The Ultimate Guide to the 2019 Race Season
March eases us into the action with one of the quieter months of the season. Starting off this week with the Windrock Pro GRT in the US we will see some of the biggest names in downhill battle it out in the first big race of the year. Moving on we will see enduro action in the NZ Enduro and one of the toughest marathon races, the Cape Epic.
The biggest events of the month have to be the arrival of the first stop of the Crankworx world tour in Rotorua, featuring six days of racing and contests from slopestyle to downhill it will be one not to miss. At the tail end of the event is the first round of the EWS tackling some of Rotorua's toughest trails this race has caught out some of the worlds best. Just a week later on the last day of the month riders will battle it out again in the second round of the EWS in Tasmania. Wet weather in 2017 made the racing unpredictable with plenty of crashes and mechanicals.
The first round of the downhill World Cup arrives at the end of April but first we get the Australian National Championships where we will see who will wear their country's sleeve. Can Troy Brosnan and Tracey Hannah hold onto the title for another year? The following week we get exciting racing from Sea Otter Classic and the first round of the UK National downhill series.
The weekend before the World Cup, we get the IXS European DH Cup in Maribor, this is going to be an interesting one to watch as it is in the same location as the World Cup the following week. We think a lot of the World Cup riders will be attending to get some extra practice inside the tape.
Finally, the first round of the World Cup. With eight races and the World Champs, we are getting more racing this year and there's no better way to start the season than returning to an old classic, Maribor. It is great to see such an historic venue get a chance to return to the circuit.
The downhill calendar picks up the pace in May with the second rounds of the IXS European Cup and UK National series alongside the first rounds of both the Canadian and French downhill cups. The EWS returns to Madeira for the third round of the series for great trails with even greater views.
May also plays host to the start of the cross-country World Cup season with the first two rounds taking place over consecutive weekends. After an extremely wet race in Albstadt last year, we're sure many of the riders will be wishing for sunshine, except Jolanda Neff who took first with a huge lead of over two minutes. The second round takes us to Nove Mesto in the Czech Republic where we have seen some of the most memorable racing over the past few years.
Starting off with two rounds of the downhill World Cup at classic venues Fort William and Leogang we get two more weekends of exhilarating racing watching the worlds best.
The rest of the month features further rounds of the French Cup, UK national series and the IXS European Cup. Sitting in the middle of the month is the second stop of the Crankworx World Tour in Innsbruck where we will see further exciting competition on the Austrian slopes.
Rounding out the month is the fourth stop on the EWS this time the riders will be spending the weekend in Canazei, Italy. Making its EWS debut in 2019, the small alpine village high in the Dolomites will offer a mix of natural and man-made trails. The venue, which has previously hosted rounds of the Superenduro series, should make for some exciting racing.
The GT Malverns Classic returns for its second year after being brought back from the dead last year. Offering a festival vibe with camping, beers and racing with flat out grass turns there isn't much missing from this event taking place in the iconic Eastnor Deer Park.
July features some legendary races in the form of the multi-day BC Bike Race and the infamous Megavalance. Also, the national champions for Britain and Canada will be crowned by the end of the month. Will Magnus Manson, Vaea Verbeeck, Matt Walker and Katy Curd keep the title for another season?We are also treated in July to two rounds of both the cross-country and downhill World Cup. Starting with tricky slopes Vallnord will we see Loris Vergier repeat his winning run from 2018? In the XC Vallnord always provides interesting racing as the riders battle through high temperatures and high altitudes.
The following week we are whisked off to another classic venue in Les Gets, France. The French slopes haven't seen any world cup action for a number of years but it has provided some historical moments such as Steve Peat's crushing loss where he crashed in sight of the line at the 2004 World Championships.
Round five of the EWS brings us to another brand new venue in Les Orres. The ski resort in the Hautes-Alpes region of South Eastern France will offer riders big Alpine descents, long stages and the occasional chairlift ride to take you to the top of the big mountain stages.
With World Champs, Crankworx Whistler, two XC and downhill World Cups and two EWS rounds August is the busiest month for racing. We are definitely spoilt in this month. Starting off with the World Cup returning to Val Di Sole we expect to see some great racing on the steep and dusty slopes. Next, we get to enjoy the biggest party of the year with Crankworx Whistler offering ten days of the best riders on some of the greatest trails. Again Crankworx will host a round of the EWS offering some of the most dramatic racing of the series.
At the same time, the World Cup circuit will be back at last seasons world champs venue, Lenzerheide. We saw Loic Bruni just win against Martin Maes and Rachel Atherton show her dominance last year at the downhill and Kate Courtney took a surprising win in the women's XC. Nino Schurter always has a strong presence at his home world cup and we expect nothing less at this years race.Later in the month, we see another round of the EWS this time in Northstar, California. The brand new venue situated high in the mountains above Lake Tahoe offers racers with some classic Northern California riding.The final days of August bring us to the biggest races of the year. The World Champs. Here the riders will put everything on the line to have the privilege of wearing the prestigious rainbow jersey for the next season. This year racers will tackle the classic Mont-Sainte-Anne track, this track has thrown up some interesting results over the past couple of years, we can't wait to see what will happen.
The World Cup returns to the US after a number of years being absent from the country. With the introduction of a eighth round in 2019, the UCI series will arrive in Snowshoe to crown the series champions. The EWS will also crown the series winners at a new location when they take riders to Zermatt, Switzerland. For the first time, the series will finish somewhere other than Finale Ligure, although they will return there for the Trophy of Nations the following week. With an expansive trail network and views of one of Europe's most famous mountain, the Matterhorn, there is no better place to finish off the series.
For the first time the EWS will finish with an event similar in style to World Champs giving riders the chance to wear the coveted rainbow jersey. Taking place in Finale Ligure the Trophy of Nations should be one of the most exciting of the whole calendar, as everyone fights to be the first enduro World Champion.This month will also feature the final rounds of the UCI Eliminator series, IXS European Cup and the UK national series.
October marks the end of what is looking like another great season of racing, this month holds two important events this year. The biggest will be the return of Rampage for another year where we get to see some of the most skilled riders in the world attempt some of the scariest lines in the sport as they tackle the Utah desert. This year we will also get to see the test event for the Tokyo Olympics where riders will get to see the course that they will be battling for Olympic glory on the following year.
Which events are you most looking forward to this season?