While the Downhill elite thrilled us with two exciting races in Lourdes (FRA) and Fort William (GBR) and the Cross-Country athletes battled it out in Petrópolis (BRA), Albstadt (GER) and Nove Mesto (CZE), it is time for the respective riders to meet for the first time this world cup season at the Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Saalfelden Leogang.
Cross-Country Short Track (XCC)
The Women’s and Men’s Elite final will be broadcasted on Friday, 10 June, at 17:20 (CEST)
The Women’s Elite final will be broadcasted on Saturday, 11 June, at 12:25 (CEST)
The Men’s Elite final will be broadcasted on Saturday, 11 June, at 13:45 (CEST)
Cross-Country Olympic (XCO)
The Women’s Elite final will be broadcasted on Sunday, 12 June, at 12:00 (CEST)
The Men’s Elite final will be broadcasted on Sunday, 12 June, at 14:30 (CEST)
The Cross-Country elite will be kicking off the action-packed mountain bike weekend, competing in the Short Track (XCC) races on Friday evening. After German Luca Schwarzbauer took home his first XCC World Cup win in Nove Mesto and finding himself on top of the Overall standings, the likes of Alan Hatherly (RSA), Nino Schurter (SUI) and Henrique Avancini (BRA) will do their very best to push him off the top spot. The women’s competition is led by Australian Rebecca McConnell who has so far proven to be the most consistent rider in the sprint discipline, followed by veteran riders Pauline Ferrand-Prévot (FRA) and Jolanda Neff (SUI).
In Olympic distance races, McConnell seems nearly impossible to beat now, having won all three World Cups this season. Apart from her closest rivals, Loana Lecomte (FRA) and Anne Terpstra (NED), young Austrians Mona Mitterwallner and Laura Stigger will give their everything while racing in front of their home crowd.
Laura Stigger sees a possible advantage for her and her compatriot on the Leogang track: “The short track is physically very demanding due to the meadow climb, which requires a good dose of technique and quite some skill. I think that suits us. It’s the Cross-Country track with the most vertical meters on the World Cup circuit and I think that's pretty good for us Tyroleans, too, and I'm really looking forward to it.”
The XCO men’s competition revolves around the question whether Nino Schurter’s next attempt to become the record holder for most single World Cup wins will finally succeed. In the Overall World Cup ranking, the Swiss legend still leads thanks to a win in Brazil, as well as podium finishes in Nove Mesto (2nd) and Albstadt (3rd), with Tom Pidcock, who won the latter two events, and Vlad Dascalu (ROM) in close pursuit.
With Friday and Sunday belonging to the XC riders, Saturday is all about Downhill. Especially local hero Vali Höll will be motivated to ride on her home track and show what she is capable of after the Leogang “Speedster” has been so unfavorable to her the last two years, with crashes taking her out of the World Championships 2020 and the 2021 World Cup. Current Overall World Cup leader Camille Balanche (SUI), on the other hand, has nothing but good memories of Leogang, crowning herself World Champion in 2020 and winning last year’s World Cup there, too. With reigning World Champion Myriam Nicole (FRA) and Fort William winner Nina Hoffmann (GER) also aiming for another World Cup win, the women’s field has more than one clear favorite.
Looking at the Elite Men competition, Amaury Pierron (FRA) is the one to match. The French rider dominated the first two races of the season and knows how to win in Leogang, taking the victory in 2018. His closest rivals, including Laurie Greenland (GBR), Thibaut Dapréla (FRA), Benoit Coulanges (FRA) and Finn Iles (CAN) are still looking for a way to defeat him.
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Current Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Overall Standings:
Women's UCI Cross-Country MTB World Cup:
Women's UCI Cross-Country Short Track MTB World Cup:
Men's UCI Cross-Country MTB World Cup:
Men's UCI Cross-Country Short Track MTB World Cup:
Women's UCI Downhill MTB World Cup:
Men's UCI Downhill MTB World Cup: