The first round of the UCI Downhill World Cup is just days away at Maribor and our excitement levels have topped last weekend’s Easter sugar high.
It’s the racing that we’re going to be tuning in for at the weekend. We all want to see if Amaury Pierron is still on form at Maribor after his winning streak last year, or will Loic Bruni, Aaron Gwin or even Gee Atherton be down the hill first? What about Rachel Atherton, Tanhee Seagrave, and Vali Holl too?
But through the racing action, there are a few things that may have slipped you by that we think are worth keeping an eye out for at the Maribor World Cup such as.
The new Alloy Specialized Demo
Loic Bruni and Finn Iles are both racing on a new version of the Specialized Demo at Maribor, and perhaps the complete season, both riders are on alloy, not carbon bikes.
Apparently, after switching from a carbon bike to alloy, Loic Bruni actually prefers the feel of the alloy chassis, but will it be enough to carry him to a win at Maribor. Both of the new Specialized Demo race bikes are stunning to look at too, just check out the custom paint jobs they’ve had done.
TRP has been making waves in the UCI Downhill WC for a few years now, but at Maribor, we’re going to see more teams than ever using the companies powerful brakes AND TRP branded downhill drivetrains.
All last season Aaron Gwin was seen running a prototype TRP rear mech on his YT, but for 2019 more teams have joined the test program including Commencal 100%, the Intense Factory Team, and Scott. Full details of the TRP downhill drivetrain haven’t been released but it looks like it will be called the DH7.
Extra thick 2.3mm x 223mm rotors
Ok, so the chances of you noticing this on your TV are slim to none, but take our word for it, some of the teams are running larger and thicker discs this season.
The idea behind thicker discs originated from the increasing popularity in e-Bikes and the need for more powerful brakes, but after testing with Aaron Gwin last year, TRP has released the larger, thicker disc to more teams. What this could mean is faster times, later braking, not to mention intense stoppy action over the line.
Retro race kit
Intense Factory rider, Neko Mulally will be sporting retro kit inspired by Chris Kovarik’s Fox clothing back from 2002. You’ll notice though that Neko’s retro-inspired kit might be just as loud but it isn’t quite as baggy as the stuff we wore back in the early 2000’s
Cannondale’s Dual Shock, high pivot DH Bike
Oh, is Cannondale doing a downhill bike? It has 2 shocks you say?… Yes, we’ve already talked about the top-secret Cannondale downhill bike in some detail here, but the first round of the 2019 DH world cup in Maribor is where we could see it first turn a wheel in anger. Could the clever suspension set-up be just the ticket to get Cannondale back on a downhill podium after all these years? Let’s wait and see.
Danny Hart’s mismatched Myst
Danny Hart is one of the few riders we know for a fact will be running mismatched wheels for the first round of the WC. Danny has his Saracen Myst running a 29in wheel up front with a smaller 27.5in on the rear. Riders dabbled with the idea in the offseason, but due to a change in UCI rules they can now actually complete with odd wheel sizes.
Juliana She 10
We’re not sure if we’re going to see this bike actually raced at the weekend but we sure hope we do. This is the Juliana She 10, a custom version of the Santa Cruz V10 for Juliana rider Jamie Hill. Santa Cruz/Juliana don’t tend to change geometry for its women’s specific bikes, and we don’t expect much has changed on the She 10 other than the amazing flip paint.
Canyon Sender 29er
The Canyon Sender has been on sale for a few years now, but only as a 27.5in wheeled downhill race bike. At the first round of the 2019 WC, most of the Canyon Factory team will be on a modified 29er version of the Sender with special linkages. Only Troy Brosnan will race the 27.5in Canyon Sender, as he gets along with the smaller wheels better.
We’re all of course really interested to see just how well those UK made Atherton Bikes will do on the rocks and roots throughout the Maribor track. Apparently, Gee Atherton will be racing on the 5th prototype of the Atherton Bikes downhill bike for Maribor. What’s different about the 5th? We haven’t a clue, but we wish him and the rest of the Atherton Racing team good luck.
Vali Holl is still racing as a junior which is great news for Rachel Atherton and Tanhee Seagrave as she is FAST! In the European Cup at Maribor last week Vali won the junior round with a time of 3:43 which would have gotten her a 2nd at Elite level, just behind Tracey Hannah. For the 1st round of the WC, Vali is riding a 29er version of the YT Tues and we cannot wait to see her time compared to the Elite racers. One to watch for sure!