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Sven Nys vs. Loïc Bruni’s Dad: The weird, wild start list for eMTB world championships

Rochette returning to defend her silver medal isn't the only notable point on Wednesday's electric event

After debuting at Mont-Sainte-Anne in 2019, eMTB Cross Country is back at world championships this week. Canada’s Maghalie Rochette will be on the start line in the women’s race. She’ll be looking to defend or improve on her silver medal from last year.

The men’s start list is much weirder. It’s a wild mix of current World Cup winners, semi-retired cycling icons, enduro racers and dedicated eMTB athletes.

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NOve mesto world cup 2020
Simon Andreassen cruises to his first elite men’s XCO win one week ago in Nove Mesto. Photo: Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool

Young talents versus cycling icons

Simon Andreassen, winner of World Cup XCO#1 just one week ago, will line up next to cyclocross legend (and XCO Olympian) Sven Nys. Alan Hatherly, last year’s winner is back to defend his title. The South African, also in the top-10 in last week’s XCO World Cup,  will face off against the iconic Julien Absalon. The recently retired French rider, who still has the most XCO World Cup wins in history, is a strong proponent of eMTB racing.

U.K. road and cyclocross phenom Thomas Pidcock is also on the start list. The young rider entered his first two under-23 mountain bike World Cup’s last week in Nove Mesto, winning both. Pidcock will get a chance to race Marco Aurelio Fontana, the Italian Olympic medalist from 2012.

Fontana 2018 world championships
Marco Aurelio Fontana racing 2018 world championships in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. Image: Bartek Wolinski / Red Bull Content Pool

Oh, and Loïc Bruni’s father is on the start list, too. Jean Pierre Bruni is, like his son, a current world champion. The elder Bruni  won masters downhill world championships in 2019. How he’ll fare in the more cross country-oriented race is less clear.

With the eMTB event drawing in everyone from icons to aspiring racers and current leaders, there’s quite the age gap in the field. In fact, a full 38 years separates the oldest rider from the two youngest entries. Bruni, the field’s most senior rider, was born in 1962. Natan Patrois (France) adn Tiago Ladeira (Portugal) are both year 2000 babies. Pidcock, born in 1999, is just one year older.

Last year Hatharly showed that youth can, in fact be an excellent match for experience. Hatherly won with both Absalon and Fontana on the start list then. Will Nys be able to upset the field? Or will Hatherley’s challenge come from younger riders like Pidcock and Andreassen?

See the full men’s and women’s eMTB cross country start lists.

Highlights: 2019 UCI eMTB world championships – Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada