"The off season is over; time to face the clock!"
After a 9 year hiatus the UCI Downhill Mountain Bike World Cup returned to Maribor, Slovenia, to kick off another year of racing. Back in 2010 Greg Minnaar came out victorious on a rain soaked course, becoming the first rider to win a World Cup on a complete carbon DH bike. 9 years later and the revolutions continue, this time, with mismatched wheel sizes. Let the racing begin!
3rd place to start the year for Kye A’Hern. Can he contend for the Junior title as the year unfolds?
Fresh onto the circuit and already making a name for himself, Trek Factory Racing’s Ethan Shandro grabbed second place in his debut World Cup appearance.
3rd place for Tracey Hannah to kick off the season. In the thick of the points standings, can Hannah take a win later in the year and best the two British racers ahead of her?
2nd place for the defending champ Rachel Atherton in Maribor. A great result for most, Atherton wants nothing but the win and will be fighting harder than ever to get back on top.
Start as you mean to go on! Tahnee Seagrave put down a flyer in finals to grab the win and the leaders jersey! Heading into Fort William, the battle amongst the top women will be one to watch!
After missing an entire year of racing due to multiple collarbone breaks, it was great to see GT Factory Racing’s George Brannigan back on track and going fast!
One of the many riders to switch teams prior to the 2019 season, Reece Wilson looked strong all weekend on his new Trek Factory Racing rig! 12th was an impressive start to the year for the young Scott, how will he fare in Fort William in just over a month’s time?
Looking comfortable on his new Scott from the get go, Dean Lucas secured a solid 11th place finish.
MS Mondraker’s Laurie Greenland looked fast in finals to land in 9th. A good start but Greenland will be wanting more in the next few rounds.
When the rain came down right before qualifying, Mark Wallace handled the conditions better than the rest, grabbing the spotlight and qualifying 1st. Come finals Wallace was a bit off the pace early on in finals but fought back and landed in 8th. There’s more to come from the Canyon Factory Racing rider!
Impressively fast in some early pre season races, there was a buzz around American Charlie Harrison heading into #1. Living up to the hype, Harrison laid it all on the line in finals to finish a career best 4th place!
No matter the track or the conditions, it seems Troy Brosnan is always there; 3rd place to start the season puts Brosnan right in the thick of the championship battle.
So close! Danny Hart lived up to his reputation and bounced through the rock garden to the elation of the fans on the way to a second place finish, less than 0.5 from the win! All eyes will be on him in Fort William.
All hail Super Bruni! Keeping his rainbow jersey clean, Bruni laid down a perfect run on the challenging Maribor track to take the win and an early season points lead. 2019 is set to be another epic year of racing, and we can’t wait!
Photos: Sven Martin + Boris Beyer