|Cyclingnews TV News Tech Features Road MTB BMX Cyclo-cross Track Photos Fitness Letters Search Forum|
2002 MTB World championships - CDM
Kaprun, Austria, 24 August - 1 September, 2002
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.
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.
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.
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)