The 2018 HSBC UK | National Cross Country Series starts at the stunning Sherwood Pines in the East Midlands this weekend.
The five-round competition will get under way with sport and fun racing on Saturday before the elite, junior, youth, juvenile, expert and veteran categories race on Sunday in Nottinghamshire.
Sherwood Pines last hosted a round of series in 2015, when it also held the opening race of the competition.
About the series
The National Cross Country Series is a mountain bike competition which takes place between March and August with riders competing for individual race wins and the overall series title in a range of age categories.
A rider’s top four results count towards their total over the five events. Dalby Forest in Yorkshire hosts round two on 22 April before the racing heads north for round three in Glentress Forest, Peebles on 13 May.
Phoenix Bike Park in Suffolk welcomes the penultimate round on 10 June before the 2018 finale on 5 August at the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells.
Defending champion Philip Pearce takes to the start line as he aims for back-to-back titles. Now of Hope Factory Racing, Pearce went on to take the title in 2015 when the series last visited Sherwood Pines.
British champion and Olympian Grant Ferguson is back with CST American Eagle having won at two out of three races he competed in last year. Victories in Aske Estate and Dalby Forest make the Scot a favourite as he builds to the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games next month.
Talented Dutch rider Milan Vader, 22, of Habitat Mountain Bike Team and teammate Kevin Panhuyzen make the trip to the UK having raced at the opening UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in South Africa earlier this month.
David Fletcher, Jason Bouttell, Gareth McKee and Tom Bell enjoyed strong 2017 series and all are set to start in Sherwood.
Jane Barr’s consistency through the 2017 season saw her take the overall title and the Velocity 44 RT cyclist will return in search of the race win that alluded her in last year’s series.
Evie Richards is absent as she prepares for the Commonwealth Games having boasted a 100% series record in the her three outings in 2017.
Scottish duo Isla Short and Kerry MacPhee return to National Cross Country Series action having taken to the podium twice in 2017.
Both will be looking to lay down a marker before heading to Australia to represent Scotland at the Commonwealth Games.
Polish rider Marlena Drozdziok completes the travelling Habitat Mountain Bike Team and will be one-to-watch; the 21-year-old was fifth overall in 2017 and celebrated victory at round two in Wasing Park.
Elite races take place on Sunday, with the women’s competition at 1pm and the men’s race at 3.15pm.
Races last approximately 90 minutes, with riders taking a mass start before negotiating a series of 15-minute laps. Courses are designed to be spectator friendly and events are free to watch.
How to follow
- Follow @BritishCycling on Twitter for race updates and results.
- Report and gallery will appear on the British Cycling website.