Cross Country Mountain Biking
One of the final events to be contested in the Olympic Games, the mountain bike race is sure to provide plenty of thrills as competitors race along a man-made course that is designed to test riders bike handling, stamina, speed and endurance.
The Rio course at the Deodoro Sports Complex is 4.8km in length and contains plenty of lumps, bumps, jumps & obstacles for the riders to contest, all while racing at break neck speeds shoulder to shoulder with their rivals. The men race seven laps, whilst the women contest six and the whole event should take less than 90mins to complete. Time gaps will remain relatively close, which should see all out action and means that even the slightest mistake could make the difference between a medal and a mid-pack finish.
Two names dominate the world of MTB racing, Julien Absalon & Nino Schurter. The former has 2 Olympic Gold medals & 5 World Championship titles, whilst Schurter has 2 Olympic silvers & has recently matched Absalon with his fifth World Championship title. Absalon might be 35 years old, but he is still right at the top of his game and always produces excellent results in the headline events. Schurter is the reigning World Champion and goes into this race as the favourite after beating Absalon at those Worlds in Andorra. Both men should be fighting out the medal positions. The Wolf is keen to point out a wild card in the race however, with the entry of Peter Sagan, the current road World Champion and superstar in the world of cycling. He decided to enter this event as he thought that the road race didn’t suit his style and at $9, he represents huge value as an unknown quantity. He is a former Junior MTB Cross Country champion and he would only be entering this event if he thought that he had a genuine chance at a medal. He is one of the best, if not the best, bike handlers in the world, across any discipline and The Wolf thinks that he may be able to spring a surprise here. His training has involved a pre-race in USA, in which he won the event by 21 minutes! That is unheard of in this type of event and his superior fitness would have had a lot to do with that win.
Best: Peter Sagan $9
Value: Howard Grotts $101
At just 23 years of age, Jolanda Neff is a genuine superstar of women’s racing. She has won numerous World Cup races and, remarkably, finished 8th in the Olympic road race. She’ll go into the race as the favourite, however her young age might count against her given the class of the field. Annika Langvad has had an excellent year and leads the UCI rankings. The 3-time marathon World Champion will be looking for revenge after having to withdraw from London due to injury. Danish star, Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesja is a legend of the sport and at 43yrs old, this will be her last Olympics. She won Gold back in 2004 but is still highly competitive and should be pushing for a medal.
Best: Jolanda Neff $3.75
Value: Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesja $26
Don’t forget to check out our full coverage of the Olympic Games.