Cream Of the Crop in XCO Set for Cairns World Cup

Words by MTBA | Images by MTBA, Tim Bardsley-Smith

Cairns’ Smithfield Rainforest is set to erupt with the cream of the crop of international mountain biking set to battle in the second round of the 2014 UCI MTB World Cup Series.

The Series features events in nine countries, across four continents with riders contesting six rounds in the Olympic Cross Country (XCO), Downhill (DHI) and Cross Country Eliminator (DHI) events across the elite, under 23 and junior categories. The opening round will be held in Pietermaritzburg (South Africa) from April 10-13.

Dubbed the “Rumble in the Rainforest”, the three-day Cairns event begins on April 25 and over 300 riders are expected to converge on tropical North Queensland along with tens of thousands of fans.

French mountain-biking legend Julien Absalon (BMC) will headline the men’s endurance field, with the super-star’s overcrowded resume boasting five overall World Cup Series wins, four world titles and two Olympic gold medals.

Australia’s Daniel McConnell (Trek Factory Racing) will be aiming for more glory after a great performance in the 2013 Series which saw him become the first Australian since Cadel Evans (2000) to finish on the podium at season’s end.  Reigning XCE world champion Paul van der Ploeg (Giant) will excite the crowds when he hits the course in his pet event.

Reigning Olympic champion Jaroslav Kulhavy (CZE/Specialised XC) will make a decision after this weekend’s opening round in South Africa, but 2004 Olympic silver medallist and 2010 elite world champion Jose Hermida (Multivan Merida) and former U23 world champion Ondrej Cink (Multivan Merida) will make the trip.

In the women’s field, reigning Olympic and two-time reigning XCO world champion Julie Bresset (France/BH-SUNTOUR-KMC), 2013 Series champion Tanja Zakelj (Slovenia/Unior Tools), and 2013 UCI rankings leader Eva Lechner (Italy/Team Colnago Sudtirol) will all line up.

2010 world champion Maja Wloszczowska (Poland/LIV Pro XC Team), two-time reigning XCE world champion Alexandra Engen (Sweden/GHOST Factory Teamriders) and Jolanda Neff (Switzerland/LIV Pro XC Team) – a two time U23 XCO world champion – have also confirmed.

Rebecca Henderson (Trek Factory Racing) will fly the Aussie flag, with the Canberran enjoying a superb 2013 season, taking out the U23 World Cup Series following two victories (Albstadt and Mont-Saint-Anne) and three runner-up finishes in the six events.

With the 22-year-old making the jump to the elite ranks in 2014, Henderson kick started the year with victory at the National titles and silver at the Oceania Championships.

The Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland is proud to support the 2014 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup as part of a growing calendar of sporting, cultural, business and regional events across the state.

*Please note – entries for the Cairns UCI Mountain Bike World Cup open on April 10 and close April 22.  Official start lists to be confirmed after this date.

About the 2014 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Series

  • 2014 Series will feature nine events in nine countries, across four continents from April and August.
  • Six rounds are held in the Olympic Cross Country, Downhill and Cross Country Eliminator events across the elite, under 23 and junior categories.
  • The opening round will be held in Pietermaritzburg (South Africa) from April 10-13.

Follow 2014 Cairns World Cup online

2014 Cairns World Cup Event Info

The Tablelands Classic

The week is not just for the professionals with the Tablelands Classic presenting the chance for everyday riders to test their skills, before heading into Cairns to watch the World Cup unfold over the weekend. More info atmtb.subaru.com.au.

 

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