World Cup XC is back!
World Cup XC is back. It’s time for the world’s best Cross-Country riders to take to the trail in Germany’s Albstadt.
TV schedule for UCI Mountain Bike World Cup XC in Albstadt
- Albstadt XCC Women: Friday, May 17 Live on Red Bull TV 04:20pm
- Albstadt XCC Men: Friday, May 17 Live on Red Bull TV directly following the women’s race
- World Cup Chatter – Albstadt Pre-Show: Saturday, May 18 Live on Red Bull TV 3:00pm
- Albstadt XCO Women: Sunday, May 19 Live on Red Bull TV 10:00am
- Albstadt XCO Men: Sunday, May 19 Live on Red Bull TV 01:15pm
Can Nino Schurter (SUI) continue his dominance or has the extremely strong chase-pack made up ground over the 7-month-long winter break? Can Kate Courtney (USA) build on her sensational performance at last year’s UCI World Championships in Lenzerheide and win her first World Cup? Will the battle between Jolanda Neff (SUI) and Annika Langvad (DEN) for the Overall World Cup Title continue or can the rest of the field break up the pair at the top?
The first round of the Mercedes-Benz UCI Downhill Mountain Bike World Cup live from Albstadt, Germany on Friday, May 17 and Sunday, May 19 only on Red Bull TV! In addition to the live broadcast of the finals, the World Cup Chatter pre-show will be available on Saturday, May 18 at 04:00PM.
On the women’s side of the racing, the 2018 season saw a close-fought duel between Annika Langvad and Jolanda Neff. Langvad absolutely dominated the XCC races with victories at five of the six rounds and won the XCO in Stellenbosch and Nove Mesto. Neff however won the World Cup stops in Albstadt, Mont-Sainte-Anne and La Bresse, whilst finishing second in Nove Mesto and Vallnord and consistently placing in the Top 5 in XCC races. In the end Neff’s consistency paid off and she narrowly beat Langvad to win the Overall World Cup title. Will the duel between Langvad and Neff continue in 2019?
Going into the last race of the season, the World Championships in Lenzerheide, it seemed like that title would be decided between Neff and Langvad once again, but a fantastic break-out performance by first-year Elite rider Kate Courtney (USA) stunned everyone and the American took home Gold, with Langavd in second and Neff in fourth. Can young riders like Kate Courtney and 2018 podium-threat Emily Batty (CAN) join the fight for the victory in the Overall Ranking? Can the rest of the extremely strong and unpredictable women’s field led by riders like Maja Wloszczowska (POL), 2017 Overall World Cup Title winner Yana Belomoina (UKR), Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (FRA) and Anne Tauber (NED) threaten the top step on the podium?
After dominating the 2017 season with wins at every single World Cup stop and the World Championships on the way to a historic perfect season, Swiss power house Nino Schurter had his work cut for himself in 2018. Right at the very first World Cup stop in Stellenbosch, Sam Gaze (NZL) ended the Swiss dominator’s winning streak, relegating him to second place. Schurter did come back to win a total of four of the seven World Cup rounds as well as the Overall Title in 2018 and capped off his season with a victory in front of his home crowd at the World Championships, but his lead on the rest of the field was a lot smaller than the results portray. The highly talented and motivated field behind Schurter will be looking to further close the gap and will only have one goal – toppling the most dominating rider of recent years. Can Schurter hold the field off for another year or is his reign coming to an end?
The field chasing down Schurter is led by Dutch all-round Cycling phenomenon Mathieu van der Poel, who spent the winter dominating the Cyclocross World Cup with a perfect season, capped by winning the Cyclocross World Championships and a sensational victory on the road at the prestigious Amstel Gold race. Ever since his first start on the Cross-Country World Cup circuit in 2017, ‘VDP’ seemed to put a lot of pressure on Schurter, but despite several second places, it was never quite enough to threaten Schurter for the top step. The new Cross-Country Short Track (XCC) format, which was introduced in 2018, however proved to favour the Dutchman’s sprint abilities. The XCC races held two days prior to the XCO races, act as qualifier for the first two starting rows in the XCO events while also awarding half of the World Cup points towards the overall ranking that are on offer in XCO. Mathieu van der Poel’s three victories and two second places in the five XCC races he attended, played a key role in his second place finish in the overall ranking in 2018. Who will challenge van der Poel’s dominace in XCC? Will VDP win his first XCO World Cup and further challenge Schurter? Or will Gerhard Kerschbaumer (ITA), Mathias Flueckiger (SUI) and Sam Gaze, who each won a World Cup in 2018, return to the top step? Can the strong French contingent around Titouan Carod, Maxime Marrotte and Jordan Sarrou continue to challenge the podium?