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It seems like a decade has passed since the last World Cup downhill race. Remember? It was the one in Leogang where Ratboy popped his top-step cherry. After a solid break in the action with some neato DH bike news keeping us all interested in between summer trail rides, it's time for the legendary Mont Sainte Anne World Cup race. MSA is like the T-Rex that never went extinct. The race is as old as the dirt being flung from the tires, and the race is feared because it is big and has teeth. Both rider and bike are taxed on the long, fast, rough track, and as much as strategy pays off, any race-pace run on the course over-looking the Saint Lawrence Seaway is a crap shoot. Let’s roll the dice and see who has the best odds of coming out on top in Canada.

1. Stevie Smith


A Canadian racer on Canadian soil with Canadian fans drinking Canadian beer sounds like a recipe for a Canadian victory. Stevie came back from injury in Leogang with some serious heat and has had time to recover even more. He won here last year, he’s on equipment he knows well and has nothing to lose. Sender will send.

Update July 31, 9pm - We're bummed to learn that Stevie hurt his ankle in practice today. Heal up quick! Check his Instagram for info.

2. Josh Bryceland


That's right, once you prove you can win, you earn an automatic podium prediction in the next Power Rankings. If you don't like the pressure out here in the limelight, you can always head back to where you came from. No such worries for Ratboy though. He's stoked to win and has a fresh new whip for his signature whips. We'll have another helping of those rowdy runs please!

3. Aaron Gwin


This call makes us the most nervous. Gwin was 5th at MSA last year, but he's on a new bike, and aside from the fact that it's a new bike to get used to, all the buzz and anticipation will eventually add up to pressure even when you're as cool as the Gwinner. Of course he’s eminently capable of smoking the field at any given time so we just have to trust our instincts. The Big-S would like nothing more than a W to launch the new D, and we could C that happening, 2. (See and too for you editor nerds out there).

4. Troy Brosnan


What? Troy all the way in 4th? But he won Fort William and was 3rd at Leogang, you say. We’re aware of his past results. We’re also aware of the pressure that comes with success. Add the noise around the new one-sided bike, and there’s a lot more to Mont Sainte Anne than just going fast this year.

5. Sam Hill


Because we believe in the power of Sam Hill, muthaf&#cker! Sam was 3rd last year, but unfortunately, the flat pedals will be a disadvantage on the brutal MSA course, which is full of places to knock Sam's feet crooked. His flashes of brilliance won’t be quite enough to overcome the clipped-in jocks this time.

6. Greg Minnaar


So long deuce six. Greg will have a new monster truck this weekend (we assume). But in the end, it doesn't really matter what the numbers on the wheels say, Greg is no stranger to the Mont Sainte Anne podium steps, and he has all the confidence and the experience necessary to get close once again. Or to climb them all the way to the summit and make us look stupid for it.

7. Danny Hart


Danny was only 1-second off Stevie here last year in qualifying but 3.3- seconds back on race day, so we’re playing the odds. D-money had a solid 3rd place finish in Fort William this year, and the Hart Attack is as comfortable as anybody on his bike, as he’s been racing the 27.5-inch Giant all year. He’ll be fresh from the break and ready to rumble, and if there’s anyone we want to go better than our prediction, it’s the Redcar Rocket.

8. Gee Atherton


Man, Gee down in 8th is harsh, isn’t it? Well, World Cup Downhill racing is harsh and so is the MSA track. Gee, 2nd place at MSA last year by only .9-seconds makes this 8th place prediction more than a bit sketchy, but the Gee-man has just seemed a bit off this year when it comes to World Cup race runs. Let it loose, Gee! Make us look like chumps.

9. Sam Blenkinsop


Flat out pinned, that Sam Blenkinsop. We’ll hear things like, “Blenki won practice,” or “this is his race,” but it’ll come down to tenths…like it always does.

10. Loic Bruni


The weight of a fairly successful early season is still on Loic’s shoulders and he’ll have a result that none of us want to see. Though he’ll be in a land that speaks his language, the vibe won’t quite resonate with him this time around and he’ll want to trade the poutine for a baguette.

11-12. Brendan Fairclough Remi Thirion


@brendog_1 just won an iXS Swiss DH Cup race on a fast and loose track in Lenzerheide, so slotting him 4 spots lower than his 2013 result at MSA may seem a bit cruel. Waterfall jumping, go-kart racing, local talent hunting and 24-hour raving near the pits can be a distraction for the youth of our sport. 11th ain’t nothin’ to scoff at if you're having fun getting there.

Remi Thirion is always ready to let it all hang out, and although MSA isn't his dream track, we see the young Frenchman coming through with a solid run and a reasonably exciting result here.

13-15. Nick Beer, Brook MacDonald, Andrew Neethling


The man with the perfect last name can get rowdy at the drop of a coin, and MSA rewards risk if you manage to hang on. Beer's due a run where he hangs on. Brook is getting faster with every race, but he'll lack the outright pace and balls-to-the-walls flow here to contend this time. Needles knows the track as well as anybody, and although he won't crack the top-10, he'll have a solid run and move on to Windham.

Wildcards - Neko Mulally and Marcelo Gutierrez


Neko, Neko, Neko. We really want to call your name in the Top 10. Will MSA mark the point where we start becoming more comfortable with that idea? As for Marcelo, he hasn't quite backed up his stellar 2013 with similar feats of Glory (yeah yeah we're that good at puns), but there are a few races left to prove he can still get it on like Kong.



1. Rachel Atherton

Some may consider this call obtuse after Rachel's last WC race, but let's not forget that at that time she was still suffering the effects of a bug that proved tough to shake, and since then she has proceeded to obliterate the field in a BDS race back home. If she's back, she won't be denied.

2. Manon Carpenter

The race would be Manon's to lose if it wasn't for Rachel getting back to form. And let's not ignore the distraction of a certain cycling calendar shoot looming on the horizon. Kids these days!

3. Emmeline Ragot

Emmeline has yet to prove that she can hang with Rachel and Manon when they are on form. And after more than a month of *taking it easy*, we're betting they are on form. Emmeline, we'd like nothing more than for you to prove us wrong here in MSA!

Are we geniuses or off our rockers? Let us know in the comments

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