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Mountain Bike World Championshps
Ready to Rumble: The World’s Best Meet In Champery
From cross-country to downhill to four-cross, we preview the most exciting races at this year’s mountain bike World Championships in Champery, Switzerland, and pick the winners in every discipline.
ByColin Meagher
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Whether it’s cross-country, downhill or 4x, winning the 2011 Mountain Bike World Championships will not come easy this year. The race venue in Champery, Switzerland, is tucked into the Alps near some of the steepest mountains on the planet. The courses on which riders will compete are steep, rugged and will test their skills from start to finish.

 

Here’s a preview of each race with a selection of riders who we think may ride away with the coveted World Champion’s rainbow stripes.

 

Cross Country: This course requires stamina, power, and technical handling. The only track close to it would be Mont Sainte-Anne, in Quebec. A soul-sucking climb from the start leads into an aggressive drop. Then it’s a fun romp through the woods into another brutally steep climb. And, as the saying goes, what goes up, must go down. The second half of the track descends sharply and offers riders a Chinese menu worth of rocks, roots, and off-camber lines.

 

So who will ride away on this course? Among the women, Catharine Pendrel is the favorite. She has climbing legs and technical bike-handling skills. The only rider who can match her is Julie Bresset, but due to UCI rules, the 22-year-old Bresset has to race in the U23 women’s race. That leaves Pendrel, the World Cup Overall runner-up, as the favorite.

 

Catharine Pendrel's combination of power and bike handling could lead to a World Championship. Photo: Colin Meagher

 

For the men, Jaroslav Kulhavy has been on fire all season, but talk in the pits is that he may not have the legs for this track’s punishingly steep main climb. Flyweights like Jose Hermida and Julien Absalon can push him to the limit here. And descending a track this technical when you’re already redlined won’t be easy. The real threat to Kulhavy is likely to be Swiss riders Nino Schurter and Florian Vogel. Not only will national pride be on the line, but both riders are excellent climbers, technically proficient, and pack a nuclear reactor’s worth of power.

 



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