Who are the favourites to take the gold medals in the men’s and women’s categories in the Olympic cross country mountain biking? And who is representing Team GB in the contest?
Well, one thing we can clear up quickly is that here will be only be one male Team GB rider in the XCO at the Olympic Games this year, and none in the female category.
When Annie Last qualified for the London 2012 XCO for Team GB, she was the first British rider to do so in over a decade, but due to chronic back injury she’s been struggling in the period since. With nobody else able to step up and qualify, there won’t be any female British presence in the XCO in Rio this year.
22-year-old Greg Ferguson was a late addition to the Team GB cycling announcement though, and ensures there will be a Team GB presence at the XCO in Rio.
Ferguson won a silver at the U23 European Mountain Bike Cross Country Championships before taking his first ever win at the World Cup in Val di Sole last year, finishing the year with a bronze in the U23 World Champs. He’ll likely just be looking to get experience and aiming for medals in the future rather than gunning for the podium here, though.
But that doesn’t mean it won’t be exciting; there are an abundance of Olympic mountain biking favourites competing. Who will win the gold medal? It’s anyone’s guess, but one surprise entry and born-winner will be out to ruffle some feathers either way…
Let’s start our preview there – with World Champion road cyclist Peter Sagan.