Video: Anneke Beerten's Course Preview for the 2024 Paris Olympics XCO Test Event

Sep 24, 2023
by Ed Spratt  

bigquotesWelcome to the Mountain Bike course preview of the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. This weekend is the official test event at Elancourt, just outside of Paris in France. This event is in preparation of the 2024 Olympic Games and is a great opportunity for all riders to see the course!

I’m excited to be here with the USA Cycling team as skills coach! The first day on course was great, it is much more technical and harder than it appears. It’s a course where you have to ride aggressive and can’t catch a break. The technical futures are build well and challenges the riders without having to take crazy risks.

The main objective of this event is to confirm that the course is operational and complies with expectations in terms of sport, safety, logistics, flows and accessibility. They might make changes to the course after this event!

Let me know what you guys think of the course in the comments below! Thank you for watching.!
Anneke Beerten

Author Info:
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Member since Mar 16, 2017
2,859 articles

  • 60 4
 Hey guys! I understand that it looks like a gravel race, but if the native dirt on this hill gets wet it turns in to sticky, clay, not rideable mud. I agree with having more natural section, but it looks like they do not wanne take the risk of having the race turn into a laughable mud slide. Racing was excited to watch today, close racing and the riders feedback was positive on the course. This course at race speed was challenging. ✌️
  • 29 3
 As a long-time fan, I'm just happy to see you back out there after the challenges you had with TBI, etc! Don't pay any attention to the armchair landscape engineers on PB. Smile
  • 5 3
 I hope it rains and we get a flatbar cyclocross race
  • 7 1
 I think it looks ok. If the riders like it and the racing is exciting then the Olympic course doesn't have to be the best ever. I think a sport like mountain biking was always going to have to compromise to some degree to be included in the Olympics.
  • 6 0
 actually looks like a well designed course for the wide skill range of an olympic event. long wide climb from the start to string out the field and let the elite riders get to the front. Most of the course is wide enough to pass slower riders....and a fair number of tech sections to keep the riders honest....huge step up from typical XC courses just 5 or 10 years ago. The best riders will make it look easy. And that gravel on semi slick xc tires is going to be drifty at race pace.
  • 11 25
flag BarryWalstead (Sep 24, 2023 at 21:46) (Below Threshold)
 Way to go riding a fucking motorcycle for a 'course preview'.
  • 3 0
 This hill used to be a dump site for the city of Versailles. You clearly don't want the soil below the gravel layer to be sprayed at your face.
  • 4 0
 Love you Anneke! Wishing you all the best and so glad to see you back out on the bike!!
  • 7 4
 @BarryWalstead: stay mad about it bro... ya Lil bitch
  • 48 11
 A "mountain bike" race on a souless artificial track built on a 230m artificial hill made of industrial and construction wastes.

Shame is officially an olympic sport.
  • 2 5
 So basically this race is garbage and hazardous. A follow up toxicology exam for all riders and the venue and everyone involved is exempt from any lawsuits. Wink
  • 12 0
 Lots of line options and space to over take. Might be crap for a solo ride but I think it will make for a good race. Also a good use for industrial slag.
  • 28 1
 Looks like a fast course, but too engineered in my opinion. I think XCO courses (enduro and dh courses as well) should be more natural, raw, and technical. More challenging for bike handling skills.
  • 20 5
 Of course its engineered. Engineered for a French win. This could be PFP's last chance for a gold. Tokyo was too sendy and the entire podium was Swiss.
  • 7 34
flag RonSauce (Sep 24, 2023 at 7:50) (Below Threshold)
 I dont think its exciting to ride, but I dont think xc courses need to be more natural. Xc riding isn't the same as trail riding and I'm ok with that being reflected at a pro level. Basically I feel you shouldn't need a dropper or real suspension for a cross country ride. Like cross country running, if you turn it into a tough mudder is it still cc?

Xc is more about fitness and racer interactions than it is about riding gnarly features. Its more Nascar less trophy truck.

I have always hated Olympic xc though, its really not fun for me to watch and I've never liked the course.
  • 19 0
 @RonSauce: Not saying the XCO tracks need to be gnarly or force riders to send gaps or big drops, just more technical that makes them use their bike handling skills for both the climbs and the downhills.
  • 18 0
 @RonSauce: Let cross country be real mountain biking, there's gravel racing if you want non-technical and team tactics.
  • 1 23
flag RonSauce (Sep 24, 2023 at 15:29) (Below Threshold)
 @tacklingdummy: but cross country isn't about technical bike handling. Everyone is going to drag xc no matter how technical the track is.

@abhardtail: I think the line between gravel and xc is pretty fine. 120mm full suspension bikes should be overkill for xc, not the norm. If I'm going for an "xc" ride im on a hardtail with no dropper, if im riding a full suspension im trail riding. Xc is barely "real mountain biking" riding 'cross country' doesn't really involve mountains its about covering ground and racing tactics.
  • 7 0
 I'm all in favor of natural-terrain the Scots intended!
  • 4 0
 @Skifastchad: what makes you think it favors more PFP or Loana Lecomte than anyone else like Puck Moonen, Alessandra Keller, Mona Mitterwallner (to name only a few)?
  • 11 0
 @RonSauce: I'm completely at the other end of the spectrum and think the newer courses that stretch technique as much as fitness are far more enjoyable to watch and are far more the spirit of 'mountain biking'. As a racer of bikes at a MUCH lower level (CX,XC, Enduro, Crit) I think technique levels the playing field a little so that the genetically superior super athlete doesn't have it all their own way and parts of the course give others an opportunity to compete, making for better more egalitarian racing.
  • 2 0
 @jaspersdog: technicque only makes a difference between 2 athletes in similar shape physically. Better riding skills won't give a significant enough advantage for a much slower athlete to make up for the lost time in the climbs.
  • 1 0
 @opignonlibre: Puck Moonen?
  • 3 0
 @bouwpakket: wrong Puck, Puck Pieterse sorry. That was a typo. The other one was Eli Iserbyt's former girlfriend and ex pro road rider right?
  • 13 0
 I'm not sure if I'd be a mountain biker at all if our trails looked like this. It's all gravel with no roots and some random rocks thrown in. I get the desire to avoid a muddy race, but in doing so, it hardly even mountain biking. This isn't what mountain biking looks like.
  • 16 1
 So much gravel, I got Wu Tang’s Gravel Pit stuck in my head.
  • 6 0
 What we get is gravel, while what we need is
  • 12 5
 Gravel road with wooden connecting bridges, zero roots and few boulders thrown between to be more "mtb"? Not worthy of Olympic name in title... Also mopeding course preview to promote non-moped event?
  • 1 0
 Gravel pit! Thanks for that!
  • 4 0
 There is some gravel yeah, but the course looks awesome! Maybe by race time dirt will replace the gravel. Anyway the course looks fantastic and. Haley the badass Batton
  • 6 1
 .... Batten was out pacing the E-Bike. Haley is awesome :⁠-⁠)
  • 5 0
 @onyxss: @onyxss:
>Not worthy of Olympic name in title

Well, look at London, Rio and Tokyo courses. All of them were lightly technical and very artificial. Sounds like the opposite and this one is following the olympic "tradition".

The hill used to be a dump site for the city of Versailles. You clearly don't want the soil below the gravel layer to be sprayed at your face. The gravel is here for a reason.
  • 8 2
 @onyxss: They didn't brought this bike with the idea in mind to promote a non-moped event.

From what I understand she is skills coach for the US team. She just ride an e-bike so she isn't dropped by proper athletes like Haley Batten and can have a proper conversation with them right on the course during recon. Imagine if Batten had to wait for her all the time or she would spend her time catching her breath and couldn't speak to her. How valuable would that be as a coach work?

I am not an e-bike rider, I don't want them for my own rides but if I was a coach of a professional rider and had to ride alongside them I would definitely choose an e-bike as a work tool for these particular rides.
  • 1 2
 @opignonlibre: Agreed - then the whole promotion of what mtb looks like through Olympics is bad - general viewer will think that MTB is some artifical gravel road happening in dump sites/quarry with some wooden bridges and boulders. Almost any other WC XCO track is better IMO than Olympics Smile
Regarding mopeds - i'm sure they are valuable tool, but what athletes/stuff do on camera and goes public is PR these days. And mopeding XCO course is not good PR - on PB site at least Smile
  • 4 0
 @onyxss: She is not an athlete, she is the coach of an athlete. It is in the video description that pinkbike cited VERBATIM:
"I’m excited to be here with the USA Cycling team as skills coach!"
  • 14 0
 I mean, what was to be expected, essentially building a course on a landfill site. Am sure the race will still be good though, imagine the pace will be pretty high!
  • 9 0
 Yes. Similar to the Euros course in Krakow in June..... It has to be based near Paris, so this will have to do - no different to a lot of Olympic courses.
  • 1 8
flag flaflow (Sep 24, 2023 at 9:36) (Below Threshold)
 @Starch-Anton: exactly correct
If any shame is due, it goes to the "mountain bike" advocates who insisted on Olympic inclusion.
  • 10 0
 Wonder how many of the 'not real mountain biking' commenters spent the summer on machine-built flow trails at the bike park...
  • 3 0
 Hahahahhahahahaaaahhahahaaaaa!!!!!! Effing yes!
  • 3 2
 Well those rootless natural berms are not made from gravel and have soul so that's different
  • 11 0
 "it's unique, let's put it that way"

Right Anneke, let's be nice.
  • 6 0
 After Tokyo got so much praise for its technicality, raw, natural feel I find it surprising they have regressed back to graveling over most of this track. I understand that it's location dependent but London got huge amounts of backlash for being an over engineered, boring course. I figured they would have taken more insight from Tokyo and left sections raw that will get ridden in. Maybe they will pull some of the gravel out?....
  • 3 0
 Tokyo was the anomaly (unfortunately). Rio, London, the Euro champs were also not very technically challenging. Not sure where Glasgow sits in this hierarchy ... I heard criticism, but watching it, it looked a dang site better than the ones just listed.
  • 9 0
 Puck has a pretty entertaining preview. Not sure why that was not on Pinkbike as well?
  • 6 0
 Here's Puck Pieterse's course preview:
  • 5 0
 Why are Olympic Courses so different to any XCO World Cup Courses. It's the one time we get to showcase this wonderful sport to the rest of the world who dont know about it. And they provide these terrible man made courses.
  • 8 1
 I can see this both being a fun race to watch and a boring course to ride.
  • 3 0
 It would be interesting to hear the opinions from some of the riders who raced. Remember a lot of people were horrified by the Loudenvielle DH until the pro's decided it was awesome. And as Anneke pointed out, the idea of a test event is to see how the venue and course work. There's plenty of time to make adjustments which will hopefully be based on riders' perspectives not PB comments. I have zero clue about the riding close to Paris. Are there any existing XC courses/areas nearby?
  • 27 21
 Funny, that she rides the course with a motorbike.
  • 15 10
 I find ebikes extremely 'meh', but here I think they found a use for it that actually makes sense. If you want to explore the course, get a feel for it, try out different lines, you'll need to do multiple laps. On the other hand you don't want to exhaust yourself too much so short before the race, so the e-assist can help with that. Still hate the sight of it, though.
  • 19 9
 Meh, she’s earned her right to do whatever she wants . It’s a course preview. Totally ok with it
  • 7 20
flag BurtMcBurburt (Sep 24, 2023 at 8:09) (Below Threshold)
 Honestly, riding this on a motorized pedal-less throttle electric bike would have been a better look. The ebike just makes it seem like she's incapable of casually riding an XC course, or can't hang with her athlete friend. Than again, the Olympics has always been poor optics for the 'sport'
  • 10 5
 To me it makes no sense to create a mtb course preview from to perspective of a motorbike. I'd like to see a rider negotiating the course to get an idea. Might be valuable if the coach follows the rider. Batten was faster and trying to overtake a few times anyways.
  • 2 0
 @BurtMcBurburt: Pedal-less throttle ebike would be an electric motor cycle...

Higher torque forces than an equivalent gas motorcycle, would trench out sections of the course with one accidental brrrap.

That's the reason mountain bikers get bent about e-motos poaching mountain bike trails. That and the uphill 40mph collisions on blind corners.
  • 8 0
 @dtheio: Here's Puck Pieterse's course preview:
  • 8 4
 Typically people recovering from a TBI can’t get their heart rate up high without feeling symptoms, so maybe that’s why she rides an e-bike. But who cares what she rides? She rips.
  • 6 3
 This is an Olympic course? That looks so bad! Long, open, non-technical climbs, very few features and what is there looks awkwardly built, and the dirt looks miserable! Should just hold it on the Glentress course instead.
  • 7 6
 Did we watch the same video? It looks hard as hell to me. It looks like an enduro track almost in some spots.
Frankly, these new skool courses have to be tv friendly and personally l am cool with that.
  • 13 8
 A preview of a XC course, with an Ebike?
  • 2 1
 Need to remember changes will be made and it has a year to naturalise a little although that requires the track to be open to all which I hope they allow. I think it's a good course to promote cycling via regeneration of landfill. I just don't think XC should be in the Olympics full stop. Unless Olympics are held in locations suitable this sort of course is always going to happen.
  • 1 3
 Surfing is in the Olympics but I'm pretty sure it's not taking place anywhere near Paris, so it could be argued that they could have used a XC course somewhere outside of Paris. But I don't see any problem with man made/landfill courses. XC is not 'real' mountain biking anyway.
  • 2 1
 I actually can't believe this is an Olympic Level Course. Not suggesting it will be easy to ride but its all man made and all that gravel!! While the worlds champs course at Glentress was perhaps a little too extreme in did at least have sections that were all natural and allowed to develop over the course of the week. I'm sorry to say...this is disapponting
  • 1 0
 A lot of mtb trails are man made nowadays and it's not always a bad thing. I used to love riding footpaths but some are unrideable in places without a little work and I find that the 'average' rider that tells me he is an intermediate struggles with roots, steeps, off camber etc because the local trail centres don't include those. Most trails are not really natural anymore, but that's not necessarily a bad thing
  • 9 6
 that motor drone furthered my disinterest and distaste at having my own emb.
  • 2 1
 Well that's good. You have a choice not to buy one. If I could afford one I would prefer the drone to the noise of the diesel pick up shuttling me up.
  • 1 0
 @singletrackjamaica: Well that's good. You have a choice to buy one. If you could afford it. I don't have to worry about affording it. Or a diesel motor, for that matter – never done one. As you say, choices. So I'd say I'm ahead, which suits me just fine. But I still wonder in reality how many a time a shuttle truck passes by an emb on the way up. ; )
  • 6 4
 What a challenging track! 99% roadie fitness, 1% mountain bike skill required. Let Vancouver host the summer Olympics and have a decent MTB course in Squamish or Whistler.
  • 2 0
 Vancouver didn't even have majority-public-support for the 2030 Winter Olympics, so I can't see there being enthusiasm for the, much more expensive, Summer Olympics.

(Would be awesome to see the long-rumoured Whistler World Cup DH happen though, with hopefully an XCO round too)
  • 8 6
 Gravel, not mountain bike. France should be ashamed and modify it's course asap.
  • 10 3
 A Gravel bike would break on those rock gardens......
  • 1 2
 Gravel... cyclo-cross... for once a Belgian may have a chance to win something...
  • 1 1
 I agree.
  • 5 0
 @danstonQ: pidcock: hold my beer
  • 1 0
 shame there's not more natural sections, it looks like the soil could get quite boggy in the wet, maybe why they've added all the gravel
  • 10 7
 Looks like an XC course that MVDP can finally survive a lap on.
  • 10 4
 Very witty, but most of all very ignorant. He was European Champion XC, was second overall in the XC WC series twice, and got bronze at the World Championships.He won a couple of shorttrack races, and marathon races too. And that's just the top results, he did many more races. Percentage wise, he doesn't have many DNF'ses at all, it's just that two of them were in big races. If you look exclusively at his mountain bike results, I'd wager he's more successful and experienced than at least half of the field.
  • 3 10
flag warmerdamj (Sep 24, 2023 at 17:33) (Below Threshold)
 @WhateverBikes: Oh really? I had no idea, this is my first day riding a bicycle.
  • 3 0
 Ha ha! Mmm I don’t know, there’s a few off camber corners in there, and I swear I’ve seen one of those roll out ramps on the backside of a wooden drop before. That looks so familiar….
  • 4 1
 So, which ramp will they remove this time?
  • 1 0
 Incidentally, nice to see some racing (if we ever see a video of the racing). Smile
  • 2 0
 That course doesn't look that bad. People's comments make it sound like racing in a toxic waste dump.
  • 1 0
 When will we recognize Adaptive MTB in races/Paralympics? Where can we continue this dialog in the pinkbike world to help it grow?
  • 2 0
 May the fittest rider win.
  • 15 14
 That E-bike is annoying, wish she would have ridden it on a real bike. Stopped watching after 1 min.
  • 3 1
 The course got pretty good from 61 seconds on
  • 5 5
 Completely unwatchable. Turned it off after watching knees for the first 5 minutes and then some screeching. Gotta do better.
  • 2 0
 Tokyo track was WAY better
  • 2 0
 Pidcock got robbed
  • 2 0
 Mountain biking got robbed.
  • 1 0
 I didn't see any removable ramps on the drops.
  • 2 0
 You weren't looking hard enough. They are there, but they will not be there next year.
  • 1 0
 representin' OZ!
  • 1 1
 sport now
  • 2 5
 If track stays the same until Olympics, they ruin this event before the start.
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