After a terrific start to the 2021 UCI E-Mountain Bike Cross-country World Cup in Monaco in April, the next event in the five-round series takes place in Bologna - Appennino (Italy), this coming weekend.
Every round features two E-MTB cross-country (XC) races each for Elite Men and Women, which provide points to access the UCI E-Mountain Bike World Championships. Race distances are between 15 and 30km with between 1000m and 1400m climbing, over multiple laps that can range between 2km and 6km.
As well as riding skill, strength and stamina, there is a constant strategic challenge of deciding when and how much assistance to apply. This short film from Monaco gives an introduction:
The first round saw double victories for Sofia Wiedenroth (GER) and Jérôme Gilloux (FRA) - 2nd in the 2020 and 2019 UCI E-Mountain Bike World Championships and winner in Monaco in 2020, the only event to survive the Covid restrictions.
Monaco 2021 results and standings
The podiums for both Men’s races in Monaco were the same: Gilloux, followed by Joris Ryf (SUI) and Hugo Pigeon (FRA). However, in the second race, the Swiss rider finished closer to the winner: 8 seconds behind compared to 15 seconds on the first day. Logically, the same three riders occupy the three top spots of the Elite Men’s UCI World Cup standings going into Bologna.
After winning the first Women’s race by 5 seconds from Switzerland’s Kathrin Stirnemann (with Great Britain’s Karen Peppers 1 lap down in 3rd), Wiedenroth enjoyed a much wider winning margin in the second race. The German rode to victory 1 minute ahead of reigning E-Mountain Bike UCI World Champion Mélanie Pugin (FRA) and Stirnemann. Wiedenroth leads the rankings before Bologna with a maximum 50 points, followed by Stirnemann (36) and Pugin (31).
Jérôme Gilloux tells us about this season:
Double victory at Monaco was a great start!
“I'm really happy to have won the first two UCI E-MTB World Cups. I couldn't hope for a better start of the season. It was a big relief as we didn't have any racing for a while and starting by winning a World Cup is always special.”
How does the E-MTB XC World Cup compare to the UCI World Championships?
“As of now the UCI World Cup tracks match the E-MTB discipline more; more technical. There's more pressure to win the UCI World Championships because of the rainbow jersey. I hope that in the upcoming years we will have some E-MTB-only tracks, with riders dedicated to this discipline.”
How did you get into E-Mountain biking?
“I started thanks to my current team manager. It was a natural transition for me as I did most of the disciplines before (road cycling, XC and enduro) and E-Mountain bike is a mix of those three.
“I would say that if you try an E-MTB you will buy one for sure, there's little adaptation to do, to see how it works and use the engine at its best. It's crazy what you can do with those bikes! But to me it's a dedicated discipline, it's more than biking as long as you find the proper tracks and trails.”
How are you looking forward to Bologna?
“I don't know the track in Bologna yet but I can't wait to be there, I hope the track will be as good as the one in Monaco and that we will have a good race. After Bologna I'll race at the French championship and some other E-MTB races this summer to be ready for the UCI World Championships [in Val di Sole, Italy, 25-29 August].”
What riders do you admire most, and who are your main competitors?
“I would say Nicolas Vouilloz and Julien Absalon, they are two living legends of the sport and have won everything in their careers. I'm lucky to know both of them, especially Nicolas who lives close to my home and we often ride together.
“Joris Ryf seemed strong in Monaco but I'm waiting to see what happens at the other races, as Covid-19 prevented a lot of riders from joining us in Monaco.”
[Italian Marco Aurelio Fontana is set to start at Bologna-Appennino, where he won in 2019].
What do you think of the current French MTB talent?
“At the moment the potential of French riders is huge, we have so many riders at the top spots of each discipline it's crazy. I can't wait to watch the first downhill UCI World Cups!”
What are you looking forward to most this year?
“My main goal this year is to be UCI E-MTB World Champion.”
UCI E-MTB Cross-country World Cup
Round 1: 24-25 April, Monaco (MON)
Round 2: 5-6 June, Bologna - Appennino (ITA)
Round 3: 17-18 July, Charade - Clermont-Ferrand (FRA)
Round 4: 24-25 September, Costa Brava - Girona (ESP)
Round 5: 16-17 October, Castelldefels - Barcelona (ESP)
UCI Mountain Bike World Championships (XCO / XCC/ XCR / DHI / E-MTB /4X)
E-MTB, 27 August, Val di Sole (ITA)