Your Essential Guide to the Val di Sole DH World Champs 2016

Sep 6, 2016 at 10:33
by Fraktiv  
Since the contenders for the overall 2016 UCI MTB DH World Cup season win slotted into place last weekend, they haven't had much time to rest on their laurels. The World Championships are upon us this weekend in the form of an all guns blazing race for glory on the highly technical track of Val di Sole in Italy.

Aaron Gwin has been the most successful Elite Men rider in Val di Sole, with Gee Atherton one race-win behind, although unlike Atherton, Gwin has never been able to win a World Champs, let alone a World Champs in Val di Sole. Meanwhile, Rachel has won here even more than Gwin, including a World Champs, with Myriam Nicole being her closest rival on the track; Nicole has twice come second to Atherton and even beat her to take the win in 2011. Could an on-form Pompon repeat her victory and deny Rachel the crowning glory of her year?

This is also a track where the Elite Men's G.O.A.T. has come incredibly close but has never won; Minnaar has secured two second-place finishes and a third. Can he buck the trend and make it work this weekend, after his strong season? Certainly, another World Championship win for MTB's history-maker would be yet another momentous occasion. And you can image the party afterward...the Italians won't know what's hit them!

Pride, honor, and national glory are all at stake, but the World Champs is also a chance for riders and teams to go all out with their kit and bikes. Nation-inspired colourways will be on show - like Aaron Gwin's Team USA YT Tues featured here - and it's that sort of thing that makes the World Champs that much more special.

The Val di Sole course is certainly renowned as one of the most challenging, so what better way to see the sun set on another year of fantastic international downhill racing.

So the sun sets on another World Cup season. We will see you all in one week at World Champs in Andorra.

Andrew Crimmins galloping into the steep right-hander that was to be the undoing of Trillo.
Dean Lucas might just have won the big air award on the Italian huck-o-meter on his way to one hell of a donkey-nod and another top 20.

After a brilliant season for Giant s headline act an apparent mechanical out of the gate left Marcello Gutierrez outside of contention for a top spot this afternoon but still able to nurse it down to secure 8th in the overall.



THE TRACK

Truly a sight for sore eyes. The Italian forest loam makes for some of the most beautiful terrain on the planet.

The bottom half of the track is the definition of technical and steep.
Probably the most famous corner on the planet.

Even after close encounters with the track Troy Brosnan still finished third. That was a damn fast run.

Champs Val di Sole Course 2016


There are three major differences to the World Champs course, as compared to last year's World Cup track. No longer do riders have to navigate the two lethal-looking North Shore-inspired sections in the upper woods (just after the Wall and Strada Romana AKA the Roman Road). According to the organisers, the top of the track will now be longer, with a fast flowing section and a road gap.

The diversion away from the boardwalk sections will no doubt be a huge relief to riders, as last year they got seriously wet and claimed a number of victims over the World Cup weekend. Other than that, the track stays virtually the same, winding down past Curva Ravelli, the Trentino jump, and the Hell. Unlike last year, conditions are looking prime...the Italian loam in the woods will be taking a beating, though, and it may turn into another dust-mageddon as we saw at last weekend's race in Andorra.



THE WEATHER

Champs Val di Sole Weather 2016



THE CURSE OF THE RAINBOW STRIPES -
REAL OR CODSWALLOP?

Over the years, fans and riders alike have got themselves all in a fluster about whether the coveted Rainbow Stripes jersey - the UCI jersey that goes to the victors in the Elite Men, Elite Women and Junior categories - brings bad luck to whoever wears it the following year. So what's the real story?

Looking through the history books, a few Elite Men riders have managed to prove that the curse doesn't exist, by not just taking the World Champs but also taking the overall in the World Cup the following year (or at least be in the top three podium finishes). These riders include:

World Champ 1995, World Cup overall winner 1996 - Nicolas Vouilloz
World Champ 1997, World Cup overall winner 1998 - Nicolas Vouilloz
World Champ 1998, World Cup overall winner 1999 - Nicolas Vouilloz
World Champ 1999, World Cup overall winner 2000 - Nicolas Vouilloz
World Champ 2006, World Cup overall winner 2007 - Sam Hill
World Champ 2007, World Cup overall second-place 2008 - Sam Hill
World Champ 2012, World Cup overall third-place 2013 - Greg Minnaar

But those are the lucky few. Going back to 1992, out of 24 World Champs, 17 of those who held the Rainbow Jersey the following year were unable to finish in the top three places for the overall of the World Cup series.

The Elite Women have seemingly fared better. Riders who have been successful include:

World Champ 1995, World Cup overall third-place 1996 - Leigh Donovan
World Champ 1996, World Cup overall second-place 1997 - Anne-Caroline Chausson
World Champ 1997, World Cup overall winner 1998 - Anne-Caroline Chausson
World Champ 1998, World Cup overall winner 1999 - Anne-Caroline Chausson
World Champ 1999, World Cup overall winner 2000 - Anne-Caroline Chausson
World Champ 2000, World Cup overall winner 2001 - Anne-Caroline Chausson
World Champ 2001, World Cup overall winner 2002 - Anne-Caroline Chausson
World Champ 2006, World Cup overall winner 2007 - Sabrina Jonnier
World Champ 2007, World Cup overall second-place 2008 - Sabrina Jonnier
World Champ 2010, World Cup overall winner 2011 - Tracy Moseley
World Champ 2011, World Cup overall second-place 2012 - Emmeline Ragot
World Champ 2013, World Cup overall second-place 2014 - Rachel Atherton
World Champ 2014, World Cup overall second-place 2015 - Manon Carpenter
World Champ 2015, World Cup overall winner 2016 - Rachel Atherton

A curse? So it's all in the mind, right? But you know how superstitious pro-mountain bikers are...and according to the statistics, it's the men who succumb to the curse more than the women.

ACC back in 2005 on her World Championship gold medal run in Livigno, Italy. Despite being able to do the double multiple times, she was unable to hold onto the World Cup overall the following year.



TO THE SPOILS...THE FRENCH

France has been the most successful World Champs nation when it comes to Elite Men's results, followed by Great Britain and the USA (Great Britain is second in the medal tables because it has secured one more silver medal than the USA). The mightiness of Greg Minnaar single-handedly puts South Africa in fourth place (yep, that's three golds, four silver, and three bronze medals!)

NATIONALITIES OF HISTORICAL UCI WORLD MTB DH WORLD CHAMPIONS - ELITE MEN
NATIONGOLDSILVERBRONZE
France1155
Great Britain462
USA455
South Africa343
Australia327
Switzerland1--
Italy, Netherlands, Canada-11
Sweden-1
New Zealand--1

The same top three nations apply for the Elite Women as well, with France on 14 golds, the UK on five and the USA on three.

NATIONALITIES OF HISTORICAL UCI WORLD MTB DH WORLD CHAMPIONS - ELITE WOMEN
NATIONGOLDSILVERBRONZE
France1495
Great Britain583
USA338
Italy2-2
Canada113
New Zealand1--
Finland-21
Spain, Japan, Switzerland-11
Australia--3



PREDICTIONS

Champs Val di Sole Predictions 2016

bigquotesI'm not sure if this is a prediction or pure hope, but dear God, I want to see Danny Hart destroy a World Championship hill again.

After knowing the man since he was a boy and his family, I don't believe there's any rider with as much focus, love, accumulated race time and will to put in the hard graft as Danny over so much of his 24 years. Three World Cup wins in a row followed by another dash of rainbow stripes would be a dream. Brosnan will follow, his season of rough luck will finally look up. Gwin will put down a perfect run too, but I feel the American's pace is off of the two young boys at this point in the season.

Rachel continues to be unbelievable, and must be close to being one of the best performing athletes in any sport, ever. I think she's going to embarrass many men's times in Val Di Sole. Tracey Hannah will continue with her good form and take a silver medal. With Carpenter seemingly off the pace recently, Tahnee will grab a bronze medal despite a body full of bruises and a shaken head after a brutal season. - Paul Aston, Pinkbike's World Champs Soothsayer



PREVIOUS PODIUMS AT VAL DI SOLE

HISTORICAL ELITE MEN RESULTS - VAL DI SOLE
DATEPOSITIONNAMETEAMWINNING TIMEGAP
20151stAaron GWINSpecialized Racing3:31.922-
20152ndLoic BRUNILapierre Gravity Republic3:33.511 +1.589s
20153rdTroy BROSNANSpecialized Racing3:33.776+1.854s
20131stGee ATHERTONGT Factory Racing3:12.185 -
20132ndSteve SmithDevinci Global Racing3:13.186+1.001s
20133rdGreg MINNAARSanta Cruz Syndicate3:13.435 +1.250s
20121stAaron GWINTrek World Racing3:10.577-
20122ndGreg MINNAARSanta Cruz Syndicate3:18.427+7.850s
20123rdGee ATHERTONGT Factory Racing3:18.970 +8.393s
20111stAaron GWINTrek World Racing3:10.356-
20112ndDanny HARTGiant Factory Off Road Team3:11.588+1.232s
20113rdGee ATHERTONAnimal Commencal3:14.470+4.114s
20101stMarc BEAUMONTGT Bikes3:17.850-
20102ndGreg MINNAARSanta Cruz Syndicate3:19.250+1.400s
20103rdGee ATHERTONAnimal Commencal3:20.510+2.660s
2008*1stGee ATHERTONGreat Britain3:12.120-
2008*2ndSteve PEATGreat Britain3:14.740+2.620s
2008*3rdSam HILLAustralia3:15.270+3.150s

Men s podium.

HISTORICAL ELITE WOMEN RESULTS - VAL DI SOLE
DATEPOSITIONNAMETEAMWINNING TIMEGAP
20151stRachel AthertonGT Factory Racing4:08.636-
20152ndMyriam NICOLECommencal Vallnord4:10.875+2.239s
20153rdManon CARPENTERMadison Saracen Factory4:15.080+6.444s
20131stRachel ATHERTONGT Factory Racing3:43.810-
20132ndEmmeline RAGOTLapierre Gravity Republic3:49.045+5.235s
20133rdFloriane PUGINGstaad Scott3:55.863+12.053s
20121stRachel ATHERTONGT Factory Racing3:49.436-
20122ndMyriam NICOLECommencal Riding Addiction3:53.921+4.485s
20123rdEmmeline RAGOTMS Mondraker3:57.519+8.083s
20111stMyriam NICOLECommencal Riding Addiction3:52.231-
20112ndFloriane PUGINScott 113:53.040+0.809s
20113rdRachel ATHERTONAnimal Commencal3:54.405+2.174s
20101stEmmeline RAGOT-3:59.750-
20102ndSabrina JONNIER-4:02.150+2.400s
20103rdTracy MOSELEY-4:06.250+6.500s
2008*1stRachel ATHERTONGreat Britain3:49.920-
2008*2ndSabrina JONNIERFrance4:01.910+11.990s
2008*3rdEmmeline RAGOTFrance4:07.030+17.110s

Women s podium.

Note: * denotes UCI World Championship race.



A FEW WORDS FROM LAST YEAR'S CHAMPIONS

So what is it like to win a World Championship? And how's race prep going for this weekend? We posed these questions and more to our current World Champions - Loïc Bruni and Rachel Atherton - and here's what they had to say:

Loic said he was t feeling super confident and that he had lost a bit if his touch for the bike after not riding for may weeks. We would hate to see his style when he gets that touch back.
Logic s fans will stand by him no matter what and he was greeted at the finish line by a hero s welcome.

What did it mean to you to win the World Champs last year, and how has it made an impact on your 2016 season?
Last year it was a big surprise and a life accomplishment realised. I couldn't expect a better story after that race. I know I'll have this title for all my life and no one will ever take it away from me!

How are you preparing coming into this weekend?
Preparation for this race is exactly the same as any other; just a little bit more focused maybe as it's the last one of the year. I'm not going there to defend anything, just to get this jersey as if it never happened.

What do you think of the Champs being held at Val di Sole?
Val di Sole is the gnarliest track of the year and it's such a mystical place, so it's going to be an epic race!

- Loïc Bruni, 2015 UCI MTB DH World Champion

Pure domination once again from Rachel Atherton.
It was a tough one today for Rachel Atherton.

What did it mean to you to win the World Champs last year, and how has it made an impact on your 2016 season?
Last year, after winning back the World Cup overall title I didn't think that I was too bothered about the World Champs as well because the overall title is so much harder to win, so much more consistency and year-long performance; but when I crossed that finish line [in Vallnord] and had won I was absolutely buzzing, and I realised that deep down I did want it just as much!

The World Champs is strange because it's one race run, one day, but for some reason it's just as prestigious, if not more so than the World Cup overall, it holds its own special value and to be World Champ is incredible, to have these stripes forever, to take home the jersey adds something to a career!

I love my rainbow jerseys and I keep them free and not confined to a showcase or frame, I let them breathe! I have three Elite jerseys and one Junior, and each one holds so many emotional memories. Racing as a World Champion during the season does add a little bit of pressure, putting on the stripes for your race run just reconfirms in your mind that you can be the best and what may be expected of you, but also I like it because it confirms that I can be the best!

How are you preparing coming into this weekend?
We're coming into World Champs right from Andorra and the World Cup finals which was a BRUTAL track, so recovery is top of the agenda really. Making sure the body is recovered from last week's racing ready to tackle another big, long gnarly track is going to be hard. Apart from that I just try to take it as another race the same as any race, I try to keep things the same even though the schedule is a little different. There's more downtime at World Champs, more waiting around before finally, Race Day arrives and that can mean the nerves have longer to kick in so it's important to keep perspective!

I remember you saying in the past that Val di Sole is a special place for you. What do you think of the Champs being held here?
Val di Sole is indeed a special place for me, Gee and I won our first Elite World Champs titles here in 2008, that day is deeply ingrained in my mind, I remember everything about it, and before that the European Champs a couple of times so the place is special and I love it. I love the Italians, I love the fields and the river, the mountains, the organisers are really cool and fun, and the race has a good vibe, lots of fans and smiles...it's just a rad track really natural and VERY hard! I'm very excited for the race!

- Rachel Atherton, 2015 UCI MTB DH World Champion



FOR THE LOVE OF ITALY

The Val di Sole World Champs this year makes Italy the country that's held the most UCI Mountain Biking World Championships in history. Hot on the heals are the USA, Switzerland, and Canada who have each held a World Champs three times. It hasn't always been Val di Sole, either, in 1991 Ciocco held the second ever World Champs where Albert Iten of Switzerland won for Elite Men and Giovanna Bonazzi won on her home turf in Elite Women. In 2005, Livigno took on the duties, where the French dominated with Fabien Barel and Anne-Caroline Chausson winning Elite Men and Elite Women respectively.

In 2008, Val di Sole hosted its first ever World Champs, with the inaugural victory going to an on-form Gee Atherton who beat his fellow countryman Steve Peat by 2.62 seconds. For the Elite Women, Rachel Atherton held firm against a strong French contingent, making it a double World Champs win for the Atherton family.

HOST COUNTRIES OF THE UCI WORLD MTB DH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
YEARCOUNTRYRESORT
2016ItalyVal di Sole
2015AndorraVallnord
2014NorwayHafjell
2013South AfricaPietermaritzburg
2012AustriaLeogang-Saalfelden
2011SwitzerlandChampery
2010CanadaMont-Sainte-Anne
2009AustraliaCanberra
2008ItalyVal di Sole
2007Great BritainFort William
2006New ZealandRotorua
2005ItalyLivigno
2004FranceLes Gets
2003SwitzerlandLugano
2002AustriaKaprun
2001USAVail
2000SpainSierra Nevada
1999SwedenAre
1998CanadaMont-Sainte-Anne
1997SwitzerlandChateau-d'Oex
1996AustraliaCairns
1995Germany Kirchzarten
1994USAVail
1993FranceMetabief
1992CanadaBromont
1991ItalyCiocco
1990USADurango



THAT CORNER


While we're talking about 2008, let's not forget that that year was the year of Sam Hill's 'run to remember' (or forget if you're Sam); fighting for his right to wear the Rainbow Stripes for a second year in a row, Hill was up by six seconds but crashed near the finish line. Sliding off, but then jumping back on his bike, he still managed to cross the line to claim the bronze medal. High drama indeed!



IS THIS FAREWELL?

Ratty sending it off the drop and heading into the finish arena. Ratty finished fifth. The big question is how is he going to go at World s We can t wait to see.

Rumors abound that Josh Bryceland may be ready to pack it all in and retire from the international racing circuit at the end of the season, coinciding with his mentor, Steve Peat's retirement after just over two decades of UCI World Cup racing. This would mean Val di Sole may see Bryceland's last World-level UCI event. If so, Ratboy's laid-back attitude and indeed riding style would be sorely missed. We wait with bated breath...



SET YOUR CLOCKS

Danny portrait

The finals take place on Sunday, the 11th of September, with the live broadcast commencing at 12:30 local/Val di Sole time (11:30 BST).

For those interested in the live timing from the day of the finals, according to the organisers, they'll be at the following times (all are local to Val di Sole):

- 11:00 Junior Women and Junior Men
- 12:45 Elite Women
- 14:00 Elite Men

Stay tuned to Pinkbike.com throughout the weekend for all of the latest news from the UCI Mountain Bike Downhill World Championships 2016, including live timing from timed training, as well as photo stories and tech content.


MENTIONS: @geebeebee / @natedh9 / @davetrump / @mdelorme / @Specialized / @trek / @YTIndustries




169 Comments

  • + 212
 Ratboy don't leave us!!!
  • - 31
flag Chickenwithshovel (Sep 7, 2016 at 1:23) (Below Threshold)
 But how good would a Warner/ Bryceland team be calling the races next year
  • + 96
 @Chickenwithshovel: But we would need a Ratboy to English translator so we can understand what he is saying.
  • + 45
 @Chickenwithshovel: yeah, i don't want to piss on your chips man, but that would be horrendous to listen to. Clearly josh is an excellent racer, and we doubtless only see one side of him but I'm not sure you could call him a 'safe pair of hands' in a commentary situation. Peaty in there would be excellent however- clearly there's natural chemistry between Warner and him. Tracey Mosely also, has been a captivating listen when she's appeared on MTB broadcasts, particularly on the SohoBikes wheelsize video a few weeks back. A ton of experience. I hope Josh doesn't disappear though. Step away from the bong Rat... Wink
  • + 4
 @Chickenwithshovel: bad thing about this would be: I personally would understand nothing at all anymore Smile
  • + 32
 @nickkk: "yeah, i don't want to piss on your chips man, but....." is this a common phrase in GB? made my day xD
so british Smile
  • + 5
 You mean do rad stuff like the FEST series instead... and maybe rampage? If thats the case then go for it! Racing is cool but the rat just wants to ride his bike.

I hope rat boy does retire the race plate if having more fun on the bike is his goal. God I hope so.
  • + 15
 Ratboy DO WHAT YOU LOVE
  • + 7
 no he's going to go race enduro and marathon with sam hill thats where all the money is....
  • + 2
 The Rat will attack again!!!!!
  • + 3
 pinkbike.com/photo/13914851
Obviously prepping for his new career
  • + 2
 LONG LIVE THE RAT !
  • - 1
 #longrideratboy
  • + 5
 @triptex: If he walks away from WC racing I think he is walking away from the sport (as a pro anyway). The only Bryceland quote I can recall after his injury was that he was having a hard time staying off the brakes, it must still be in the back of his mind all the time so I can't see him doing something even more dangerous like Rampage or the Fest series. I would love to be wrong though!
  • + 5
 @imho4ep: I hear what your saying but I also hope you're wrong Smile . I think a race pace crash would linger in most peoples minds and that's very normal but I dont see the larger freeride contests to be as dangerous as WC racing. The WC boys are at it rain or shine, wind or no wind. They dont get to sit together and decide that "today's not safe for going fast". They have to practice and qualify and race. Its the job and its not the same lifestyle as the fest boys.
  • + 5
 God save the Rat!
  • + 16
 Am I the only non-Brit who actually has no problem understanding what Rat says?
  • + 70
 It would be a tragedy for Josh to leave the circuit. He really brings a different aspect to the sport while still being able to compete at a very high level. He is still a top ten rider FFS
  • + 5
 Wait what, what are these rumours about Bryceland leaving? Please explain this!
  • + 12
 @timbuitenhuis: during Andorra coverage Warner mentioned something about Ratboy's plan to retire together with Peat. IMO all just a wild speculation
  • + 10
 @timbuitenhuis: There has been rumblings on the circuit. Even in the Syndicate videos you can get the feeling. All conjecture at this point but I will personally go on strike if he does. Or start a kickstarter to force him to race and drink beers with his friends....especially if I can join him
  • + 8
 Greg Minnaar was talking about big changes next season when talking about Peaty retiring. I don't think rat boy will be a part of that team next year. Maybe Peaty will be setting up his own thing and taking rat boy with him. If not and rat boy would rather quit than continue racing wc without Peaty then that's a bit sad.
  • + 25
 Everyone always seems to forget pros are humans, and humans who smash up their ankles may understandably struggle for pace/ enjoyment for a fair while afterwards...
  • + 2
 Yeah.... dude's only 26. He's had a rough go with injuries and what not but he's got tons of fans. I have a hard time seeing him retire. I could see him changing teams.

A lot of people think about life changes when things don't go as plan and mentors retire and/or leave teams.

Syndicate is gonna have to do some serious work in the offseason.
  • + 19
 Get Ratboy on a team with Phil Atwil
  • + 2
 ^^^^
  • + 2
 @Keitholbean: I second this! May we set this to a vote?
  • + 2
 @km79: How awesome would it be if Peaty teamed up with a manufacturer and started his own team, with the Rat in it!
The WC needs people like Peaty, Rat, Hart, Minaar etc, who all bring a mellow and fun vibe to the sport, but are all absolute animals on track...
  • + 1
 @cyclo-maniac: I thought it was his team? stevepeatsyndicate.com
  • + 1
 @tufty: Interesting, I had no idea. I assumed he was just a syndicate team rider, but not a founder.
  • + 3
 I was under the impression the SPS was a development squad for junior riders?
  • + 2
 @Callum-H: Correct. not the same
  • + 55
 I'd love to see Connor Fearon getting historical win... I'd really love to see this...
  • + 16
 the kid is so far overdue
  • + 44
 It's going to be a great race, but I'm hoping to see Brosnan on that top step of the podium Big Grin . (he looks too small on the other ones)
  • + 29
 I dont think I'll ever get bored of watching that Sam Hill run, especially with the commentary!
  • + 24
 the other dude wants to deliver some serious information but rob just keeps yelling. love it
  • + 12
 Same here. Greatest DH run ever in my opinion, despite the end result.
  • + 17
 The other guy just makes embarassing sex noises for most of the video.
  • + 2
 it was a great run
  • + 2
 That damn left turn. I'm still hoping for Hill's revenge run on this track. After all he was the fastest until that damn left turn..
  • - 6
flag leopaul (Sep 7, 2016 at 9:04) (Below Threshold)
 @hollowing2000: sam hill won't race this weekend. haven't you heard?
  • + 4
 @verskis: nah...danny hart's worlds run is undisputedly the best. Sams was awesome,though
  • + 0
 Which race was this??
  • + 7
 @Obiwankenoob: Both runs are awesome, but I agree that Danny's was better. Even if you ignore the riding, the sheer booze fueled excitement of the commentary makes my day every time I watch it.

They should bring back commentary on the beers, especially if it ends up Warner and Peaty!
  • + 23
 I'm not taking anything away from Rachel but the claim that she is going to embarass many of men's times is pretty far out there. She only beat 5 guys down the mountain last race And only 3 the race before that..
  • + 5
 She'll beat a few. And that's pretty awesome. But yeah... her time woulda put her in like 77th place at the last event. By no means is that 'ebarassing' man men. But props to her. She fast as hell and has been straight up dominant this year. I have a hard time seeing her not win this event by a large margin. I mean she's winning by 7-10 seconds pretty much every event. That's a ton.
  • - 7
flag pimpin-gimp (Sep 7, 2016 at 11:49) (Below Threshold)
 I dunno man, I'd be well embarrassed if I ever got beat by a girl! Smile Wink
  • + 4
 @pimpin-gimp: Nah. There are some incredibly fast women in this world. I have no doubt in my mind that even when I was actively racing DS that she'd beat me. And I was not slow.
  • + 8
 @onemanarmy: did you miss the smiley face? Nothing but sarcasm dude, I ride about 4 times a year, if anyone didn't beat me I'd feel embarrassed for them!
  • + 7
 You guys are forgetting that this is World Champs, not the World Cup. When a country sends their best riders to the World Champs, it doesn't necessarily mean that they are the best in the world- just the best that the specific country has to offer. Some countries have outstanding racers (USA, GB, France, etc) and others not so much (Korea, Mexico, Estonia, etc). I would bet that she will be faster than 20% of the men in the field.
  • + 1
 @ka-brap: Good point.
  • + 1
 @pimpin-gimp: I guess I did. LOL!
  • + 0
 The men that Rach beat in Andorra had crashes. Clean run for clean run, she would be in another time zone.
  • + 2
 None of the women ever challenge the best guys' times though - or even the top 20, top 30 or whatever - so what can that comparison actually prove?

You can only tell how good Rach is by comparing her to the other women - if she wasn't bloody quick, she wouldn't continually win against the world's best, but she does, so she must be bloody quick.
  • + 1
 @Smevan:

True that... But I will say this... The Missy beat a lot of dudes when she was in her prime.
  • + 2
 @ka-brap: Exactly, thats why the comment was made and why it's not really off base. The top riders in the world will be there, but for the reasons you mentioned the field is not nearly as strong overall as in a typical World Cup. There will be a lot of men who are not typically making the cut or even riding in WC events on a regular basis.
  • + 22
 I'm still struggling to cope with the fact that Hill isn't gonna be there. BUT it should be an awesome race anyway.
  • + 3
 Same here. Race will be amazing of course, but damn, no Sam Hill, especially when its Val di Sole.
  • + 17
 I don't really understand the whole "World Championship" thing.

You can get thrashed all season on WC circuit, then do well in one race and you get to call yourself "World Champion"?

Just seems kind of weird to me. I know they are separate things, I just think that the WC circuit shit garner more bragging rights then calling yourself the world champion off of a single race.
  • + 6
 Its two different things. The WC circuit is just that, a circuit that has its own strategy. Of course the main strategy is to win the races but there is a bit more too it. Its a points race over the course of 7 races and that's how many riders manage it, trying to get the most points over the course of 7 races. The World Champs is different. Its the end of the season, one race, winner take all. Everyone is going all out, no one is worrying about points, or standings, or staying healthy for the next race. I think they are each a great accomplishment. You do see similar things in many other sports as well. Like golf with the major championships. A win at the Masters or the US Open is going to overshadow the player who won the overall season points. Or even look at auto racing, the series titles are huge, but winning some single races like the Indy or Daytona 500 carries its own weight.
  • + 2
 Agreed, it is kind of weird to have a separate one race title after completing a series for the title. But it's good because there is no point counting. In the last race Gwin took a safe run in order to secure the overall rather than win the race. At world champs its all out, everyone gunning for the win. Nothing to save for later and no reason to play it safe. Still... it's weird.
  • + 1
 @dfiler: It's as weird as the Olympics, with each racer earning their way onto the national team.
  • + 1
 @Rubberelli: Exactly. The olympics are weird.
  • + 19
 Dear UCI
#bringbackhafjell !!!
  • + 15
 This is shaping up to be an awesome race, Hart, Gwinn, Bruni and Brosnan all at the top of their game and one of the best tracks on the circuit. I CAN'T WAIT!!! Also, ask Rachel about the curse of the rainbow stripes, doesn't seem to bother her too much.
  • + 17
 Really hope Brosnan gets the win!!!
  • + 13
 what do Greg Minnaar and Michael Phelps have in common..........they both can feature as their own country when it comes to medal standings!
  • + 3
 and that is hugely appreciated, in Chile we have Nicolás Massu, he was a good tennis player, but as soon as he was defending the country he morphed into a spartan Roger Federer
  • + 12
 Does anyone else think it's a scandal Bernard Kerr isn't there? He's been more consistent throughout the year than some racers that are.
  • + 4
 If he didn't pull that front brake so much maybe....
  • + 1
 @Bigwillybarney: Von is speaking of Kerr getting bumped by Ratboy who he has done better than this season.
  • + 2
 Kerr is now in. Gee is out. As of today.
  • + 1
 @atrokz: Awesome \m/
  • + 1
 @atrokz: Because of Gee's shoulder?
  • + 8
 Was interesting to hear that very early in the season when Minnar had a rough start that there were some phone calls or emails sent his way discussing how he needed to up his game and produce better results... Yeah Santa Cruz f*cking called out minnar... Anyways Rob Warner had made the comment and then had said I can only imagine Bryceland got it too, after that the rest of this season Minnaar started getting high results and Ratboy started sinking lower in the standings...


To be honest at some point the old adage " where there's smoke there's fire" just becomes "yup it's fire" ... It sounds like the syndicate team we know is dead and Ratboy boy is f*cking off for a while... But hey, remember, Sick Mick took some time off but returned.

And I guess this means next gear the syndicate will be Minnaar and Shaw??
  • + 4
 I've wondered about that. Greg obviously responds well to pressure, Bryceland seemingly less so. To be expected really, given his apparent nonchalant approach and happy go lucky attitude. He would be sorely missed, but he definitely seems like the type to pull the plug if his heart's not in it. Frown
  • + 9
 The question I always ask is how important winning really is to bike sales? I'd have to wager there are far more people interested in a V10 because of how great a group of guys the syndicate is and how fun they are to watch/follow versus how many overall titles/world championships the bike has won?

I for one couldn't care less if the bike I am buying has won a title...all of the bikes in the top 20 are capable of a win under the right rider.

Maybe I'm off base, but the personalities on your team will trump their results in the long run as there are very few riders who consistently stay at the top
  • + 3
 @nvranka: Yes, but remember there is awards for highest point total team and I believe there is a manufacturers award so yeah Race results makes the company more money... so yeah the rider's personality and ride style is why a good chunk of people buy a certain bike but prize money is nice too.

The WC of Downhill is a nasty piece of shit when you get past the surface. I'm not gonna say who but a local pro rider who used to race DH talked to me for a long while about how ruthless the sponsors treat a lot of the riders and that can include their bike sponsors as well. To break it down what I gathered is... If you are top 10 they love you, if you aren't.... good chance they won't even reply to your emails.... so have a shit season and the sponsors go quiet, have one good race at the end of the year and your phone dies from email alerts.


We all think that because it's mountain biking that the whole industry must have a little more of a laidback feel to it... but let's be real bottom line, everyone wants to be richer.
  • + 1
 @2bigwheels: interesting to hear...yeah I am fully aware that this industry, like any other, is focused on the bottom line.

I just feel like you are going to sell more bikes having a big personality on your team who is a top 10 rider rather than someone who flies under the radar but wins races.

That said, ratty hasn't been top 10 lately from what I recall, so maybe he isn't really in either bucket anymore. Would be sad to see him go, but that's the nature of racing I guess
  • + 1
 Woahh. Where abouts did you hear this, do you have a link?


Ratboy won't compete next year I'm guessing.. but with his talent, he could easily return and win an overall. Not surprised that he's over it after the pressure from Santa Cruz, that would be enough to make most people hate racing.
  • + 3
 @nvranka: I think it's a combo of both. You say you would buy a v10 even if they weren't winning but subconsciously you know that the V10 is a winning bike and had been proven over the years. So it might not matter as much for Santa Cruz now but It might be different for other companies. Like YT for instance, they likely would get hammered if Gwin struggled on the bike. They had a lot riding on his performance.
  • + 10
 No one wants gwin to win....it's like they think he doesn't deserve it. Get over yourselves. Shut them up gwin!
  • + 7
 I'd love it if he won the Workd Champs, he's probably one of my favorite riders, so fast, so dedicated yet so chilled, also seems to be doing a good job with young Angel. We all know how long it sometimes takes great riders to win the Worlds though, he'll get it one day, possibly Sunday or possibly in 3 years time, but he'll get it.
  • + 1
 @pimpin-gimp: right on pimpin
  • + 1
 I want the fastest to win. Simple as that.
  • + 4
 @colincolin: You won't be disappointed.
  • + 8
 I don't care who wins, as long as it is someone who has never won World Champs because the whole scene is always elevated by a special kind of stoke.
  • + 8
 Ratboy should never of cut his hair ....remember Samson ....
  • + 1
 my thought exactly Smile
  • + 4
 Hart is on freaking fire right now. Gwin can not coast on this one. He has to put the hammer down. If Hart rips off 4 in a row... good luck beating him next year.

Either way... baring some kind of mechanical failure or wreck those two are gonna end up 1/2.

Bruni has looked fast as hell too.


That's your top 3 in one order or another.
  • + 2
 Gwin will be full gas just like everyone else at worlds...it's a special race because there is no points strategy associated with it...one race one winner
  • + 4
 If I HAD to wager, I'd put it on Gwin. Especially since he didn't get to go full-gas last weekend...plus, he's several races separated from his last win. To say he's motivated would be an understatement.
  • + 4
 Nicolas Vouilloz at Kaprun in 2002, claiming his World Championship win. Unlike previous years, Vouilloz was unable to secure the World Cup overall the following year." Would have been a might feat though considering he was retired Wink
  • + 1
 Picture: Cannondale + Manitou = Cedric Gracia Wink
  • + 2
 @pira: That's what I was thinking to be honest, Nico was on VProcess back then wasn't he?
  • + 4
 I remember watching Gwin put in almost 8 seconds on second place in 2012 at Val di Sole. Everyone was in shock and couldn't explain it. I'd love to see him do that again here.
  • + 7
 Norway is a country in Hafjell?
  • + 6
 My bet:
1-Loic BRUNI
2-Greg MINNAAR
3-Danny HART
---------------------
Go France!>
  • + 0
 The crazy thing.... that could happen. But I don't see Hart dropping out of the top 2.
  • + 7
 Nooooooo Josh, don't do it!
  • + 2
 I wish we could see Sam Hill on that track... I remember MSA, when he basically made bad or even no race for a long time, then he just seized the title like it was nothing...! I remember 2008 as well... I hope he'll still surprise us!
  • + 2
 As a Canadian, and maybe as a human, there is one name sadly missing in this conversation. My mom lives on the island and I remember her asking if I knew a Canadian who was a world champion mountain biker. Because his accident was on the local news. And my throat closed up and something got in my eye. And I remember the year he came second when he almost crashed and I remember forcing my two daughters to watch the replay when he won. Always missed. Chainsaw
  • + 2
 Before anyone tries to rape my comments, I am aware one is world Champs, the other world Cup.
  • + 1
 @chickenlassi: literally caused me to choke up reading this and feeling the memories! Don't think it's possible to shake off the sadness. Longlive chainsaw
  • + 5
 Does anyone keep track of Aston's predictions? I'm curious to see how accurate he is.
  • + 15
 As accurate as a drunk's stream of piss
  • + 6
 Please, tell me that the Ratboy mention was a joke or something.....
  • + 4
 Danny Hart for the win! Hoping Ratboy doesn't pack it in, I think if he get's his head back in the game he could get some wins next year.
  • + 1
 I dunno if he'll retire, maybe just take a deserved break. He hasn't seemed to enjoy it as much this year which is a shame. Hope he takes some time out and comes back on good / usual form both on and off the track
  • + 1
 Theres only one winner for worlds, thats the champion, second or third just dont matter in this race.......haha. Someone is gonna kick some ass on sunday! Yes im voting for gwin, although, we will all have a heart attack if danny crosses green!
  • + 1
 And this is the danger man...this is the guy I think may win this "afternoon"!! here he's...It's DANNY HART!!!!!
OHH GOD!! DANNY STAY ON YOUR BIKE!?!!?!! He's gonna smash it..!! He's gonna smash it...!! he loves this jumps.. OH MY GOD!!!! Look at danny hart, he's an absolut legend.... well, I think he's gonna be world champion.
  • + 2
 LOOOOK AT THE TIIIIMEEEEEE!
  • + 1
 HOW DOES DANNY SIT DOWN WITH BALLS THAT BIG?!?!?
  • + 3
 I love bryceland but from a business standpoint he's a burden for any team he may be on. The results just aren't there anymore.
  • + 6
 He's the 10th fastest man in the series and came in 2nd at Lourdes, for whatever that is worth. That and the whole rockstar thing... I think plenty of brands would love to pick him up.
  • + 1
 I know that I'll get neg. Props. But Josh has not had the results sinxe snapping his ankle. He my do what Hill is doing, looking to go Enduro. Hilll has had great results on the EWS. Just saying.
  • + 1
 @omegalung: If your ankle's not good enough for downhill though, I reckon it's not good enough for the EWS either. The terrain's still pretty bloody rough and you're pedalling hard for long days end on end. It just doesn't stack up
  • + 1
 @omegalung: He won a WC (MSA) and got bronze at Worlds in 2015. Not saying the injury is no longer a factor, just that he could still pin it post injury. I do think the idea of him doing enduro sounds like the punch line to a bad joke though- those guys have to pedal!
  • + 1
 Read this on UCI website, looks like Peaty gets one more Worlds after all......"One note of interest, is that the race forerunners will include the legendary British downhiller Steve Peat, who retired this year and has raced every previous UCI World Championships from 1993 to 2014, and paracyclist Alessandro Avigliano. The forerunners ride the course just prior to the start of racing, to make sure the track is clear and ready for competition."
  • + 3
 Sam was world champ 06 and 07 with 08 would made it a hat trick, common Pinkbike any really nerd knows this!
  • + 4
 The last time the World Champs was in the US was in 2001. Sad....
  • + 6
 Seriously. It's not like we don't have facilities that can make it happen.
  • + 1
 I'm not sure anyone is even trying to host an event. My understanding is it's kind of like a $1000 kick to the nuts.
  • + 1
 @derekbob: I've heard that it is a fair amount that has to be put up for a World level event. Money usually is the reason for everything.
  • + 1
 I Cannot get enough of The 2008 Videos So sorry for sam So happy for Peaty
  • + 11
 Gee was World champ in 2008
  • - 1
 @stretchza: for me, the wold champion of 2008 was sam, and I think it was even worst for peaty after what happened with sam that gee won...
  • + 5
 @Pedro019: same thing for 2014, it was either Sam Hill or Ratboy for me
  • + 2
 @JoseBravo: Rat could win for sure...just look at the time..he did pedal after the jump....
  • + 2
 And im there to see how it all goes down....
  • + 2
 is there a list of racers per or is it all the same as WC?
  • + 3
 Racers are chosen by their national federations prior to the race. There's a set number of riders per country, e.g. GB gets 7. I couldn't find a complete list but I'm sure after rider registration and things the UCI will publish a complete list view soon.
  • + 3
 @geebeebee: cheers man. sounds like more than one per nationality then. will make for some great end of season racing! Finn vs. Gaetan? Danny vs. Aaron? Can't wait!
  • + 2
 @conv3rt: For Canada, according to your federation, you've got...Junior Men - Henry Fitzgerald, Finn Iles, Magnus Manson, Adam Robbins / Elite Women - Georgia Astle, Miranda Miller / Elite Men - Kirk McDowall, Max Scharf, Mark Wallace.
  • + 2
 Thanks! I'm curious to see the full list at some point.
  • + 1
 Look at those previous podium times. Riders seemed way faster on 26 wheels! lol
  • + 2
 The track is changed every year - either big modifications or small ones - you can't compare the times in the way you can for an F1 driver around a circuit.
  • + 2
 Can anyone link me the list of riders taking part?
  • + 2
 gregory show them what the saffas are made of, give it horns GOAT
  • + 2
 What about a comparable 4Cross/Fourcross guide?
  • + 1
 Ratboy should work with Red Bull TV because I can always understand what he is saying???
  • + 2
 miss sam miss warner and dont want to miss ratboy. keep dh underground
  • + 1
 Sure would be epic to see Gwin take it home finally and stick it to the youngsters!
  • + 7
 Gwin is only 28?
  • + 2
 Hope Danny wins!
  • + 1
 Who doesn't like Italians? They gave us Capicola!!
  • + 1
 and like, almost everything good in life.
  • + 1
 Sam Hill drift that f*|#ng corner and win !!!! Is that a deja-vu?
  • + 0
 Can't wait for 911 it's going to be crazy good .
  • + 0
 It's not rocket science FFS
  • + 0
 I really want ratboy to do well, he deserves some good finishes.
  • - 2
 How, in the elite men, did three countries (Italy, Canada and The Netherlands) share two medals (silver and bronze)?
  • + 1
 Ah, same goes with the elite women. Spain, Japan and Switzerland. I still don't understand how this works.
  • + 3
 Over the past 24 years they have each won one silver and one bronze (obviously in different years)
  • + 2
 @BenM11: Thanks makes perfect sense, apparently my mind wasn't working properly.
  • - 1
 Ratty, you're going nowhere. If you do, ill eat my Santa Cruz collection.
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