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UCI MTB World Cup Celebrates 25th Anniversary of XCO Racing @Nova Mesto, CZE Season Opener

by pedalmag.com

May 22, 2015 (Nove Mesto, CZE) – This weekend will see the start of the 2015 season for the cross-country series of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup presented by Shimano, in Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic. The event also provides a dress rehearsal for the 2016 UCI MTB World Championships for XCO/XCE/XCR.

Catharine Pendrel  ©  Michal Cerveny
The Nove Mesto event, awarded the title of best cross-country World Cup multiple times, is the fitting place to launch the 25th season of the cross-country World Cup series.  In addition, riders and countries are chasing every point they can in the race for Olympic qualifying for Rio next year.

Held in the wooded, rolling countryside one hour southeast of Prague, Nove Mesto offers a tough 4.1 kilometre circuit, half of which is climbing.  From the arena, riders head out through a rock garden then a long climb followed by an immediate descent and a second long climb.

Checking out the course  ©  Michal Cerveny
After descending through a difficult rock garden, riders again climb, then go over a drop off and back up to the highest part of the course.  A final descent takes them to the flatter portion of the circuit, where they face the famous Rock n’ Roll section before heading into the stadium for the end of the lap.  New for this year, as they start each lap they will face an obstacle section.

Weather forecasts are for cool and overcast conditions, with a strong chance of rain.  However, the mostly wooded course sheds water well, so riders shouldn’t get too bogged down in mud.

Emily Batty  ©  Michal Cerveny

Reigning World Champions and World Cup winners at the start

The women’s race will see defending World Cup winner Jolanda Neff (Sui) Stoekli Pro Team go up against World Champion Catharine Pendrel (Luna). Others to watch for include Maja Wloszczowska (Pol) Kross Racing Team, Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Nor) Multivan Merida, Canada’s Emily Batty (Trek Factory Racing), Tanja Zakelj (Slo) Unior Tools Team, Annika Langvad (Den) Specialized Racing and Sabine Spitz (Ger).

Other Canucks racing are Sandra Walter (Team Canada), Mikaela Kofman (Scott-3Rox Racing), Cindy Montambault (CVM 2 Vals/Xprezo) and Rebecca Beaumont (Cyclone d’Alma/Devinci).

On the men’s side, we will see the resumption of the continuing battle between World Cup winner and World Champion Julien 

Absalon wins his 5th title  ©  Michal Cerveny
(BMC) and Nino Schurter (Scott-Odlo).  These two riders completely dominated the series last year, and each will be looking for the opening win of the season.  Other names to watch include local favourite and reigning Olympic Champion Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized Racing), and Australian Champion Dan McConnell (Trek Factory Racing).

Schurter  ©  Ridebiker Alliance

Watch for Raphael  (Team Canada) who won the Can MTB Cup opener at Mont-Tremblant, Geoff Kabush and Derek Zandstra from Scott-3Rox Racing, plus Leandre Bouchard (Team Canada), Adam Morka (Trek Canada) and Evan Guthrie (Norco Factory).

Raphael Gagne  ©  Pasquale Stalteri

The action begins on Saturday at 4:30pm local time as the Under-23 Women hit the startline with Haley Smith and Catherine Fleury racing for Team Canada. Luna’s Maghalie Rochette is also racing along with reigning Canadian U23 champ Frederique Trudel (Team Quebec) and Rachel Pageau and Marine Lewis with Cyclone d’Alma.

On Sunday the U23 Men feature Canadians Peter Disera, Alexandre Vialle and Marc-Andre Fortier – Disera is former Junior MTB Worlds silver medalist.

Read more on Team Canada @NoveMesto here.

Follow the Elite races live on www.redbull.tv.



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