The penultimate round of the 2015 British Cycling MTB Cross-Country Series takes place this weekend at Cathkin Braes, Glasgow.
Round four of the five race series, which aims to find Britain’s best cross-country mountain biker, will be essential for title contenders to cement their status in the overall standings.
However, elite men’s points leader Grant Ferguson will be absent from the race – instead choosing to prepare for forthcoming rounds of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup at a training camp.
With the best scoring four out of five rounds to count, Ferguson can mathematically afford to miss the race.
But it will give nearest rival David Fletcher the chance to score heavily and set up a final round showdown.
Fletcher won the opening round, but Ferguson dominated the second and third races in Plymouth and Fforest Fields as Fletcher floundered.
A maximum points score at the site of the 2014 Commonwealth Games mountain bike race would put Fletcher at the top of the table – but perhaps more importantly – would go some way to erasing a low score in round two, where a swathe of international competition widened the points gap between himself and Ferguson.
Phil Pearce – third in the standings – could capitalise on any disasters for Fletcher, moving him further up the podium in his first season of elite competition.
In the elite women’s series, Alice Barnes has a chance to solidify her place at the top of the table, but British champion Annie Last will be looking to narrow the points gap.
Missing the previous round with illness, Last won’t make the sharp end of the overall until the final event – but has the chance to overtake Barnes with two good results.
Beth Crumpton and Lucy Grant are two other riders in the top-ten who have missed a round and will be looking to make their challenge for the final podium place.
The fourth round of the British Cycling MTB Cross-Country Series takes place on June 20-21 at Cathkin Braes.
Elite races take place on Sunday, with the women’s competition at 10:45am and the men’s race at 1:00pm. 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.
Want to start mountain biking? Check out our guide to getting involved.