Ireland has a three person team entered in the UCI 2016 Mountain Bike Cross Country World Championships which take place in the Czech Republic this weekend, from the 30th June to the 3rd July.
The world’s best off road riders will battle it out for the rainbow stripes on the fast, technical and powder dry course in Nové Mesto na Morave in the Czech Republic. Scott Eurocycles.com rider David Conroy, from Wicklow, will be the first rider in action, competing in the Men’s Junior event on Friday evening.
Banbridge CC members James Curry and Gareth McKee will compete in the Men’s U23 and Elite categories respectively, with Curry racing on Saturday and McKee on Sunday. The World Championships run from the 30th June to the 3rd July in the Vysocina Arena, an impressive venue that also hosts world class biathlon and skiing events in the winter months.
Speaking from the arena team manager Simon Curry is impressed with the course, and has had the team training on the various sections since their arrival on Tuesday; “The course is amazing; there are several very tricky rock garden features which could catch you out, and a lot of it will be about line choice. But the boys have been practising since Tuesday, going back over the selected sections and getting the correct lines through the technical rocky parts.”
“They could catch you out if you don’t get it right, but they are all in really good form and excited. The course here is compact; it’s up and down through lovely terrain, with the roots slightly more exposed as the week goes on, but the conditions are fantastic! The ground is powder dry.”
“There are 52 nations here, and the staging arena is impressive, it’s purpose built and acts as the start/finish area, with the feed zones in the forest. We were at the opening ceremony last night, and the atmosphere was fantastic; the crowds are really starting to come in now, this is great experience for the boys and great to have them here. They are savouring it all and getting in as much practise as they can on the course.”
The lap distance for the Cross County race is 4.1km, with the number of laps that each event will do being determined based on the team relay which takes place on Thursday evening. Conroy will be in action at 6pm Irish time on Friday 1st July, Curry’s event takes place at 12.00 on Saturday 2nd July and McKee will be competing at 4pm on Sunday. The event can be watched live on the Red Bull TV channel.