The 2018 Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup continues this weekend with the first combined cross-country and downhill event of the season.
British stars will be in action in both events for their trade teams – while Great Britain Cycling Team riders will also be competing in the UCI Four-Cross World Championships on Friday night.
This weekend’s racing is the first of four double-header world cup weekends – with individual world cup champions due to be crowned at the season closer in France next month.
Great Britain Cycling Team’s Annie Last, Evie Richards and Frazer Clacherty will take to the start line in Italy this weekend.
Commonwealth champion Last, representing KMC-EKOI-SRSUNTOUR, will look to move into the world cup elite women’s top 10 with a strong finish at Val di Sole.
Richards (Trek Factory Racing) is currently third in the under-23 rankings, despite missing the previous round while Clacherty (Silverback OMX Pro Team) has taken two top 15 finishes so far this season in the under-23 men’s competition.
Other British riders set to compete in Italy include 2016 Olympian Grant Ferguson (CST Sandd American Eagle MTB Racing Team), Kerry MacPhee, Isla Short (Habitat Mountain Bike Team) and Sophie Wright.
Great Britain Cycling Team mountain bike lead coach Simon Watts said: “This weekend’s race in Val di Sole marks the first world cup of the Olympic qualifying period so we’re keen to get off to a good start.
“We recently ran an altitude camp attended by programme riders Annie, Evie and Frazer plus Grant Ferguson and Isla Short in Andorra which served as good preparation for the weekend ahead. Evie, Isla, Frazer and Grant concluded the training block racing the fourth round of the Internazionali d’Italia series in which Evie finished second in the elite women’s race and all the riders finished in the top fifteen against a large field which was pleasing to see.
“The course in Val di Sole is a mix of manmade trails and natural single track sections running through the woods. There is a large section of open grasslands which is very exposed and should it rain, as it often does with little warning at this level of altitude, the physicality of the course will increase. The venue often features in the world cup series, so the riders know what to expect and are prepared for the race.”
Rachel Atherton will look to make it back-to-back world cup round wins this weekend.
The Trek Factory Racing rider topped the podium in Leogang after a year of injury problems and will look to continue her good form in Italy.
That will not be easy with fellow British rider Tahnee Seagrave (Transition Bikes / Muc-Off Factory Racing) also competing – herself a world cup round winner at Fort William earlier this month.
Laurie Greenland (MS Mondraker) finished third in Leogang and will look to improve on his fifth place in the world cup standings with former world champion Danny Hart (Madison Saracen Factory Team) also in the top 10.
Eleven riders have been named in the Great Britain Cycling Team squad for the UCI Four Cross World Championships this weekend.
The squad is led by experienced rider Scott Beaumont, with Elliott Heap, Grant Hill and Connor Hudson among the other elite men’s entrants.
Natasha Bradley – fourth at last year’s world championships – leads the women’s squad, which also includes talented teenager Tyde D’Souza.
Thursday 5 July
7.30pm – Men’s and women’s four-cross qualifying
Friday 6 July
11.15am – Junior women’s downhill seeding run
11.30am – Junior men’s downhill qualifying
12.30pm – Elite women’s downhill qualifying
1pm – Elite men’s downhill qualifying
4.30pm – Women’s cross-country short track
5.15pm – Men’s cross-country short track
8.15pm – Men’s and women’s four-cross world championships finals
Saturday 7 July
8.45am – Junior women’s downhill final
9.15am – Junior men’s downhill final
11.30am – Elite women’s downhill final
12.30pm – Elite women’s downhill final
Sunday 8 July
7.30am – Under-23 women’s cross-country
9.15am – Under-23 men’s cross-country
11.20am – Elite women’s cross-country
1.50pm – Elite men’s cross-country
How to follow
- Watch the cross-country short track, the elite downhill finals and the elite cross-country finals live on Red Bull TV
- Race results on Twitter
- Reports on the British Cycling website