Saladini leads. World Cup 4X, Maribor, Slovenia

Nickname: Pinky

Age: 28

PoB: France

Team: Maxxis/Rocky Mountain

Worldcup overall 2008: 2

Career highlights: 1999 World Junior Champion, 2006 World Champion, 2007 World Champion, 3 time World Cup Champion

The results say it all, Sabrina Jonnier is one of the most successful downhill mountain biker's in history. In 2008, she pushed Rachel Atherton to the line, scoring top three podiums throughout the season, and taking the win in Maribor. If she rides like that in 2009, she will be up there again.

As with many of today's top mountain bikers, Jonnier grew up on a BMX, honing her skills on the race track at just six years of age. It wasn't long before she heard the calling of the big wheels, and since then she has not looked back, winning pretty much every junior title out there, before going on to rack up a couple of World Championship wins.

Saladini leads. World Cup 4X, Maribor, Slovenia

Photo:James Allen

At 28 years of age, she has plenty of experience under her belt, and will surely be in the top three this year. The question is, whether she has enough in her to challenge a charging Rachel Atherton. With an additional race in the 2009 season, riders will need all the focus and experience they can muster in order to maintain the consistency needed to take the title. This could be where Jonnier's more mature years and experience place her at an advantage.

Moving to a new team for 2009, she will be riding for Rocky Mountain on their Flatline downhill rig. Whether she will need time to adapt to this new bike remains to be seen, but she's certainly not letting up, taking second place at the NZ National Champs to Emmeline Ragot.

With Tracy Moseley back on a full race team, and Rachel Atherton getting better and better, Jonnier has her work cut out. A multiple World Champ, she has what it takes to win.

Read Sabrina Jonnier's 2009 downhill mountain bike world cup rider preview