World Cup returns to Madrid

Just one month remains until riders converge upon the Casa de Campo Park in Madrid, Spain, on May 4...

Just one month remains until riders converge upon the Casa de Campo Park in Madrid, Spain, on May 4 for the third cross country round of the UCI World Cup. The event will happen just a few months before the Olympic Games and is part of the selection process of team members for some nations. It'll be the seventh time Madrid hosts the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup.

Top riders confirmed to attend the race include reigning world champion and 2007 World Cup overall winner Julien Absalon of France. Absalon is the top favorite to repeat a gold medal in Beijing. Challenging him will be 2007 World Cup runner-up Christoph Sauser of Switzerland and 2007 European Champion José Antonio Hermida of Spain.

On the women's side, former world and European champion and overall winner of the 2006 World Cup Gunn Rita Dahle Flesjå (Norway) will be in Madrid along with world champion Irina Kalentyeva of Russia and 2007 European champion Sabine Spitz of Germany.

Racers will tackle a seven-kilometer track with its traditional "hot spots" for visitors including Cuesta de la Muerte (Death Downhill), a very technical downhill, and Subida Infernal (hell's uphill), because so many riders have to hike-a-bike up it. The final hot spot is closer to the start / finish and includes wooden steps.

Fans will have the chance to participate in guided tours and races on May 3, the day before the World Cup. For more information, visit www.mountainbikemadrid.com.

The first World Cup opens in Belgium in just a few weeks on April 20 and then heads to Germany on April 27.

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