Thursday, May 23, 2024

World Cup | Puck Pieterse, Tom Pidcock, a full calendar and Mathieu van der Poel? – Preview

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Let’s get straight to the point: this year’s Mountain Bike World Cup is almost entirely dedicated to qualifying for the Olympic Games. While the Games are important in road cycling, but not more important than a Tour of Flanders or Giro d’Italia – the Tour de France is of course at the top – things are slightly different in the mountain bike world.

Qualifying for the Games in Paris can be done in two ways: either achieve a good result at the Mountain Bike World Championships, which took place in Glasgow last year, or acquire a place via the qualifying ranking. The NOC*NSF gives Dutch mountain bikers and female mountain bikers the opportunity to qualify through a top 12 for the Netherlands at the World Cup, a top 8 during the European Championships (2023 or 2024), or a top 8 during one of the UCI World Cups. competitions in 2023 or 2024 (the decision will be made at the round on May 26 in Nové Mesto na Morave).

It is important to mention: these are the XCO (Cross Country Olympic) competitions, not the Short Track heats. Also first name: it concerns the country ranking, not the individual ranking. If the Netherlands finishes in the top 12/8 in designated competitions, it will receive two starting tickets for the Cross Country competition in Paris. The IOC still has the right to give away one wild card. Do you still get it?

Van der Poel’s crash during the world championships in Glasgow had major consequences. VDP, who has now cycled everything he can think of on the road, dropped out of the race after a few minutes and was therefore unable to ride in the top 8. It is still not certain whether Van der Poel will be allowed to start, but also not whether he will try to qualify for the Cross Country competition in Paris in the coming World Cup.

The one who doesn’t have to worry is Puck Pieterse. Last year she made her first serious attempt in the women’s World Cup and immediately won the final ranking. Pieterse’s versatility is immense, because she is not only world top on the mountain bike: in the field, only Fem van Empel often seems to be the better and on the road she did not compete in the top 10 in eight classics this year, only in Strade Bianche.

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World Cycling Championships | Val Mathieu van der Poel, solo Tom Pidcock – Summary MTB Cross Country

New names

Cross Country enthusiasts can have fun, because this year there are no fewer than four new locations on the calendar. The double header in Brazil, which kicks off the MTB spectacle in 2024, is completely new; both in Mairiporã and Araxá they welcome the mountain bike world for the first time.

Later in the year, the heats in Crans-Montana – of course a well-known name in the cycling world because of the Tour of Switzerland (and last year even in the Giro d’Italia) – and Lake Placid will also be new on the calendar.

There is also one new name in the Downhill category, which may also sound familiar: the Polish Bielsko-Biala, where Marijn van den Berg won an uphill sprint in the Tour of Poland last year, has been added to the menu .

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European Games | Solo from start to finish – Puck Pieterse takes European Mountain Bike title in Poland

This is the 2024 MTB World Cup calendar

April 12-14: Mairiporã (Brazil) – Cross Country & Short Track
April 19-21: Araxá (Brazil) – Cross Country & Short Track
May 3-5: Fort William (Scotland) – Downhill
May 17-19: Bielsko Biala (Poland) – Downhill
May 24-26: Nové Mesto na Morave (Czech Republic) – Cross Country & Short Track
June 7-9: Leogang (Austria) – Downhill
June 14-16: Val di Sole (Italy) – Cross Country, Downhill & Short Track
June 21-23: Crans-Montana (Switzerland) – Cross Country & Short Track
July 5-7: Haute-Savoie (France) – Cross Country, Downhill & Short Track
July 28-29: Paris (France) – Olympic Games: Cross Country
August 28-September 1: Pal Arinsal/Vallnord – World Mountain Bike Championships: Cross Country, Downhill & Short Track
September 6-8: Loudenvielle (France) – Downhill
September 27-29: Lake Placid (United States) – Cross Country & Short Track
October 4-6: Mont-Saint-Anne (Canada) – Cross Country, Downhill & Short Track

From Pidcock to Pieterse: who should you pay attention to?

Every weekend kicks off with a Short Track race. For the men, it is often Luca Schwarzbauer to keep an eye on; the German likes to take control of the entire match and whether he is beaten in the final round or not, it doesn’t matter to him. Schwarzbauer is a real tastemaker.

The Swiss experienced men Mathias Flückiger and especially Nino Schurter – who also won the World Cup again last year – and the Frenchman Jordan Sarrou, together with Schwarzbauer, made it great again last year. However, at the World Championships, Samuel Gaze on the Short Track and none other than Tom Pidcock on the Cross Country proved to be the strongest.

Among the ladies, the range of contenders is systematically larger. Pieterse, Pauline Ferrand-Prevot, Evie Richards, Alessandra Keller, Loana Lecomte and Mona Mitterwallner alternate regularly, and in Dutch terms the names of Anne Tauber and Anne Terpstra should not remain unmentioned.

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Nove Mesto | Puck Pieterse can do anything, 21-year-old wins in debut season opener XCO

Where are you looking?

You will also be able to follow the entire Mountain Bike World Cup via Eurosport in 2024 discovery+. From Brazil to the Czech Republic, via the Paris Games and the World Cup in Andorra to conclude on the other side of the ocean: Puck Pieterse, Tom Pidcock, Pauline Ferrand-Prevot and perhaps even Mathieu van der Poel can be seen on the tube , or on stream! do you follow our channel on WhatsApp already?

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