After a one-month break, the second half of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup presented by Shimano gets under way in Champéry, Switzerland, this weekend with a double event: cross-country and downhill.
This round of the World Cup will also give riders the opportunity to check out the courses for the 2011 World Championships, which will also be hosted by the Swiss alpine resort.
The action begins on Friday and Saturday with the downhill competition. The Champéry downhill course is returning to the World Cup circuit for the first time since 2007. It is renowned as the steepest course on the international circuit, with sections approaching a 75% grade. Organizers have named it “Dérupe”, which means ‘little steep path’. Despite the steepness, it is technical enough to slow the riders down, and a clean run is hard to achieve.
Sabrina Jonnier (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain) leads the women’s series by a healthy 140 points over Floriane Pugin (Scott 11). Rachel Atherton (Commencal), the winner of round one in Fort William, Scotland, would usually be expected to battle neck and neck with Jonnier, but the British rider is out of action for the rest of the World Cup season after a crash in the third round at Leogang, Austria.
In the men’s series, Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz) holds a 73 point lead over Gee Atherton (Commencal), with third placed rider Aaron Gwin (Yeti Fox Shox) 250 points behind and out of contention for the World Cup lead. Perennial favourite Sam Hill (Monster Energy Specialized), who won in Champéry in 2007, is out for most of the season with a shoulder injury suffered in round one.