Saladini leads. World Cup 4X, Maribor, Slovenia

Nickname: Brendog

Age: 21

PoB: England

Team: Monster Energy/Specialized/Mad Catz

2008 World Cup overall: 12

Career highlights: 2006 Junior World Cup Champion

Brendog has had a mixed time of it since moving out of the junior ranks in 2007. Riding for the legendary Honda team, he injured his hand pre-season in 07, and never really looked like putting it all together. Having said that, he did get 12th overall in the World Cup, which is good by any standard, especially at such a young age.

Becoming part of the Monster Energy/Iron Horse team in 2008, along with Sam Hill, expectations were once again high. A top ten finish at Maribor and it looked like he was finally starting to pull it together however, disappointing results in Vallnord and Fort William, set him back again.

He went on to put in some strong runs in the following World Cups, placing sixth at Bromont. But it was his performance at the last race of the season that demanded attention. Qualifying second fastest in Schladming, he put in a blinding second run, and looked good for the win. Less than a minute from the finish line however, his front wheel washed out on some plastic matting, laying to rest any hope of victory.

Saladini leads. World Cup 4X, Maribor, Slovenia

In his short career he has teamed up with some of the very best racers in the world, such as Minnaar, Peaty, Lehikoinen and now Sam Hill. He has ridden some of the best downhill bikes of recent times, in the shape of the Honda RH-1, and the Iron Horse Sunday. On this evidence, it would seem the racing world is anticipating big things from the young man from Surrey.

He has proved he is more than capable of putting in consistent, race winning runs, after all he is the 2006 Junior World Cup Champion. Riding the Demo 8 in 2009, Brendan is more than ready for the new season. With a company the size of Specialized backing him, he will surely have no excuses this year, and there’s every chance he won’t need any. brendan-fairclough