Guide: UCI Mountain Bike World Cup cross-country round four and downhill round five

Guide: UCI Mountain Bike World Cup cross-country round four and downhill round five

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The 2015 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup series continues this week in Mont Sainte Anne, Canada with both cross-country and downhill at the double-header event.

With national champions crowned worldwide, the new British champions will have a chance to show why they are the nation’s best on the international stage.

Cross-country

Grant Ferguson, Annie Last and Alice Barnes travel to the latest round, with all three finding improving form.

Travelling from the European championships, the trio will all be looking to deliver solid performances before a final block of training in preparation for September’s world championships.

Ferguson scored his season-best result at the Europeans with a silver medal, backing up a third consecutive British title. However, he is still searching for his first podium position in the 2015 under-23 world cup.

Annie Last delivered another top ten performance at the European championships and will be looking to back that ride up against competitors from the rest of the world.

Barnes races following three of her career best results; second in both the British road and mountain bike championships and fourth at the previous world cup round.

Downhill

Three consecutive world cup wins and victory at the British championships puts Rachel Atherton as favourite in Canada.

Rachel Atherton leads the 2015 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Topping the overall standings, she has had one of her best seasons to date, taking her tally of world cup wins to 24.

World champion Manon Carpenter will hope that the second half of the season provides some respite from a run of torrid luck in a series she won 12 months ago.

Crashes and a disqualification have put her all but out of the title race.

Tahnee Seagrave – second in both Fort William and Leogang – suffered a bogey event in Lenzerheide, but will be hungry for a return to the podium and a top three placing in the overall standings; a feat which is just 34 points away.

So far there have been no British winners in the men’s world cup series – a drought considering the unabated success of the last decade.

2005 was the last time there was not British rider in the top three of the world cup standings – underlined by the fact that Mike Jones has been the only Brit to grace the top-three in 2015, finishing third in Lourdes.

Josh Bryceland is still recovering from last year’s world championship mistake – although he is showing signs of constant improvement – while Gee Atherton’s crash in the opening round of the 2015 series and associated injury has hindered him ever since.

Perhaps Danny Hart will be the man to prompt a resurgence as he chases his first world cup victory, after winning the British championship on his return from a crash in Fort William.

How to watch

Follow the action live from Canada on Red Bull TV for Saturday’s elite downhill and Sunday’s cross country.

The UCI website will provide live timing for all races – including the under-23 women’s and men’s competitions, which are not televised.

Reports, results and reaction will be posted on British Cycling through the weekend.