The Famous Five
It’s amazing how one injury can change everything. Sidelined by a dislocated shoulder, Rachel Atherton’s stranglehold disappeared and everything changed.
Here are the five reasons why women’s World Cup DH will be the best racing of 2018. The reasons have names: Rachel Atherton, Myriam Nicole, Tahnée Seagrave, Nicole Siegenthaler and Miranda Miller.
While the overall title is probably ‘only’ a three-horse race – between Atherton, Seagrave and Nicole – the twin wildcards of up-and-coming Siegenthaler and current World Champ Miller will be aiming for a top spot or two during the course of the season.
1. The return of Rachel
There won’t be any rider more determined to win in 2018 than Rachel Atherton. After an injury put an end to her phenomenal winning streak she had to watch most of the 2017 race season from the sidelines. She even missed out on doing some fun stuff like the Red Bull Foxhunt. Behind that ever-present smile is no doubt a will to reassert her dominance.
2. The defending World Cup champ
You can never rule out whoever is the current World Cup champ. For 2018 the defending champ is Nicole ‘Pompon’ Nicole. She’s no doubt rather fed up with plenty of commenters saying that she only won in 2017 because Rachel was injured. She arguably has more of a point to prove than anyone else on this list.
3. The one that got away
In a lot of people’s minds – not least her own no doubt – Tahnée Seagrave should have won the World Cup DH overall this year (she did actually win more rounds than anyone else). And the World Champs should have been hers too for that matter. But fate conspired against her and she ended up with neither. Seagrave will want more than just “impressive results” for 2018. She wants a title, ideally two.
4. The surprise World Champion
No one expected Miranda Miller to win the 2017 DH World Champs – it was an event pretty much allocated to Tracey Hannah – but when everyone else around Miller went wrong she was left standing, on the top step of the podium. How those rainbow stripes affect her racing in 2018 will be fascinating to watch. Will the pressure be too much or will she up her game?
Stylish Swiss racer Emilie Siegenthaler definitely has the skills to win a World Cup or two in 2018. Her 2017 forté was on the more technical and steep tracks. With a good off-season of training and avoiding injury, hopefully Siegenthaler can pilot her Pivot to the top step of a podium next year.
All in all we can’t wait for the 2018 race season to begin. With five hugely talented riders battling it out the women’s World Cup DH is wide open and guaranteed to be a fascinating drama.