After a two-week break, the German National Mountain Bike Series, also known as the Bundesliga, continues in Heubach this weekend, May 15-16. The HC-category race is again drawing an elite field as many prepare for next week's World Cup in Offenburg, Germany. Racers are expected to face wet conditions this weekend, just as they did recently at the Houffalize, Belgium, round of the World Cup.
Several international stars have registered in both the women's and men's races.
The top three podium finishers from Houffalize - Jose Antonio Hermida (Multivan Merida), Manuel Fumic (Cannondale) and Wolfram Kurschat (Topeak Ergon)- have announced their intentions to race at Heubach. Two-time Olympic Champion Julien Absalon (Orbea), Ralph Näf (Multivan Merida) and the Flückiger brothers (Trek World Racing) will also fight for victory.
Austrian Karl Markt (Felt Oetztal X-Bionic Team), who was not satisfied with his World Cup results England and Belgium, wants to follow up on his strong performance from the German National race opener in Münsingen (10th place). "In Dalby Forest and in Houffalize, I was not as strong as I expected to be," said Markt. "Nevertheless, I'm in good shape and will give it my all in Heubach."
World Champion Irina Kalentieva (Topeak Ergon), Lene Byberg (Specialized), the New Zealander Rosara Joseph and Emily Batty (Trek World Racing) are some of the favorite women expected in Heubach. After her second place in Münsingen and her furious comeback in Houffalize, Slovenian Blaza Klemencic (Felt Ötztal X-Bionic World Cup Team) is a candidate for the victory in Heubach. Her teammate Sabrina Enaux, who finished as third at the second round of the French Cup last weekend, wants to confirm her strong performance of the first two World Cups of the season.
One racer making a comeback will be Under 23 Paul van der Ploeg (Felt Ötztal X-Bionic Worldcup Team), who has recovered from his shoulder injury. He dislocated his shoulder in Houffalize.