27 and 28 July – the dates of the Olympic mountain bike trials at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics – are big highlights in the calendars of many professional riders around the planet.
And many of the key names taking part in the event have appeared or will be appearing at Europe’s great cycling fair, Sea Otter Europe.
Since it began, this festival has been committed to supporting top-level sport as one of its key principles, both for the sake of turnout and to give something back to the sport. Therefore, since the very first edition it has featured an international XCO event with UCI C1 status counting towards the Super Cup Massi, which has many of the best riders on the planet in its rankings.
In the men’s category, David Valero was the winner of the first edition and has a good chance of securing a spot in the Spanish national team heading to Tokyo.
In 2018, Sam Gaze began his short-lived reign of the cup. However, the New Zealand rider has a difficult challenge ahead of him in order to qualify for the Olympics after a tough 2019 season in which his Sea Otter Europe victory was one of the few high points of his year.
Carlos Coloma, who took bronze at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, has been a key rider over the last two years, coming fifth and third at Sea Otter Europe. He now heads the BH Templo Cafés UCC team, which also includes the rider who is a sure-fire bet to be part of Spain’s Olympic team, Rocío del Alba García, who took third place last year.
However, in the women’s category, the rider for whom it will be a key event is the Frenchwoman Pauline Ferrand Prevot. The current world champion and new Sea Otter Europe ambassador recently underwent another endofibrosis operation and she will need to up her game just in time for Sea Otter Europe if she wants to compete for medals in Tokyo. The rider took the top stop in 2018 and came second in 2019. Laura Stigger, the incredibly young winner of the 2019 edition, also has a good chance of making it to Tokyo.
The world bike-marathon rankings also hang on the outcome of Sea Otter Europe
XCO isn’t the only discipline with an international, UCI event. On Saturday 30 May the very best bike-marathon specialists will come together in Girona competing to boost their point tally for the UCI Marathon Series, the discipline’s leading world ranking. Some of the best long-distance specialists have already confirmed their participation in the race, including Hans Becking and Tiago Ferreira.
Professional road cycling: ever-present
Although it’s not a competitive event, the Ciclobrava, Sea Otter Europe’s cycling tour, will also be a great chance to see professional riders in action and to compete alongside them on the very roads many of them use for training on a daily basis. A unique way to come into direct contact with some of the names that will go on to appear at major cycling events all around the globe.