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2002 MTB World championships - CDM

Kaprun, Austria, 24 August - 1 September, 2002

Preview    Past winners    

Preview

by Paul Mirtschin

While most of Austria is cleaning up after record flooding, Kaprun is preparing for what is expected to be the biggest mountain bike World's yet. With 55 nations and 1,500 riders registered, the 2002 World's are expected to showcase the best bikes and riders in all four mountainbike disciplines.

Anne-Caroline Chausson
Photo: © Rob Karman
Click for larger image

This year sees the inclusion of Four Cross for the first time, as well as a newly designed Downhill course that promises a mix of all-out speed and rocky technical descents as it winds its way down 770 meters of mountain over its four kilometre duration. The bottom of the Downhill course will use the Four Cross track, ensuring thrills, spills and some high altitude air from the riders. This year the race could very well be a fight between just two riders, Chris Kovarik of Australia, the current World Cup points leader, and Steve Peat of England. Both riders are exceptionally skilled and do like to ride fast. This course should suit them both down to the ground. The women's race, with Anne-Caroline Chausson and Sabrina Jonnier duking it out for top honors, should be just as exciting,

The Four Cross course starts around 100 meters above the finish of the Downhill, and shares most of that course until it finishes 300 meters later. With both the qualifiers and final races of the Four Cross held under floodlights, it promises to be an action packed evening. Some of the riders to watch out for are the current top three World Cup points holders Brian Lopes, Cedric Gracia and Aussie Wade Bootes, although with the current Aussie invasion any number of riders could pull a swift one and take out the top spot. The women's Four Cross will see Anne-Caroline Chausson fighting off Sabrina Jonnier and Katrina Miller for the title, and with Ann-Caro still hurting after her crash at the Telluride World Cup round, it's anyone's race.

Roland Green
Photo: © Rob Karman
Click for larger image

The 7km Cross Country course has also received a makeover, and will weave its way through Kaprun itself and the surrounding forest. The course's first climb of each lap will certainly cause some discomfort, rising 100 meters in one kilometre. And with the departure of some of the big names in the men's Cross Country to the road circuit, I don't think anyone is making any big money bets as to who will cross the line first. Favourites include Bart Brentjens (Ned), Filip Meirhaeghe (Bel) and Christoph Sauser (Swi), and of course Canadian Roland Green - if he can retain the form that's seen him dominate all season. Germany's Sabine Spitz is a strong chance to take out the women's race, with Mary Grigson (Aus) a hopeful based on recent form and reigning champion Alison Dunlap looking to retain her rainbow jersey.

Cyclingnews spoke to European Champion Gunn Rita Dahle of Norway after she rode the XC course for the first time. "It's a tough parcours with no moments for rest. It's either up or down and it's extremely important to have the right position in the various parts of the race. It will be an exhausting race won by the one with most powers left at the end. Lots will happen in the final laps."

Trials and the Team Relay round out the official events for the worlds, with a number of "side" events planned for the championships. Dirt and water jumping, hill-climbs, point to point races and more will all take place so no-one will be bored.

Cyclingnews.com will have a number of correspondents in Kaprun, including New Zealand cross country entrant Tim Vincent who will be sharing his view of mountain biking's biggest event.

Past winners

1990 - USA - Durango            Men                        Women
Cross-Country                      Ned Overend (USA)          Juliana Furtado (USA)
Downhill                           Greg Herbold (USA)         Cindy Devine (Can)
 
1991 - Italy - Ciocco
Cross-Country                      John Tomac (USA)           Ruthie Matthes (USA)
Downhill                           Albert Iten (Swi)          Giovanna Bonazzi (Ita)
 
1992 - Canada - Bromont
Cross-Country                      Henrik Djernis (Den)       Silvia Fürst (Swi)
Downhill                           Dave Cullinan (USA)        Juliana Furtado (USA)
 
1993 - France - Métabief
Cross-Country                      Henrik Djernis (Den)       Paola Pezzo (Ita)
Downhill                           Mike King (USA)            Giovanna Bonazzi (Ita)
 
1994 - USA - Vail
Cross-Country                      Henrik Djernis (Den)       Alison Sydor (Can)
Downhill                           François Gachet (Fra)      Missy Giove (USA)
 
1995 - Germany - Kirchzarten
Cross-Country                      Bart Brentjens (Ned)       Alison Sydor (Can)
Downhill                           Nicolas Vouilloz (Fra)     Leigh Donovan (USA)
 
1996 - Australia - Cairns
Cross-Country                      Thomas Frischknecht (Swi)  Alison Sydor (Can) 
Downhill                           Nicolas Vouilloz (Fra)     Anne C. Chausson (Fra)
 
1997 - Switzerland - Château-D'oex
Cross-Country                      Hubert Pallhuber (Ita)     Paola Pezzo (Ita)
Downhill                           Nicolas Vouilloz (Fra)     Anne-Caroline Chausson (Fra)
 
1998 - Canada - Mont-Sainte-Anne
Cross-Country                      Christophe Dupouey (Fra)   Laurence Leboucher (Fra)
Downhill                           Nicolas Vouilloz (Fra)     Anne-Caroline Chausson (Fra)
 
1999 - Sweden - Åre
Cross-Country                      Michael Rasmussen (Den)    Marga Fullana (Spa)
Downhill                           Nicolas Vouilloz (Fra)     Anne-Caroline Chausson (Fra)
 
2000 - Spain - Sierra Nevada
Cross-Country                      Miguel Martinez (Fra)      Marga Fullana (Spa)
Downhill                           Myles Rockwell (USA)       Anne-Caroline Chausson (Fra)
Dual                               Wade Bootes (Aus)          Anne-Caroline Chausson (Fra)
 
2001 - USA - Vail / Beaver Creek
Cross-Country                      Roland Green (Can)         Alison Dunlap (USA)
Downhill                           Nicolas Vouilloz (Fra)     Anne-Caroline Chausson (Fra)
Dual                               Brian Lopes (USA)          Anne-Caroline Chausson (Fra)

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