World Championships
Are, Sweden
Sept. 15-19, 1999

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Cross Country Mountain Biking

Cross Country Mountain Biking
1999 World Championships, Are, Sweden

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We Åre the Worlds
Mountain Bike Season Ready to Explode
Wednesday, September 15, 1999

Cross-Country: Rainbows to Denmark and Spain
Downhill: Vouilloz and Chausson Keep Streaks Alive
Under 23 XC: Evans Final Lap Loss
Team Relay: Spain Takes First Medal of Worlds
Schedule of Events

Three attractive Swedes showed reporters around the Åre race venue this week, pointing out various attributes of this scenic, remote town - some eight hours north of Stockholm. "Oh yes, you can tell your readers that we're all just a bunch of naked blondes, frolicking in the fjords up here," they said, on the record. God, it's great to be in Scandanavia.

"It's the one time each season when the Americans pull together as a unified squad, and teams like France plot their continued world domination..."

It's been a long season of mountain bike racing, but by gosh we're just about through it, and none too soon. We've seen way too much great competition, met too many wonderful personalities and just about worn through our ballistic Briggs & Riley luggage. After 16 rounds of the World Cup and several U.S. NORBA events, it's time to pull out the stops and see who really gets to be called daddy.

It's time for the 10th annual UCI World Championships, in Sweden for the first time since it debuted in 1990 in Durango, Colorado. Some staff and personnel have been here for more than a week, but for the last few days the riders and media have been arriving in force by planes, trains and automobiles - quickly filling this lakeside village with speeding bikes, cheesy warm-up suits and aforementioned attractive blondes. And with racing now underway, it seems we all arrived just in time.

The weather here, of such ill-repute that everyone showed up with down parkas and avalanche kits, has (thus far) been splendid. A high-pressure system has parked itself off Poland this week, keeping conditions perfect — blue skies, gentle breezes. Trust us, everyone's fingers are firmly crossed.

The Worlds, in case you didn't know, are an annual winner-take-all event where national teams compete for medals in a sort of mini-Olympics. The familiar factory trade teams are here with their mechanics and team housing, but for many athletes this week is more about their home country, and winning for their flag. It's the one time each season when the Americans pull together as a unified squad, and teams like France plot their continued world domination.

Racing, which began with opening ceremonies, consists of four major events; the Team Relay, Junior racing, Elite (Pro) Downhill and Elite Cross-Country. Each event awards medals, culminating with Sunday's XC finals (followed by an ABBA theme party).

The courses are as complex as a Volvo engine here in Are, twisting and meandering around this World Cup skiing mountain and both culminating in the now-cramped town center.

3 loops make up one lap, 9.6 km in length
Village Loop: .9km, a short and fast parade loop
Olympia Loop: 5.5 km, steep climbing and singletrack
Fjallgarden Loop: 3.2 km, steep climb followed by technical descent to finis.

3.67 km in length
Vertical Drop: 499m/1,500 ft.
Fastest Time: 5.18 minutes (1998)
Summary: Super-fast, technical, mostly untested

(all times are GMT plus 1 hour)
Wednesday, September 15:
1:00 p.m. Team Relay
4:30 p.m. Opening Ceremonies

Thursday, September 16:
1:00 p.m. Downhill Seeding Run

Friday, September 17:
Junior Cross-Country Finals:
9:30 a.m. Jr. Women
11:30 a.m. Jr. Men
2:00 p.m. U-23 (under 23) Men

Saturday, September 18:
Downhill Finals 10:30 a.m. 4:00 p.m.
Jr. Women
Jr. Men
Elite Women
Elite Men

Sunday, September 19:
Cross-Country Finals 10 a.m. - 4 p.nm
Elite Women
Elite Men

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