Can Steve Peat make it three in a row?
Tracy Moseley is looking fast this season
Shanaze Reade won’t be there after all
The latest round of the Nissan UCI World Cup heads to Fort William once again this weekend, a venue which has solidly planted itself in the minds of both riders and fans alike over the past eight years.
This weekend the venue hosts a round of DH and 4X World Cup racing, and if the last few are anything to go by, the action is hotting up nicely and Fort William should be set for some cracking racing.
There’s enough Brit talent to make this a home win – but for who? And who might stand in their way?
Peaty is on fire at the moment. That’s the only way to explain his recent run of success, with two consecutive victories in Andorra and France, giving the Sheffield rider 17 World Cup wins, one more than Nico Vouilloz achieved during his time at the top.
A flying start for Moseley after winning the opening round in South Africa and following that up with a second in the next round, Moseley will be hoping to top the leader board this weekend.
In 2008 Gee finished second at Fort William, third overall in the World Cup standings and won the World Championships. He continues to get quicker – just two tenths of a second slower than Steve Peat in Andorra is testament to the speed the young rider possesses, and goes to Scotland lying in fourth place overall.
Don’t discount Fairclough. Currently sitting in 7th position overall in the standings, with a strong 4th in La Bresse, France, earlier this year, he’s one of the most promising younger DH riders to emerge in recent years.
Talented BMXer Shanaze Reade has conquered her native sport of BMX racing and a move into track sprinting was rewarded with similar results recently. Now the young rider hopes to be able to add 4X to her palmares, which seems a natural progression to us. However, a planned debut at Fort William this weekend has been dealt a cruel hand as the young rider suffered a shoulder injury in training recently, and will now spend the next four months off the bike, following keyhole surgery.
Scott ‘Boom Boom’ Beaumont is always a solid performer, with a seventh place at the first World Cup round showing he is on good form. A BMX background has given Beaumont a real edge in the 4X discipline in which he specialises, and lightning quick gate starts are an advantage.
Griffiths has been competing for years and has plenty of experience, always finishing near the top. In Vallnord she topped the leaders board taking a fantastic and popular win in the 4X. A repeat of her performance this weekend would go down a storm, particularly with Rachel Atherton out of action.
A likely contender for 4X success, injury has put paid to Dan’s hopes for competing in front of a home crowd following an injury sustained during a practise session at the Andorra World Cup recently.
Last years World Champion and World Cup winner, Rachel would be one to watch but is unfortunately recuperating from surgery to her shoulder, during an injury picked up in training back in January.
Who could prevent the British domination?
Here’s our top contenders to keep a watchful eye on.
This is your man to watch, and the guy most likely to prevent Steve Peat from taking his record 18th World Cup win. It was only a rare crash in the final stages of the last World Cup round that stopped Hill from recording a fast time, and during the earlier splits he was up on Peat.
Last year’s World Cup winner (his third title), Minnar started the 2009 season with high intentions, winning the opening round. Has been consistent and near the sharp end of the pace in recent rounds, but a win in Fort William would give his title contention hopes a boost.
Following a year out, former World No. 1 Mick Hannah is back campaigning the 2009 season. And he showed the form that made him such a threat in 2007, by setting the fastest qualifying time at the first World Cup in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. He followed that with a 2nd in South Africa, a 3rd in La Bresse and a 4th in Vallnord. There’s surely much more to come from the 25-year-old.
Has won the last four consecutive 4X World Cups since Fort William in 2008, and looks to have an unreachable lead at the top of the rankings going into this weekend, but faces tough competition from Rafael Alvarez De Lara Lucas, Joost Wichman and Dan Atherton.
Heads into the race the current Nissan UCI World Cup women’s series leader, so the pressure will high to defend this position. Jonnier finished the last round a full four seconds ahead of her nearest rival, making it two wins in a row. She’ll be a tough one to beat.
When are they racing?
4X qualifications take place on Friday 5 June between 6.30pm and 7.30pm, with the finals at 7pm on Saturday 6 June.
DH qualifications go ahead at 2pm for two-hours on Saturday 6 June. The women’s finals are at 1.15pm on Sunday 7 June and the men’s at 2pm the same day.
Get your tickets at www.fortwilliamworldcup.co.uk/tickets.html