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UCI MOUNTAIN BIKE MARATHON WORLD CUP KICKS OFF IN NOVÉ MĔSTO NA MORAVĔ

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UCI MOUNTAIN BIKE MARATHON WORLD CUP KICKS OFF IN NOVÉ MĔSTO NA MORAVĔ

3 weeks ago

This weekend marks the return of Endurance competitions to the WHOOP UCI Mountain Bike World Series after a glut of Gravity action, but it’s not just about the Cross-country Short Track (XCC) and Cross-country Olympic (XCO) distance events at Nové Mĕsto Na Moravĕ. Mountain Bike Marathon is also joining the party for the first time this year, kicking off a three-race series that will take place in Haute-Savoie, France (June 28-30) and Lake Placid, USA (September 27-29), as well as the UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championships in Snowshoe, USA (September 21-22).

The format made its UCI World Cup debut in 2023, with Fabian Rabensteiner (Willier Vittoria Factory Racing) and Lejla Njemčević (Allebike) taking the overall series wins as well as race victories in Nové Mĕsto Na Moravĕ. But anything is possible in mountain bike’s longest format, which pits competitors against truly marathon efforts.

JAGGED ELEVATION PROFILE

The first round of the UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Cup starts and finishes at the Vysočina Arena – the location of the iconic grandstand finish straight. From here, the course heads north, deep into the depths of the Nové Mĕsto Na Moravĕ countryside and woodland, and its jagged, sawtooth elevation profile.

Riders are tasked with completing two laps – the second slightly longer and with marginally more elevation gain – which, combined, will see them undertake 2,830m of climbing over the 123km course. There are three feed zones that riders can use on their two loops of the course, with a fourth at the start-finish straight.

While it might seem like this distance doesn’t lend itself to bar-to-bar action, last year’s UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Cup in Czechia proved it can be just as close as the shorter formats – Rabensteiner winning a sprint finish where the top 12 were separated by just nine seconds.

RABENSTEINER AND NJEMČEVIĆ FACE STIFF COMPETITION

With three events in this year’s UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Cup, riders will have to be on the mark from the off to secure those all-important UCI points. 

In the women’s field, last year’s overall winner Njemčević has started her 2024 strongly – winning the Bosnia & Herzegovina National Championships in April as well as placing 4th at the Andalucía Bike Race by Garmin. But the 29-year-old is likely to come under pressure in Czechia from the duo who won that early-season race in Spain – Rosa Van Doorn (Buff Megamo Team) and Janina Wüst (Buff Megamo Team). Van Doorn has already also tasted success at the Mediterranean Epic, 4 Islands MTB Croatia (XCMS), and Transgrancanaria Bike in 2024, while team-mate Wüst paired the Dutchwoman in Croatia and finished 3rd at the Mediterranean Epic.

Aside from those three, Vera Looser finished fourth in the overall standings last year despite only racing half of the rounds, and starts this weekend, while Adelheid Morath will be looking to keep her 100% winning record at UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Cups entered – one from one.

For the men, Rabensteiner has also started his season strongly, winning in Andalucía alongside Samuele Porro, as well as solo at the Scott Bike Marathon. But he faces stiff competition from Wout Alleman (Buff Megamo Team) to make it back-to-back wins in Nové Mĕsto Na Moravĕ. The Belgian rider has been in scintillating form so far this year, recording victories at the Mediterranean Epic (XCMS), Roc d’Ardenne, as well as third at Cape Epic.

Others to look out for include Simon Stiebnjahn (Singer Racing Team) and Hector Leonardo Páez León – the pair knowing what it takes to win a UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Cup.

Those not lining up this weekend include the reigning UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Champions Henrique Avancini and Mona Mitterwallner (Cannondale Factory Racing).

The UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Cup gets underway in Nové Mĕsto Na Moravĕ at 7:00 (UTC+2) on Sunday, May 26 with the Women’s Elite, followed by the Men’s Elite at 8:15 (UTC+2) – full schedule and events details are available here.

There will be live timings to follow the UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Cup on the official WHOOP UCI Mountain Bike World Series website and highlights on the WHOOP UCI Mountain Bike World Series' Instagram and Facebook channels, with top stories from the race weekend to be published on the YouTube channel on Thursday, May 30.

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