Team Bianchi
Team Bianchi
Cross-Country World Cup battle starts in Albstadt

This weekend sees the start of the 2019 UCI Cross-Country World Cup. Just as last year there are seven rounds to the XC World Cup, all featuring the headline XCO (Olympic distance) races with finals on Sunday, and Friday’s XCC (short track course), the quick-fire format introduced last year. With Men’s and Women’s Elite and U23s, where there are a number of teams riding on fizik Gobi and Tundra saddles.

Like the Downhill WorldCup the World Championships in Canada are scheduled between the penultimate round of the World Cup and its finalé at the new USA venue. The imperative for all riders this weekend is to get something on the board to generate momentum in their campaign – with points being awarded right down to 19th position.

First up, it’s the meeting at Albstadt in the far south of Germany, an hour from Stuttgart  – which has provided great entertainment over five seasons with its leg-stretching climbs and dusty, twisting technical sections. It’s followed closely by Nové Město in the Czech Republic – where last year both Elite races came down to tight sprint finishes on the tarmac! – setting the schedule for back-to-back racing fixtures throughout the campaign.

Albstadt will get adrenaline running, not least for our German riders, but there have been mixed reactions to the modifications to the course, instigated to reduce the number of crashes and increase the number of passing opportunities. But will these changes tame some of the most testing sections? Whoever picks up 250 points for a win in the Elites won’t care…

Flying the German flag, look out for Kross Racing Team’s new signings Czech Ondřej Cink (yes, the same rider who went to 2017’s Tour de France for Bahrain-Merida!), Sergio Mantecón Gutiérrez and Ariane Lüthi who join the hugely successful Maja Włoszczowska.

Superior XC Team’s men include the experienced Fabian Giger, aiming for more top-10 finishes and the young Jan Vastl who, having impressed at U23 level, steps up to the Elites. In the women’s Elites look out for Linda Indergand – double XC Eliminator World Champion from Switzerland – and Felicitas Geiger, former U23 Champion, aiming for the top 15.

And for the Italian team, Bianchi Countervail, watch out for the hugely experienced French rider Stephane Tempier and emerging Italian talents Nadir Colledani and Chiara Teocchi racing their new Methanol CV RS 29-ers with Gobi and Tundra saddles.

Let’s go racing!

The 2019 Cross-Country calendar: 

18-19 MayAlbstadt, Germany Round 1

25-26 MayNové Město, Czech Republic Round 2

6-7 JulyVallnord, Andorra – World Cup Round 3

13-14 JulyLes Gets, France – World Cup Round 4

3-4 AugustVal di Sole, Italy – World Cup Round 5

10-11 AugustLenzerheide, Switzerland – World Cup Round 6

31 August-1 SeptemberMont Sainte-Anne, Canada – World Championships

7-8 SeptemberSnowshoe, United States – World Cup Round 7