2022 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships: Preview, schedule, how to watch the stars in action

Les Gets, France, welcomes the 2022 World Championships in MTB with 15 sets of medals on offer from 24-28 August 2022.

By ZK Goh | Created 23 August 2022
Picture by 2022 Getty Images

The world's best mountain bikers are ready to crown a busy season with the 2022 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Les Gets, France, from 24–28 August. Hundreds of the globe's top MTB cyclists are entered in 15 medal competitions across five different events within mountain biking.

Medals will be awarded in the cross-country Olympic discipline (in men's and women's junior, under-23, and elite categories) and in the non-Olympic events of cross-country short track (men and women), cross-country relay (mixed team), electric mountain bike cross-country (men and women), and downhill individual (men's and women's junior and elite categories).

Competition actually begins on Tuesday, 23 August, with qualifying rounds in the men's short track event, before the main programme begins on 24 August with the team relay.

Find out all you need to know about the competition below.

UCI Mountain Bike World Championships: What are the short course, relay, electric MTB, and downhill events?

The most recognisable competition at the Mountain Bike World Championships is cross-country Olympic (XCO), the standard event within the mountain bike discipline and the only one of the five currently held at the Olympic Games. But what about the other four events?

Cross-country short track (XCC) is a variation on that, featuring a vastly reduced lap – in Les Gets, a single lap of the XCC course is 905m (0.56 miles), compared to the XCO course's 3.39km (2.11 miles).

The cross-country relay (XCR) will see teams nominate six cyclists – one from each XCO age category (men's and women's elite, under-23, and junior) to compete as a mixed relay team against the other countries.

In electric mountain bike cross-country (E-MTB or E-XC), riders get to use an electric battery-powered bike. The electric engine will only provide power while the cyclist is pedalling, meaning there is no power output without the rider making an input on the pedals. The engines are restricted to a maximum assistance of 25km/h (15.5mph) and a maximum continuous power rating of 250 watts. The E-MTB course is also slightly shorter than the XCO one, coming in at 2.6km (1.6 miles). This is a relatively new event, having joined the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships schedule only in 2019.

The other event being contested in Les Gets is downhill individual (DHI). This is not a straight head-to-head race; instead, riders start at the top of the hill and aim to be the quickest to reach the bottom of a 2.4-km (1.5-mile) course against the clock.

Stars to watch at Les Gets 2022 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships

Most of the top mountain bike riders will be in Les Gets, fresh off the Commonwealth Games and European Championships in Birmingham and Munich.

Newly-crowned European XCO champions Tom Pidcock of Great Britain and Loana Lecomte of France will be out to convert their European – and in Pidcock's case, Olympic – titles into the world champion's rainbow jersey for the next season.

Pidcock, the 2020 under-23 XCO and elite E-MTB world champion, will face stiff competition from home hope Jordan Sarrou and Switzerland's Nino Schurter; on the women's side Lecomte's teammate Pauline Ferrand-Prevot and Switzerland's Olympic champion Jolanda Neff are among the favourites too.

READ MORE: Loana Lecomte triumphs in rain-affected race to claim first senior European MTB crown

Lecomte is skipping the XCC race, which should allow for Ferrand-Prevot and Neff to come to the fore, but on the men's side Pidcock and Schurter will both have to come through an additional qualifying round if they want to take gold.

There is a surprise name in the men's E-MTB race, as three-time road cycling world champion Peter Sagan, who started as a mountain biker, is entered in the event.

And in downhill, the current World Cup leaders Amaury Pierron of France and Camille Balanche of Switzerland enter as favourites.

2022 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships, Les Gets: Full schedule

All times Central European Summer Time, CEST (UTC/GMT +2 hours). Schedule is correct as of 22 August 2022 and subject to change.

Legend: XCC – cross-country short track; XCO – cross-country Olympic discipline; XCR – cross-country relay; E-MTB – electric mountain bike cross-country; DHI – downhill individual

Tuesday 23 August

  • 18:00: XCC, men's qualifying

Wednesday 24 August

  • 12:30: XCR, team final

Thursday 25 August

  • 10:00: DHI, men's and women's junior qualifying
  • 11:30: DHI, men's and women's elite qualifying
  • 15:00: XCO, women's junior final
  • 17:00: XCO, men's junior final

Friday 26 August

  • 10:00: E-MTB, women's final
  • 11:30: E-MTB, men's final
  • 17:00: XCC, women's final
  • 17:45: XCC, men's final

Saturday 27 August

  • 09:30: DHI, men's and women's junior finals
  • 13:15: DHI, women's elite final
  • 14:35: DHI, men's elite final

Sunday 28 August

  • 09:00: XCO, women's under-23 final
  • 10:45: XCO, men's under-23 final
  • 13:00: XCO, women's elite final
  • 15:15: XCO, men's elite final

How to follow and watch the mountain bike world championships 2022 in Les Gets

You can follow the action from the 2022 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships on the official live timing page.

The elite downhill finals and under-23 and elite cross-country finals on Saturday and Sunday will be broadcast on the UCI's broadcast partners, including La Chaine L'Équipe in hosts France.

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