With the World Championships and World Cup finale run and won, the cream of international cross country riders are now turning their attention to Beijing, China where they will get a taste of the 2008 Olympic course. Riders from around the globe will gather in Beijing on September 29 for the Olympic Mountain Bike Test Event to be held in the Laoshan/Pékin districts.
Recently re-crowned World Champion and World Cup winner Julien Absalon will lead the men's field at the event. The Frenchman will take a preview of the 2008 Games' course before heading to the Roc d'Azur in his homeland where he will take part in a tandem race with his wife, as well as his usual category.
Leading the women's contingent is female mountain biking legend Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå, who has spent most of 2007 on the sidelines due to illness. "Next week we're off to Beijing to test the Olympic track and do a bit more preparation at the pre-camp in Jixian," she said in a recent diary entry. "We're guaranteed some exciting and instructive days there. The first weekend in Beijing we've been invited out to a delicious dinner together with the Merida boss in China, Simon, and some of his colleagues, so that'll be a great evening and a happy reunion for us."
Australian cross country champion Chris Jongewaard is also looking forward to the experience of viewing the Olympic venue. "I'm looking forward to heading to Beijing should be a great experience just to visit and having the chance to ride the Olympic coarse prior to the 2008 is awesome," said Jongerwaard.