The first XC World Cup race of 2022 is finally here! Read up on everything you need
It’s been 250 days since the 2022 UCI MTB World Cup season wrapped up. The offseason can often feel interminable, but it was even more so this year thanks to a slew of changes, big and small, to both the Trek Factory Racing XC squad and the sport as a whole.
Most notably, Gwendalyn Gibson joined the team, bolstering perhaps the most badass group of women riders on the circuit. And don’t get us started on the new kits, new partners and new paint. This squad is bigger, bolder and more ambitious than ever before.
Round 1 of the World Cup will take place at a familiar stop in Nové Město na Moravě, albeit with some significant structural changes. The XC World Cup is now part of the UCI MTB World Series, and World Cup stops will now include events like Enduro, XC Marathon and E-Enduro racing, not to mention U23 short track events for the first time ever. The races also have a new broadcast partner. You can watch the action with subscriptions to GCN+, Eurosport or discovery+.
As for Nové Město itself, expect the same course you know and love: punchy climbs, slippery roots and rocks, and an all around test that should make for an unpredictable finish.
Read on to catch up on the storylines you need to know ahead of this weekend, as well as more information on how to watch. Also be sure to read our complete team preview for an even more in-depth look at our riders’ goals, hopes and dreams this season.
Three stories to watch
Evie Richards coming in hot
2022 was one of the hardest seasons of Richards’ career. Though she had the rainbow jersey on her shoulders, she struggled to stay healthy due to a back injury and bouts of illness. But though she’s no longer in stripes, she looked like her old self this past weekend in Chur, Switzerland, where she was spry and aggressive against a World Cup-worthy field, winning by nearly two minutes.
We can’t wait to see what Richards can do in Nové Město. On her best days, there is no one faster.
How will the young riders perform?
TFR XC’s three American riders are also its three youngest. Maddie Munro and Riley Amos, both 21, will be taking on the U23 circuits, while Gwendalyn Gibson, 24, begins her second season as an elite.
All three are used to the pageantry and pressure of World Cup racing. Now they’re all aiming to step up their game and prove they can be podium regulars. So far so good. Gibson took a win in a Puerto Rico MTB Cup race in March, and placed second in four US Pro Cup races this year. Amos won two elite US Pro Cup races. And Munro took two elite US Pro Cup top-five finishes. She’ll also be wearing the stars and stripes on her kit as the 2022 U23 US national champion.
All three riders are entering Round 1 of the World Cup hungry and overflowing with enthusiasm. This trio is going to be so much fun to watch.
What’s going to happen? (Seriously, does anyone have any idea?)
Maybe this is stating the obvious, but also it’s worth reiterating: XC racing is getting more unpredictable every single year, and this season is sure to be the fastest, most competitive yet. Nové Město is an excellent place to start things off, with features that suit every type of rider, and the potential to create unexpected situations.
Riders like Jolanda Neff and Vlad Dascalu are some of the wiliest and most determined in the field; they’ll be aiming to win every time they line up. Anton Cooper is one of the men’s field’s biggest wild cards after spending the offseason in New Zealand, unlike his largely Euro-based counterparts. He has established a reputation for surprising his rivals with his sheer engine capacity.
Every race will be even harder to win this year, but TFR XC has a strong core of veteran riders who are used to making the most of their circumstances. We have no idea what’s going to happen, but it’s a safe bet that TFR will be in the mix.
Schedule and how to watch
This year, World Cup broadcasts move to GCN+, Eurosport and discovery+. You can stream all men’s and women’s elite racing with subscriptions to any of those services. For those who also want to see the young guns, you’re in luck. The U23 men’s and women’s XCO races will be broadcast for FREE through the UCI MTB World Series YouTube channel.
Here’s how the weekend will unfold for TFR XC riders:
Thursday, May 11
- Women’s U23 short track – 5:30 p.m. local, 11:30 a.m. ET
- Men’s U23 short track – 6:15 p.m. local, 12:15 p.m. ET
Friday, May 12
- Women’s elite short track – 6 p.m. local, 12 p.m. ET (BROADCAST)
- Men’s elite short track – 6:45 p.m. local, 12:45 p.m. ET (BROADCAST)
Saturday, May 13
- Men’s U23 XCO – 3 p.m. local, 9 a.m. ET (Watch FREE on YouTube)
- Women’s U23 XCO – 5 p.m. local, 11 a.m. ET (Watch FREE on YouTube)
Sunday, May 14
- Women’s elite XCO – 11:30 a.m. local, 5:30 a.m. ET (BROADCAST)
- Men’s elite XCO – 3 p.m. local, 9 a.m. ET (BROADCAST)