Many of the world’s best riders have converged on Brno, in the Czech Republic, for the Mountain Bike European Championships that start tomorrow and run until Sunday.
Among the entrants for the men’s elite cross-country race at this European Cycling Union (UEC) event is Dutch rider Mathieu van der Poel, holder of four world titles and two European Cyclo-Cross titles, who also won silver at the Road European Championships in Glasgow 2018 and the 2019 Amstel Gold Race.
Van der Poel will be competing against, among others, Gerard Kershbaumer, Italy’s silver medallist at the 2018 World Championships, Switzerland’s reigning European champion Lars Forster, Jaroslav Kulhavy of the Czech Republic, an Olympic gold medallist at London 2012, and the 2018 European under-23 champion Joshua Dubau of France.
The women’s elite events offer an exciting challenge between European champion Jolanda Neff of Switzerland, the former world champion and Olympic medallist Maja Włoszczowska of Poland and the Ukrainian Yana Belomoina, gold medallist at the 2017 European Championships.
A total of 461 riders from 32 countries will be contesting nine titles across a range of events and age categories over the next four days.
Filippo Colombo of Switzerland and Simon Andreassen of Denmark will head the list of favourites in the under-23s.
Colombo’s compatriot Alexandre Balmer will also be competing after dominating the junior racing programme last year, when he earned world and European titles in the cross-country and a silver medal at the Road European Championships.
Multiple champion Sina Frei, the reigning European champion, will head the Swiss challenge in the women’s under-23 race where Laura Stigger is also eagerly awaited.
Last year Stigger won the junior world and European cross country titles.
Britain will be the national team to beat in the junior races. with Charlie Aldridge and Harriett Harnden being respective favourites.
In the men’s eliminator, France is once again the favourite with the world and European champion Titouan Perrin Garnier, Lorenzo Serres and Simon Rogier in the men’s race and, in the women’s, world champion Coline Clauzure, Iryna Popova of Ukraine and Barbora Prudkova of the Czech Republic.
Rocco Cattaneo, President of the UEC, said: “The Mountain Bike European Championships in Brno are testament to the continued development of a mission that began a few years ago to develop cycling on our continent, especially thanks to the agreement with Eurovision that this year will also show live coverage of the cross-country events in the men’s and women’s elite races and the awarding of the European title, guaranteeing exceptional media coverage.”