The start of this year's World Cup season is just 1.5 months away now, and if you're half the racing fans that we are, you're already starting to get excited. Setting the stage for what promises to be a showdown of epic proportions, the UCI has just released the list of protagonists out to challenge for the title of the world's fastest mountain biker in 2016. If you've had a bit of trouble keeping up with all the team rumours and subsequent announcements, here is the definitive answer to all your who-rides-for-who questions!

As per the norm, the teams are divided up into "Elite" and "Mountain Bike" categories, depending on the number of UCI points held by the relevant team riders at the end of last season. The team apparel rule which previously stated that all riders in the same team must wear similar styles and colors has been relaxed for 2016 (for DH only, the rule remains in effect for XC teams), and as a result, the Santa Cruz Syndicate has reclaimed its rightful place as an Elite team for the year. The top 12 teams in the ranking are automatically considered for Elite, with the UCI reserving the right to grant another 3 "wild card" teams the same status. The purpose of the wild card allocation is to cater for injuries or other factors that may have prevented a team from accumulating the points required to rightfully claim their Elite status. For this year, the 3 teams immediately following the top 12 in the rankings have been sent Elite status invitations. The 15 teams have until Feb 24 to accept or decline Elite status. If any team should decline, that invitation goes to the next team down the ranking. Elite status teams enjoy priority access to the expo area and free pit space at the races, free entries for team riders, and other assorted benefits.

As you may recall, the UCI increased the points required to be able to enter a World Cup race as well as the team fees, both of which measures were put in place to reduce the number of participants at the races this year. We will have to wait for the races to begin to appreciate the impact of these changes, because so far the number of teams registered in 2016 is 43, only 1 team less than it was in 2015.

A few observations:

  • The following teams have GAINED Elite status in 2016: Kona Factory Team, Santa Cruz Syndicate, Specialized Racing, The YT Mob, Trek Factory Racing (the Athertons' new team), Transition Factory Racing (FMD).
  • The following teams have LOST Elite status in 2016: CRC/Paypal, Giant Factory Offroad, GT Factory Racing, Gstaad-SCOTT, Norco Factory Racing, Trek World Racing (dissolved, team manager Martin Whiteley now runs The YT Mob), Unior Tools Team.
  • After a year off (presenting for the Global Mountain Bike Network channel), Marc Beaumont is back and will be riding for Madison Saracen.
  • The biggest team in terms of the number of riders registered is the Eastern States Cup North American Downhill Team, comprised of 9 juniors. Pretty rad initiative by the owner of the Eastern States Cup to give up and coming young riders a real chance at racing on the world stage.
  • Emmeline Ragot is registered with Mondraker, giving her a chance to un-retire should she reconsider her decision at the end of the 2015 season...
  • Jared Graves is registered with Specialized Racing alongside Troy Brosnan. It will be interesting to see if he enters any World Cups, after his strong 2nd place finish in the 3rd round of the Australian National Series earlier this month.
  • The globalisation of mountain biking continues, with the first-ever registration of a DH team from Iran. Boosh!

2016 UCI ELITE MTB DH TEAMS

BERGAMONT HAYES FACTORY TEAM, NZL
CHAPMAN Rupert, NZL19920409
CHARRE Morgane, FRA19900609
MASTERS Edward, NZL19890818

COMMENCAL / VALLNORD, FRA
BRANNIGAN George, NZL19920409
NICOLE Myriam, FRA19900208
RUFFIN Gaetan, FRA19910629
RUFFIN Thibaut, FRA19841030
THIRION Rémi, FRA19900423
VIGE Gaëtan, FRA19980415

KONA FACTORY TEAM DH, USA
CRIMMINS Andrew, AUS19970809
FEARON Connor, AUS19940119
MOLLOY Tegan, AUS19960118

MADISON SARACEN FACTORY TEAM, GBR
BEAUMONT Marc, GBR19840925
CARPENTER Manon, GBR19930311
SIMMONDS Matthew, GBR19870520
WALKER Matt, GBR19990525

MS MONDRAKER TEAM, AUT
ENGEL Pascal, AUT19960622
GREENLAND Laurie, GBR19970218
HART Danny, GBR19910920
LAWTON Matt, NZL19970213
PEKOLL Markus, AUT19871013
RAGOT Emmeline, FRA19860527
ULRICH Fabian, AUT19971120

PIVOT FACTORY RACING, GBR
JACKSON Eliot, USA19900619
KERR Bernard, GBR19910216
SIEGENTHALER Emilie, SUI19860919

POLYGON UR, FRA
COUSINIE Fabien, FRA19860814
FAYOLLE Alexandre, FRA19950720
HANNAH Michael, AUS19831121
HANNAH Tracey, AUS19880613
NEETHLING Andrew, RSA19840805

RADON MAGURA FACTORY, SUI
BEER Nick, SUI19870917
CAPPELLARI Carina, SUI19911106
FIGARET Faustin, FRA19931107
FISCHBACH Johannes, GER19880304
PEYER Lars, SUI19880816
REUSSER Pascal, SUI19991116
STRASSER Benny, GER19890805

RRP, AUT
BARTOVA Jana, CZE19900217
GRUBER Manuel, AUT19921127
HANSSON Marcus, SWE19960429
TRUMMER David, AUT19940601

SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE, USA
BRYCELAND Josh, GBR19900323
MINNAAR Greg, RSA19811113
PEAT Steve, GBR19740617

SPECIALIZED GRAVITY POWERED BY SRAM, FRA
BRUNI Loic, FRA19940513
ILES Finnley, CAN19990815
VERGIER Loris, FRA19960507

SPECIALIZED RACING, USA
BROSNAN Troy, AUS19930713
GRAVES Jared, AUS19821216

THE YT MOB, ESP
GWIN Aaron, USA19871224
SUAREZ ALONSO Angel, ESP19951208

TRANSITION FACTORY RACING / FMD, GBR
PARFITT Joe, GBR19990126
SEAGRAVE Kaos, GBR19990710
SEAGRAVE Tahnee, GBR19950615
STEWART Neil, GBR19970424

TREK FACTORY RACING DH, GBR
ATHERTON Dan, GBR19820125
ATHERTON Gee, GBR19850226
ATHERTON Rachel, GBR19871206
VERNON Taylor, GBR19960912

2016 UCI MTB DH TEAMS

AB DEVINCI ITALY, ITA
BIANCIOTTO Andrea, ITA19990220
CAIRE Carlo, ITA19940804
COLOMBO Francesco, ITA19951209
REVELLI Loris, ITA19970920
VERNASSA Gianluca, ITA19950904

ADH BANSHEE TEAM, FRA
LALY Thibault, FRA19970520
PFEIFFER Bryan, FRA19970311

BILLY GOAT BIKES RACING, USA
KANE Michael, USA19980816
LESLIE Jimmy, USA19941114
NISHINO Kai, USA19980210
ROGERS Joshua, USA19980424

CHAIN REACTION CYCLES / PAYPAL, GBR
HEAP Elliott, GBR19980106
HILL Samuel, AUS19850721
JONES Michael, GBR19950222
SMITH Joseph, GBR19900704

CLIC CHAMBERY SAVOIE, FRA
ARTHUS Alizee, FRA19940829
CHATANAY Valentin, FRA19980603
DILIGENT Bastien, FRA19990509

CUBE GLOBAL SQUAD PROTECTED BY BLISS, GER
WALKER Matthew, NZL19900324
WILLIAMSON Greg, GBR19920608

DEVINCI GLOBAL RACING, CAN
SMITH Steve, CAN19891125
VESTAVIK Brage, NOR19990202
WALLACE Mark, CAN19950601

DORVAL AM NICOLAI, FRA
CABAL Guillaume, FRA19980630
CIRIEGO Axel, FRA19991105
CIRIEGO Maxime, FRA19970124
COULANGES Benoit, FRA19941220
JAGER Linda, FRA19970414
LAGORCE Mathieu, FRA19980128
ROULX Hugo, FRA19990604
SALAZAR PALOMO Mariana, ESA19940506

EASTERN STATES CUP NORTH AMERICAN DOWNHILL TEAM, USA
BONOMETTI Roberto, USA19990530
CASNER Aidan, USA19990526
KAHN Jake, USA19980409
MCBRIDE Collin, USA19990514
MICHIE Cole, USA19980313
MONTANO Joseph, USA19980716
RIBEIRO Joshua, USA19980313
ROBBINS Adam, CAN19980924
WEGIEL Andrew, USA19981230

EXCEPTIO SPORT COMMENCAL, SWE
HARNSTROM Oscar, SWE19900420
SUDING Lorenzo, ITA19860315

FASTOS DEVELOPMENT TEAM, IRI
ARDALAN Mohammad, IRI19970909
GHABELI Taha, IRI19910615
NAJAFI BAZI Amin, IRI19890530

GIANT FACTORY OFF-ROAD TEAM, USA
CAUVIN Guillaume, FRA19940521
GUTIERREZ VILLEGAS Marcelo, COL19900509
MARIN TRILLO Alex, ESP19970325

GSTAAD-SCOTT, SUI
FAIRCLOUGH Brendan, GBR19880110
MULALLY Neko, USA19930219

GT FACTORY RACING, USA
DALE Sam, GBR19900212
FREW Jackson, AUS19980626
MACDONALD Brook, NZL19911125
MAES Martin, BEL19970127
MASTERS Wyn, NZL19870418

INTENSE FACTORY RACING, ESP
COMETTI Luca, USA19951208
LUCAS Dean, AUS19950502
MOIR Jack, AUS19940208
NESTOROFF Nik, USA19991121

LAC BLANC COMMENCAL, FRA
ESTAQUE Thomas, FRA19961115
GEORGES Pierre Charles, FRA19860206
PIERRON Amaury, FRA19960304

NORCO FACTORY RACING, CAN
BLENKINSOP Samuel, NZL19881028
HEATH Harry, GBR19910805
MCGLONE Fraser, GBR19940531

ONE VISION GLOBAL RACING, GBR
GANNICOTT George, GBR19950311
HURST James, GBR19970906
JONES Will, GBR19890911
READING Jack, GBR19881210

PATROL MOUNTAIN FJC, INA
SEJATI Popo Ario, INA19860724
SHIMIZU Kazuki, JPN19920426

PROPAIN DIRT ZELVY, IRL
ATWILL Philip, GBR19950111
GRAHAM Innes, GBR19960703
LEIVSSON Isak, NOR19931017
PURVIS James, GBR19980407

R-VTT MORILLON, FRA
CHAPPAZ Mélanie, FRA19990312
LESOIN Flora, FRA19991117
LOHNER Laura, FRA19920415

SOLID REVERSE FACTORY RACING, GER
BREEDEN Joseff David, GBR19990512
CONNELL Joseph, GBR19940320
GARLICKI Stefan, RSA19900912
LOWE Josh, GBR19941116
MOLLOY Harry, GBR19910530
WATSON Corey, GBR19991103

SRAM/TLD RACING, USA
SHAW Luca, USA19961225
SHAW Walker, USA19951213

STEVE PEAT SYNDICATE / UBERBIKE GLOBAL, GBR
FITZGERALD Henry, CAN19980813
MCCUBBING Frazer, GBR19970208
RUSSELL Dale, GBR19901123
SKELTON Becci, GBR19831218
SWINBANK Bradley, GBR19970630
VICKERS Michael, GBR19851103
WILLIAMS Nils, GBR19970716
WILLIAMSON Jay, GBR19930506

SWISS DOWNHILL SYNDICATE, SUI
NIEDERBERGER Noel, SUI19950821
RIBARICH Moritz, AUT19990718
TINNER Dominic, SUI19940116
TINNER Pascal, SUI19910108
WEBER Lutz, SUI19921204

TEAM LES GETS INTENSE, FRA
COUGOUREUX Benoit, FRA19970928
COUGOUREUX Sylvain, FRA19990419
PAULHAN Romain, FRA19880416

UNIOR TOOLS TEAM, SLO
CERNILOGAR Zarja, SLO19891218
CUNNINGHAM Ruaridh, GBR19890215
PANDUR Ziga, SLO19910117
WILSON Reece, GBR19960611
ZABJEK Jure, SLO19951011

US CAGNES VTT, FRA
DOUTRELIGNE Benjamin, FRA19981127
JUSTINO Louis, FRA19980824
LEBEAU Théo, FRA19981124
MAGGIOLINI Yannick, FRA19990308
PELE Yannis, FRA19980815
PONS Melvin, FRA19940805

VOULVOUL RACING, FRA
AFFLATET Antoine, FRA19990328
CABIROU Marine, FRA19970312
CABIROU Rudy, FRA19940511
CANET Nicolas, FRA19981024
PAYET Florent, FRA19861121
PIERRON Baptiste, FRA19930808


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