The legend returns to downhill racing after five successful years in the Enduro World Series
Sam Hill is a rider that needs no introduction. The phrase ‘foot out, flat out’ could have been coined expressly for him, and the flat-pedal champion who has a whopping eight world championship titles to his name is making a return to DH after a five year hiatus to race enduro.
This weekend the Australian racer will take his place on the UCI MTB Downhill World Cup start ramp at Lenzerheide. And it’s not just a one-off – he plans to race the whole 2023 Downhill World Cup season.
So why the return? First up, the man himself says it’s something he’s wanted to do for a while.
“I’ve always wanted to come back to downhill,” Hill says. “This time around it’s a new challenge, new focus and something to get excited about.”
We could also speculate that Hill might be on a mission to make the Australia national DH squad for the upcoming super World Championships which will be taking place across Scotland this August, including downhill in the legendary Fort William venue.
Hill will be racing with the Nukeproof-SRAM Factory Racing team, swapping his Nukeproof Mega enduro bike for the Nukeproof Dissent Carbon Downhill bike. The whole gang is getting back together as another essential member of the winning squad – Jacy Shumilak, Hill’s trusted mechanic – will be wielding the tools.
Hill isn’t the only athlete returning to downhill after an absence. Also gearing up will be Tahnee Seagrave after severe concussion took her out of play last season, and it’s great to see her back racing. Also looking strong is the one and only Rachel Atherton, back racing after the birth of her child.
What will this weekend at Lenzerheide hold, now that the event has a slightly different format? Will the addition of a competitive semi-final race change things up? We can’t wait to see.
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