Albstadt prepares for return of UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Albstadt, Germany is well underway in its preparations to host the fourth round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup at the end of May, including a cross country race and an eliminator race.

Albstadt first hosted a World Cup in 2013. The cross country course will mostly stay the same, but per the instructions of the UCI, the course will undergo some small changes in the interest of improved rider safety. The "Merida Devil's Corner" had to be rebuilt completely, after a damage due to a fallen tree. And an additional easier, but longer B line has been introduced. Also at some points, there will be improvements for the spectators - making it easier to get from one hot spot to the next.

The eliminator will move from the city of Tailfingen to the main events venue in the Bullentäle (Bulls Valley). The lap will be more like a real mountain bike course.

"That makes it a bit easier for everybody and gives the eliminator the real mountain bike feeling," said Stephan Salscheider, head of Albstadt's organizing committee.

The entire weekend will kick off on Friday morning, May 30 with the eliminator qualifying before the finals happen late that afternoon.

Amateurs will get to be involved in a non-World Cup marathon race for the Gonso Albstadt MTB Classic on Saturday, May 31, and the elite cross country riders will compete on Sunday, June 1.

Julien Absalon won both of the two World Cup rounds held so far in South Africa and Australia.

After winning World Cup #27 in Pietermaritzburg, Absalon said, "It was great to get the win here after my bad experience at the Worlds in September. But my main focus this spring remains the World Cup in Albstadt. I like this race course very much, it suits me the most."

After his 28th World Cup win in Australia, he set his sights on a new goal. "I will try to get 30 this year, why not?" he said. Were he to win in Nove Mesto, Albstadt could be the place where Absalon was going for number 30.

At the Albstadt World Cup in 2013, Absalon had a mechanical problem which cost him the chance to win. It occurred while he was leading the race.

German fans will be out in force to cheer on Manuel Fumic (Cannondale), who scored a second place in Pietermaritzburg. They'll also be supporting the 42-year-old Sabine Spitz, who was sixth in Pietermaritzburg and fourth in Cairns.

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