Race guide: Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, Fort William, Great Britain

Race guide: Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, Fort William, Great Britain

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The Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup returns to Fort William, Scotland this weekend for the second round of downhill competition.

Four-time world champion Rachel Atherton and brother Gee Atherton are just two of 50 British elite and junior riders set to compete for their teams across the weekend, more than any other nation in each category.

About the Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

The Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup is a ten-round competition encompassing three different mountain bike formats.

There are seven rounds of cross-country and downhill races and the World Cup debut of a new event in 2018 - cross-country short circuit, which features six times.

The season opener took place in Stellenbosch, South Africa in March where Great Britain Cycling Team’s Evie Richards took an impressive third place in the under-23 women’s race for Trek Factory Racing in a cross-country exclusive event.

The downhill season started in Losinj, Croatia in April, while May saw back-to-back double header weekends as cross-country and short circuit athletes were in action in Albstadt, Germany and Nove Mesto, Czech Republic.

The home round in Fort William is followed by a trip to the popular downhill course in Leogang, Austria in back-to-back weekends.

Podium shot from the first round of the first downhill round of the World Cup in Losinj Croatia, Rachel Atherton, Myriam Nicole, Tahnee Seagrave

The final four rounds feature all three disciplines, with race weekends in Val di Sole, Italy and Vallnord, Andorra in July followed by Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada and La Bresse, France in August.

Riders will do battle to be crowned world cup winners in their individual disciplines.

Elite women

Rachel Atherton made an exciting return to international downhill competition in Losinj, Croatia at the Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup finishing second to the 2017 overall winner Myriam Nicole.

After an injury suffered at Fort William last year, Atherton will return to the course which caused her to miss the remainder of the 2017 season.

Atherton, racing for Trek Factory Racing DH has won three times at Fort William in previous years; knowing the track well, it could be an opportunity to grab her first World Cup win of 2018.

Tahnee Seagrave continued her fantastic form from 2017 when she won the last two races of the season - she finished third on the podium in Losinj, less than half a second off the pace of Atherton.

Tahnee Seagrave rides past fans as she rides down the course in Losinj Croatia

She will be competing for Transition Bikes / Muc-Off Factory Racing, while Aston Tutt and Katy Curd will also be in action in the women’s elite.

Curd finished eighth in Losinj and will be looking to improve on her result this weekend.

Elite men

Two-time world champion Danny Hart will return to Fort William after winning on the course at the HSBC UK | National Downhill Series in May.

Racing for Madison Saracen Factory Team, Hart will be looking to improve on his run from the previous round of the Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Losinj, where he finished tenth.

20-year-old Laurie Greenland, a junior world cup overall winner and silver medallist at the 2016 men’s world championships, raced to seventh in Losinj for team MS Mondraker.

Greenland is an exciting prospect for the sport and will be looking for his first world cup podium of 2018 in Fort William.

Gee Atherton, Greg Williamson and Joseph Smith all finished in the top 20 in Losinj and will be racing this weekend.

Gee Atherton hits rocky section as he rides down the course in Losinj Croatia

The downhill world cup opener will also see a number of juniors take to the track. Kade Edwards will look to replicate his performance from Losinj in the junior men’s competition where he finished second.

The venue

The Mercedes Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup heads to Fort William, Great Britain for round five.

It is located on the shores of Loch Linnhe, in the Scottish Highlands and has a population of 10,500.

The course is 2.8km long, descending a massive 555m in total down the face of Aonach Mor, the ninth highest mountain in the UK.

Schedule (UK times)

Saturday 21 April

12.15pm: Qualifying - junior women
12.30pm: Qualifying - junior men
11.30pm: Qualifying – elite women
2.00pm: Qualifying – elite men

Sunday 22 April

9.45am: Final – junior women
10.15am: Final – junior men
12.30pm: Final – elite women
1.30pm: Final – elite men

Rider List

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