This weekend the cross-country mountain bike season kicks off in Petrópolis, at the 2022 Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup – bringing Brazil back onto the international mountain bike radar six years after the Olympic Games.
How to watch the XC World Cup, Petrópolis, Brazil
- Friday 8th April – 20:20 – Short Track Final
- Sunday 10th April – 15:00 – Women’s XCO Final
- Sunday 10th April – 18:15 Men’s XCO Final
Nice sociable hours there – plenty of time to get your own bike ride in before you settle down to watch the pros slug it out. There are some different times listed in different quarters however, so keep an eye on the Red Bull TV channel to be sure not to miss out.
Petrópolis is the hometown of local hero and cyclist Henrique Avancini, the first Brazilian mountain bike rider to ever win a UCI World title when he competed in the 2018 UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championships. He will be looking for the win this weekend as he is joined on the starting line by the world’s best XCO mountain bike riders, including 2021 Overall Mercedes-Benz UCI World Cup winners Mathias Flückiger (SUI) and Loana Lecomte (FRA), World Champions Evie Richards (GBR) and Nino Schurter (SUI), Olympic Gold medalist Jolanda Neff (SUI), as well as French XCO legend Pauline Ferrand-Prévot.
Avancini said: “It’s a chance to show the world my hometown and the MTB Culture that my people developed. It’s a chance to bring good entertainment and action to my town, a very special place to me.”
Alongside Avancini most of the international superstar athletes have already arrived in Brazil to adapt to the time difference and acclimatize to the subtropical conditions. Will the unique conditions give Avancini the edge over the other competitors?
Superstar seasoned cyclist Pauline Ferrand-Prévot said: “I’m happy to come to Brazil for the second time in my career. I love the Brazilian public. The people are really kind and welcoming. I’m looking forward to Friday and Sunday to race and get to know the Brazilian bike fans a little bit more.”
Fellow rider Loana Lecomte said of the new stop: “I am happy to start the World Cup season in Brazil. Before I got on the plane, I saw pictures of the circuit on social media and it made me really want to ride. Even though I won the overall World Cup last year, the counters are back to zero. I don’t have a specific goal for this first race, the season is long.”
Mathias Flückiger, who will also join the start line adds: “Especially in Brazil and South America, mountain bike has certainly grown strongly. You can hear a huge resonance from there and that is cool. I still remember how the Olympics were in Rio. The fans are very excited. That makes me really happy.”
As the race gets underway this weekend, questions that will be on everyone’s minds include:
- Will the young guns Loana Lecomte and Evie Richards continue to fly high and dominate like they did in 2021?
- How are seasoned athletes Pauline Ferrand-Prévot and Jolanda Neff going to reply to the talented young riders coming through the competition?
- Who is going to stand out in a very tight men’s competition? Ones to watch include defending overall World Cup winner Mathias Flückiger (SUI), World Cup winners Victor Koretzky, Henrique Avancini and Christopher Blevins and legend Nino Schurter.
- Will Nino Schurter become the sole record holder for the most single World Cup wins?
- Can we assume that Tom Pidcock will be otherwise occupied with the Spring Classics?
- Will Isla Short’s last minute mechanic panic affect her race?
On this last point, Isla Short – by choice, with her own sponsored support structure rather than a race team – had a lat minute issue with her mechanic – they had covid. Following a shout out, she’s sourced a replacement mechanic and will be heading over to Brazil hoping she’s shaken off a recent lurgy. But no pressure on that mechanic… How would you feel about turning up on the other side of the world to fettle a bike for someone without any practice time?!
The start lists will be published here, as well as the results and timings after the races.
The 2022 Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup calendar:
• 26-27 March: (DHI) Lourdes, France
• 8-10 April : (XCO/XCC) Petrópolis, Brazil
• 6-8 May : (XCO/XCC) Albstadt, Germany
• 13-15 May : (XCO/XCC) Nové Město na Moravě, Czech Republic
• 21-22 May : (DHI) Fort William, Great Britain
• 10-12 June : (XCO/XCC/DHI) Leogang, Austria
• 8-10 July : (XCO/XCC/DHI) Lenzerheide, Switzerland
• 15-17 July : (XCO/XCC/DHI) Vallnord, Andorra
• 29-31July : (XCO/XCC/DHI) Snowshoe, USA
• 5-7 August : (XCO/XCC/DHI) Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada
• 24-28 August : UCI MTB World Championships – Les Gets, France
• 2-4 September : (/XCO/XCC/DHI) Val di Sole, Italy
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