UCI MTB World Cup - Just Moments Away22. April 2016, Cairns, Australia — Melanie Leveau — MTB Team
Here we are, at the eve of the first XCO World Cup weekend. Every year, there are those few exciting days when the entire MTB scene meets again and catches up after a long winter period. It is all about smiles and happiness to be together again. But there is a lot of nervousness and anxiety too. Hundreds of questions go around in circles in the riders' minds: “am I ready? Did I do what it takes this winter to be at the level I want to be? What about the others?”
We caught up with the five riders of the BMC MTB Racing Team to see how they feel a few hours away from their first major goal of the season.
Julien Absalon (Bib number 1) :
“I feel good, ready to kick off the international season. The course is a bit shorter than two years ago (he won there) but they kept the long uphill which I like, and the long downhill with lots of jumps. The course is as physical as it is technical and the heat and humidity will play a big role on Sunday. I am here to win and to take the leader jersey home. I’d love to wear it at the European World Cups which are my main goals of the season together with the Olympics of course.”
Lukas Flückiger (12):
“After all of the trouble of last week (he underwent a minor surgery) I am super happy to even be here in Cairns. I went off-road yesterday for the first time since the surgery and it was fine. I only missed a couple of training sessions so my goal remains the same: a top five finish which would be the first step towards qualifying for the Olympic Games. The course isn’t very technical but the high temperature and the humidity will make it hard to stay focused so we’ll have to be careful to manage it well.”
Reto Indergand (36):
“The feeling is definitely good after last weekend’s win so I am here to crack the top 15. I feel that the technical course with its line choice in the uphill can suit me well. I want to be a constant top 15 rider this season so starting with this race would be great and would really help to qualify for the World Championships in July”.
Lars Forster (39):
“Sunday will be my very first Elite World cup so I am both excited and nervous. I am ready to give it all on this course which has a bit of everything: a long uphill, some flat sections and a technical and fast downhill. It might sound a bit ambitious for a first Elite World Cup but I am aiming for a top 15. That would mean a start position on the second row for the European events where I’d like to do well, especially at the World Cup Lenzerheide and at the World Championships in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic.”
Martin Fanger (56):
“My start position isn’t good (he broke his collarbone last summer so he’s missing some precious UCI points) but I have good form, so I’m feeling confident. I really like the course with its rock gardens, pumptrack section and jumps, its fun and I want to ride as fast as a speed train on it!”
All riders apart from Julien Absalon have chosen to race with the BMC Teamelite. "It will help to save energy in the long uphill” explained Flückiger and Indergand, “And will be faster on the pump track section" added Fanger. According to Julien Absalon, the Fourstroke is the perfect bike for the 4.3km course.
What will be the right bike choice? Will they all reach their personal goals? Will they all step on the podium as best team of the day? All questions will be answered on Sunday afternoon in Australia so early morning (6:20am CET) in Europe. Don't miss the action on www.redbull.tv.
Photos: Jeremie Reuiller / EGO Promotion / BMC