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How to watch: 2022 mountain bike world championships

Schedule and Canadians to watch as worlds return to Les Gets, France

Worlds are here again and Canada is poised for what could be a stellar year. Finn Iles rolls into Les Gets hot off his first World Cup win and with a fleet of fast downhillers following him in the junior ranks. Emily Batty is on the rise, even with a series of crashes and injuries. And Canada’s under-23 and juniors are all posting strong results, both in North America and overseas. Over 50 Canadians will be in France to face off against an international roster of the world’s best, fighting for rainbow jerseys and medals all week.

In Canada, fans won’t be able to watch on Red Bull TV. Instead, it is FloBikes that has broadcast rights this week for all the world championship racing.

French crowd will be out in full force this week! Photo: Bartek Wolinski / Red Bull Content Pool

Les Gets – The Venue

Les Gets, France has a long history in mountain biking but it last hosted world championships back in 2004. In the last couple of years, the venue has had a thrilling return to the World Cup calendar. In 2019 and again in 2021, it delivered riveting racing in XC and downhill.

Located in France’s Haute-Savoie province, near the border with Switzerland, the venue boasts amazing tracks and, if you can look away from racing, a breathtaking view of Mont Blanc in the distance.

Iles celebrating with the huge Canadian crowd after winning Mont-Sainte-Anne. Photo: Bartek Wolinski / Red Bull Content Pool

Downhill – Iles versus the French

French riders remain the dominant force in downhill, both men’s and women’s, and will be hunting for nothing less than gold at their home world champs. They roll in a little injured, though. Amaury Pierron is nursing a heavy crash at Vallnord World Cup. Loic Bruni, always a threat at worlds, dislocated his shoulder in practice for Mont-Sainte-Anne. That pins the home crowd’s hopes on Loris Vergier.

In Canada, though, all eyes are on Finn Iles. The Specialized racer landed his first elite World Cup win – at home at Mont-Sainte-Anne, no less – at the last round of racing before worlds. He’ll be fired up to keep that momentum going.

On the women’s side, Camille Balanche’s very strong season was disrupted by a broken collarbone at Mont-Sainte-Anne. The Swiss racer will be in France, but is unsure of racing at this point. That opens the door wider for Myriam Nicole to defend her 2021 world championship title on home soil. She’ll be challenged by Vali Holl, the winner at Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup.

Canada’s also fielding a fleet of fast juniors in the downhill race. Jackson Goldstone will aim to defend his win from Val di Sole in 2021 and keep his near-perfect junior career going. Gracey Hemstreet will try to step up to win after her medal in the junior women’s race last year. Several young Canucks have joined Goldstone on the podium already this season. Anyone has a chance this weekend in Les Gets.

A bloodied Emily Batty battled through her home World Cup after a start-line crash. Photo: Bartek Wolinski / Red Bull Content Pool

Cross Country: Wide open elites

This year’s XC field is a bit unknown, even compared to other years. Several top riders skipped the two north American rounds. Those that did, had mixed luck. Nino Schurter took a hard fall in Snowshoe. Emily Batty had several crashes and is still recovering from a broken rib at the Canadian XCO national championships.

Instead, it’s European champs that might be a sign of what’s to come. Tom Pidcock and Loana Lecomte won titles from last weekend in Germany. It’s a successful return to winning for Lecomte. Lecomte and Pauline Ferrand-Prevot both skipped North American rounds to focus on worlds at home. The French riders finished 1-2 at Euro’s and look to be on form.

For Pidcock, it’s a return to mountain biking after his stellar showing at the Tour de France and could be another step towards his stated aim of winning three worlds titles in one year.

Evie Richards and teammate Jolanda Neff are rolling in with very different training plans. Richards sat out several rounds to recover from injury and illness but is back to try defend her rainbow stripes. Neff raced in North America and walked away with her first World Cup win in four years at Mont-Sainte-Anne.

Conspicuously absent will be Mathias Flüeckiger. The Swiss rival to Nino Schurter returned a positive doping test last week ahead of European championships and was immediately sidelined by the Swiss federation and his Thomus-Maxon team while they await confirmation of the b-sample.

Carter Woods landed another World Cup win this season. Photo: Mtt Stetson

Canadian juniors, (more) Tour de France racers, and e-bikes

Worlds diverge from the usual World Cup schedule. Juniors get their chance to race with the rest of the cross country crowd where World Cups are just under-23 and elite classes. That opens the door for several top Canadians to fight for medals. Among them are Zorak Paille and Ian Ackert and Stimulus-Orbea’s trio of Ava and Isabella Holmgren and Marin Lowe. Those five are among a very strong contingent of Canadian juniors that will be looking to turn success this season into hardware this week.

Another worlds-specific event is electric mountain bike cross country racing. While there’s a fledgling eMTB World Cup circuit, the chance to race for rainbow stripes always brings out a few top riders. This year, Peter Sagan is making a return to dirt to try his hand a eMTB racing. The highly decorated Tour de France sprinter will be looking to follow the likes of Tom Pidcock and Alan Hatherly as high-profile electric XC world champions.

Les Gets World Cup XCO Cink
2021 Les Gets World Cup was a wild one. Photo: Bartek Wolinski / Red Bull Content Pool. 

Event and broadcast schedule

FlowBikes is hosting 2022 UCI mountain bike world championships in Canada. For events that aren’t on live broadcast, you can follow results and timing on UCI’s race hub.

Event Schedule: 2022 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships
8/24/2022 XC Team Relay
8/25/2022 DH Qualifications, Juniors
8/25/2022 DH Qualifications, Elite
8/25/2022 Women’s Junior XCO
8/25/2022 Men’s Junior XCO
8/26/2022 Women’s E-MTB
8/26/2022 Men’s E-MTB
8/26/2022 Women’s XC Short Track
8/26/2022 Men’s XC Short Track
8/27/2022 Women’s Junior Downhill
8/27/2022 Men’s Junior Downhill
8/27/2022 Women’s Elite Downhill
8/27/2022 Men’s Elite Downhill
8/28/2022 Women’s U23 XCO
8/28/2022 Men’s U23 XCO
8/28/2022 Women’s Elite XCO
8/28/2022 Men’s Elite XCO
FloBikes Broadcast Schedule

FloBikes’ exact broadcast schedule remains, uh, TBA one day into racing. But it is a fair bet that replays of all four main elite races, Saturday and Sunday’s men’s and women’s cross country and downhill events, will be shown at some point.

The web broadcaster’s current posted broadcast schedule is on the event page. As you will see, it doesn’t exactly follow the UCI’s schedule.