houffalize XCO

The world’s elite cross-country racers are gathering in Nove Mesto Na Morave, Czech Republic this weekend for the third round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup XC, and the second bout in the exciting new sprint eliminator.

Annie Last, victor in the first running of the new sprint eliminator (XCE) held in Belgium last month, will be looking for a repeat victory as the race hits the dirt on Friday evening.

Likewise, Brian Lopes, who shocked the cross-country racers, will be looking for his second victory. But will the course suit his strengths? We’ll have to wait and see.

For the cross-country race, a similar course to that used in 2011 will be laid out for current points leaders Catharine Pendrel and Maja Wloszczowska, both tied on points at the top of the table in the women’s race, and Nino Schurter in the men’s race.

In the men’s race we’ve yet to see any sign of the dominance that Jaroslav Kulhavy displayed last year on his way to winning the World Cup and world championships, and with sights set firmly on the London 2012 Olympics, is the Czech rider biding his time? An expected 20,000 fans will be there to find out.