The 2016 Cross-Country Marathon (XCM) Mountain Bike World Championships are barely a fortnight away. This is the 3rd time the event has landed on French soil, and the town of Laissac is exceptionally proud to host the event after the Massif de l’Oisans hosted the Championships in 2006, and Ornans hosted the race in 2012.
The town of Laissac is quite small, with just 1,640 inhabitants and hosting the championships is the culmination of many years of preparation. Two titles will be awarded on 26th June, for elite men and elite women, on essentially the same loops of of 90km and 70km used in 2015 for the Roc Laissagais.
The Men’s course in Laissac
The women’s course in Laissac
The World Championships also coincide with the 25th edition of the Roc Laissagais, and there are events on Saturday 25th June as short as 4km for children, along with a 44.7km race for Junior and Masters riders.
Champions in Laissac
Jaroslav Kulhavy, the 2014 XCM World Champion and Olympic Gold medallist has confirmed his commitment to Laissac. At 31, he is the only rider to have won all the major titles: World Cup and World Championship in Cross-Country Olympic (2012), the Olympic title (2012) but also the XCM World Championships.
The race falls a week before the World Championships XCO in front of a home crowd in Nove Mesto, Kulhavy will be one of the favorites in Laissac – and in Nove Mesto.
At 32, Annika Langvad can do everything! From winning a third Cape Epic with Ariane Kleinhans, the Dane won the first stage of the World Cup XCO in Cairns a few weeks later, then again in Albstadt at Round Two. Having won the XCM World Championships three times (2011-2012-2014), she can dream of a fourth crown on the Aveyron circuit.
Who else could take the crown in Laissac?
Well, this is a hard call before seeing start lists. But for sure in men’s Karl Platt, Urs Huber, Kristian Hynek and Leonardo Paez would all be favourites. But there could be many more who could be a threat. In the women’s, the proximity to XCO World Championships plus being an Olympic year makes it a harder guess. Langvad is an outright favourite, but Dahle-Flesjaa may race too. Sally Bigham is another favourite, and Ariane Kleinhans has also been preparing on the course. Again – once start lists are available the shape of the race will be a little clearer.