World Cup athletes are gearing back up for the first big UCI event of the season: The Albstadt, Germany short course and XCO. The XCO course is a 4.2k- long lap in the Black Forest with two long and steep climbs and fast and technical descents, like the ‘Red Bull Devil’s Corner.’
Albstadt is a notoriously fickle course, with regular heavy rain. In 2019, the weather made for a nasty race, where Mathias Flueckiger and Kate Courtney pulled ahead. Courtney also won the short-track, but jack-of-all-trades Mathieu Van der Poel took the men’s race.
The XCC short-track race on Friday is about 20 minutes long and will seed starting places for the 90-ish minute XCO race on Sunday.
What does it mean for the Olympics?
Several athletes are still trying to qualify for the Olympics in July, and Albstadt will be a means to do so, while the last automatic qualification opportunity will be the next race in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic the following week. Kate Courtney was the only US rider to automatically qualify by finishing in the top 5 at the 2019 World Championship race.
Currently, the US will get two additional starting positions for the women’s team, with Haley Batten, Lea Davison, Hannah Finchamp, Erin Huck, and Chloe Woodruff all competing for those spots.
The US men have a single starting position, with Christopher Blevins and Keegan Swenson competing for that spot. According to USA Cycling, the final Olympic team will be chosen from the Olympic Long Team, open for men and women until May 24.
As the selection criteria details, if an athlete, for both men and women, wins the Nove Mesto World Cup, they will automatically be nominated to the Olympic Games Team. If quota slots remain, then up to one athlete per gender who finishes in second through eighth place will be selected to the team. If more than one athlete meets this, then the highest-placed athlete will earn the nomination. If no one automatically qualifies given these criteria, then the selection committee will utilize discretionary selections.
How to watch the racing in Albstadt
All of the races will be available on Red Bull TV, or through the links below.
May 7: Men and Women’s XCC: 17.20h CEST (11:20am ET/8:20am PT)
May 9: Women’s XCO: 11.00h CEST (5:00am ET/2:00am PT)
May 9: Men’s XCO: 14.15h CEST (8:15am ET/5:15am PT)
The next races
May 15-16: Nové Město, Czech Republic (XCO/XCC)
June 12-13: Leogang, Austria (DH/XCO/XCC)
July 3-4: Les Gets, France (DH/XCO/XCC)
August 14-15: Maribor, Slovenia (DH)
August 24–29: UCI Mountain Bike World Championships – Val di Sole, Italy
September 4-5: Lenzerheide, Switzerland (DH/XCO/XCC)
September 18-19: Snowshoe, USA (DH/XCO/XCC)