By Sue George
Quebec, Canada, will host its second of two UCI World Cups this weekend in Bromont, just one week after the last round in Mont-Sainte-Anne. Gravity racers will tackle round five while cross country racers will contest round seven. Bromont is just 86km east of Montreal and 290km from Mont-Sainte-Anne.
World Cup racing has previously come to Bromont, but not for nine years. The town has also hosted the elite and masters World Championships as well as a total of four World Cups. This visit will see all-new courses at the Versant du Lac section of the Bromont skiing area.
Racing action will kick off with the 4X with qualifying on Friday evening and finals on Saturday evening. After their wins one week ago in Mont-Sainte-Anne, World champions Melissa Buhl (KHS) and Rafael Alvarez De Lara Luca are the top favourites.
In the women's race, Dutch woman Anneke Beerten (MS Intense Factory Racing), who is ranked number one in the world, will look to make up for last weekend's race, in which she crashed during the Big Final, taking fourth. Both Japan's Mio Suemasa (MS Intense Factory Racing) and Great Britain's Fionn Griffiths (Norco World team) are likely to challenge for podium spots, but also look out for Austrian Anita Molcik (4 Elements Yeti/Hotec/RSP) and Australian Caroline Buchanan.
On the men's side, Spaniard Alvarez de Lara Luca will face France's young Romain Saladin (Team Sunn), who last weekend returned to racing with a second place finish following a hand injury this spring. Guido Tschugg may have crashed in the Big Final along with Frenchman Cédric Gracia (Commencal - Furious - Oakley Team), but both can't be counted out for this round. Joost Wichman (Cannondale Factory Racing) and Dan Atherton (Animal Commencal), who returned to competition last week, are also among the favorites.
Downhill racing will happen Saturday, with qualifying in the morning and finals in the evening. The nearly one-kilometer course drops from 550m to 250m over its length.
World Champion Rachel Atherton (Animal Commencal) won in Mont-Sainte-Anne and will be looking for another trip to the top of the podium, but Sabrina Jonnier (Maxxis) came within two seconds in a close finale last weekend and will have other plans in mind.
See the start list and read the complete preview for 4X, downhill and cross country World Cup events in Bromont.