While retaining its original route on the Chavannes side, the XCO course – an Olympic discipline – will evolve significantly this year with the addition of numerous technical sections as well as modifications to the lines that will make for some great duels.
The objective: to offer a modern XCO circuit for the 2021 World Cup, the 2022 World Championships and for the 2024 Olympic Games for which Les Gets has been selected as preparation centre and labelled « Terre de Jeux ».
David Moreau, XCO race director, presents this new version of the XCO circuit.
David Moreau from CIMES EVENT is in charge of coordinating the XCO course and is also the XCO race director for the 2021 UCI MTB World Cup.
Can you describe the track in a few words?
We started with a good base, i.e. the track created in 2019 for the World Cup in Les Gets and which has already been ridden quite a lot. It’s a very compact and visual track for the crowd but it lacked the technical areas of modern XCO. We had feedback from the riders and teams in 2019 and we knew that we would have to make natural technical changes for the next World Cup rounds, the World Championships in 2022 and also for the 2024 Games because Les Gets holds the “Terre de Jeux” label and is an XCO preparation centre.
What surprises await the riders?
The basics of the 2019 circuit remain the same: 2 loops with 2 almost parallel climbs and descents. But we have added 15 technical features, spread over the whole circuit. Pop-up rock gardens, springboards, jumps, roots and stones… This is what awaits the riders this year. ¾ of the features will be permanent and the pop-up installations will be put back in place for the 2022 World Championships. We also revised a lot of the track markings to have better sequences and more variations on a physical level. For example, we removed the small loop in town on the tarmac which was not necessary because it made the course flow even faster and smoother.
What qualities are needed to perform well on this track?
There are clearly physical demands as there are two excellent climbs with an elevation gain of 140 metres as well as other elevation variations. With the new technical features, you will also need good riding skills on the descents, the slightly delicate sections, the roots… Perhaps this new route will favour the French who are very good technically on the international circuit.
What is your favourite section?
I really like the upper part of the track, right below the Lac des Écoles, because it is a natural technical path, with sections in the roots. It’s really reminiscent of the 2004 World Championships, the World Cups and the French cups that have taken place in Les Gets. This section is part of the changes we have planned to make it even more technical and to give the spectators a real treat!
How did you prepare this track?
We carried out several recognitions, one in the autumn and one in March to determine the sectors to be developed, the materials to be used, the intervals of the technical zones so that there is a good balance in all this.
The phase of the work began in May for 4 weeks of non-stop work. The course has been validated by the mountain bike coach of the French Cycling Federation. Now we are waiting for the riders to come and train on the track.
The teams are busy building the technical sections: natural stairs, rock and root zones, rock gardens, etc.
The work in a few figures
- 15 technical features
- 300 tons of materials (rocks and wood for the track, crushed gravel for the start/finish area)
- 4 weeks of cumulative work
- A dozen people involved (Cimes Event, Town Hall, Sagets)