The best race season... ever?

Everything you need to know. Read on for the most exciting maths you’ll do since your GCSEs/O-levels (delete as age dictates).

As you probably know, the World Cup Downhill Series – both the Men’s and the Women’s – is heading for an unavoidably dramatic and hopefully epic final round this weekend. The current overall standings at the top are closer than they’ve been for years.

More often than not, the overall winner has already er, won by now. Not for 2017.

downhill world cup winning runs

Aaron Gwin (Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool)

What you may not actually know is just how the UCI World Cup points system works. What’s the points difference between 1st and 2nd place? Can Gwin finish off the podium and still stand a chance of winning the overall? Is there nay way that Minnaar can play it safe, play the numbers?

And did you know that racers get points for their qualifying time as well as their race day time?

How the UCI World Cup DH points system works

As we just mentioned, the modest amount of points available during qualifying will be just as aggressively fought over as the race day points themselves.

There’s unlikely to be any tactical ‘safe’ qualifying runs put in by the top three guys. Qualifying will be a race in itself.

Qualifying points

1st = 50 pts
2nd = 40 pts
3rd = 30 pts
4th = 25 pts
5th = 22 pts
6th = 20 pts
7th = 18 pts
8th = 17 pts
9th = 16 pts
10th = 15 pts

Race day points

1st = 200 pts
2nd = 150 pts
3rd = 140 pts
4th = 125 pts
5th = 110 pts
6th = 95 pts
7th = 90 pts
8th = 85 pts
9th = 80 pts
10th = 75 pts

2017 UCI MTB Downhill World Cup Men’s current standings

1st = Greg Minnaar: 932 pts
2nd = Aaron Gwin: 899 pts
3rd = Troy Brosnan: 855 pts
4th = Danny Hart: 641 pts
5th = Jack Moir: 593 pts

So who can still win the Men’s?

Only three people can still mathematically win: Greg Minnaar, Aaron Gwin and Troy Brosnan.

Minnaar and Gwin are separated by a mere 33 pts.

If Gwin qualifies 1st (getting 50 pts) and Minnaar qualifies 3rd (getting 30 pts) – a not unlikely prediction – Gwin will only be lagging the overall by 13 points!

As for Troy, admittedly Brosnan’s chances aren’t great as he pretty much needs Minnaar and Gwin not to finish on a podium spot. But it is still mathematically possible.

And who knows, maybe Gwin and Minnaar may puncture or crash (as they have done this season) leaving the overall to be snatched by a clean run from Brosnan?

Nobody mention the weather. Remember Lourdes? No one wants the series decided by rain.

Our prediction


As much as we all would love to see the GOAT romance of a Minnaar victory (not to mention what that would do for wheel size fights) and a Brosnan against-all-odds victory would be memorable to say the least, there’s not much arguing against the fact that Aaron Gwin is simply the best rider.

world cup downhill winning runs

Myriam Nicole (Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool )

2017 UCI MTB Downhill World Cup Women’s current standings

1st = Myriam Nicole: 1190 pts
2nd = Tracey Hannah: 1080 pts
3rd = Tahnee Seagrave: 1044 pts
4th = Rachel Atherton: 777 pts
5th = Emilie Siegenthaler: 757 pts

So who can still win the Women’s?

As with the Men, it’s a three horse race: Myriam Nicole, Tracey Hannah and Tahnee Seagrave.

146 points separates the top 3.

So it’s not as close as the Men’s but often the Women’s races have more incident and upset than the Men’s so it’s even more of a case that anything can happen.

And let’s not forget this is Val Di Sole. An infamously difficult track that is far from predictable.

If Nicole badly mechanicals or crashes then it comes down to Hannah vs Seagrave. There’s only 36 points separating those two. Factoring in the points on offer from qualifying into the mix… well, it’s all to play for.

Before the start of the season, you would have got good money on Rachel Atherton not appearing in this list. Such is her dominance of Women’s downhill racing in the modern era. Her infamous injury put paid to her chances this year. Watch out next year, is all we can say.

Our prediction


Although this kinds of also means that we’re wishing bad luck on Myriam Nicole, we really want to see a rider keep the Women’s Downhill overall title in British hands.

downhill world cup winning runs

Tahnee Seagrave training in the Surrey Hills

When is it on telly?

Well, when is it being streamed on Red Bull‘s website…

Saturday August 26th

DH Women’s @ BST: 12pm

DH Men’s @ BST: 2pm

All the other 2017 Men’s Downhill World Cup winning runs so far

And just because we don’t need an excuse to watch World Cup winning runs at the best of times, here’s all the winning runs so far this season…

Rd1 Lourdes, France – Alexandre Fayolle’s winning run

AKA the odd one out. AKA the weather messes everything up. Not even Fayolle himself thought he’d be in the winning seat this season but that’s the way the ball bounces sometimes hey. Such was the surprise (and borderline irrelevance of Fayolle’s win) there doesn’t appear to be an official video for his winning run, so here’s a generic news roundup vid…

Rd2 Fort William, Scotland – Greg Minnaar’s winning run

The first ever World Cup Downhill win on 29in wheels. Not that the size of the wheels really seemed to matter when it came down to the GOAT reminding everyone that he really is the King of Scotland

Rd3 Leogang, Austria – Aaron Gwin’s winning run

Gwin and Leogang have history. A very glorious and storied history it is too. Huge stacks, chainless victories and this year’s run where nobody thought that Loris Vergier’s time was going to be beaten and the era of The Big Wheel had begun. Aaron had other ideas…

Rd4 Vallnord, Andorra – Troy Brosnan’s winning run

Somewhat unbelievably this was only Brosnan’s second ever World Cup win. A most welcome return to the top step that surely all true racing fans were delighted to see happen. Small wheels, small guy, big commitment…

Rd5 Lenzerheide, Switzerland – Greg Minnaar’s winning run

With this win Minnaar became the first man to win more than one World Cup this season. All eyes were arguably either on Brosnan to see if he could double-up on his Vallnord victory or on Gwin. Everyone kind of forgot about Greg. Again. Big mistake…

Rd6 Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada – Aaron Gwin’s winning run

What… the… heck… just… happened..?

Aaron Gwin dropped the mic but stayed upright on an already legendary race run down a lethally slippery Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup track.

Rd7 Val di Sole, Italy – August 26-27

Last year’s winner: Danny Hart.