The 2018 Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup series continues this weekend in Germany with the first of two back-to-back cross country events.
A number of Great Britain Cycling Team riders will be in action in Albstadt - representing either their country or their trade teams.
Fresh from their success at the Commonwealth Games last month, Annie Last and Evie Richards will be competing in Albstadt this weekend.
The Gold Coast gold-medallist Last (Team KMC EKOI SR Suntour) will be looking to continue her fine form in the elite women’s competition - aiming for her second-ever victory on the world cup circuit.
Richards - who took silver behind Last in Australia - will compete in the women’s under-23 race for Trek Factory Racing.
The Malvern rider has happy memories of Albstadt having claimed her maiden world cup win on the South German course twelve months ago.
Two more riders who produced strong Commonwealth Games performances will take to the start line in Albstadt in the under-23 men’s race.
Frazer Clacherty (OMX Pro Bike Team) and Cameron Orr - representing Great Britain Cycling Team - both finished in the top ten on the Gold Coast and will be keen to make their mark again this weekend.
They will be joined by Dan Tulett in Great Britain Cycling Team colours - with Emily Wadsworth also representing her country in the under-23 women’s race.
Lead coach Simon Watts is relishing the weekend’s competition.
“Having enjoyed a historic Commonwealth Games in which Annie and Evie took an England one-two, the mountain bike squad’s attention has now turned to the remainder of the world cup season.
“Albstadt has been a regular venue for world cups and has seen very little change to the course layout over the years, so we know what to expect both physically and technically and have been able to prepare accordingly.
“It’s an extremely physically challenging course and the weather will play a big part in how technically challenging it will be – if it rains the limestone surface will become slippery to ride on.
“The riders have been building up to this race since the last world cup in March and this, along with the Nove Mesto world cup next weekend, concludes the first half of the 2018 season. The two world cups present a good opportunity for the riders to express their ability ahead of team selection for the world championships.”
In addition to the six Great Britain Cycling Team riders, a number of other British riders will be racing in Germany.
British national champion Grant Ferguson (CST Sandd American Eagle MTB Racing Team) is set for the elite men’s race as is Tom Bell.
Isla Short, winner of her hometown round of the HSBC UK | National Cross Country Series at Glentress Forest, will race for Habitat Mountain Bike Team in the under-23 women’s race while Sophie Wright will also compete.
About the Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup
The Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup is a ten-round competition encompassing three different mountain bike formats.
There are seven rounds of cross-country and downhill races and the world cup debut of a new event in 2018 - cross-country short circuit, which features six times.
The cross-country season opener took place in Stellenbosch, South Africa before the downhill season kicked off in Losinj, Croatia.
May sees back-to-back double header weekends as cross-country and short circuit events take place in Albstadt, Germany and Nove Mesto, Czech Republic.
That is followed by back-to-back downhill weekends in June, with the popular home round in Fort William followed by a trip to Leogang, Austria.
The final four rounds feature all three disciplines, with race weekends in Val di Sole, Italy and Vallnord, Andorra in July followed by Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada and La Bresse, France in August.
Riders will do battle to be crowned world cup winners in their individual disciplines.
The schedule (UK times)
Friday 18 May
4.30pm - World Cup Cross-country short track - Women
5.15pm - World Cup Cross-country short track - Men
Saturday 19 May
1pm - World Cup Cross-country - Under-23 men
Sunday 20 May
8am - World Cup Cross-country - Under-23 women
10.20am - World Cup Cross-country - Elite women
1.35pm - World Cup Cross-country - Elite men