UCI World Cup action will be punctuated by the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Les Gets (France) in August, representing the fourth opportunity for riders to earn rainbow stripes in this young and exciting format.
Like last year, the first meeting of the 2022 E-Mountain Bike Cross-country World Cup is in Monaco-Peille (France), with two consecutive rounds on Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 April. Each of the eight scheduled fixtures feature two rounds for both Men and Women Elite, right through to the final weekend in Barcelona, Spain, in mid-October. The UCI World Cup events are being run alongside the World E-Bike Series (WES) E-MTB Enduro events. While some riders compete in both, only the UCI World Cup enables them to earn UCI points.
Races in the UCI E-Mountain Bike Cross-country World Cup see riders complete multiple laps of circuits that can range between 2km and 6km, for a total distance of between 15km and 30km. Vertical ascent varies between 1000m and 1400m. As well as requiring skill, strength and stamina, E-MTB introduces a strategic challenge: when to use the motor assistance for best effect, conserving battery power for the most telling delivery across the duration of the race.
The top riders of 2021
Frenchman Jérôme Gilloux dominated the 2021 UCI E-Mountain Bike Cross-country World Cup, amassing 210 points with six victories from nine rounds: the first four and the last two. Joris Ryf (SUI) was runner-up with 183 points, including two race wins, and Théo Charmes (FRA) third, without a win but showing super consistency for his 118 points. Dutchman Jeroen van Eck finished the season with 75 points – and a victory in Spain -, while Francescu Camoin, the third Frenchman in the top five, amassed 68 points despite not starting the final three rounds.
The 2021 women’s series was tightly fought with Mélanie Pugin (FRA), Nathalie Schneitter (SUI), Sofia Wiedenroth (GER) and Sandra Santanyes (ESP) each winning two races, and French enduro specialist Laura Charles taking the final victory in Castelldefels, Barcelona (Spain). While the German had made early headway, it was the consistency of 2020 UCI World Champion Pugin – on the podium in six of the nine races – that told over the campaign, earning her a final tally of 133 points. 2019 UCI World Champion Schneitter finished with 86 points to pip Wiedenroth’s 83. Britain’s Karen Pepper was fourth with 77 points, while Switzerland’s Kathrin Stirnemann – second behind Pugin at the 2020 UCI World Championships and double UCI World Champion for cross-country Eliminator – rounded out the top five on 67.
How the riders are preparing
2021 UCI World Champion and UCI World Cup overall winner, Jérôme Gilloux is raring to go with the new season, setting up with a new team: “I am happy to continue to ride for this great French brand and to join the Lapierre Overvolt Team with its structure and professionalism. Taking advantage of Nicolas Vouilloz’s experience is also a great satisfaction for me,” said Gilloux. “I’m approaching the new 2022 season more serenely with the World Champion’s jersey on my shoulders and with an excellent bike to be at the top all season. I don’t feel any more pressure to defend my title, but it’s clear that I’ll do everything I can to keep this World Championship title in my new colours.”
Gilloux was happy to hit the podium in his first competition for the new team.
Joris Ryf is just 24 years old but has packed in the experience, with 5th and 4th places in the last two E-MTB World Championships, and 2nd overall in the 2021 UCI World Cup… he will no doubt want to go one step further! The Swiss rider – winner of both 2021 UCI E-MTB Cross-country World Cup rounds in Clermont-Ferrand (France) and standing on the second step of no fewer than six other rounds – prepared for the E-MTB Cross-country UCI World Cup series by getting stuck into the UCI World Cup for cross-country Olympic (XCO), hitting the top-60 in the first round in Petropolis, Brazil. That was despite losing his luggage on the way to South America and returning to Zurich missing his bike bag! But certainly richer for the experience.
Nathalie Schneitter’s winter training saw her pushing the boundaries of the ski season and mountain bike season to the max!
Sofia Wiedenroth let us in with a great insight into her motivations, psychology and preparation.
After Monaco this weekend, the 2022 UCI E-Mountain Bike Cross-country World Cup will continue in May with two rounds in Monghidoro, Bologna, (ITA), then in July with two rounds at a venue yet to be announced followed by a weekend of racing at Charade/Clermont-Ferrand (France) later the same month. After the UCI World Championships, SPA-Francorchamps (Belgium) and Costa Brava-Girona (Spain) will host two rounds each in September before the final four races in October when we’ll discover who will win the 2022 overall titles.