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  1. #1
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    2013 World Cup Thread

    That was a pretty wild start to the World Cup season in Germany.

    The elite women's race had quite a different mix of front runners. Marianne Vos making a very credible 11th place showing for a 57th place start. Emily Batty was the top North American rider in 6th even after stopping for a wobbly front wheel change.

    The elite men's race was wilder in the rain. Absalon was doing well with over a 1 minute lead until his rear derailleur wound up wrapped into his wheel and then something broke off completely after he carried his BMC off track and threw it on the trail in disgust. Not sure why he kept carrying it out along the trail after leaving the course immediately and short cutting the course. Max Plaxton finished in an impressive 7th and Kabush in 15th, the top two North American riders. Surprise winner was Australian McConnell in a very strong sprint at the line.

    Replays were up, but the women's race doesn't have content until about the 1:16 point in the race

    Replay: UCI Women's XCO from Albstadt - Video | Red Bull Bike

    Replay: UCI Men's XCO from Albstadt - Video | Red Bull Bike
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  2. #2
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    It was interesting all the way till the finish. Poor Julien, saw his expression and he wasnt happy. And McConnell was probably as surprised as everyone else. My favourite Maja 2nd, so happy enough
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  3. #3
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    Never fails, as soon as the announcers say that someone has the race wrapped up, something catastrophic usually happens to the leader.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 2013 World Cup Thread-fullscreen-capture-5192013-125124-pm.jpg  

    2013 World Cup Thread-fullscreen-capture-5192013-125051-pm.jpg  

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    After watching the race two questions came into my mind?

    1) Why does american Cat1/Pro racing not mirror the WC circuit?
    2) Why are spare bikes not allowed?

  5. #5
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    Excellent questions. I've often wondered the first one. I've done a fair bit of racing, across several states, and I think only one course, in OR, was a WC-style, 6km loop, lots of viewing opportunities venue. Americans are obsessed with this idea of making everything they do "Epic". Epic rides, epic races, epic whatever. Long courses, big laps. I don't want my races to be "epic"; I'm not here for a damn photo op of some scenic vista. I want to crush people's souls and leave them in my wake.

    The second one has roots in the idea of "self sufficiency" within the sport of MTB. Run whatcha brung mindset. Again, the "epic"-ness thing comes to mind, for me. The 40km, single lap races that used to represent WC racing no longer exist, nor do the logistical limitations, but people want to hang on to that for some reason.

  6. #6
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    1) A lack of interest? or more of the "who cares about the UCI anyway" viewpoint

    2) the rules... (and practical reality of not being able to move number plates and transponders in a competitive time)

    6 Technical assistance

    4.2.045 Technical assistance during a race is permitted subject to the conditions below.

    4.2.046 Authorised technical assistance during a race consists of repairs to or the replacement of any part of the bicycle other than the frame. Bike changes are not permitted and the rider must cross the finish line with the same handlebar number plate that he had at the start.

    4.2.047 Technical assistance can only be given in the feed/technical assistance zones.

    4.2.048 Spare equipment and tools for repairs must be kept in these zones. Repairs and
    equipment changes can be carried out by the rider himself or with the help of a teammate, team mechanic or neutral technical assistance. Small items such as an inner
    tube or a small tool may be handed up from the feed/technical assistance zones.

    4.2.049 In addition to technical assistance in feed zones, technical assistance is permitted
    outside these zones only between riders who are members of the same UCI ELITE MTB team, UCI MTB team or of the same national team.

    Riders may carry tools and spare parts provided that these do not involve any danger
    to the rider himself or the other competitors.

    ...and one pertinent to today's commentary during the race, why the riders were spraying water on their own bike.

    4.2.042 The spraying of water on riders or bicycles by the feeders or mechanics is forbidden
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockyuphill View Post
    Never fails, as soon as the announcers say that someone has the race wrapped up, something catastrophic usually happens to the leader.
    Apparently, rear carbon dropouts completely broked off.
    I'll bet BMC is probably changing molds as we speak and going to X12 through-axle.

  8. #8
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    2013 World Cup Thread

    If you go to 1 hour 42min on the Redbull video there's a slow mo shot of where Julien Absalon's bike broke. He appeared to be just riding along beforehand. The rear derailleur looks to have broken but the bike was still intact.

    The rear wheel came out of the frame when he threw it down a slope in anger shortly afterwards. After the throw the frame is clearly broken as the entire rear derailleur is detached as he drags it away.





    Until then he looked to be going really well.

    It was quite a good race I thought. There were several changes of the lead and it wasn't a procession where you could predict the results from who got the best start either. The slow motion riding shots worked well too.

  9. #9
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    I'm of the same mindset as Le duke, the WC type races are so much better for everyone involved, spectators, racers, promoters, team sponsors. It's just better, but I can see how the american view point of wanting things to be epic could come into play.

    As for spare bikes, it works for cross very well. I don't see any reason they can give each rider 2 plates and transponders.

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    It's not a matter of being "epic." Of all the races I've done this year, they have varied from 4.8 to 7.5 miles in lap length. Some are more spectator friendly than others but no one is watching except for family and teammates and it certainly isn't being televised. The thing is the pro/open winner is still finishing at between 1:45 and 2:00 in most of the races which is in-line with what the UCI wants for XCO courses.

    The pro course at bear creek is 3.4 miles but the citizens course is 7.5 miles. As a citizen racer who is not going pro and most likely won't podium, I want a course that gives me value for my entry fee and also spreads the racers out as there will most likely be more of us on course at one time than the pros.

    The UCI wants short courses so they are spectator and TV friendly which makes sense because they are the cream of the crop and need sponsorship money to survive. It wouldn't matter to the pros if they did 6 laps or 1 big lap, the same guys would finish at the top barring any mechanicals.

    Saying that all amateur race courses should be like the world cup courses is like saying that little league players should be playing in the same stadiums as pro teams. It's not necessary because it's not televised and the crowds aren't there, not to mention the logistics as many amateur races use established trail systems in the US. I'm sure land managers would love a promoter saying they need to cut new trails to make it more like the WC races.

    Bike changes go against the spirit of mountain biking where self sufficiency and individualism were key elements. Mountain biking evolved separately from the other disciplines in cycling. Cyclocross evolved as an off-shoot of road racing and it makes sense that there are bike changes because you can do a bike change in a road race where it's more a team sport. CX bikes are also basically modified road bikes although that line is getting blurred more and more.

    The reason there aren't any Americans at the top is not because of lack of talent or racing on the wrong length course but because of the lack of a cycling culture in the US. If a kid shows athletic ability in the US they are guided to high profile sports which includes baseball, basketball, and football but also track sports. There is no cycling culture here as there is in Europe.

  11. #11
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    On short courses you would be lapping or pulling riders very quickly, not something the typical amateur paying $50.00 a race wants to deal with.
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  12. #12
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    At the pace that WC races run, if you're more than 500m from a tech assistance zone when you have a major failure, you're done anyway by the time you run/carry the bike back to the tech zone to get a major repair done. You'll lose so much time between the run and the repair that you'll be way back in finishing position or will pulled at the next 80% station.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockyuphill View Post
    At the pace that WC races run, if you're more than 500m from a tech assistance zone when you have a major failure, you're done anyway by the time you run/carry the bike back to the tech zone to get a major repair done. You'll lose so much time between the run and the repair that you'll be way back in finishing position or will pulled at the next 80% station.
    It's more about duration of the race, IMHO.
    I can remember 2-3 years back, when races were 2 hours long, guys having mechanicals or two and still coming back to top 10, even top 5 result. Nowadays,
    as you said, you're screwed even with two tech zones (just look at Nino and his fork problem on Sunday).
    Also, gone are the days of smart riding and properly pacing yourself, just full gas from start to finish (with maybe 1 lap exception), or as long as one can.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mucker View Post
    It's not a matter of being "epic." Of all the races I've done this year, they have varied from 4.8 to 7.5 miles in lap length. Some are more spectator friendly than others but no one is watching except for family and teammates and it certainly isn't being televised. The thing is the pro/open winner is still finishing at between 1:45 and 2:00 in most of the races which is in-line with what the UCI wants for XCO courses.

    The pro course at bear creek is 3.4 miles but the citizens course is 7.5 miles. As a citizen racer who is not going pro and most likely won't podium, I want a course that gives me value for my entry fee and also spreads the racers out as there will most likely be more of us on course at one time than the pros.

    The UCI wants short courses so they are spectator and TV friendly which makes sense because they are the cream of the crop and need sponsorship money to survive. It wouldn't matter to the pros if they did 6 laps or 1 big lap, the same guys would finish at the top barring any mechanicals.
    I disagree. Short, occasionally technical climbs on a shorter, multi-lap course are a lot different than a 5 mile long fireroad climb on a Frischknecht-era course. It's a different skill set, different physical requirements, and a different rider who is going to excel at each.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ojos Azules View Post
    Apparently, rear carbon dropouts completely broked off.
    I'll bet BMC is probably changing molds as we speak and going to X12 through-axle.
    From the pics, dropouts seem in place, only hanger is missing from what I can see. Mud can make weak hangers more easily snap, but perhaps he caught on something, he was flicking that bike all over the place.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rivet View Post
    On short courses you would be lapping or pulling riders very quickly, not something the typical amateur paying $50.00 a race wants to deal with.
    Agreed!
    Thanks to www.weavercycleworks.com for my awesome bike frames!

  17. #17
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    That might be the biggest difference between UCI World Cup races and any other MTB race series, there are no amateur racers in the World Cup XCO series.
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  18. #18
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    I don't blame the american courses for the lack of talent on the world level. We just don't have the talent pool that Europe does.

    The money issue is not an issue for me. Some of the most fun races I've ever done were short track XC with tech sections thrown in that were difficult but still really fun when you nailed them, basically mini versions of WC circuits. I'd much rather pay for that excitement and fun than just pedaling through a bunch of boring singletrack with a couple of tech features that you don't see enough times to really be able to pin them when you're red-lined.

    Lapping is an issue in cross but most of the time (at least at the local level) they let lapped riders finish. Unless it's nationals or a UCI pro/1 field. I don't really think that would be an issue in the amateur field because you might get three sandbaggers that lap the field but the officials can easily keep track of that.

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    I thought the men's race was superb. Absalon looked in masterly form, very smooth, controlled and confident on those horrendously slippery downhills and schooling the lot of them! - Even popped a Vouilloz-style endo turn around one hairpin Right then they swapped to interview the injured but nicely prophetic Manuel Fumic: "anything can happen"...well a minute or so later it did! and the bad luck struck Julian. Too bad I wasn't so keen on him carrying his broken bike down the track with his handlebars sticking out with no regard for the other rider trying to get past, though -Not cool.

    As much as I enjoyed the finish, I felt really bad for Gutierrez on that last section. He rode so well only to have it stolen at the last minute by an Aussie with a rocket up his rear end. That finish was fantastic viewing - Blinding performance by McConnell and poor Guiterrez had absolutely nothing in the tank to answer with in that last sprint.

    Will be interesting to see what happens next week, seems like a lot of the front guys are not on form atm: Nino -some kind of mechanical? Fumic - broken collarbone, Fontana - Injury a few weeks ago, Kulhavy - some kind of crash (he hurt his jaw?) Hermida - illness?

    Thought the commentary by Bart Brentjens and Rob Warner was very good too - I think Warner is behaving himself so they'll let him commentate at Rio I think he would have spotted that snapped seatpost, unlike Boardman! (even if he can't pronounce "Man-Well"

    Hoping to watch the Women's race tonight, trying not to read spoilers, I really hope Red Bull will keep the women's race replays up this year...

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    The Red Bull coverage of the xco is the only sporting event I watch on tv. Love it and love rob Warner's commentary. Like the way they always pair him with a well spoken, knowledgeable European too, it makes for a good double act.
    Thought Sundays race was great and not the Nino show I expected. Bet Nino, Absalon and Kulhavy will be fighting hard next weekend.

  21. #21
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    The men's race was great, I really enjoyed it... thought it's crap for the trail stewards, I love watching a muddy race.

    In regards to the UCI style course, the TMBRA has leveraged it for quite a few Pro/Cat1 races this year and it's received great reviews from the riders and spectators.

    As a mid-pack Cat 2 guy I don't get to experience that style too frequently (only Waco comes to mind) but I really enjoy it.
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  22. #22
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    Re: 2013 World Cup Thread

    Lady's race was awesome with a 5-woman battle going into the final lap. Quite a few fresh faces at the front and some surprisingly mediocre performances by other stars. I was very impressed by what I saw from Maja, I predict a great season based on that. I'm happy for Eva, it's cool to see her at the front in both WC MTB and WC CX. Marianne Vos did great for starting at the back, she definitely could (will?) win one of these.

    Men's race was surprising. Started off looking like business as usual with the Swiss getting an immediate gap on the field. Then when they lost it, Julien dropped the hammer and it was again following a familiar script. I was bummed his bike blew up. Then the race was animated by a surprising cast of racers not normally at the front. It was impressive when Jaro revved his engine and dragged the chase group to the front. Great work by the winner, he did not expect to be fighting for a WC win but obviously is no stranger to how to maneuver into 1st across the line!
    It will be interesting for sure to see how both the ladies and mens usual cast of favorites respond this weekend.

    I love this stuff.

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    OK Red Bull, you're learning, instead of missing the first 1:30 of the women's race, you lost the first 1:30 of the preamble on the women's race at Nove Mesto. But why not sort that out before you start creating the video stream by sending colour bars and then start the recording once things are sorted and streaming smoothly.
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  24. #24
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    The Nove Mesto women's race looked a lot more conventional in finishing order. A couple of surprises at the finish, but overall the usual suspects up front for most of the race. Ren Chengyuan played Marianne Vos' role this week coming from the back into 11th for much of the race.

    Red Bull TV - UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2013: Nove Mesto, Czech Republic

    And the men's race was pretty wild too. Max Plaxton 5th and Geoff Kabush 7th. Two Canadians in the top 10 in a World Cup race.

    Red Bull TV - UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2013: Nove Mesto, Czech Republic
    Last edited by rockyuphill; 05-26-2013 at 02:36 PM.
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  25. #25
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    2013 World Cup Thread

    Here are the links to the Nove Mesto XC races on redbull.tv. It's odd that they're buried away in a sub menu whilst the Eliminator races are headline billing. Even finding these links to post here took several tries on the Red Bull website.

    Men's XC Nove Mesto
    Replay: UCI Men's XCO from Nove Mesto - Video | Red Bull Bike

    Women's XC Nove Mesto
    Replay: UCI Women's XCO from Nove Mesto - Video | Red Bull Bike

    I thought it was ok, not as interesting as the muddy and wet race last week though. The course seemed to be a mix of wide forestry road with occasional piles of rocks placed at intervals for some variety.

    On another note. If you were to mix together all the energy drinks that like to sponsor extreme sports nowadays (Red Bull, Monster Energy, Rockstar Energy Drink etc), and then drink it, would you become awesome at sports or would it lead to death?
    Last edited by WR304; 05-26-2013 at 03:40 PM.

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