Our Pick of the Best of the 2022 Downhill World Cup Season.

The 2022 World Cup season once again showed that World Cup downhill is the absolute business with each round better than the last.

With the dust settling after the World Cup finals in Val di Sole, we take a look back at our favourite moments from this year’s top tier downhill season.

In no particular order…

Photo by Bartek Wolinski / Red Bull.

Finn Iles wins on home turf

Finn Iles had the perfect weekend in Mont Saint Anne, qualifying first and taking the win despite losing his chain at between the final split and the finish line. He’d be over a second up at the final split but lose almost all of that advantage, taking his maiden World Cup win on home soil.

Louise Ferguson taking 4th in Leogang

Easily one of the best all-round riders out there right now, we were more than stoked to see our pal Louise cruise her way onto the podium at the Leogang World Cup despite only aiming to qualify for finals this year.

We could not be happier for this legend.

SuperBruni

Loic Bruni once again proved that you cannot count him out at World Champs. Four titles to his name going into Worlds on home turf, he’d make everyone look utterly pedestrian in comparison going almost four up on Brosnan over the line.

Let’s not forget he damaged his shoulder in Snowshoe and separated it in Mont Saint Anne. A true champion’s win.

Ronan Dunne podiums in Snowshoe

The wildman of downhill, Ronan Dunne is pedal to the metal all the way. He’d tame the madness of the four pre-race Red Bulls and slot himself neatly between then World Champ Greg Minnaar and another man of the moment, Andreas Kolb on a track that offered very little in the way of traction.

Crowds back at World Cups

While every round of the UCI Downhill World Cup felt far more emotive with baying fans howling their encouragement at their favourite riders, Les Gets World Champs showed the sheer passion involved in downhill bicycle racing.

COVID-hit, spectator-less racing was the best we could hope for at one point but it’s so good to see the crowds back.

Nin Hoffman wins Fort William

You could almost tell Nina Hoffman was going to win in Fort William, there was just a vibe around her that exuded confidence. She’d qualify 8th with a flat having been comfortably up at the second and third split before the wind was stolen from her back wheel.

Unphased by this, she’d cross the line some fourteen seconds up on Vero Widmann who was occupying the hot seat. Balanche would come the closest to the flying German but was still 3.6 adrift.

Intense Primer 29 Leaderboard

Matt Walker wins his first World Cup

It’s hard to wrap your head around the fact that up until Leogang 2022, Matt Walker hadn’t won a World Cup, despite having been an overall series champion.

Despite getting loose on the huck into the woods after the motorway, he’d pip his former team mate Danny Hart into the hot seat, then capitalise on Benoit Coulanges maybe pushing that little bit too hard.

New names coming into form

2022 has been a great year for riders to have their breakout season. Ronan Dunne, Jess Blewitt, Andreas Kolb, Oli Zwar, Charlie Hatton, Dakotah Norton, Louise Ferguson and Henry Kerr all have a bright 2023 to look forward to.

Household names coming back to form

There was little better than seeing five-time World Cup champion Aaron Gwin on the pipe at Val di Sole. He was the first rider to look like he wasn’t phased by the blown-out mess that was the Black Snake. Let’s hope a long off season will see the superstar back on the box more regularly in 2023.

Troy Brosnan’s season started badly with a dislocated foot at the Aussie champs, but he’d be back bothering the podium as Mr. Consistent in true form.

Bernard Kerr is likely better known for being the King of Red Bull Hardline but 2022 was a year that saw him hassling the front runners at every race. While his season started in usual form, he built into an absolute heater at the final three rounds, with two fifths and a second.

Amaury Pierron is the king

The Commencal Muc-Off man has quietly gone about wedging himself into the list of all-time greats in 2022. Four World Cup wins in a season has only been bettered by one man, Aaron Gwin, but the Frenchman matches Sam Hill’s tally in one season.

With the rest of the pack falling foul of luck or pushing too hard, the big Frenchman would amass a points lead in the overall that few could match. Come the final round, he had one hand on the overall, only needing to qualify to put Finn Iles out of the running, the Canadian would end up not racing.

He now has ten World Cup wins, two overall titles to his name since 2018. Pierron now averages three World Cup wins a year…

Photo by Bartek Wolinski / Red Bull.

A true champion’s overall title for Camille Balanche

When things get tricky, you can bet your bottom dollar that Camille Balanche will profit. Think the grease of Snowshoe, Leogang and Lourdes… The thinking rider’s rider.

Despite missing Mont Saint Anne with an OTB to her collarbone in practice she would retain the leader’s jersey, have the collarbone plated, then go on to almost medal at World Champs a fortnight later. She’d then do enough to take the overall title in Val di Sole in a run that must have hurt big time.

Despite only racing the full World Cup circuit for three years, she has four World Cup wins, a Worlds title and a World Cup overall to her name. A class act.

Photo by Bartek Wolinski / Red Bull.

What did it for you at the World Cups this year? Let us know on our Facebook page.