June 19, 2009 (Maribor, Slovenia) – The UCI MTB DH/4X World Cup’s yearly stop in Slovenia takes place this weekend at the now legendary course at Maribor Pohorje. A few changes to this year’s course will change things up a bit, and keep riders in the woods for most of the track, bypassing the long high speed section near the top and the massive iconic berms the track once featured.
The weather has been hot and sunny since Monday, with most of the world cup riders and support staff doing hot laps on some of the epic trails this mountain features. A massive hail storm Tuesday evening followed by rain, did little to damp spirits, as the track dried quickly and riders were back on the trails having fun. Massive thunderstorms are on tap for the entire weekend starting Saturday, which will make the spider webs of roots on just about every section of the course, sketchy at best to navigate.
Look for the usual suspects to feature here. Sam Hill has won the last few years, Gee Atherton has always been close behind, and Steve Peat is on an absolute tear this season. Brendon Fairclough and Canada’s Steve Smith (MS Evil Bikes) also do incredibly well on balls out, technical courses, so look for them to make a run at the podium.
The Canadian contingent here is strong with Smith setting Friday’s fastest timed practice run with a 3:03. Joining him is Thomas Vanderham (MS Evil Bikes) returning to his race roots, Andrew MItchell (Devinci) and Claire Buchar (Chain Reaction Cycles/Intense) for the ladies, fresh off her win in Willingen, Germany.
Look for Buchar and Smith to feature on Sunday when the clock is running.