Posted by Editoress on 05/5/22
The Mountain Bike World Cup resumes this weekend with Round 2 of the Short Track (XCC) and Cross-country (XCO) series in Albstadt, Germany. Albstadt has become the traditional season opener, but this year the Series went to the new venue of Petropolis, Brazil, in early April for the first round. Now, after a one month hiatus, racing resumes for two back-to-back competitions - Albstadt this weekend, and Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic, next weekend.
Albstadt is considered one of the hardest circuits in the Series, with steep climbs and steep, technical descents, often covered in mud. There is nowhere to rest on this circuit.
Racing opens with the XCC on Friday evening (local time) - Eastern Canadian times are 11:30 am for the women and 12:15 pm for the men. This season, for the first time, the XCC is its own World Cup series, with Pauline Ferrand Prevot (BMC MTB) and Alan Hatherly (Cannondale Factory) in the leader's jerseys. The top-40 in the standings get to start, but we won't know the actual start list until shortly before the races tomorrow. One rider we probably won't see starting is men's Olympic champion Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers), since he did not race the first round and has no points. Also missing is the rider who would be the favourite in any men's XCC - Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin Fenix), who is focussing on the road.
For Canadians, on the women's side, Canyon MTB team mates Jenn Jackson and Laurie Arseneault should make the cut. On the men's side, we should see Pivot - OTE team mates Marc Andre Fortier and Gunnar Holmgren, and possibly Peter Disera (Norco Factory). [Note: Jackson and Sandra Walter (Team Canada) were the only Canadian riders to make the cut]
Saturday, the Under-23 women and men will race the XCO, with the women at 9:30 am Eastern / 6:30 am Pacific, and the men at 11:00 am Eastern / 8:00 am Pacific. There are five Canadian women and five Canadian men on the start lists for Under-23.
Carter Woods Winning U23 in 2021
The Elite categories race on Sunday - 5:20 am Eastern / 2:20 am Pacific for the women and 8:35 am Eastern / 5:35 am Pacific for the men. A total of nine Canadian women are starting, with Emily Batty (Canyon Factory), Haley Smith (Team Canada) and Sandra Walter (Team Canada) making their season debut for the World Cup - unfortunately, all will start well back after not racing the first round and missing out on ranking points.
The Elite men's side has eight Canadians listed, but Leandre Bouchard (Foresco Holding Proco RL Pro) is still recovering from his serious crash in Brazil just before the start of the XCC. We will also see if Pidcock can do another incredible ride up through the field like last year. This will also be the first opportunity for world champion Nino Schurter (Scott SRAM) to break the men's record for World Cup wins, after tying Julien Absalon at 33 in Brazil.
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