So I’m thinking of writing about some of the “minority” Olympic sports for the next four year programme. We start with the mountain bike championships which have been held over the past week (and finish tomorrow). Mountain biking is one of the sports which I think doesn’t get a fair deal in the Olympics with just one event for men and women (cross-country) . Yet, at the world championships, there are seven full elite world championship events for men and six for women (both: marathon, cross-country, cross-country eliminator, downhill, four-cross; men: trials 26″ and trials 20″; women: trials).
Anyway, today was the elite world championships for cross-country, just 27 days after the Olympic competition. The men’s race saw Olympic silver medalist Nino Schurter took the overall men’s title in a Swiss 1-2-3 – the Flückiger brothers filling the podium having not competed at the Olympics. Olympic champion Jaroslav Kulhavy could only manage 13th, four minutes down, too much post-Olympic
partying media work no doubt. Britain’s David Fletcher finished one lap down and Oli Beckingsdale finished 2 laps down. Fletcher, at 23, was one of the youngest riders in the race and there could be some future for him, so the next four years will be big for him.
The women’s event saw Julie Bresset add the world title to her Olympic title. It’s quite astonishing that these two titles were Bresset’s first elite international titles. Lee Craigie was the only British competitor, finishing two laps down in 44th. Definitely work for British Cycling to find a competitor there.
Tomorrow sees the first edition of the cross-country eliminator world championships. This is run on a shorter course than cross-country (between 500 m and 1 km) and, in my opinion, makes a much better spectator spectacle – the races are four riders against each other with the top two going through to the next round. This race could be added to the Olympic programme without adding any extra competitors so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for 2016.
Probably I’ll start a separate minority Olympic sports blog, but it depends how much I can actually keep up with as keeping up with just cycling is difficult enough for me…!