Cowbell Preview – XCO World Cup Round 2

XC World Cup round two is on!   While I love being at the World Cup races, they’re busy times!  So I thought I’d make use of the free time I have this weekend to take a look at the races starting in a few hours.  The World Cup has visited Albstadt in each of the last three years. The riders have been posting some impressively muddy photos through the week – if conditions stay like that we’re in for some exciting racing!

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This weekend is the final opportunity for nations to accumulate points to qualify starting spots in Rio.  And Albstadt is also a round of the Junior World Series, so the course has already seen plenty of racing as well as training, and looks to have dried up since earlier in the week. According to the forecast, it’ll stay dry most of the day but the elite men might get wet later in their race.

Georgia Gould on Devil’s Corner in training – the perspective you don’t see on Redbull TV!

The elite men’s race is likely to to be another installment in the Nino v Julien series, with Julien a two time winner on the course. Or, will the course conditions serve up a surprise similar to Aussie Dan McConnell’s win in 2013?

Kiwi Anton Cooper is looking to make up for his sub-par performance in Cairns and will be hoping to be one of the biggest movers on the day, starting in 38th.  However he’s unlikely to be the biggest mover as CX World Champ, Mathieu van der Peol, is racing again (despite making up around 60 positions in Cairns he starts in 96th so has to do it all over again).

The women’s race has seen a different winner in each of the three times Albstadt has been on the calendar. PFP and Jolanda are 2 of them, but skipping Cairns puts them on rows 3 and 4 for the start. Annika Langvad has won the last 2 world cups, and if Catharine Pendrel doesn’t have to close down a big gap after the start she will look to capitalise on her ability to post fast lap times later in the race.  Starting in 28th and unlikely to finish outside the top 5, PFP is my pick for biggest mover in this race.

Keep an eye out for Kiwi Kate Fluker on this course with it’s sustained, steep climbing.

And it’s not televised, but you can keep up with the first race of the day via live timing.  Kiwi Sam Gaze wants a repeat of his U23 result in Cairns (maybe a little less nail-biting finish!).

Jack Compton, and brothers Craig and Ben Oliver are also racing.  After finishing 9th in Cairns, Ben is surely eyeing up a top 5 this season.  Could it be this weekend?

The U23 men’s race starts at 7pm NZ time, with Redbull TV coverage starting at 9pm and showing both the women and men elite races.

Not long to go now!

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