British Cycling have announced a relatively small team of riders to head to Mont Saint Anne for the 2019 UCI Downhill World Championships.
Twelve riders will head to Canada to represent Great Britain at the 2019 UCI Downhill World Championships in the perennial downhill venue of Mont Saint Anne.
This year’s British Cycling selection criteria are:
Elite Men – Riders competing in a World Cup Final finishing within the Top 20
Elite Women – Riders competing in a World Cup Final finishing within the Top 10.
Junior Men – Junior Men riders competing in a World Cup Final finishing within the Top 20 Junior Men and/or competing in a National Round finishing within the Top 3.
Junior Women – Junior women riders competing in a World Cup Final finishing within the Top 5 Junior Women’s category.
As well as considerations for:
7.2.2. Race Performances in 2019 UCI MTB DHI World Cup events in the following periods;
MTB DHI – 26th April 2019 and 22nd July 2019
Race performances at the 2018 Mont St Anne UCI DHI World Cup
As ever, there has been riders who have made the cut that some will feel shouldn’t have, and riders that have been left out that maybe should be getting on the plane.
There is absolutely no question that Danny Hart should be heading to Canada and donning a GB Team jersey.
The wildman from Redcar has found consistency this year and hasn’t been out of the top 5 at any round bar Les Gets where he came 49th. He’s also the current British National Downhill Champion and a double World Champs winner in the past.
In the last three World Cup visits to Mont Saint Anne, he’s not been off the podium with two 3rds and a 1st.
We’re just going to say it. Danny Hart will be your 2019 UCI Downhill World Cup Champion.
Currently the second highest ranked British World Cup rider Laurie not only took an emphatic victory at Val di Sole, he’s had a fourth and two other top ten results in 2019.
Laurie has also had a World Championship silver medal at Val di Sole, coming in just behind his then MS Mondraker team mate Danny Hart.
With all that in mind, Laurie was a dead cert for making the Worlds team in 2019.
Matt Walker is your third highest-ranked British World Cup rider and has two top 10s to his name in 2019. A 5th in Maribor and a 7th in Fort William, despite coming to a violent stop at the National Series round a few weeks before the latter in Scotland.
Matt is a genuine medal contender if he gets his head into the Mont Saint Anne track.
Bernard Kerr has had four top twenties at the 2019 World Cups, so has met the criteria set out by British Cycling.
He has, however, sat out the Val di Sole and Lenzerheide World Cups due to cracking a bone in his hand. Mont Saint Anne is a heavy one on the contact points and he hasn’t been at a World Cup since mid-July.
We’re very much hoping Bernard proves us wrong and goes and smashes it though…
The second Scot on this list, Greg Williamson has had three top 20s of the four rounds raced. Greg is a genuine top 10 rider when his head is screwed on right and he’s up to pace.
Sadly, he didn’t qualify in Maribor and barely qualified in Les Gets. He has also missed last two rounds as he recovers from the effects of a delayed concussion.
Let’s hope he’s up to speed in Canada and gets himself to the sharp end.
The downhill world went collectively mad when Brendan bagged a sixth spot in finals at the Les Gets World Cup. Arguably one of the busiest and most stylish riders on the planet was back at the pointy end of the World Cup circuit after a hiatus.
Brendan didn’t race Fort William or Leogang as he recovered from injury, and after that blistering result in France, he’d fail to qualify in Lenzerheide.
If Brendan is good at old school tracks though, there’s nothing that has been around longer than Mont Saint Anne.
Despite recovering from an AC joint injury, Tahnee Seagrave was on fire at the start of the season, has won Worlds medals in the past and is a genuine contender for a medal if she can get up to speed quickly in Canada.
With Rachel Atherton out recovering from her Achilles rupture, Tahnee is the sole rider who will be taking on Tracy Hannah and Marine Cabirou for the 2019 UCI Downhill Championship title. Can Tahnee finish off a forgettable season with the Rainbow Stripes?
Luke Williamson has consistently found himself inside the top 10 at the World Cups as a Junior as well as being well inside the top 3 multiple times at Nationals despite only being a first year Junior.
Regardless of whether or not Luke brings home a medal, he’ll have no small amount of experience going into the 2020 champs.
Consistency hasn’t been Luke Mumford’s strength in 2019 so far, certainly not like his namesake above. However, long, rough tracks are clearly his thing, bagging a second at the National in Fort William, followed by a second at the same venue at the World Cup.
If Luke can turn his hand to the Mont Saint Anne track, he’s got a real shout at a medal.
Jamie Edmondson has the luxury of being on a top factory team and is the only Junior male on the squad to have won a National, as well as bagging a two top 10s at the World Cups, one being a podium.
With that in mind, Jamie is likely our best chance at a Worlds medal based on his 2019 results to date.
Who should have made the team?
It’s sad that Gee Atherton’s two top 20s late in the 2019 World Cup season have been the sole reason for his absence from the 2019 GB Worlds Team, despite being currently the 5th highest ranked British World Cup rider.
Gee is a multiple World Championship winner and arguably has a better chance of bagging a medal than some of the riders that feature in this list. He was also 8th at Mont Saint Anne last year, which would indicate that might not be a consideration at all.
Is this history repeating itself? Read our article from last year’s Worlds team selection here.
Despite being a somewhat controversial Downhill National Champion, Stacey Fisher won’t be going to Mont Saint Anne.
That might not be entirely surprising with the emphasis on World Cup results in the selection criteria. Stacey currently hasn’t raced a World Cup and competes at the Nationals as a senior, despite being very competitive indeed.
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