June 05, 2015 – After a hiatus of nearly two months, the downhill series of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup presented by Shimano resumes this weekend with Round Two at the fan favourite venue of Fort William, Scotland.
‘Fort Bill’, as it is often referred to, takes place in the middle of the Scottish Highlands, amid the spectacular scenery of the Ben Nevis mountain range. A part of the UCI World Cup circuit since 2002 – with the exception of 2007, when it hosted the UCI World Championships – this event has become one of the classics of the season.
At 2800 metres, it is one of the longest and most physically demanding courses of the circuit. After starting on wide open, windswept slopes of Aonach Mor, riders negotiate rock sections, before dropping into the woods for the middle part of the course. At the bottom, they burst out to the final jumps into the stadium at the finish. Tens of thousands of passionate fans make Fort William one of the most well attended World Cups every year.
Elite Women: All eyes on Emmeline Ragot
Emmeline Ragot (MS Mondraker) took a strong win in Round One at Lourdes, France, beating Rachel Atherton (GT Factory) and Myriam Nicole (Commencal/Vallnord). Nicole is now out of action after crashing and breaking her collarbone at Fort William last month during a British Series event. Ragot is also the defending winner at Fort William, so the course certainly suits her. Others to watch for include former winner and current World Champion Manon Carpenter (Madison Saracen), and Australian Champion Tracey Hannah (Polygon UR).
Elite Men: Strong British contingent performing at home
On the men’s side, Lourdes saw the return of American Aaron Gwin (Specialized) to the top step of the podium, with a decisive victory over Loic Bruni (Lapierre Gravity Republic). However, the next five finishers were all from Great Britain, led by Michael Jones (Chain Reaction Cycles / Paypal) and former World Champion Danny Hart (MS Mondraker), and the Brits always raise their game for this home race. Another name to watch will be former Fort William winner and current World Champion Gee Atherton (GT Factory), who had a poor showing in Lourdes after crashing heavily in training. Finally, watch for defending Fort William winner Troy Brosnan (Specialized), eighth in Round One.
The action begins on Saturday with qualifying, followed by the UCI World Cup finals on Sunday. Watch the racing live on www.redbull.tv.
Competition programme here.