Cross Is Coming, MTB Is Here

Hello from Italy, cyclocross friends! I am at the Val di Sole MTB World Cup and will be providing video coverage this week for Trek Factory Racing and Clif Pro Team. I also have plenty of other clips available on my own Instagram page @cxhairs. Check out all of those accounts to keep up with the action. And make sure to watch the races, for free, on redbull.tv. This is a big week with wide open series races for the women and men.

Fresh off his Dutch road championship (video below), Mathieu van der Poel will be tearing it up during the short track race. He’s on a multi-discipline rampage and is looking for his first XC win to cap off a brilliant fortnight. But Nino remains the man to beat and their are a pair of Kiwis in Anton Cooper and Sam Gaze who have given him everything he can handle. And that’s not to count out France’s Maxime Marrotte who has also been gunning for the top step.

On the women’s side, both the short track and cross country are going to be a battle royale. Jolanda Neff is looking fast and smooth but Annika Langvad, Pauline Ferand Prevot, and the rest of the field is right on her wheel. This weekend is also the first time the downhill and cross-country events are at the same venue, so make sure to tune in for a pretty sweet DH track on Saturday. The four cross world championship also takes place Saturday night, but I don’t know if that’s televised. I may wander over for four cross, this year, to film some of that party with a world championship on the side.

Along with the world cup, there are a few other things I wanted to catch you up on. The first is enduro and specifically the Enduro World Series, which is an exciting and compelling event that doesn’t get the acclaim it should. EWS has upped its game as far as coverage goes, and this past week’s round four from Petzen, Austria and Jamnica, Slovenia is epic. Sam Hill is on a tear and took the win on the men’s side and Cecile Ravanel has a more than reasonable shot at a perfect season for the women. For those who may not be familiar with Enduro, here’s a super quick primer:

Enduro is a stage race in which technical downhill stages are timed. The liaison or transfer stages between timed stages (usually the uphill bits) are not timed. There must be a minimum of four stages for EWS. The stages must test the technical skills of the rider and be downhill sectors. There must be a minimum of 20 minutes of timed racing. If you crash or have a mechanical and must change wheels or main frame parts you will be assessed a five minute penalty. Full rules are available at http://www.enduroworldseries.com/rule-book/ .

And here are the highlights and event recap from round 4:

As far as straight up bike videos go, I’m always on the look out for ones that don’t toe the line or follow the rules. Santa Cruz’s release video for the Bronson featuring Josh Bryceland fits the bill. It’s expertly edited, has amazing animation and just gives zero fucks. It’s fantastic. Watch it twice …

Alright, that’s it for now. I will leave you with a quick look from today’s unofficial practice session at Val di Sole. More to come …

Feature photo: © 2018 Matt Delorme

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