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Is the new Crans-Montana World Cup track too hard?

Is the new Crans-Montana World Cup track too hard?

There’s an all-new World Cup cross country track in Europe this weekend. Exciting stuff, as a new venue always has a way of shaking up the established order, both for this race and potentially the overall points race. Crans Montana is actually the third new World Cup course for the cross country riders this year. Two new venues in Brazil delivered thrilling racing to kick the season off.

But the Crans Montana course looks, well, divisive. It looks like course organizers are maybe trying a little too hard to show off for the cameras. The features are visually stunning. It looks like a ton of effort went into preparing this course for race day. But they don’t necessarily look safe. Even in the context of World Cup racing being more challenging and more technical than it ever has before, some of the new features look just a little off.

Pre-ride, re-ride, freeride isn’t usually something so applicable to XC courses

Don’t get me wrong, I love more technical tracks. And, having watched some of what these young racers can do on XC race bikes, I am confident a good percentage of them would be comfortable riding all these features.

Racing, though, is not the same as riding. Hitting a wood-to-wood gap over a creek is one thing in practice. Or a log-skinny to drop. Or ending that drop with a landing made entirely of chunks of wood, albiet intricately tiled wood. It is an entirely different thing to do that on the last lap of a race effort. Or among the first lap crowds. Or, you know, if it rains.

These log skinnies don’t end in huge drops. But the all-wood stump landing will have zero traction if its wet.

What’s the risk? Well, as we saw in the Tokyo Olympics, it not only whether you can ride a feautre. It’s also trying to predict what people will around you will do. When Pauline Ferrand-Prevot jammed on the brakes in front of Neff, it sent the Swiss rider flying off line and off a massive drop instead of onto a ramp. It nearly ended Neff’s race. Somehow, the Swiss racer saved that and continued to race. Ferrand-Prevot crashed a later and dropped back in the race.

Did a dropper post save Jolanda Neff’s Olympics?

Speaking of the Olympics, those are just a few weeks away…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at Canadian Cycling Magazine…