Top contenders for the Downhill MTB World Championships

Who is going to win the World Champs in Val Di Sole, Italy?

The Downhill World Championships is a one-shot deal, with guts or glory hinging on a four minute run where competitors put everything on the line to win. So who are the top contenders for the rainbow stripes this weekend? The MBUK team shares its insightful (ahem) thoughts on who is going to win and lose.


With the last round of the World Cup done and dusted, riders are going to be putting everything on the line to win or retain the coveted rainbow stripes. Unluckily, some riders that were a hot ticket for the win have been knocked out of contention because of injury.

Brit, Gee Atherton, has had to throw in the towel and give his place to Bernard Kerr, one of the UK’s reserve riders, and young Canadian rider Finn Iles took a pretty heft crash in practice and is unsure if he’s able to compete in the main event either, suffering with an injured neck.

In the women’s race, all of the UK riders look to be firing on all cylinders. However, France’s Morgane Charre crashed out at the last round of the World Cup injuring her wrist and is unable to compete this weekend.

Will France's Loic Bruni make it his second set of rainbow stripes in a row?
Will France’s Loic Bruni make it his second set of rainbow stripes in a row?
Sven Martin

Place your bets

So who are the MBUK team hedging its bets?

Staff writer, Ed Thomsett says: “I have to go with Danny Hart. His Lenzerheide win shows he’s on form, and if there’s anyone who’ll step it up and put in a wild run on the equally wild Val di Sole track, then it’ll be Danny – I’ll put £20 on him. After her domination of women’s downhill this year, I can’t see anyone getting close to Rachel Atherton. But saying this, if she has a hiccup in her run then I reckon Myriam Nicole, newly back from injury, will be snapping at her heels.”

Art editor, James Blackwell shares his thoughts: “My punt is also on Danny Hart. He’s so hungry for it that he might just go and do it – especially if it’s wet. I want to see Rachel Atherton continue her domination, too. So I’ll match Ed’s bet and raise it by a bag of donuts for each rider.”

Rachel Atherton is the hot ticket in the women's race
Rachel Atherton is the hot ticket in the women’s race
Sven Martin

All-knowing and all-seeing technical editor, Rob Weaver reckons: “It’s hard to argue with Gwin’s form so far this year, and his run in Val di Sole back in 2012 was breathtaking. Many downhill fans will reminisce about Sam Hill’s 2008 Val di Sole run, but Gwin’s pace and consistency in 2012 was incredible. Even though he’d already sewn up the World Cup overall and didn’t need to win the final round, he smoked the rest of the field by 7.85secs. I’ll wager £30 that Gwin will win.”

Is American Aaron Gwin the fastest rider ever?
Is American Aaron Gwin the fastest rider ever?
Sven Martin

Get ready for the racing

Danny Hart has really come to form towards the end of the season, racking up three wins in a row. Will he make it a fourth? Aaron Gwin won the World Cup overall, but has never won the rainbow jersey — maybe this will be his year?

Rachel Atherton has now won 13 consecutive races and wrapped up the World Cup series with a perfect seven out of seven wins. If she can win at Val Di Sole this weekend, Rachel is set to cement herself in the records as one of the most successful mountain bikers of all time.

Who are you placing your bets on for the win?


Make sure you tune in to the live coverage on Red Bull TV at 11:30am BST on Sunday 11 September. Click here to check out all of the action as it unfolds!