This has been taken from our newsletter. Sign up for our newsletters here to receive this in your inbox before each DH and EDR World Cup.


Downhill World Cups got a makeover for 2023 with the new organiser (ESO Sports) and broadcaster (Warner Bros Discovery).

So far this year we’ve seen three of the season’s eight downhill races. Since the last round in Val di Sole, there’s been a lengthy break to ponder what’s happened and what’s coming up.

In the run-up to World Champs this week, we’ve made some notes (below) about the downhill races we’ve already seen, the ones coming up and some random stuff too, with photos by Boris Beyer and Sven Martin.

Hope you enjoy it.


James and the Misspent Summers team

AT LENGTH: Downhill Mid-Season Randoms

  • DH World Cup so far: Things kicked off in June in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, with the first new-look DH WC showing off the changes to course marking (out with waist-height plastic tapes and ski-style poles, in with ankle-height reusable, unbreakable netting and little poles), the new MTB World Series branding (looks great in our opinion), new commentary team, and the new qualifying>semi-final>final format
  • Dude, where’s my tune? Have national anthems disappeared from World Cup podiums or were we napping? (Point1Athletic tells us yes, gone: ‘For once you weren’t snoozing – the organisers are testing a quicker, slicker podium ceremony’)
  • The series leaders after three rounds are Jackson Goldstone (elite men), Camille Balanche (elite women), Bodhi Kuhn (junior men), Lisa Bouladou (junior women)
  • Rankings and points for all disciplines here
  • Youth vs experience: Jordan Williams and Jackson Goldstone, both first-year elite men fresh out of the junior ranks, won two thirds of the first part of the season and humbled their peers in the process. The other first-time male winner was Andreas Kolb, who at 27 is clearly still on an upward trajectory
  • Tangent: Did you know Kolb used to compete in slopestyle skiing? He told us he couldn’t imagine skiing without music in one ear but would never dream of riding his downhill bike with headphones and music – different vibe, apparently. Pretty sure there’s a story in this if someone wants to write it for us
  • Anyway, meanwhile in elite women, Rachel Atherton took the first win of the season and her 40th career World Cup victory, with the story making it into the news. Then Vali Höll finally won at home in Leogang (she grew up just the other side of the mountain) after a streak of bad luck in previous races there. She then backed it up in Val di Sole with a second win on the trot
  • With all the format and course-marking changes this year, could some well-practiced elites be on a slight back foot as they adapt precisely crafted routines to the new way of doing things?
  • Wonders of live TV: The infamous ‘She said fu**ing*’ hot mic moment after a Vali Höll interview in Leogang was quality entertainment
continued below… 
  • Online commenters’ dreams have been answered with the return of Rob Warner commenting (but not commentating) on World Cups in the new Red Bull show, ‘Beyond the Lines’, where he, Eliot Jackson and Emily Batty discuss and analyse recent downhill and cross-country races. In episode one, they interview Nino Schurter and Rachel Atherton after their incredible Lenzerheide wins, plus they invite Vali Höll and Andreas Kolb into the studio after their wins in Austria. Quality viewing. Watch it here
  • PS, Rachel Atherton’s phone-in interview during the show is brilliant – straight up, full of energy and insight and spoken from the heart
  • We counted up to 20 TV camera angles per run at Val di Sole in a wholly non-precise survey. That included four fixed cameras (i.e., no camera operator – think GoPro on a pole) and one drone. For context, the French national championships were broadcast on national TV and had about 17 camera angles, four of which were fixed position ones. Crankworx Whistler had about 20 including a drone. All three courses were roughly the same length (fastest time about 3.5 mins)
  • One racer mentioned to us that the drone in Val di Sole followed him so closely in a slow, twisty section that he thought the noise was something broken on his bike. Apart from that, we’ve been loving the camera work and most of the drone footage has been slick
  • Scorching speed: If one thing sticks in our minds from the first few downhill World Cups of the year, it’s the sheer intensity of race runs. Riders push the limits of every aspect – sprinting flat out, braking late, braking hard, not braking, pumping, sending, smashing, wrenching, tucking down every inch of the track. It’s nuts
  • If you didn’t get the memo, Scotland is hosting the Cycling World Championships starting this week. The event brings the 13 cycling World Champs events (enduro isn’t one of them yet) and thousands of athletes together in one area. Many of the events are based around Glasgow and Edinburgh; cross-country stuff is in the Tweed Valley. All the events are listed on the Scotland Cycling World Championships website
  • Downhill Worlds is of course up the road in the one and only Fort William. Will it have more spectators than the countless thousands that filled Les Gets with noise and chaos in 2022? Come on folks, get yourselves up there
  • But will it be greenwashed? We watched a bit of BMX Freestyle World Cup recently and the British Cycling team had Shell (the oil company) logos all over their jerseys. Read about British Cycling and Shell here
  • As noted in a chat on Bernard Kerr’s Hardline vlog hereRob Warner emailed the BBC (which has the UK broadcast rights) asking to commentate Fort William for free because he loves it that much
more below…
  • Anyway, we’ll send out a Worlds-specific Notes email later this week. Back to random stuff:
  • 2024 World Cup schedule: It’s a bit rough around the edges, but you can get an idea what the 2024 Mountain Bike World Series will look like in this 2024 UCI calendar. Good times and lots of racing – including nine rounds of World Cups in enduro, downhill and cross-country plus World Champs in each discipline
  • Crankworx Whistler last week saw the first race on the Stevie Smith legacy track, 1199 (named for the number of points Smith accumulated in his World Cup series winning year, 2013). Everyone seemed to love the track and its mix of fast stuff, big jumps and tech. Watch the event replay here
  • Could 1199 host a future BC-based World Cup? Probably not in 2024 at least as the three rumoured North American races in Sep-Oct are back-to-back and word is they’ll be East Coast USA and Mont-Sainte-Anne to create a semi-convenient travel schedule. Does Whistler want a World Cup though?
  • Loudenvielle hosted an Enduro World Series in 2022 and this year it adds downhill to the line-up for the next EDR and DH World Cup event in late August. The town recently hosted a test event to run-in the brand-new downhill course. The track is long (4+ minutes) and riders seemed to love it. The trail crew will make some updates based on rider feedback before the race. Check out Loic Bruni’s course preview here
  • Total tangent, but a change to the UCI MTB rule book this year means racers can use outside comms: ‘The use of radio links or other remote means of communication with riders is forbidden except at UCI World Cups and subject to UCI authorisation.’ The final detail was added to the rules in Jan 2023 – rumours saying it’s so team communications can be added to the broadcast in the future. Has anyone asked permission?
  • After Worlds, the next DH World Cup is in Andorra 24-27 August. Apparently it will be on the same course as used in 2022 but it sounds like there will be some positive changes, including getting rid of the final (highly dangerous) bridge crossing into the finish area
  • We need your help: We’ve just claimed our Trustpilot profile and could do with a minute of your time. Reviews reassure new customers that we are real people who care about our products and getting them out in the world. Please take a moment to rate us and let other people know about your experience buying stuff we make. Good or not so good, it all helps us improve and assures other people that we’re doing our best. Rate us here
  • If you fancy hearing a bit more about Misspent Summers, listen in to our recent Downtime Podcast episode here
  • Any feedback, thoughts or info always much appreciated – just reply to this email
  • Thank you for reading and see you later this week with a Worlds-based newsletter!
Misspent Summers logo MTB books  

All rights reserved.

Misspent Summers is an international group of journalists, photographers, designers and dropouts producing mountain biker stuff positively and responsibly. Visit us online at or in person at Finale Work Space.

Get in touch by email:
[email protected] / [email protected]

Want to receive these emails?
You can sign up for our newsletters here.

Misspent Summers MTB books


Sign up to our newsletters for fun times, exclusive content, regular discounts, competitions and insight.

We’d love you to join the gang.

Misspent Summers MTB books

Stay up to date on all things Misspent Summers by joining our mailing list. We’ll send you discount codes and ask your input to help make our company and products better. Plus, we’ll send you stories, comment and insight you won’t find anywhere else.