This weekend sees Hadleigh Park hold its first major mountain bike event since the 2012 Olympics. The Hadleigh Park International sees Rio hopefuls line up against one another just three weeks before the Rio race will be held. As well as the International race, this will also be the first time a round of the Junior UCI series has been held in the UK. The start list is sure to inspire some Tokyo 2020 hopefuls, as well as providing spectators with hotly contested racing.
On the start line for the Elite Women will be British Champion Annie Last, who was 8th in the London Olympics, but sadly won’t be in Rio. She’ll be up against Maxine Filby of the dubiously named team ‘Cannondale Girls’, and Evie Richards of 100% ME – both Brits who may well be keen to show British Cycling what they could have done if only they’d had the chance to qualify for Rio. Pauline Ferrand-Prevot, the awesome cross discipline rider from France who is the only cyclist ever to hold World Champion’s jerseys in Cyclocross, Road and MTB will riding for Rabobank Liv. She’ll be out there to show this nasty crash at the Nove Mesto World Championships hasn’t dented her confidence (and not has the racing at La Course tired her legs). We reckon Jolanda Neff of the Stockli Pro Team will push her hard though – perhaps even beating her.
— Phil Gale (@1_in_the_gutter) July 2, 2016
In the Elite Men’s race, Nino Schurter from Scott-Odlo will be hard to beat, but rivals Julien Absalon and Jaroslav Kulhavy will also be pushing for the win. Or will they? Will the prospect of Olympic medals mean that riders hold back and those without the Rio ticket are able to come through by power, nerve, and aggression? Even without Peter Sagan in the line up, it looks set to be a great weekend of racing.
The purpose built course has plenty of technical sections. Spectators wanting to pick their viewing spot can check out this course map here, and the start list here. There’s also a video which shows some of the weekend’s riders tackling the course.