This weekend was full of some completely incredible racing. If you’re missing the Tour de France, love the more “extreme” end of cycling, or have never watched MTB or BMX, let me help you out with some brilliant coverage with superb commentary to help you fall in love….
If you’ve never watched BMX, it’s very simple – they race through heats to a final, six riders racing a short, lumpy track with tight corners, the first one to the finish wins. There are a lot of places to start with the coverage here – here’s the short version, the women’s final:
Isn’t that great? I love the interview with Caroline Buchanan at the end, where she’s talking about how, although she’s won BMX ITT World Champs, she’s never even been in the elite BMX finals before!
Want to see more? Here’s the elite semi-finals, the Junior women’s finals and podium ceremony – and there are all the men’s races on the UCI youtube – or you could watch the entire coverage, on RedBull tv or on UCI youtube:
If BMX isn’t your thing, how about Mountain Bike?
I’m new to Downhill, I only started watching in 2011, but the combination of coverage from Dirt Magazine and Red Bull Bike made it really easy to fall in love. I came into watching cycling via track, so the fast, dangerous, adrenaline-fuelled racing appealed to me – and the beautiful scenery and great characters was icing on the cake. I love the various Atherton sibling series of films – The Atherton Project, and last year’s Four by Three (especially Rachel’s film) and loads more of the teams have videos following them throughout the seasons – Madison Saracen, home of Manon Carpenter; Tracey Hannah‘s Hutchinson United Ride, and Lapierre/Gravity Republic, where 2009 & ’11 World Champion Emmeline Ragot rides.
This weekend’s Vallnord World Cup was a brand-new track – unusually long, very steep, very technical, in forested mountains of Andorra. Rachel Atherton started the race as the favourite, having won the previous two rounds, making it a double with her brother Gee, but Carpenter had qualified fastest. Here’s a video of Rachel’s trackwalk and helmetcam before the event – I loved this.
If you want to watch it, here’s the Red Bull highlights video – and here’s the full coverage (the finals with the top 10 women then top 17 men). It cuts out towards the end, because of technical issues, but it comes back – and I really like the commentary from Richard Cunynghame and Rob Warner, who makes me look apathetic!
It was a small group duelling throughout the race, before a fast and furious sprint finish – if you’d like to watch the entire Red Bull coverage – again with great commentary – head over here – and RedBull also have a highlights film, of the men’s and women’s – and the full men’s race here (don’t scroll down below the videos if you want the results to be a surprise…)
The Eliminator discipline is the one I know least about, but I’m getting hooked. Riders take on a short course that looks like a cross between MTB and cyclocross, and the top riders in each heat go through to the next rounds, until there’s a final of four riders. It seems like a LOT of fun, and I can’t wait to watch more. Here’s the full men’s and women’s coverage of Vallnord.
If you liked that MTB and would like to know more, or have missed any of the rounds so far, Red Bull Bike’s 2013 MTB World Cup page has links to find out more about the previous races, and watch the coverage, and Dirt has some great photo galleries and their videos on their Downhill World Cup pages (always remember, you get to Dirt via Dirt.mpora.com…. trying to guess the link can be very NSFW!).
The next MTB World Cups round are Mont-Sainte-Anne in Canada, 8-11 August. The Cross Country and Downhill will be live on Red Bull tv (click through those links for when) – and for more of what they’ll be featuring this year, check out their schedule of online events.
Happy happy happy! Here’s to women’s road cycling learning from Red Bull – or better yet, getting sponsored by them……