsop's World Cup Win in Schladming

Jul 16, 2020
by James Smurthwaite  
Running order: Justin Leov - 0:18, Fabien Barel - 2:48, Greg Minnaar - 5:14, Steve Peat - 7:53, Sam Hill - 10:20, Gee Atherton - 12:51, Brendan Fairclough - 15:14, Sam Blenkinsop - 17:54.

The saying goes, "winning one World Cup is hard, winning your second is even harder." The One Win Club currently includes Alex Fayolle, Brook MacDonald, Laurie Greenland, Martin Maes, Loris Vergier, Remi Thirion and, last but not least, Sam Blenkinsop. To celebrate the iXS #NotaRace Test Session in Shaldming, we're going to throw it back to 2008 and Blenki taking that win on a legendary track.

The video above is the Freecaster coverage of the last 8 men on track as the race ramps up to its finale with Rob Warner and Stickman on the commentary. Blenkinsop was just 19 years old at the time and was racing on a stacked Yeti team with Aaron Gwin and Justin Leov. Gwin was racing his third World Cup and finished 8th, Leov just pipped him in sixth but it was Blenkinsop who delivered the first World Cup downhill win in years for the American brand (skip to 17:54 if you just want to watch that).


Schladming was traditionally Sam Hill's backyard and he had won by more than 5 seconds every year for the past three years. In 2008 though, he was locked in a battle for the overall with Greg Minnaar and only 116 points separated them giong into the race. Minnaar remembers, "All week there was obviously a lot of pressure on from being so close to winning the overall. It’s not because of the race, as such, but because you are so close to winning it that you don’t want to loose it. Sam and I both had a lot of pressure on both of us and I think it affected both our riding."

Maybe feeling that pressure, Sam wasn't able to keep up his Schladming streak. This was to be his last race in his legendary partnership with Iron Horse and he couldn't crown it off with another win. He was still pushing on the ragged edge though and check out his save at 11:50 to see all the evdience you'll need of that.

Blenki took full advantage and delivered on his first place qualifier with a consumate victory, 1.64 seconds clear of Hill and earning him his first World Cup win, and the first World Cup win for New Zealand. His gloveless, inimitable style is still recognisable even in 240p and you couldn't mistake him for anyone else as he pings between the grassy turns on Schladming's ski pistes.

Sam Hill slotted in just behind him in second despite the mistakes but it wasn't enough to claim the overall. Minnaar rounded off the podium in fifth and did enough to head home with the overall by 61 points.

Watch Yeti's Behind the Scenes video here (thanks Olly Forster for the tip)
Views: 11,134    Faves: 213    Comments: 39


Watch Rachel Atherton's winning run from the women's race here


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Bikepark Schladming


55 Comments

  • 44 0
 "DRAMA, DRAMA...... He threw it all away like Phil Colins in his third divorce..."
Damn that old school commentary was savage Big Grin
  • 8 1
 It was also better and more entertaining, but hey, at least we got Claudio. Oh...
  • 12 0
 "Steve Peat...the best thing to come out of Sheffield since The Human League." Hilarious.
  • 1 0
 AWESOME RUN !!! Gloveless ET , yeaaaaa boiii
  • 1 0
 Bring back Freecaster!!! Make DH great again! Where's the Rat?!?
  • 32 3
 Please let Warner drink again Redbull - he is on fire when he’s on the beers
  • 12 0
 Absolutely brutal commentary.
  • 12 0
 Freecaster was the best! Rob at his prime.
  • 7 0
 Yes, Warner uncensored..
  • 12 0
 Ah, 240p. We meet again.
  • 10 1
 bring back the Schladming World Cup!
  • 8 0
 Rob saying how Minnar is forever around in the mix....since 2008....just ridiculous!
  • 10 3
 I know 12 years is a long time, but why is this filmed in PotatoVision? We had functional TV and internet in 2008!
  • 15 0
 They have internet on computers now?
  • 2 0
 @Pavlaki: Well done
  • 3 0
 Dude the GoPro Hero3 was released in 2007 and only had a 3 megapixel sensor shooting in 512×384. 720p was just starting to be standard in high end video cameras. The D90 (first DSLR to have video) came out in 2008. Having a LIVE internet stream of a mtb race in itself was pretty damn awesome in 2008 even in 240p.
  • 7 0
 I've nearly forget that Yeti once had DH bikes.... Come on Yeti, bring back the 303!
  • 5 2
 It's a real shame dentists and lawyers don't ride downhill so we can't buy their 2nd hand 303's
  • 5 0
 RIP Yeti DH bikes and team Frown
  • 5 1
 How they did that on those bikes I'll never know, my Trek fuel has more slack! You could give me a bike from 50 years in in the future and make me 20 again and I'm confident I'd still come last.
  • 7 0
 Think there's a bit of optical illusions going on. That Yeti had a 64 degree head angle, it was plenty slack.
  • 1 0
 There were slack bikes even in the 90's...
  • 3 0
 I've heard that Sam's frame was custom and was running like 63º
  • 4 0
 DH frame head angles haven't changed that much in 12 years. im sure the 2005 V10 was 65ish? but pros were running custom geos and the sweet spot of 64/63 has been going for ages
  • 6 0
 "He showed sam hill how itss... to do it"
  • 5 0
 Dig up Clay's Yeti video from this event. So good!
  • 4 0
 Definitely, remember the old podcasts from yeti, they were mint
  • 4 0
 What a good way to spend 20 minutes. Thank you pinkbike
  • 3 0
 I believe Mik Hannah, as unbelievable as this is, given how long he's been racing is in the one hit wonder club.
  • 2 0
 I thought he was a 2 time winner, we know about 2006 Vigo (last time it was there?) but I thought he'd won another pre-2000. But no wikipedia and roots n rain both say no. Only one.
  • 4 0
 Amazing how everything they said about Minnaar then has carried to today.
  • 4 0
 Ahh, drunk Rob, how I have missed you!
  • 3 0
 Still my favourite rider to watch, Skills to pay the bills
  • 3 0
 The flat pedal thunder from down under!
  • 2 0
 @stikmanglaspell your finest hour...trying to compliment a liquored up Warner. Beer
  • 8 0
 Painful to listen to....but, we we're very hammered, even pissing in trash cans in the commentary booth, with the producer air-cussing us out.
  • 2 0
 @stikmanglaspell: does not matter what the "production level" as like. Raw, unadulterated, unhindered.

Those Freecaster broadcasts were fantastic to watch & listen to live. Locked into the monitor, listening to the sound of a beer can opening, hearing the booth door open and close, speech patterns changing as the exhaustion and intensity intermingled. Pure and perfect!!!
  • 2 0
 never seen him that comfortable on a bike again
  • 2 0
 Fun fact Blenki still has braces on his teeth when he won this race.
  • 2 0
 That bike looks SO SMALLLLL
  • 1 0
 how on earth was Sam Hill able to stay on his bike at 11:50?! inconceivable
  • 2 1
 Yeti get your shit together and do WC DH!!
  • 1 0
 That Podium is a Pantheon of Legends!
  • 2 1
 Aaron Gwin already looked like a very ``funny``guy at this period.
  • 1 0
 Bring back yeti Dh frame!
  • 1 0
 How good is the Yeti team video! Can't beat that beat!
  • 1 0
 Schladming "WhataRace"
  • 1 0
 freecaster working ?
  • 2 0
 "just refreshed the feed, working fine for me"

"Just loading for me"

"frozen. Wait, it skipped straight to the podium".
  • 1 0
 Yeah boy!
  • 1 0
 Look like BMX bikes now.
  • 1 0
 Kiwi!
  • 1 0
 Blenki!
  • 1 3
 Commentary was so cringe.
  • 2 0
 stfu

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