The World Cup weekend will climax with the Downhill events on the Sunday, on the slopes of Aonach Mor (pronounced Anach More). The downhill qualification will take place on the Saturday afternoon, where all the competitors race to qualify for the Finals (top 80 men and top 20 women) and determine their start position – the fastest qualifier goes last in the actual race.
New for 2013 will be a separate Men’s Junior (Under 23) World Cup race with its own qualification and Final. The Women’s Junior category will continue to take place within single qualification and Final sessions. Actual training times will be split into A and B sessions. Group A is reserved for Men’s Elite riders in the top 150 of the latest UCI ranking list, whilst Group B is for all other riders. This is designed to allow higher training speeds for the Elite riders.
The DH stars
The roll call of winners at Fort William represents the greats in downhill mountain biking for the past 11 years and the World Cup in the Scottish Highlands is one of the absolute classics that everyone wants to win.
Britain is one of the top ranked nations in both Men’s and Women’s Downhill, with three World Championship medallists, Gee Atherton (Men, Silver), Tahnee Seagrave (Women Junior , Silver) and Manon Carpenter (Women, Bronze). Gee and sister Rachel ended the season ranked 3 and 1 respectively in the overall World Cup standings with Tahnee taking 2nd in the Women’s Junior and Katy Curd 3rd in the 4X Pro Tour World rankings.
But the start list is likely to include a total of 8 British World Champions from the past 6 years.
Ruaridh Cunningham 2007 Junior Men World Champion
Gee Atherton 2008 Men World Champion
Rachel Atherton 2008 Women World Champion
Josh Bryceland 2008 Junior Men World Champion
Steve Peat 2009 Men World Champion
Tracy Moseley 2010 Women World Champion
Danny Hart 2011 Men World Champion
Manon Carpenter 2011 Junior Women World Champion
Some 250 riders from 25 nations, representing the world’s best downhillers, will all descend on Fort William in search of glory.
The competition will be as fierce as ever and in the tough world of downhill, absolutely no-one can predict who will deliver that faultless run on the day – but having so many top ranked UK riders will ensure some super loud cheering on Sunday.
2012 UCI Downhill World Champions
Gold Greg Minnaar (RSA)
Silver Gee Atherton (GBR)
Bronze Steve Smith (CAN)
Gold Morgane Charre (FRA)
Silver Emmeline Ragot (FRA)
Bronze Manon Carpenter (GBR)
DH Jnr Men
Gold Loic Bruni (FRA)
Silver Richard Rude (USA)
Bronze Connor Fearon (AUS)
DH Jnr Women
Gold Holly Feniak (CAN)
Silver Tahnee Seagrave (GBR)
Bronze Danielle Beecroft (AUS)
World Cup Overall Ranking, 2012
1. Aaron Gwin (USA)
2. Greg Minaar (RSA) www.gregminnaar.com
3. Gee Atherton (GBR) www.athertonracing.co.uk
1. Rachel Atherton (GRB) www.athertonracing.co.uk
2. Emmeline Ragout (FRA)
3. Myriam Nicole (FRA)