Copyright Michal Cerveny

The 27th season of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup presented by Shimano will begin April 29-30, in Lourdes, France, for the opening round of the downhill competitions. It is the third time that Lourdes will open the season: in 2015, Lourdes was voted the top downhill event of the UCI World Cup.

Lourdes VTT has been organising events since 1991, starting with regional events and enduros, before moving up to a French Cup in 2013, and the UCI World Cup in 2015.

Unlike many World Cups, that are distant from urban centres, the Lourdes World Cup is less than five minutes from the downtown centre, which means some 35,000 spectators attend.

Rachel Atherton (GBR) and Aaron Gwin (USA) will start the season with the Number 1 plates, as the defending UCI World Cup Champions. Atherton and Gwin are also the defending champions at Lourdes.

The Pic du Jer track at Lourdes is short (2000m) but drops 423m, for an average of 21.5%.

– Focus on Danny Hart –

Danny Hart is the reigning Men’s Downhill UCI World Champion, born September 20, 1991, in Redcar, England. Last year’s world title in Val di Sole, Italy, is his second rainbow jersey after 2011, when he won in Champéry, Switzerland. Hart races for the MS Mondraker team. 2016 was his strongest year to date: in addition to his world title, he won three rounds of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup presented by Shimano and finished second in the overall standings.