2000 Mountain Biking World Cup 2000 Mountain Biking World Cup
2000 Mountain Biking World Cup
2000 Mountain Biking World Cup 2000 Mountain Biking World Cup
2000 Mountain Biking World Cup 2000 Mountain Biking World Cup
2000 Mountain Biking World Cup

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Mountain Bike World Championships
It's All About the Reign in Spain

Sierra Nevada, Spain: June 7-11, 2000
[Race Schedule]

The flags are flying; the athletes are walking around in goofy national warm-up suits, and with southern Spain rolling out perfect weather and plenty of paella, it's time for the 11th running of the Mountain Bike World Championships.

It's been 10 years since Durango, CO, held the first-ever World Championships and since that time the whole scene has evolved (or devolved as some see it) to a professional, slick operation — replete with ceremony, pomp and lots of circumstance.

Since Wednesday afternoon's Team Relay and that night's opening ceremonies, things have settled into the official schedule for the weekend.

The Worlds, as most fans know, are a one-event winner-take-all affair usually scheduled at the end of the season to crown the World Champion (not to be confused with the Tissot World Cup Champion). This year however, with the Olympic Games occupying the cross-country racers in September, the UCI scheduled the Worlds for mid-season, here in sunny Spain. The idea of a mid-season Worlds has plenty of detractors (ourselves included), but things so far have at least some excitement.

One source of anticipation this season (besides wondering if Chausson and Vouilloz can again repeat in the downhill,) is the addition this year of the Dual as an official event. The young sport still has some kinks to work out — such as flag placement and what constitutes foul play — but should be a big crowd pleaser Saturday evening right near the venue.

Speaking of the venue, it's situated on the side of the mountains above Granada, in a ski resort named Sierra Nevada. There are plenty of cafes, hotels and even several discos to keep everyone occupied, but there's also Granada and the famous Alhambra 20km down the mountain for more evening fun.

The venue, which in 1997 and 1998 hosted World Cup downhill events, added a cross-country course this year for Worlds. With so little space in the venue, they put one of the toughest and longest courses ever, a couple clicks from the venue — sort of a remote course hanging on the side of the mountain. It's super long at 12km (most modern courses are six km) and — believe us — even more technical than the downhill course in sections!

The downhill course is the same as was used in 1998, that is boring, unimaginative and way old school. They were going to build a new one, but were forced back to the original location due to National Park rules. Still, the course could have been modernized and improved, and resembles a mix of Big Bear and Mammoth (translated, not so good).

The Dual course is great — another Glen Jacobs masterpiece. Full of jumps for the crowd, it should make a spectacular debut of the sport and will no doubt be the highlight of the weekend.

We're not going there this year, the best indicator of who is hot is to look at the last couple World Cup reports, because when it all comes down to it, Worlds are just another World Cup race — particularly in the downhill.

That said, there are riders with a tradition of aiming for and peaking at Worlds, specifically in cross-country. But the days of Henrik Djernis (DEN, Ritchey-Yahoo!) are past, and besides, most riders have their eyes on Sydney. But the cross-country course is technical and does not favor local heroine Marga Fullana (ESP, Subaru-Specialized) or some of the European roadie-converts. Thank God.

Ari Cheren, full of paella and sangria for MountainZone.com

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