State of play: UCI World Cup DH

With just two rounds remaining, things are hotting up in the 2013 season...
Another podium for Blenki © Sven Martin/Red Bull Content Pool
By Ric McLaughlin

Just Leogang, Austria and Hafjell, Norway lie between the world's fastest racers and the finishing post. The World Champs is done and dusted - some got what they were after, others left with a point to prove. Here's how things stand;

01 Atherton leads Smith. Just.

Two hundred points sounds like a lot, but in the high stakes card game of navigating push bikes down mountain sides quicker than the next man, it isn't really. With 250 points up for grabs for a win, it's still all to play for at the top. Neither had great Worlds so expect a lot of 'venting' to be directed into the pursuit of the overall.

02 The mighty have fallen.

Some of the established big names, for various reasons, have slumped this season. Aaron Gwin is back in 14th, Brook Macdonald with his gammy shoulder is 10th and 2011's World Champ, Danny Hart, is 16th.

03 The consistent have risen.

All hail South America's finest! Marcelo Gutierrez is 8th in the world. Likewise, consistency and a deft avoidance of injuries see Bruni, Hannah and Thirion in 5th,6th and 7th respectively.

Hard work, raw speed and the ability to keep it on the island seems to have paid off.

04 Quietly does it.

Sams Hill and Blenkinsop have been going about their business in a quiet, understated fashion this year. Hill looks like a new, old rider, if you know what we mean? Under Nigel Page's relaxed stewardship he's looked devastatingly fast. Blenkinsop climbed to fourth at the Worlds and currently sits just outside the top 10 in the overall.

05 Catch him whilst he's fast.

We've heard gathering momentum behind the rumours that Greg Minnaar is to retire at the end of the season. The proviso was that he would do so if he won the Worlds in his home town, Pietermaritzburg, which he duly smashed. Are we really set to lose one of the sport's true greats?

Can you really retire if Steve Peat's in your team?! Expect a hard charge to the finish line at Hafjell no matter what.

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