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Rider of the Year - Shreddy Awards

Spoiler - Vital MTB’s choice for Rider of the Year is not Amaury Pierron despite the fact he runs 29-inch wheels. Our choice for Rider of the Year is not Martin Maes, although we were really close to choosing him with his back-to-back EWS and World Cup DH wins.

The Shreddy Award for Rider of the Year is always a toughy. It’s like we’re just pulling someone from a world-class results sheet to be like, "yeah, no, you like REALLY win. Those race results proved it but this like PROVES it." With that said, before the official Shreddy is dropped, we think Nino Schurter should be given some serious props. To any XC nerd, this is a major DUHHH moment, but his domination and ability to have a little bit of fun in the midst of the spandex crowd is worth noting. He’s clearly a fit specimen, the best of the XC best, but he’s also a skilled bike handler, not just a roadie in the dirt. Nino we love watching you crush the XC and want to tip our hat to you for your 2018 performance.

-cover photo by Sven Martin


Another honorable mention, since we’re not doing a Video of the Year, needs to go to Bryn Atkinson. Did you see his Red Bull Sound of Speed? It IS the must-watch mountain bike video of 2018. If you want to show someone what mountain biking is, show them his video. He and Rob Parkin captured the nastiest solo shredding, ass-hauling, perfect-dirt squirting, ludicrous skill-having, giggling-with-laughter-as-loam-shoots-skyward action. Bryn, please make more! If you don’t, we’ll be forced to watch more boring and redundant how-to-turn tutorials from ill-informed riders with less than a trillionth of your skill.


Alright, let’s cut to it. The 2018 Shreddy Award for Rider of the Year goes to Rachel Atherton! This past race season, Rachel Atherton had to dig harder than she ever had to get back on top. Recovering from injury, battling riders like Tahnee Seagrave, Myriam Nicole and Tracey Hannah, who have refined their craft to steal Rachel’s one-time dominance, Rachel scooped the double-up of World Cup Downhill overall and Downhill World Championship title this year. During more than one interview, she seemed to struggle with confidence, as if she wasn’t up to the task or expecting a winning result. Her results yoyo'd a bit but she found her form as the season ended, clinching a record-breaking 6th World Cup DH overall title and her 5th World Champs DH win. That World Champs win happened to be by nearly 10 seconds.


We tried to reach Rachel for comment about how this Shreddy Award might change her illustrious career, but like any Best-in-the-World athlete, she was pretty booked up doing relaxing things. We thought maybe we could hand deliver the award to her in England, but that didn’t work either. While it may seem like a downer, we’re stoked she’s not taking meetings this off season. Everyone needs a break, a chance to relax. She's been pretty vocal about dealing with illness and fatigue, so we hope she's enjoying the time off before returning to make her competition bow down to in 2019. Congrats, Rachel! You’ve earned it! And now we all just want to know what bike you’ll be on next year!

Rachel's World Champs Winning Bike

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