Excitement is brewing ahead of the penultimate round of the British Cycling MTB Downhill series in Llangollen this weekend, with the top five elite men separated by just 17 points.
Over 300 riders are expected to participate at the super-steep and technical Llangollen track, with up to 60 riders in the elite men’s category, including ‘superstar’ riders such as current series leader Marc Beaumont, Josh Bryceland, fresh from his first UCI Downhill World Cup win in Leogang earlier this month, 2011 world champion Danny Hart, 2005 junior national champion Matt Simmonds and multiple national champion, world cup winner and 2010 world champion Gee Atherton. Steve Peat is also expected to be pushing for a podium position at this race, shortly after celebrating his 40th birthday.
The elite women’s category will be contested by current national and world cup series leader Manon Carpenter, Fionn Griffiths and Jess Greaves, with 2013 world cup winner Rachel Atherton, Katy Curd and Tahnee Seagrave doubtful for participation.
British Cycling’s MTB Downhill Series, presented by Shimano, pits riders against the clock as they descend some of the toughest track terrain in the country, with points awarded for placings at each stage, accumulating across five rounds of the series. Each rider, from junior through to elite level, must have qualified via regional races and numerous junior winners of the series have gone on to become world cup and world championship winners.
With up to 10 points available for seeding runs and up to 60 points available for final runs, the current standings, aside from the women’s leader, could all change this weekend ahead of the fifth and final round of the series in September.
Race director Simon Paton said, "This year’s series is already tight just three rounds in. The elite title chase has never been closer, even more so with a different winner in each round so far; Danny Hart, Gee Atherton and Marc Beaumont.
"I wouldn’t like to predict an outcome because this will be so close, with over 50 elite riders pre-entered, all ready and able to put in the run of their lives and hit that five-man podium come Sunday evening.”
Round four of the series will take place in Llangollen over the weekend of Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 June. Spectator entry is free, with car parking at £5.
The final round of the 2014 series will take place at the newly-established and challenging Bike Park Wales on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 September.