The first UCI Mountain Bike World Cup event for 2008 will happen in Manavgat, Turkey, this weekend. Racers like Team ALB Gold's Hannes Genze and Jochen Kaess will be among those on the starting line of the 90km marathon. The pair is getting ready for some upcoming racing in South Africa.
"The race will probably be as compettive as last year on Gran Canaria. For Jochen and me, the focus, however, will be to get acquainted with each other and see how we do as a two-person team. It will only get really serious in April," said Genze of their goals, just before flying to Turkey.
The UCI's website reported that 120 total elite riders are entered including 2007 World Cup Winner Thomas Dietsch (Gewiss Bianchi), Alban Lakata (Dolphin-Trek Mountain Bike Racing Team), Marzio Deho Julio Carlo Da Silva (Gewiss Bianchi), and 2000 Olympic Champion and multiple World Champion Miguel Martinez.
Sweden's Pia Sunstedt is the favorite in the women's race. She will race other top challengers like Austrian Fabienne Heinzmann (Dolphin-Trek Mountain Bike Racing Team) and Swiss rider Esther Süss.
The men and the women will race round one Sunday, March 16. The only other marathon world cup is in Ornans, France, at the end of the season, on October 5, 2008.