…. 3, 2, 1, GO! MTB XC WORLD CUP 2019 IS STARTING!
The best mountain bike riders are about to start off the most prestigious series of races as the Mountain Bike World Cup kicks off in Albstadt (GER) this weekend. And a week later, the MTB spectacle will move to Nové Město na Moravě. The 28th MTB World Cup will be rounded off in West Virginia (USA), in ski resort Snow Shoe in mid-September.
Czech lovers of mountain biking who are planning to come to Nové Město will once again have the opportunity to enjoy a unique event that has many innovations in stock for them: revamped track, payment with a chip technology, or faster catering with better quality meals. “Fans themselves must create the right atmosphere, though. We believe that this will not be any problem as fans in the Vysočina Arena proved many times to be the best. I get goose bumps from the crowds every year,” Petr Vaněk, the leader of the organizing team said.
And the motivation for them to make the stands roar and thunder is immense indeed for the race will present famous stars of XC racing, such as Mathieu van der Poel, Nino Schurter, Gerhard Kerschbaumer, Jolanda Neff, Annika Langvad or Kate Courtney. Czech riders will naturally be here, too, since for many of them, Nové Město is the highlight of the season.
Ondřej Cink, the bronze medallist from the 2015 World Championships, is one of the home riders that the Czech audiences hope to score big. Last year in Nové Město, he thrilled everyone by riding from the rear of the peloton, which was caused by his year-long intermezzo among road racers. This year, his ambitions are much higher than the 18th place last year. “It will be a different story now because the worst thing that can happen to me – if do not succeed in short track – is starting from the third row. But starting in the short track race is good, it is quite easy to get up front,” the current best Czech rider said. Cink has not been beaten so far, and won all three races he started in this year. “Nové Město is always the first highlight of the season and I would like to get to the podium. I have always liked the track a lot, and I am as strong as I have never felt in my life,” the twenty-eight-year-old Cink claimed. And his best result in Nové Město? Fourth place in 2016.
Jaroslav Kulhavý, on the other hand, feels very differently. 54th place in the UCI ranking, he is not feeling good in his training process… This does not keep hopes alive too much for Jaroslav to ride in the front of the pack next weekend. “It has been a year exactly since I started to fall behind in the XCO world. I finished ninth last time in Nové Město, and have never looked into the top ten since. Now I am focusing on the second half of the season, unfortunately, Nové Město was important for me, it is the highlight. I must admit though that I am not 100 % OK, and I will not ride my best,” Jaroslav said. Kulhavý won the race in the Vysočina Aréna in 2011 and 2015.
Karla Štěpánová was the best Czech female in Nové Město last year, though just a position before Jitka Čábelická, who is the current Czech champion. Both of these ladies have been preparing hard for the event in Nové Město. “It is the peak of my season. I always look forward to riding here, and I shall do all I can to succeed. I think it is possible for me to get to the top 15 where I have never been in my life,” Karla Štěpánová said.
Nearly thirty Czech riders could start in Nové Město na Moravě, seventeen of them will start in the first race of the World Cup in Germany.