A very large field of 635 total riders from 44 nations have gathered in Mont-Sainte-Anne,. Quebec, Canada for the 30th edition of the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships. The program continues to expand, with competition beginning on Wednesday. The schedule of finals:
● 28 August: Cross-Country Team Relay; Men’s and Women’s e-Cross Country
● 31 August: Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Olympic
● 1 September: Men’s and Women’s Downhill
In terms of the Cross Country Olympic and Downhill racing, the current seasonal World Cup leaders (with just one race remaining) offer a glimpse at the favorites:
● Men/Cross Country:
1. 1,670 ~ Nino Schurter (SUI): 7x World Champion, including last four: 2015-16-17-18
2. 1,649 ~ Mathieu van der Poel (NED): 2018 Worlds bronze medalist
3. 1,360 ~ Henrique Avancini (BRA)
4. 1,348 ~ Mathias Flueckiger (SUI): 2012 Worlds bronze medalist
5. 970 ~ Gerhard Kerschbaumer (ITA): 2018 Worlds silver medalist
Can Schurter do it again? He hasn’t been in his best form this season, but has progressed nicely as the season has moved along. Van der Poel, 24, has been a revelation, finding success in road Cycling with two major World Tour wins this season, and three wins in Mountain Bike, but will skip this event to concentrate on the World Road Race Championships in England next month. Flueckiger, 30, has been around a long time, but is riding better than ever. Schurter will be hard to beat.
● Women/Cross Country:
1. 1,625 ~ Jolanda Neff (SUI): 2017 World Champion
2. 1,522 ~ Kate Courtney (USA): 2018 World Champion
3. 1,225 ~ Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (FRA): 2015 World Champion; 2017 bronze
4. 1,210 ~ Anne Terpstra (NED)
5. 992 ~ Rebecca McConnell (AUS)
Courtney’s win in the 2018 World Championships was a stunner, but she started 2019 like she would never lose, winning three of the first four races of the season. But her last two events were ordinary and Neff has come on strongly to take the seasonal lead and has won two of the last four races held. Although not at the top of the points standings, Denmark’s 2016 World Champion Annika Langvad, Sweden’s comebacking 2016 Olympic champ Jenny Rissveds and Canada’s Emily Batty, the 2016-18 Worlds bronze medalist, are all potential winners.
1. 1,312 ~ Loic Bruni (FRA): 2015, 2017-18 World Champion
2. 1,222 ~ Amaury Pierron (FRA): 2018 World Cup seasonal winner
3. 1,094 ~ Troy Brosnan (AUS): 2014 Worlds bronze medalist
4. 883 ~ Danny Hart (GBR): 2011-16 World Champion; 2018 bronze medalist
5. 859 ~ Loris Vergier (FRA)
Bruni has won three of the last four world titles and leads the seasonal series. What more could you ask from a favorite? Pierron has also been excellent and the racing should be spirited. However, no one should be surprised if Brosnan, Hart, South Africa’s two-time champion Greg Minnaar or American Aaron Gwin pulled an upset for any of the medals.
1. 1,460 ~ Tracey Hannah (AUS): 2015-16-17 Worlds bronze medalist
2. 1,310 ~ Marine Cabirou (FRA)
3. 819 ~ Nina Hoffmann (GER)
4. 754 ~ Veronika Wildmann (ITA)
5. 730 ~ Rachel Atherton (GBR): 2013- 2015-16, 2018 World Champion
This could be Hannah’s year, with two wins and three seconds in the seven World Cup races held so far. Atherton has owned the Worlds, but suffered a leg injury and will not ride here. But Cabirou has been in the top four in the last four races and is a real contender. Veterans like Tahnee Seagrave (GBR), Myriam Nicole (FRA) and 2017 winner Miranda Miller (CAN) must be watched as well.
Look for results here.