The 2015 UCI DH World Championships took place in September, offering the crowd an epic tournament with the world’s elite descending on Andover in a bid to claim the infamous rainbow stripes. Whilst the weather on race day was great there was a considerable amount of damage to the track following heavy rain in the weeks leadng up to the tournament and as such it was carnage for some of the competitors, making a tricky course even more challenging.
The championship ended with Josh Bryceland taking bronze, Greg Minnaar taking silver and Loïc Bruni taking gold and with it the rainbow stripes. Bruni has always been in contention with podium finishes but had always fallen at the final hurdle until this year where the Frenchman stormed to victory and will no doubt be a force to be reckoned with in 2016.
The dates for the 2016 UCI MTB World Cup have now been released, kicking off in April in Lourdes, France. Other notable dates of the season include the (XCO/XCE) UCI World Championships in the Czech Republic beginning in June and of course the Olympic Games in Rio in August and finishing off in September with the (DHI/4X) UCI World Championships in Italy.
With such an exciting season ahead of us there will be a few riders to keep an eye on.
He is considered one of the all-time greats and the first British rider to conquer the sport, offering inspiration to many others which has seen a huge increase in the number of British riders on the world’s stage competing for the very top prize.
Throughout his career he has clocked up the following achievements, making him one of the most celebrated athletes in the sport…ever:
- 2009 UCI DH World Champion
- 3 x World Cup Champ (2002, 2004 & 2006)
- 9 x British Champ
- 2 x European Champ
- 17 World Cup wins
- 52 World cup podiums
- 100 World Cup Races: as of Round #1 2012
Next year will also be the last time where we will get to see Steve Peat on the world stage, having announced his retirement last month so definitely one to watch whilst you get the chance as he will be looking to leave the sport on a high.
Fresh from taking the World Championship this year the expectation will be high for Loïc next year as he bids to retain his rainbow stripes.
He joined the world stage with a background better than most in that his father Jean-Pierre was a pioneer of the sport, therefore everything was set for him to become a household name in the sport from an early age.
In his first year he took a podium in the elite discipline whilst also taking the Junior World Championships and the following year finishing 4th overall in the elite championships and has progressed since to see the podium as a second home.
With a background of BMX and motocross Aaron is well versed in adrenaline sports and has chosen to specialise in downhill where he has excelled in the sport, taking the Mountain Bike World Cup in 2011 and setting a new record for the most wins in a single season and taking a the title once again in 2012. The 2013 season was rather disappointing but 2014 saw Aaron go down in history for pushing the boundaries of the sport in Leogang, Austria. Despite receiving a blow out and eventually losing out on the title he continued down the course and despite his tyre coming clean off he completed the course which drew praise from all corners of the sporting world.
With an appetite for success and an attitude which will not allow him to quit he is definitely one to watch in 2016.
2015 saw Rachel’s best year on the circuit, culminating in her nomination for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year. She dominated the World Cup series and took an unbelievable six golds out of seven whilst also taking both the National and World Championship titles.
One of the many things which Rachel has been credited with is raising the awareness of the sport and inspiring others to get involved, with her nomination for Sports Personality helping to further promote the sport and get the next generation of world champions involved.
To top her year off she was also voted as one of the Top 50 most Influential Women in Sport. In all not a bad year for Rachel, therefore 2016 is definitely a year to keep an eye on her.
2015 saw some fantastic rides and some big crashes and luckily Red Bull have put together a highlights reel showing the best from the season in this little video. We hope that 2016 will be even better and will be keeping an eye out for the guys and girls we have mentioned and wish them every success for the upcoming season.
If you’ve been inspired by the professionals to get out and experience mountain biking then check out the Golden Rules of Mountain Biking from I Love Bicycling.