We’ve seen almost more off-season action this year with team changes than we saw during the entire 2020 racing season, and the rumor mill has been buzzing pretty consistently since December. Now that the UCI has released its downhill team lists, we can take a look at all the team moves and try to anticipate what the 2022 World Cup race season might bring.
Luke Williamson, Ryan Brannen, Douglas Goodwill, KJ Sharp
555 Gravity Racing made its debut last year riding Commencals through a shop deal, but now Raaw has signed on to support the budding team in the upcoming season. That suggests that Raaw has a downhill bike in the works. With the new bike and the team’s addition of reigning national champion KJ Sharp, it looks to be an exciting year ahead.
Adam Rojcek, Robin Novotny, Simon Maurer, Hannes Lehmann, Leo Freund
Adam Rojcek and Robin Novotny return to the Banshee Racing Brigade for another year, and this time the two riders will be joined by German riders Simon Maurer and Hannes Lehmann and Austrian Leo Freund. It’ll be Leo’s first time racing World Cups as he joins the junior ranks, while the rest of the team will be racing in the elites.
Troy Brosnan, Jack Moir, Mark Wallace, Jakob Jewett, Luca Shaw
The Canyon Collective Factory Team is the first of several Canyon Collective teams. It remains pretty similar to last year, but without Kye A’Hern or Loris Revelli. Kye has moved on to the NS Bikes UR Team, while Loris will remain with Canyon on the Canyon Collective Pirelli team. The big addition here is Luca Shaw, over from the Syndicate. With Jack Moir on the roster but dominating in the EWS, we’re unlikely to see much of him at the World Cups, but he may make an appearance.
Tahnee Seagrave, Kaos Seagrave, Dennis Luffman, Phoebe Gale
The Seagraves’ branch of the Canyon Collective will stay identical to 2021, with British up-and-comer Phoebe Gale now having completed her first World Cup season. The team’s other young talent, Dennis Luffman, will be moving up to elites for 2022. Tahnee has had a few health problems throughout the off-season but is on track to be healthy for the race season, and Kaos will likely bring his signature style to some of the races as well.
Henri Kiefer, Loris Revelli, Dante Silva, Antoine Pierron, Slawomir Lukasik
The Canyon Collective Pirelli is the latest Collective team to be announced and will serve as the development team for the Canyon Collective conglomerate. American Dante Silva, German Henri Kiefer, Italian Loris Revelli, and Frenchman Antoine Pierron will take on the World Cup races, plus perhaps Slawomir Lukasik, who hasn’t confirmed his plans yet but will likely do some downhill races here and there alongside his EWS schedule.
Lluis Buide Castello, Pau Menoyo Busquets
The Commencal 21 team has been replaced by Commencal – Schwalbe, but will remain an all-Spanish outfit. Pau Menoyo Busquets has come over from Commencal 21 and will be joined by Lluis Buide Castello and new management for the same-same-but-different Commencal program. It’ll be Pau’s first season in the elites after a successful junior year that included a win at Leogang. Lluis Buide Castello is coming in as a first-year junior.
Angel Suarez Alonso, Thomas Estaque, Hugo Frixtalon, Greg Williamson, Mille Johnset
Williamson, Estaque, and Frixtalon will remain on the Commencal / 100% team, which will grow even stronger with the addition of Angel Suarez Alonso and Mille Johnset. Angel had a remarkably strong season in 2021 with a podium finish in Snowshoe. Mille also took a podium in 2021 with a fourth place in Les Gets, and only finished outside of the top 10 at one race.
Lisa Baumann, Alizes Lassus, Jack Piercy, Antoine Vidal
What started as an enduro team led by the Ravanels has become a UCI-registered downhill team, too. Lisa Baumann recently made the jump from cross country to enduro and clinched the Swiss enduro national championship, signalling good things to come as she further crosses into gravity riding. She and Antoine Vidal will take on the elites, while Alizes Lassus and Jack Piercy will cut their teeth in the juniors.
Thibaut Daprela, Tristan Lemire, Hugo Marini, Myriam Nicole, Amaury Pierron, Gaetan Ruffin, Thibaut Ruffin
The wildly successful Commencal / Muc-Off team keeps all the same riders for 2022, plus Hugo Marini and Thibaut Ruffin. After proving himself at French and European events over the last several years, Marini will have the chance to step things up a few notches for his first year in the juniors. Team owner Thibaut Ruffin has been added to the rider list, so it looks like he’ll continue playing a dual role of riding and managing. Despite a series of injuries and other setbacks, Thibaut Daprela, Amaury Pierron, and Myriam Nicole dominated in 2021 and they’ll want to keep that momentum, minus the mishaps, going forward into 2022.
Rachel Atherton, Gee Atherton, Dan Atherton, Charlie Hatton, Andreas Kolb, Jim Monro, Dom Platt
Continental Atherton loses Mille Johnset for this season, but gains Jim Monro and Dom Platt, both of whom came up through the Atherton pipeline to the highest level. Dom delivered at national level races as part of the Atherton Academy in 2021, so he earned himself a spot on the Athertons’ World Cup team. Jim joined the Athertons as part of the Dyfi / Hardline dig crew and earned himself a Hardline invite through his hard work on that front, and a standout race performance at Hardline showed that he has what it takes on the race course, too. Gee and Rachel are planning to return to racing this season, with Dan also on the roster, but likely still playing a supporting role.
Chris Cumming, Ronan Dunne
Irish riders Chris Cumming and Ronan Dunne will take on their second Elite season aboard Nukeproof frames once again. Ronan Dunne took the first Wyn TV Privateer of the Week in 2021 at Leogang after placing 29th, then broke the top 20 with a 17th in Les Gets, so we’ve excited to see what this small but mighty team can pull off in 2022.
Cube Factory Racing
Danny Hart, Max Hartenstern
The formidable pairing of Danny Hart and Max Hartenstern is back for another year. Danny Hart rode to consistent top-10 results aboard his new Cube in 2021 and looks set to keep the trend going. His up-and-coming teammate Max Hartenstern put down a surprise second place in Les Gets, a career-best so far, and seems slated for more.
Camille Balanche, Baptiste Pierron, Monika Hrastnik, Benoit Coulanges, Florent Dalvet, Alix Francoz, Alec Beolet, Damien Desbrosses
Most of the Dorval AM Commencal team will return for 2022, even after some speculation that breakout rider Benoit Coulanges could leave for a larger team setup. The two new additions are Alec Beolet and Damien Desbrosses. Alec is a relatively unproven French teenager who will enter the season as a true dark horse to follow in the footsteps of Florent Dalvet and Alex Francoz who did the same last year, while Damien Desbrosses has a few World Cup races to his name but will have the opportunity to pick up some pace with an official team this season.
Connor Fearon, Magnus Manson
One of the bigger team moves this season was Connor Fearon’s split from Kona after more than a decade – we never thought we’d see the day. Next up, Connor is heading the Forbidden Synthesis Team with Magnus Manson as his teammate on the downhill side of things. As Forbidden doesn’t currently make a downhill bike, the team will reportedly start the season on Dreadnoughts with custom downhill links, but there’s a downhill bike on the way, too.
Neko Mulally, Colin Mulally
While we’re on the topic of exciting team moves, Neko Mulally’s decision to run a self-designed frame is one of the storylines we’re most excited to watch this season. He’ll be documenting the building process and his race experiences in a video series called Frameworks – check out the first episode if you haven’t already.
Francescu Camoin, Estelle Charles, Allan Cooke, Kevin Miquel, Charles Murray, Sofia Wiedenroth, Izabela Yankova
Details are scarce about Specialized’s latest team project, but Gen-S appears to be a new development team of sorts. While most of the riders listed on the team have historically focused on enduro, we expect some downhill race showings, especially with Izabela Yankova leading the charge. After dominating her field in 2021 as a first-year junior, Izabela will have more support than ever and a new ride to go even farther in 2022. Her times rivaled those of the elites last season. What can she do with more support and another year of training under her belt?
Remi Thirion, Matthew Sterling
Jacob Dickson has departed to MS Mondraker, leaving Remi Thirion and Matthew Sterling to carry the downhill division of the Giant Factory Off-Road Team. Remi Thirion had his most consistent season to date in 2021, with three top-10 finishes. He said previously that his goal was to place consistently in the top 10, and he seems to now have that goal within reach. Expect Matthew Sterling to keep moving up, too, after his first season in the elites.
Wyn Masters, Noga Korem, Ethan Craik, Jess Blewitt, Ryan Pinkerton
GT bids goodbye to the Denim Destroyer and Martin Maes, but welcome Jess Blewitt and Ryan Pinkerton to GT Factory Racing. After a brutal crash at Snowshoe to end the season, Jess will want to get back up to speed as soon as possible, joined by fast Californian Ryan Pinkerton. Ethan Craik will make the jump to elites after showing his fast pace in the juniors, and Wyn and Noga will likely continue the EWS-WC combo campaign.
Rafael Gutierrez Villegas, Sebastian Holguin Villa, Alex Marin Trillo, Cristian Suarez
The separate teams known as IJ Racing / The Brigade and Chiguiro Extremo DH Team seem to have combined forces for 2022, with IJ Racing bringing Rafael Gutierrez and Alex Marin while Sebastian Holguin has joined from Chiguiro Extremo. Cristian Suarez is new this season, having raced mainly in the eastern United States and moving into his second year as a junior.
Aaron Gwin, Dakotah Norton, Seth Sherlock, Joe Breeden
Joe Breeden and Dakotah Norton are the additions to Intense Factory Racing this year after Neko Mulally’s departure. Both continue to flirt with the top 10 while Seth Sherlock makes his way into the elites for a second year. Joe Breeden and Seth Sherlock went 1-2 at the Mt. Psychosis DH last fall, so the two have already stood on a podium together. We may see Aaron Gwin return to form this year, too, after a back injury sidelined him for much of 2021.
Miranda Miller, Noah Hofmann
Kona SGR has lost Connor Fearon, but has kept its other two riders from last year, Miranda Miller and Noah Hofmann. Noah is a stylish young ripper who raced both junior downhill and EWS events in 2021. With Miranda Miller focusing on EWS racing for the foreseeable future and Kona appearing to focus on enduro rather than downhill bikes, we’ll likely see plenty of enduro racing from the team, but their registration with the UCI bodes well for the downhill side of things.
Matt Walker, Harry Molloy, Veronika Widmann, Jordan Williams
The Madison Saracen Factory Team remains unchanged from 2021. Don’t fix what’s working, hey? Matt Walker (the northern hemisphere one) didn’t manage to maintain his rapid pace from 2020 last year so he will be on the hunt for some top results this season. Harry Molloy raced mainly national and continental events instead of World Cup in 2021, while Veronika Widmann continued her successful elite women’s campaign and Jordan Williams managed to take the last two junior wins of the season at Snowshoe.
Brook MacDonald, Eleonora Farina, Oliver Morris, Toby Meek, Jacob Dickson, Tuhoto Ariki Pene, David Trummer
Laurie Greenland, Thibaut Laly, and Yuki Kushima are out; Jacob Dickson, Tuhoto Ariki Pene, and David Trummer are in. The MS Mondraker Team is renewed for 2021 with returning riders Brook MacDonald, Eleonora Farina, and junior Toby Meek, plus a cohort of fresh faces. Oliver Morris is listed as a rider this year after coaching the team last season. After Jacob Dickson’s brush with the top 20 in Leogang in 2021, he’ll want to solidify his place there, Tuhoto Ariki Pene has been climbing the results sheet and may be able to break the top 10 this season, and David Trummer will likewise be working to keep himself in the top 10 and perhaps find the podium again after his career-best 2nd place at World Champs in 2020.
Sam Blenkinsop, Henry Fitzgerald, Lucas Cruz, Elliot Jamieson, Gracey Hemstreet
The big addition to the Norco Factory Team is Gracey Hemstreet, a fast and stylish junior ripper from British Colombia who exploded onto the downhill and freeride scenes last year. Gracey collected a handful of podiums during her first World Cup season and we’re excited to see what she can do next. Lucas Cruz, Henry Fitzgerald, and Elliot Jamieson will make up the rest of the team’s Canadian cohort, with Sam Blenkinsop returning as the lone New Zealander.
Kye A’Hern, George Brannigan, Vanesa Petrovska
There’s a full turnover this year for NS Bikes UR, with the Hannahs retired and Joe Breeden off to Intense. Now, it’s Kye A’Hern, George Brannigan, and Vanesa Petrovska representing the New Zealand registered team. A’Hern and Brannigan have both put down several respectable results over the last few years and this team change may help them keep climbing the ranks, while their new teammate impressed us all last season when she would have placed 5th in the elites at Crankworx Innsbruck, so she’s clearly one to watch as she begins her junior World Cup campaign.
Bernard Kerr, Ed Masters, Matt Walker, Emilie Siegenthaler, Morgane Charre, Jenna Hastings
After putting herself on the map with a win at Crankworx this fall, Jenna Hastings has joined Pivot Factory Racing. She’ll take on the World Cup rounds alongside the returning riders, probably minus Emilie Siegenthaler, who announced her retirement from World Cup racing last season despite appearing on the roster again for 2022. Morgane Charre continued her EWS success and will likely stay focused in that direction, though we could see her take on some downhill rounds, too.
Henry Kerr, Luke Meier-Smith, Remy Meier-Smith
George Brannigan has moved on from Propain, but the rest of the team will stay identical to the 2021 lineup. Luke Meier-Smith is proving to be a strong multi-discipline racer, with two top-20 results in his first elite year along with a U21 EWS win in La Thuile. His younger brother, Remy, stuck with just downhill in 2021 so it remains to be seen whether he’ll follow in his brother’s enduro footsteps, but regardless, both brothers have promise in either discipline. Henry Kerr also found himself into the top 20 in Maribor and will likely want to back up that performance in 2022.
Phil Atwill, Athanasios Panagitsas, Sokratis Zotos
The Propain Positive is an evolution of Phil Atwill’s “free racer” program from last season, which allowed Phil to help grow the Greek riding scene while taking on the World Cup races supported by Propain. This season, two young shredders have joined the team – Socratis Zotos, who had support from Propain last year, and Athanasios Panagitsas, who is brand new to the program.
Vali Höll, Jamie Edmondson, Tegan Cruz
The RockShox Trek Race Team is back for 2022 but minus Ethan Shandro. Vali Holl got off to a rocky start in 2021, but proved she has the speed to win and is entering this year as the reigning World Cup DH champion. Time and racing will have to tell whether she’s figured out how to fully harness her speed. Jamie Edmondson had a successful first year in the elites and had an even more successful U21 EWS season, having won more races than not. Tegan Cruz is another one to watch this year entering his first junior season and already having proven himself at the Canadian level.
Greg Minnaar, Nina Hoffmann, Laurie Greenland, Jackson Goldstone
The Santa Cruz Syndicate put the keyboard sleuths to work early this year when it posted its cryptic social media clues to the new team. Ultimately, it announced that Nina Hoffmann, Laurie Greenland, and Jackson Goldstone would be added to form the largest ever World Cup Syndicate roster. Minnaar will stay right where he’s been, which makes sense considering he claimed yet another World Champs victory in 2021, while Jackson Goldstone brings immense promise, Laurie Greenland is as consistent a podium threat as ever, and Nina Hoffmann becomes the team’s first female rider.
Marine Cabirou, Brendan Fairclough, Dean Lucas, Florent Payet, Dylan Levesque
Dylan Levesque hails from France and is the latest addition to the Scott Downhill Factory roster. He’s made it happen as a privateer, but now he’ll reap the benefits of his work as he lands on a factory team. Marine Cabirou has been recovering from a broken back, but is on the upswing and will likely start the season in form. The rest of the team appears ready to pick up right where they left off, gunning for the top spots once again.
Loic Bruni, Finn Iles, Christopher Grice
Specialized Gravity is staying consistent, with the same lineup as 2020 and 2021. All three fast riders have shown fast pace – Loic at the pointy end of the elites, Finn as a junior turned elite threat, and Christopher Grice as a junior who will now move up to the top level. Expect more of the same from this trio.
Loris Vergier, Reece Wilson, Kade Edwards, Charlie Harrison
New year, same team. The four Trek downhill riders rode to great success in 2021, with Loris Vergier finishing third overall for the season, Reece Wilson taking his first World Cup win, Charlie Harrison taking eighth at the first Snowshoe race, and Kade Edwards taking ninth in Les Gets. If the Trek team just keeps doing what it’s doing, things will look pretty good.
Jure Zabjek, Zak Gomilscek
Unior Sinter Factory Racing remains the same as in 2021, an all-Slovenian team following Unior’s split from Devinci. It remains to be seen whether the team will have a frame sponsor for this season, but the riders nonetheless put together some strong results in 2021. It would be great to see them find more support moving forward.
Oisin O’Callaghan, Erik Irmisch, Johann Potgeiter
The team formerly known as the Mob has rebranded as something a bit more down-to-earth, with Oisin O’Callaghan staying but David Trummer and Dakotah Norton being replaced by Erik Irmisch of Germany and Johann Potgeiter of South Africa. Oisin is one to watch this season as he makes the jump to the elites after an impressive stint in the juniors. We may also see Erik Irmisch and Johann Potgeiter find new pace as they move from the privateer life to the team setup.
All the other UCI-registered downhill teams
Beyond Racing Anna Newkirk, Abigail Hogie
Collab Racing Elise Empey, Matthew Empey, Taj Pollard, Cassie Voysey
Commencal North America Austin Dooley, Dylan Maples, Riley Miller
Commencal Vee Matteo Iniguez, Raphael Iniguez, Leo Abella, Jerome Caroli, Tom Cosse, Leo Grisel, Siel Van Der Velden, Wout Van Der Velden, Christopher Strom
Computer Mania MTB Racing Team Theo Erlangsen
Evolve Racing Dean Lindsey, Colin McElyea, Evan Medcalf
Gamux Factory Racing Loris Michellod, Lino Lehmann, Pascal Tinner
Les Arcs Mountainbike Team Charly Di Pasquale, Matheo Grandjean, Leo Guichard, Baptiste Jalladeau, Suzy Langlois, Mariana Salazar, Kelian Vanreusel
NW Gravity Emma Artz, Andrew Cavaye, Ella Erickson, Sydney Haberman, Eric Olsen, Taylor Ostgaard, Alden Pate, Nyla Stephens, Tobin Walker, Jackson Wicklund
Osmos Gravity Team Ivan Ladislav Kina, Leona Pierrini, Filip Tichy
Pinkbike Racing Ben Cathro, Jackson Conelly, Aimi Kenyon, Thibaut Laly
Probuilds Racing Jack Dichiara, Andrew Driscoll, Matthew Driscoll, Valentina Roa Sanchez
Scott Manigod Shot Mathilde Bernard, Romain Chatanay, Valentin Chatanay, Gael Pecoul, Emile Rilat
Sorted Racegear Finn Clark, Zac Hudson, Josie McFall, Taylor Vernon
SR Suntour Commencal by Gravity School Anna Craig, Benjamin Hicken, Jack Reading, Dan Slack
Teamproject.ch Basil Weber, Myles Weber, Lutz Weber, Delia Da Mocogno
Union Oliver Davis, Frida Helena Ronning, Lachlan Stevens-McNab, Benjamin Zwar-Kvist, Oliver Zwar
VVRacing Academy Yannick Baechler, Marc Cabirou, Vicky Clavel, Louis Gaillet, Johan Garcin, Elliot Vallon
YD Racing Nico Arnold, Cameron Beck, Cameron Clemett, Guy Johnston, James MacDermid, William MacDermid, Kalani Muirhead, Alex Wayman, Carter Wiffin