The much anticipated start to the 2013 UCI World Cup Downhill season arrived with round one at Fort William, Scotland. An unusually long break combined with atypical dry conditions on a course known for its difficulty added complexity for riders and support crew alike. Aaron Gwin and Troy Brosnan played it somewhat safe by focusing on regaining their race rhythm and dialing-in bike and equipment setup. Both put in respectable top-20 performances with eyes on the podium in coming weeks.
The interwebs have been full of talk, speculation, and sometimes negative comments about Aaron Gwin and his 20th place at the first World Cup. Of course it would be upsetting for Aaron and we commend him for being a positive voice with the weight of fans and media breathing down his neck. Who knows what the issues were but Aaron wasn't the only one to have a perceived disappointing start to the season. With round 2 this weekend we're sure he will be ready to fight again, and with a different mix of people now leading the overall it could be a more interesting season for all. There is still some baggage from Aaron's controversial team split earlier in the year and that's adding to the scrutinising of his performances. It will take time for the baggage to be removed and it seems that only top of the podium results will start that process and remove the monkey from his back.