Crystal Ball: Who will be the next DH Winner? Nerd Alert.
Who will be the next first time World Cup winner? Most recent winners who are still actively racing (in order based on the year they got their first win), this is mostly to display how rare a new winner is!: 2001: Goat Minnaar 2004: Gee Atherton
2005: Sam Hill (including him since he raced one world cup last season, and because Sam fuckin' Hill!)2006: Mik Hannah 2008: Samuel Blenkinsop 2010: Marc Beaumont 2011: Aaron Gwin (side note: imagine if Gwin can stick to the same consistency/longevity as Minnaar, that means he will still be racing, winning, and not announcing retirement plans in 2027!)
2012: Brook MacDonald, Steve Smith (RIP)2013: Remi Thirion 2014: Troy Brosnan 2016: Bruni, Hart 2017: Fayolle A quick count shows only 12 riders who are actively racing who have previously stood atop the podium. Of those 12, I believe only 5 of them (Minnaar, Gee, Gwin, Brosnan, Hart) have won multiple times. You can slide Bruni in if you count World Champs. Of course Fayolle's was aided by the weather, but he is not god, this is not the Truman Show, and racing is racing. Based on this, and the memory of Minnaar/Gwin near domination of the past season (weather and mechs not withstanding), Brosnan's consistency, and the other previous winners as wildcards themselves, I find it hard to believe we'll get more than one new rider (if that even) on this list for 2018. Here's my list, in order, of who I think might make this list a baker's dozen in 2018! I've got a top three in order, plus one wildcard and one wish. 1. Vergier - Keep an eye on him, especially at Leogang, where even he was able to scare Gwin with how he tackled the first turn. A great team dynamic and loads of experience and advice from Mr. Minn will help too.Looking at the 2017 results, he was the top ranked rider not already on the winner's list, in 5th place. 2. Greenland - Let cooler heads prevail; so much natural skill, yet never seems to let the pressure affect him. Always fun and wild to watch. I think back to Worlds '16 with glee. As great as Danny is, I'm not sure how well they worked together as teammates. Not saying it didn't work--just never saw much either way. Maybe the new yet to be announced Mondraker team will be to his benefit. He finished the season in 9th place overall, behind only some of the names above, and Mark Wallace. 3. Moir - '17 season saw a return to form and ultra consistency from this tall man. Will more time and experience on the new Intense ride be enough to give him that extra bit of margin?He actually finished above Greenland at the end of the season, in 7th place overall. Wildcard: Finnley Iles - He's been preparing for the 2018 season for a long, long time. We have been waiting for him a long, long time. While Vital rightfully shines a spotlight on #USDH prospects, Canadians have been waiting on Finn. Will he rise to the occasion immediately, or marinate and see steady improvement race to race before winning one in a couple seasons? Maybe not as likely, but boy would I love it: Adam Brayton - He's put in the time, he's dealt with injuries, he's returned from those injuries, he has great stories from those injuries, he's a blast to watch, he has a great nickname, a great accent, and he invented cross fit.