We’ve teamed up with Dainese to shine a spotlight on luminaries from across the world of action sports and adventure. Here, we speak to Troy Brosnan, the Australian mountain biker who finished second place in the overall World Cup rankings in 2017, and is looking to go one better this time around.
Lead photograph by Seb Schieck
“It’s a pretty easy one for me,” says downhill mountain bike star Troy Brosnan, on his aims for the season ahead. “I was third overall in the World Cup for three years in a row, then finished second last year, so there’s only one more spot I want to go for.
“I want to fight for that number one position and I really believe I can. It’s just about taking it race by race and trying to win each one. It’s going to be a good season.”
We’re speaking to the Australian national champion a couple of days after he rode his Canyon Sender to ninth place in Lošinj, Croatia, the first stop on the downhill World Cup circuit for 2018.
Troy put in a smooth run on the sun-soaked island track, possibly too smooth to fulfil his ambitions of capitalising on his potential and consistency to win the overall World Cup title.
“It was a tough weekend,” he says. “The track was really different to most World Cups. It actually felt a little like home – though maybe with a couple more rocks than normal!
“I was feeling pretty fast and qualified fourth but somewhere through race day I guess I wasn’t pushing as hard, or at the same level as the guys up there on the podium. I feel like my lines and my speed were good but maybe I just wasn’t on the edge enough.”
Troy is one of the most consistent riders on the World Cup circuit. Since the start of 2013, he’s raced 35 World Cup events and only finished outside the top 20 once. Only four of those top 20s have been outside the top 10, and the vast majority have been podium spots. He’s never finished outside the top 10 in the World Championships during that period, either.
“It’s something that I really like, staying consistent and being in the top 10 or the top 20 in every race, but I also want to win races”
“Maybe it’s my riding style that helps me do that,” he says. “It could also just be preparing things in the off season and also with all the years that go by I learn how to push the limits when I need to and save a little on certain sections when you don’t need to push.
“I think it’s a tough one overall. It’s something that I really like, staying consistent and being in the top 10 or the top 20 in every race, but I also want to win races.”
Despite yet another top 10 finish to start the season in Lošinj, Troy is well aware that if he’s going to be number one come the end of the year, he’s going to have to raise the bar.
“I was watching my run and I thought I looked a little too smooth and maybe reserved on the track. So I guess that’s something that I’m a little bit disappointed with myself in, that I didn’t go harder and faster, but it’s given me a bit more of a drive to go out there and do that.
“It’s always harder, especially for me, going to a brand new World Cup track. Trying to learn a track and then having the confidence to really go fast and choose lines, that takes time. Especially for me. I seem to be a slightly slower learner when it comes to new tracks but all of the tracks coming up now I’ve been to before and I know them like the back of my hand.
“I’m pretty excited just to get there and start riding at the pace that I should be riding at. This year I want to take some more chances – especially on the tracks that I know really well.”
It’s tough to call a ninth place finish at elite level a misstep, but whatever the reason for Troy finishing +3.211 off the pace of his once Specialized-teammate Aaron Gwin, it’s not for a lack of preparation.