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UCI MTB World Cup Round #2 of XCO in Albstadt Preview

release by the UCI

May 29, 2015 (Albstadt, GER) – One week after the opening of the cross-country racing in the Czech Republic, the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup presented by Shimano moves to Albstadt, Germany, for the second round.

Catharine Pendrel  ©  Michal Cerveny
Playing host for the third consecutive year, Albstadt has developed a reputation as a physically demanding circuit, with long, steep climbs. The weather can also play a considerable factor here: rain the first year turned the course into a slippery mess. The circuit is 4.18 kilometres in length.

The weather is forecast to be sunny, so the men will likely do eight laps and the women seven (one less if it is muddy).  Officials are also looking at adding a start loop for the first time, to spread out the field before the first climb.

Pauline Ferrand-Prévot (Rabo Liv) is the defending winner for the Elite Women, and after finishing third in Nove Mesto will be a podium contender.  However, the big battle will likely be between Round One winner Jolanda Neff (Stoeckli) and Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Mulitvan Merida), who finished right on Neff’s wheel in Nove Mesto.

Neff wins over Dahle  ©  Michal Cerveny
Dahle Flesjaa is still looking for a record-breaking 29th World Cup women’s victory, after coming so close last week.  Other podium contenders include World Champion Catharine Pendrel (Luna) and Annika Langvad (Specialized).

Also racing for Canada are Emily Batty (Trek Factory Racing) who is gunning for more podiums this year and her first WCup win (we interviewed Batty at Mont-Tremblant before she left for Europe). Along with Batty are Sandra Walter (Team Canada), Mikaela Kofman (Scott-3Rox Racing), Cindy Montambault (CVM 2 Vals/Xprezo) and Rebecca Beaumont (Cyclone d’Alma/Devinci).

Emily Batty  ©  Michal Cerveny

Strong Contenders for Men’s Race
On the men’s side, the three strongest contenders are Round One winner Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized), second ranked Nino Schurter (Scott-Odlo) and World Champion Julien Absalon (BMC), who is the defending champion in Albstadt.  Others to watch for include Florian Vogel (Focus XC) and Mathias Fluckiger (Stoeckli).

Kulhavy Wins  ©  Michal Cerveny

Racing for Canada is Derek Zandstra (Scott-3Rox Racing), who earned his best Euro result in Nove Mesto (CZE) last weekend just out of the top 20 in 23rd. Joining Zandstra are Team Canada’s Raphael Gagne and Leandre Bouchard along with veteran Geoff Kabush (Scott-3Rox Racing), Evan Guthrie (Norco Factory) and Adam Morka (Trek Canada).

Derek Zandstra  ©  Michal Cerveny

In the Under-23 ranks, women’s Round One winner Jenny Rissveds (Scott-Odlo) will face a tough battle with Margot Moschetti (Betch.nl Superior Brentjens), who is an exceptional climber. Team Canada’s Haley Smith, 9th last weekend in Nove Mesto for her best Euro effort (matching her best WCup result) leads the charge with Frederique Trudel (Equipe du Quebec) tenth at Nove Mesto, Maghalie Rochette (Luna Pro), Catharine Fleury (Team Canada), Rachel Pageau (Cyclone d’Alma) and Marine Lewis (Cyclone d’Alma).

Canada's Smith (r) battles Waldis to the line  ©  Michal Cerveny

Lars Forster (Wheeler-IXS) won the first round for the Under-23 Men, however Howard Grotts (Specialized) and Spanish National Champion Pablo Rodriguez have both ridden well in Albstadt on previous occasions. For Canada it’s Peter Disera who was 26th in Nove Mesto along with by Alexandre Vialle and Marc-Andre Fortier.

Racing begins on Saturday afternoon with the Under-23 Women, followed by the Under-23 Men and Elite Women on Sunday morning, and concluding with the Elite Men on Sunday afternoon.

Stay tuned to Pedal for more coverage.

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