The Best UCI DH World Champs runs ever

September 10th, 2016

By Andrew Dodd

The Best UCI DH World Champs – our favourite race runs of all time!

We are so excited about the World Champs happening this weekend in Val Di Sole – Italy – , so decided to check out our Best UCI DH World Champs runs from previous years.

Check them out below in all their glory – and let us know which run is your favourite in the comments at the bottom!

Best UCI DH World Champs

Danny Hart stood on top of the podium at Lenzerheide earlier this year – will we see him in this position on Sunday? Photo | Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool

Sam Hill | Val Di Sole, Italy | 2008

Widely regarded as the roughest and gnarliest downhill track to race on, the Italian track was instantly loved by the racers, despite the huge amount of crashes and bike components destroyed.

Yet again, Sam Hill removed himself from the same thinking as the other riders, and was clearly willing to lay it all down on the line and really let the bike go to put in a storming race time. I remember chatting to Will Longden about this race, and he told me that watching the fast riders hit the last section of woods before the course spat the riders out in to open was the coolest thing he’d ever seen – and it made him realise that downhill racing had really stepped up several notches.

Rob Warner’s commentary alone makes Sam Hill’s race run exciting, but the sheer speed he attacks the course is just frightening.

Unfortunately for Sam, he binned it on the penultimate turn just seconds from the line – scuppering his chances of taking the win. Still to this day, it’s one of the greatest – yet unluckiest race runs ever.

Certainly one of the best UCI DH World Champs runs of all time.

 

Rachel Atherton | Val Di Sole, Italy | 2008

These days we’re used to seeing Rachel Atherton on the top box, but 2008 was the year when it really started coming together for Rachel – aged just 21.

Having already secured the overall World Cup title, Rachel approached the World Champs with the same focus and commitment she is now renowned for. And she became the first British woman to take the rainbow stripes and become World Champion – by a huge margin.

For us, this is one of the best UCI DH World Champs runs ever as it’s a milestone for the incredible career that Rachel has had since.

 

Steve Peat | Canberra, Australia | 2009

Every year at the World Champs, all eyes would be on Steve Peat – the UK’s most supported rider of all time. And Canberra was no different – Peaty is the rider we all want to win.

We went to the pub the night before this race and chatted about who could take the win – and we all thought Peaty had a chance, but favoured the power house riders like Mick Hannah on this track as it was quite flat and had a lot of pedalling.

However, rumour was going round that Peaty was on form, and he looked amazing on course putting in a time that stuck him in the hot seat – a place he’s been sat many times over the years.

As the riders dropped in, no one was getting faster and even Minnaar was a smidge off pace – putting in a time just +0.05 slower! Gee was last man down, and couldn’t match Peaty’s time- making Steve Peat the fastest man on the hill, and taking the Gold medal we’d all wanted him to win so much!

Peaty’s victory in Canberra is probably the most celebrated moment in downhill racing ever and for that reason is one of our best UCI DH World Champs of all time.

Steve Peat 2009 Downhill World Champion! from Santa Cruz Bicycles on Vimeo.

 

Danny Hart | Champery, Switzerland | 2011

On arguably the toughest course on the circuit due to it’s insanely steep gradient, Danny Hart put a time in on a wet course that will never be forgotten. He didn’t just take a convincing win and give a lesson on text book bike riding – it was complete annihilation.

On the course that riders struggle just to get down, let alone putting in a time Danny cleaned it and even fitting in a huge whip on the jumps near the bottom – before sailing through the line 11.69 seconds faster than the nearest competitor, Damian Spagnolo. Danny schooled the whole elite field, and the second he came through the line he knew it.

Will we see Danny Hart on this form at the 2016 World Champs?

We bloody hope so! When the going gets wild – never count the Redcar Rocket out! We want to see Danny Hart deliver another one of the best UCI DH World Champs runs!

 

Neko Mulally | Hafjell, Norway |  2014

With commentators Rob Warner and Nigel Page having written him off the second they spotted his chain had snapped right out of the start gate, it really does go to show that in racing, it really isn’t over until it’s over…

With a flawless display of bike handling, and not a whole lot of braking – the young American put in an incredible run that beat several of the worlds best riders – and managed an incredible 4th place!

For the sheer fact that others would have given up, this is one of the very best UCI DH World Champs runs of all time. No question.

 

Loïc Bruni | Valnord, Andorra | 2015

With a phenomenal season building his pace, Loïc Bruni’s confidence was growing – though he narroly missed out on bagging a World Cup podium all season.

However, Loïc’s calm, methodical and confident approach to riding suggested that he was building up to something all year – and on the Andorran course he put down a staggering run and took a very well deserved Gold medal.

Such a great run – and so good to see such a loved rider earn his stripes!


 

Which is your all time favourite World Champs run?

Let us know in the comments section below!

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