Paris 2024 | Another gold for Tom Pidcock or will GOAT Nino Schurter strike again? – men’s preview

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Paris 2024 | Another gold for Tom Pidcock or will GOAT Nino Schurter strike again? – men’s preview

What: Mountain biking men
Where: Elancourt Hill
When: Monday, July 29, 2024 2:00 PM.
Where to see: Eurosport 1 & HBO MAX
Dutch participant: no
Favorites: Tom Pidcock, Nino Schurter, Victor Koretzky, Jordan Sarrou, Simon Andreassen, Samuel Gaze, Alan Hatherly and Mathias Flückiger, Christopher Blevins

Tom Pidcock all-rounder on two wheels

All eyes are on Tom Pidcock. The all-rounder on the bike already managed to win the unforgettable gold at the previous Olympic Games in Tokyo. This year, the Briton is going one better in terms of objectives: defending his title on the mountain bike and competing for victory in the road race. The road race is scheduled five days after the day on which the mountain bike race has to take place.

How is Pidcock preparing for the Olympic Games? By winning mountain bike world cups and riding the Tour de France in the weeks before the Games. After the Test Event, the Briton was not positive about the amount of gravel on the course. Whether this actually has an effect on his chances of prolonging his title is unclear. In the weeks before the Test Event, Pidcock could barely train due to a seat injury, which meant that he eventually only crossed the finish line in 36th place. More than five minutes behind the winner Victor Koretzky.

Paris 2024 | Another gold for Tom Pidcock or will GOAT Nino Schurter strike again? – men’s preview

Tokyo 2020 | Mathieu van der Poel crashes during the mountain bike race

Pidcock does not have to deal with Van der Poel

Although Mathieu van der Poel managed to finish ahead of Pidcock with his 28th place during the Test Event… the Dutchman will not be competing on the mountain bike during the Olympic Games in Paris 2024. With his participation in the Tour de France and the Olympic road race, which seems to be tailor-made for him, there was no room in the program of the road world champion to participate in the mountain bike race.

So it will take at least four years, until Los Angeles 2028, before MVDP will be in action again during the Games on the mountain bike. The plank will therefore be etched in the collective memory for a long time and the curse cannot yet be settled in Paris. During the World Championships it went wrong again and Van der Poel literally dropped out of the competition.

In fact, there is not a single Dutch man at the start in Paris. For Dutch success on the fat tire bike, ‘we’ must therefore rely on Puck Pieterse and Anne Terpstra for women.

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Mountain Bike World Championship | Mathieu van der Poel literally drops out of Cross Country competition

Schurter is and remains the GOAT

Pidcock’s biggest challenger is the best mountain biker ever: Nino Schurter. The Swiss has the most World Cup victories to his name of all, 36 (!), and has won the World Championship no less than 10 times. He also has an Olympic gold medal at home, won during Rio de Janeiro 2016. In Tokyo, the 38-year-old GOAT finished just outside the medals with his fourth place. Nevertheless, there was Swiss success in Japan at that time.

Mathias Flückiger then took silver behind Pidcock and he will also appear at the start in Paris. The choice for the two Swiss nominations is not without controversy as the Swiss with the best results this season, Filippo Colombo, was not selected.

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Lenzerheide | Nino Schurter breaks all records – wins his 34th World Cup

French hope

The home crowd will have pinned their hopes on the two French competitors. Jordan Sarrou is not having the best season, but he does have a rainbow jersey in his closet and he is the current French champion. Victor Koretzky has impressed this season by winning several Short Track events in the World Cup, but this event is not held during the Olympic Games. In that case, the Frenchman will have to draw hope from winning the Test Event in front of his home crowd. Koretzky clearly feels good on this course.

Many contenders

The fact that there are many contenders for the Olympic title is evident from the fact that there have been four different winners in the five World Cup races this season so far. Pidcock was the only one to win twice. The other victories went to Schurter, the American Christopher Blevins and the Dane Simon Andreassen. But the New Zealander, and teammate of Mathieu van der Poel, Samuel Gaze will also have to be watched, as will the German Luca Schwarzbauer and the South African Alan Hatherly.

Elancourt Hill

Where Bart Brentjes became the first Olympic mountain bike champion during Atlanta 1996 on a bike with only front suspension, nowadays bikes are used that have both front and rear suspension. The bikes are also designed to work better and better on the steep climbs and descents that modern courses are rich in.

The course on Elancourt Hill Paris 2024 is no exception to this development. The former sandstone quarry from the nineteenth century turned into a landfill that closed in 1975. Since the 1980s, the site has been transformed into a public park. For the Olympic Games, the park has been upgraded again with the idea of ​​being used for mountain biking after the world’s largest sporting event.

Existing paths have been used, but rocks, tree trunks and jumps have been added to test the technical skills of the riders. A striking feature of this course is that the technical sections are only in the descents. When the route goes up, the road is often wide and strewn with gravel. There is room to overtake, but it will take a lot of energy on the difficult surface to make the difference.

WHERE ARE YOU LOOKING?

Eurosport and HBO Max will broadcast the battle for gold, silver and bronze live during the Olympic Games of Paris 2024. Just like in Tokyo and Beijing, we will bring you all the matches in Paris live with a large team of experts and commentators, with all the emotions, reactions, analyses and backgrounds. Follow our new channel on Whatsapp already?

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