Anton Cooper looks in good form after breaking his wrist over summer. Hard to gauge entirely until he races the best of the best.
Sam Gaze was looking good in his Cyclo-cross and Road Racing for Alpecin-Fenix, but he’s had to have knee surgery. Hopefully he’ll be ripping it when he returns. He was the possibly the fastest rider on the course at the World Champs and second last World Cup given how he ripped through the field from near the back.
It’ll be interesting to see how Blevins goes after a huge base building program in South Africa.
Nino looks to be in incredible form already so that’ll be good to watch.
Pidcock isn’t looking particularly strong right now on the road racing scene. Looks like he’s lost a lot of his fitness after the CX World Championship race…just like last year after winning the Olympic Gold medal. Or maybe it’s like he said, I was born to mountain bike…or something like that and he just isn’t as strong as the best road racers. He certainly wasn’t able to bother Wout when they were racing head to head in CX, except for the one race where Wout had the mechanical.
CIMTB XCC race overnight. Kate Courtney looked strong, but it was a pretty diminished field.
It didn’t look to be raining, and the riders weren’t dirty, but man their tyres are caked. It’s going to be bedlam if it rains. I really hope it doesn’t. Like Les Gets last year, it’ll take away so much from the course.
So the Brazil UCI race was this weekend (not the world cup), and Neff won by over 6 minutes . You have to think some of the others were just training, or weren’t over jet lag for that big of a lead. But regardless, Jolanda is on terrific form right now, she has to be the fav for the World Cup race.
Gridlock! XCC and starting position is going to be crucial.
Nino is on the move, but doesn’t say necessarily to Brazil. Seems unlikely he would miss any WC races as World Champ, but seems like he’d be there so close to the race as to not have any chance anyway.
I think this course is pretty intimidating for a lot of riders. Especially in the women’s field from watching the short clips on YouTube. Kate Courtney was the only one carrying enough speed to clear the double at the bottom of the big rock drop/jump. Jolanda is the best technical rider in the field by some margin.
It’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out when everyone has their game face on.
I hope the men’s field is equally stacked. I haven’t seen as much from them as to who is there. A big group of young Kiwi’s are there, and I’m pretty sure Anton is headed to race. The young American Trek rider (RJAmos???) is there for sure and I think Dascalu.
Yes, I think I originally underestimated the difficulty of the course, and there were a lot of big hitters there. However, I think the gap in technical ability has closed quite significantly in the past couple years, and Jolanda is not significantly ahead of everyone at this point like she used to be. 6 minutes is a lot though…
I know all the Trek guys are there, and I think Spec too, but I’m unsure how many others.
Pretty sure Haley and Chris had changed their minds during Cape Epic and are heading to Brazil.
ETA: From IG, confirmed that Mathias, Nino, Blevins, Haley, are all in Brazil. Looks like a near full strength field. PFP is there too, she’s got good legs I think (at least seemed good at Cape Epic) but I’m not sure how she’ll go with the course.