After top flight racing resumed last week for both the Primaflor-Mondraker-XSauce team in the cross-country and the MS Mondraker team in the Downhill, the much-delayed, much anticipated 2020 MTB racing season is in full steam – with just a couple of days before the next big event, the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships. The one where everyone wants to go home top of the heap with a rainbow stripes jersey – and has one race to prove their worth!

The five-day event in Leogang, Austria, is now hosting both the Downhill Worlds – which were always scheduled for this event – and now the Cross Country, which had originally been scheduled for Albstadt, Germany, in June, but was one of the many events that was cancelled due to protocols surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. 

With the Pump Track World Champs cancelled from the event, the E-Mountain Bike XC has been brought in, demonstrating how the world of competitive muscular and assisted bikes continues to combine – but make no mistake, the main attention is on the XC Olympic finals for men and women on Saturday 10th October and the Downhill finals for men and women, on Sunday 11th. 

Both our teams have been in preparation throughout the lockdown and the gradual return to lower level and national racing, but it’s the World Cups and the World Champs that really matter – with the chance to win the highest prize in both codes. 

The Primaflor-Mondraker-XSauce team ‘warmed up’ in style, with the World Cup double-header at Nové Město na Moravě in the Czech Republic. Aussies Dan and Bec McConnell led the charge on their F-Podiums, with Bec’s solid form improving throughout the unique fixture’s four races, culminating in a podium in the last race.

For them, the World Cup is done, and it’s all down to the World Championships – before working out how to get home!

For the Downhillers it’s the other way round. World Champs first, then it’s two World Cup events: not a double-header for the gravity gang, but two separate events, at Maribor and Lousa. But they’ve been getting their lines in with the return of Crankworx, with the Innsbruck festival of dirt action putting a smile on everyone’s faces last week. It culminated in the Downhill Finals on Sunday, with both Eleonora Farina and Laurie Greenland both hitting the podium on their Summums – and Brook Macdonald making a welcome return to racing.

But again, that’s quickly becoming history, and all the focus is on Leogang.

The Austrian venue has hosted nine DH World Cups and a World Champs in the last decade. It’s loved by riders and fans alike for its speed and technical challenges, with or without a cowbell-donging, chainsaw-toting crowd!

The Speedster track is 2.5km long, fast, technical and with a new section that promises an increased technical challenge, whatever Europe’s weather decides to come up with in the next few days! The 2021 alloy Summum will be a vital weapon for the week.

Laurie, Brook, Eleonora, and Mike Jones will all look forward to returning to a track that’s reaped rewards. Eleonora loves Leogang, winning the 2017 Euros there on her Mondraker Summum, after taking second place in the World Cup Elites on the same course the previous year. Laurie’s had some fun there, including third place in 2018, when Mike was also in the top 10 – he’s also podium’d there as a Junior, so knows his way around. Brook has had numerous podiums at Leogang over the years, but never the top step!

For Brook, last week’s Crankworx may have taken some pressure off in terms of returning to high level competition, but the world’s eyes will be on him, completing the circle of coming back to ride the Worlds after his flying pace was rudely interrupted by a – literally – spine-braking crash in Mont-Sainte-Anne 2019!

But Leogang is not a regular venue for XC. So, when the organisers knew they’d got the event rolled into their DH program, they built a new one! The fresh 3.4km-long loops with 210m elevation and some technical rocks and roots sections that look like they might rival the Nové Město monster for generating leg-sapping pain. 

But it will be new to all the riders, so sighting and practise will play a part early in the week before the finals at the weekend, with Aussies Bec, Dan and the gang looking for lines and tactics as well as energy and adrenalin. Along with them are the Belgian former national champion and European Champs podium racer Githa Michiels, and Russia’s Olympic rider Anton Sintsov – both proud to wear their national jerseys in the UCI Worlds as they are the Primaflor-Mondraker-XSauce colors in many other races!

The action will be live on RedBull TV


And more detail here