Ratboy quitting? Gwin cursed? Motor doping? What next for Greenland?
Away from the victories there was plenty of incident and rumour thrown up at Val di Sole. Here’s the goss that we’re all gabbing about (instead of getting on with some proper work)…
1. Was this the toughest World Champs ever?
Certainly we think it probably is. 2011 was another challenging year – Danny Hart’s other World Champs winning run – but that was more to do with slippery wet track than anything outright dangerous.
2016 UCI Val Di Sole – Crashes
Watch: Val di Sole crash compilation video
A dustbowl Val di Sole was clearly brutal on the racers and their bikes. Crashes galore, at least one concussed rider, numerous punctures and one infamous broken rear wheel (Gwin). It wasn’t exactly Cairns was it?
2. Is Aaron Gwin cursed?
In a logical world Aaron Gwin would have won a World Champs by now. He so utterly dominates the World Cup series that his No.1 ranking isn’t queried by anyone. And yet his trophy cupboard still has that glaring chasm in it.
Gwin’s wait not really like Steve Peat’s prolonged wait to get the Rainbow Stripes – Peaty was never the World Cup dominator in the way Gwin is – but Gwin is just going to have to wait another year to try again. And each time the pressure will build.
3. Will anyone ever equal Rachel Atherton’s 2016 season?
Watch: Rachel Atherton’s winning run POV helmetcam vid
4. Is Josh Bryceland about to quit racing?
Commentator Claudio Caluori live on air said this: “I had a discussion with him this week and er,he’s actually pulling out from racing and the reason for that is because he’s concerned a lot about his CO2 footprint.” Is this a classic bit of Ratboy mickey-taking or is it for real? Bryceland’s season hasn’t been up to previous standards but it seems a bit rash to retire rather than try to improve for 2017.
5. When will Red Bull TV sort out its streaming?
Come on guys! Bernard Kerr’s amazing run went practically unseen due to stuttering and stalled footage. It’s difficult to complain about a free-to-watch service but, er… we just have. Sorry! It’s also all too easy to not realise you’re watching a buffered not-quite-live stream and accidentally refresh the page and suddenly skip forward several minutes.
6. Will Great Britain overtake France as most winningest World Champ nation?
It’s going to take some time to overcome the lead set by Nico Vouilloz (7 World Champs) and Anne Caroline Chausson (9 World Champs) but you never know. In terms of wins France has 11 World Champs wins in Men’s and 14 World Champs in Women’s. Great Britain has 5 wins in Men’s and 6 in Women’s. So it’s going to take some time but with four GB riders in the Men’s top 10 and 2 in the Women’s, it’s feasible.
7. Will everyone’s bikes get longer now?
Mondraker bikes took all three spots on the Men’s podium. This is an unheard of result for a bike company. Perhaps it was due to the super gnarly and steep nature of the Val di Sole track but there was no getting away from the fact that Mondraker riders – on their super-long Forward Geometry bikes – looked more planted on the rough sections than other riders on the hill did.
8. Was Greenland’s 2nd place result a one off or a sign of things to come?
Laurie Greenland, the 19 year old from Bristol, was in the hot seat for an awful long time after posting the most impressive run of the whole weekend. We expected a great run from Danny hart – and we got it – but Greenland’s run was something special and unexpected. Can he take this success into 2017? Or will it be another case of a World Champs one-off?
9. What was that engine noise in the background?
Roll-your-eyes time. YouTube is already full of commenters on the World Champs’ vids stating that that engine noise you can hear when racers first enter the woodland section is the noise of a hidden motor in the racers’ bicycles.
That noise was actually a chainsaw (with the chain removed) being revved by a spectator just out of shot of the cameras. Chainless chainsaws have become ‘the new cowbell’ for DH spectators.