The mixed wheel size reigns supreme in Slovenia, as half the UCI World Cup season is now completed. In a single weekend.
In what might become the strangest DH World Cup season in history, two back-to-back rounds of racing in Slovenia have finally populated the points table, allowing contenders for the overall title to emerge.
With a radically condensed calendar and double-header format, we are now halfway through the scheduled season of events, after two dramatic races in Maribor.
The rider who mastered a typically wet autumn course in Maribor better than all rivals, was Frenchman Loris Vergier. With two wins, he now leads the World Cup points table from Matt Walker, with Thibault Daprela in third place. Defender champion. Loic Bruni, is in fourth place.
Reece Wilson was unable to repeat his remarkable mud-riding World Championship form in Maribor. After setting the standard in round one qualifying, he crashed and missed the remainder of the weekend’s racing.
Vergier will now travel to Portugal with confidence, hoping for slightly less moist track conditions when the final two 2020 World Cup rounds commence in Lousã, over the bridging weekend that links October into November.
Syndicate bikes out front
Santa Cruz will be silently thrilled at how the abridged UCI World Cup season is progressing. Thanks to a typically solid supporting performance by their legendary team leader, Greg Minnaar, Santa Cruz’s Syndicate is atop the UCI team points table too.
An interesting aspect of Vergier’s dominance in Slovenia, was the configuration of his Santa Cruz V10 race rig. Although teammate Minnaar can claim responsibility for popularising and proving the concept of 29ers in DH racing, incidentally also the wheel size that Reece Wilson won his World Championship on in Leogang, Santa Cruz’s fastest rider is on a mullet bike.
Vergier is quite a bit shorter than Minnaar and has opted to ride a Santa Cruz V10 MX, which rolls a 29” front wheel and 27.5” at the rear. Offering the terrain rollover benefits of a bigger wheel up front, with the rear-end adjustability and cornering agility of a 27.5” wheel at the rear, mullet bikes appear the ideal configuration for DH racing.