electrical bike Why you need to watch the Mountain Bike World Championships this weekend
Chainsaws and damaged bones. What am I speaking about? Downhill mountain biking in fact. A sport that you’d count on to have an unimaginable following on condition that it’s free to view on Purple Bull TV, has arguably one of the best commentators in any sport – see Danny Hart’s Champéry run of 2011 on YouTube to see what I imply – and is without doubt one of the most thrilling and harmful sports activities on the planet.
This weekend is the 2020 Mountain Bike World Championships in Leogang, Austria, a observe made well-known by American Aaron Gwin who gained there in 2015 and not using a chain on his bike, and to say that the mountain biking world is worked up is an understatement. With the vast majority of the 2020 World Cup motion being cancelled or postponed because of Covid-19, we’ll lastly be capable of see the entire greatest loonies of the sporting world hurl themselves down a mountain crammed with roots, rocks and tree trunks to etch their identify in mountain bike historical past.
And after I say they’re loony I imply it: the prize cash for first place at World Championships in 2019 was a mere €5,000. To win that you just should be keen to hazard your total physique as you hurtle down at speeds over 70 km/h, on a observe typically as slender as a pencil. That is simply one of many explanation why I like this sport, because the riders definitely aren’t doing it for the cash, however for themselves.
So, who would be the subsequent World Champion come Sunday night? After one of the unimaginable 2019 World Cup Mountain bike seasons, which got here all the way down to the ultimate race run in Snowshoe, USA, you’d count on one other present down between the French pair Amaury Pierron and Loïc Bruni – with the latter pipping the previous to the 2019 World Cup by simply 40 factors.
It’s extensively acknowledged that the French at all times win on the World Championships, with 16 of the final 30 winners hailing from France and Bruni profitable the final three. Nevertheless, in August Pierron had a significant crash through the French Nationwide Championships at Alpe d’Huez, dislocating his finger and breaking each his collarbone and his transverse apophysis (the bones hooked up to the backbone on the backside of the again). So who does this depart to tackle ‘SuperBruni’, as he’s extra generally recognized, this weekend?
There are at all times the British prospects, particularly Danny Hart who was a earlier World Champion in 2011 and 2016, and is the one particular person to have stopped Bruni within the final 5 years. His different British counterpart, 23-year-old Laurie Greenland, can be one to be careful for, having gained his first World Cup final 12 months at his favorite observe Val di Sole in Italy, and inserting 3rd at Leogang in 2018. There are additionally different very promising Frenchmen that may by no means be written off – particularly Loris Vergier and the on music Benoît Coulanges, who gained the French Nationwide Championships.
One additionally can not ignore legends of the game like Aaron Gwin, who loves Leogang having gained there 5 instances, and Greg Minnaar from South Africa, who’s approaching his 39th birthday in November. He gained his first World Championship again in 2003, and has since gained it twice extra and been within the high three 11 instances.
My wager for this weekend’s race shall be Loïc Bruni’s Specialised bike teammate Finn Iles from Canada. Iles, fairly depressingly, is a fortnight youthful than myself at 21 years of age, contemporary confronted and thrilling to look at together with his using type being described as ‘on the sting’. Although he has by no means completed within the high three, there’s a excessive probability he’ll come of age and emerge victorious if he makes it down with no crashes.
Within the girls’s it’s as soon as once more a wide-open subject, with 5 riders in sturdy competitors battling it out for gold. Nevertheless, it’s going to greater than probably be a two-horse race between British rider Rachel Atherton, the ‘Queen of downhill racing’, and Myriam Nicole. The previous has six general World Cup titles and 5 World Championship titles to her identify, and is the one particular person ever to finish a ‘excellent season’ – profitable each race she competed in – whereas the in-form Nicole is the defending champion having gained the French Nationals by a 3 second margin in August.
When I attempt to inform my feminine pals about mountain biking and the way I’d like to get them concerned, most of them take a look at me as if I’m suggesting they line up behind a horse and take a kick to the face. What may shock some readers, although, is that mountain biking in reality has an enormous feminine following and, if something, the women that tear down these World tracks are much more daring than the lads. On this sense, downhill mountain biking is refreshingly trendy: girls get equal prize cash to the lads, they compete on the identical observe with the identical bikes and kit, and they’re simply as aggressive and entertaining to look at.
Although an Atherton-Nicole two-horse race is probably going this 12 months, you merely can not predict a sport so capricious as mountain biking. From flat tyres to slipped pedals, to rogue climate circumstances, there’s no telling what’s going to occur this weekend. It’s October, and the Alps, which have already had a dusting of snow, are infamous for fast altering climate which may result in a observe going from bone-dry dusty Sahara Desert circumstances to an Amazonian mud social gathering in minutes.
For this reason I like this sport, and it’s why I’ll be watching all of it day on Sunday from 11:30 on Purple Bull TV. I encourage you do the identical.
Picture: JWPhotowerks through Inventive Commons