Europe’s best mountain bikers head to Sweden for the 2016 UEC European Mountain Bike Championships from 5-8 May with Great Britain Cycling Team fielding riders across age categories.
Huskvarna plays host to the four-day event that features cross-country, eliminator and relay events.
A six-strong Great Britain team will head to Scandinavia with a number of the squad in rich form this season.
Grant Ferguson has made the step-up from under-23 to elite competition this season, having made his senior world cup debut in Cairns in Australia.
The young Scot finished 17th down under, less than three minutes behind the eventual race winner.
Ferguson, who has a British Cycling MTB Cross-country Series win under his belt already this season, took silver in the under-23 race at last year’s European championships in Italy and bronze at the world championships in Andorra.
A British world champion will be in action in Huskvarna as Evie Richards enters the under-23 women’s race.
Richards, who claimed the first-ever women’s under-23 women’s world cyclo-cross title earlier this year, also has a British Cycling MTB Cross-country Series win to her name this year.
She decimated the field in Plymouth to win by more than ten minutes and heads to Sweden after representing Great Britain Cycling Team on the road in the women’s Tour de Yorkshire.
Iain Paton has also crossed from mud to road, and back again this season. Paton was part of a young British team at the UCI Junior MTB Series in Italy in April, before wearing Great Britain Cycling Team colours at the second Tour de Yorkshire.
Paton will return to mountain biking to compete in the under-23 men’s race in Sweden.
Great Britain will also have three representatives in the junior races, with Will Gascoyne competing in the men’s event and Sophie Wright and Emily Wadsworth in the women’s race.
Netherlands rider Rudi van Houts, who has already qualified for this summer’s Olympics, will be among the favourites in Sweden but Olympic champion Jaroslav Kulhavy misses out through injury.
Belgium’s Sebastien Carabin, Carlos Coloma of Spain and Swiss pair Lars Forstyer and Fabian Giger will also fancy their chances of claiming the European title.
There’s also a strong women’s field, with 2004 Olympic champion Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå set to battle it out with Spain’s Rocio Martin and the Czech Katerina Nash.
The Swedish course offers plenty of opportunities for overtaking, with three climbs and three downhill sections. Riders will have to negotiate the infamous Venue Landing on their approach to the finish.
Schedule (UK time)
Thursday 5 May
4pm: Team relay
Saturday 7 May
9.30am: Junior women’s cross-country
12pm: Junior men’s cross-country
2.30pm: Under-23 women’s cross-country
Sunday 8 May
8.30am: Under-23 men’s cross-country
10.30am: Elite women’s cross-country
2.00pm: Elite men’s cross-country
How to follow
- Updates will appear @BritishCycling on Twitter.
- A report from each day will appear on the British Cycling website.
- Follow the official event hashtag using #EUROMTB