Pinkbike Primer: Everything You Need to Know Ahead of the 2023 XC World Champs

Aug 9, 2023 at 6:56
by Ed Spratt  
The World Champs stripes would look strange on anyone else other than Nino Schurter.

The 2023 World Championships continue as the mountain bike racing heads to Glentress in the Tweed Valley to wrap up a second week of flat-out racing in Scotland. Check out everything you need to know as the racing kicks off at Glentress.

Where are the 2023 XC World Champs?

Rain sun wind and hail. In random order and on repeater all day long.

After last week's downhill racing at the classic Fort William venue, the XC World Champs sees a brand new venue, track and location for international xc racing as it heads to Glentress in the Tweed Valley. The location has previously hosted EWS rounds in 2014/5 and is just down the road from the more recent international enduro racing venue of Innerleithen.

Headed to EWS 3 in Scotland.
Iago Garay storming down stage eight to escape the hail.

The Track

The course is all-new for this year's World Champs. After checking out the course in person it looks to offer a great mix of some technical challenges and steep climbs to really test the skill of every rider.

Previous World Champions

1990 Ned Overend + Juli Furtado // United States (Durango)
1991 John Tomac _ Ruthie Matthes // Italy (Barga)
1992 Henrik Djernis + Silvia Furst // Canada (Bromont)
1993 Henrik Djernis + Paola Pezzo // France (Métabief)
1994 Henrik Djernis + Alison Sydor // United States (Vail)
1995 Bart Brentjens + Alison Sydor // Germany (Kirchzarten)
1996 Thomas Frischknecht + Alison Sydor // Australia (Cairns)
1997 Hubert Pallhuber + Paola Pezzo // Switzerland (Château-d'Œx)
1998 Christophe Dupouey + Laurence Leboucher // Canada (Mont-Sainte-Anne)
1999 Michael Rasmussen + Margarita Fullana // Sweden (Åre)
2000 Migue Martinez + Margarita Fullana // Spain (Sierra Nevada)
2001 Roland Green + Alison Dunlap // United States (Vail)
2002 Roland Green + Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesja // Austria (Kaprun)
2003 Filip Meirhaeghe + Sabine Spitz // Switzerland (Lugano)
2004 Julien Absalon + Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesja // France (Les Gets)
2005 Julien Absalon + Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesja // Italy (Livigno)
2006 Julien Absalon + Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesja // New Zealand (Rotorua)
2007 Julien Absalon + Irina Kalentieva // United Kingdom (Fort William)
2008 Christoph Sauser + Margarita Fullana // Italy (Val di Sole)
2009 Nino Schurter + Irina Kalentieva // Australia (Canberra)
2010 Jose Antonio Hermida + Maja Włoszczowska // Canada (Mont-Sainte-Anne)
2011 Jaroslav Kulhavy + Catharine Pendrel // Switzerland (Champery)
2012 Nino Schurter + Julie Bresset // Austria (Leogang-Saalfelden)
2013 Nino Schurter + Julie Bresset // South Africa (Pietermaritzburg)
2014 Julien Absalon + Catharine Pendrel // Norway (Lillehammer)
2015 Nino Schurter + Pauline Ferrand-Prevot // Andorra (Vallnord)
2016 Nino Schurter + Annika Langvad // Czech Republic (Nové Město)
2017 Nino Schurter + Jolanda Neff // Australia (Cairns)
2018 Nino Schurter + Kate Courtney // Switzerland (Lenzerheide)
2019 Nino Schurter + Pauline Ferrand Prevot // Canada (Mont-Sainte-Anne)
2020 Jordan Sarrou + Pauline Ferrand Prevot // Austria (Leogang)
2021 Nino Schurter + Evie Richards // Italy (Val di Sole)
2022 Nino Schurter + Pauline Ferrand Prevot // France (Les Gets)

What Happened at the Les Gets World Champs in 2022?

The women roaring off the line.

The 2022 XC World Champs in Les Gets provided some incredible racing with historic victories in the Elite racing. Pauline Ferrand Prevot took her fourth title in the Elite Women's race and became the joint most successful Woman at World Champs. Jolanda Neff fought back throughout the race to take the silver medal with Haley Batten riding strong to bronze.

Nino Schurter continued to be the one to beat as he secured back-to-back World Champ titles and his 10th win. Nino also took another World Champs title in Les Gets after winning the Junior race in 2004. David Valero Serrano looked like he could have taken the win for all seven laps but he was bested on the final downhill to the line, David still took a well-deserved silver medal. Luca Braidot wrapped up his race with a bronze medal fighting off an unlucky Thomas Pidcock.


Elite Women

1st. Pauline Ferrand Prevot: 1:22:08
2nd. Jolanda Neff: +1:35
3rd. Haley Batten: +2:13
4th. Loana Lecomte: +3:27
5th. Alessandra Keller: +3:46

Elite Men

1st. Nino Schurter: 1:21:13
2nd. David Valero Serrano: +9
3rd. Luca Braidot: +29
4th. Thomas Pidcock: +1:29
5th. Marcel Guerrini: +1:40

U23 Women

1st. Line Burquier: 1:11:09
2nd. Puck Pieterse: +0:43
3rd. Sofie Pedersen: +0:59
4th. Giada Specia: +1:51
5th. Ronja Blochlinger: +1:51

U23 Men

1st. Simone Avondetto: 1:10:35
2nd. Mathis Azzaro: +28
3rd. Luca Schatti: +57
4th. Martin Vidaurre Kossmann: +1:13
5th. Bjorn Riley: +1:36


Elite Women:

1st. Pauline Ferrand Prevot: 21:56
2nd. Alessandra Keller: +18
3rd. Gwendalyn Gibson: +21
4th. Jolanda Neff: +26
5th. Evie Richards: +29

Elite Men:

1st. Sam Gaze: 22:21
2nd. Filippo Colombo: +3
3rd. Thomas Litscher: +7
4th. Alan Hatherly: +13
5th. Martins Blums: +16

What Happened at the Last World Cup Round?

Another World Cup and another dominant performance from Puck Pieterse as she continued to impress in 2023.

From the off Puck Pieterse looked strong and after the first full lap a gap of 41 seconds was created that proved impossible to close even with a final lap mistake. Martina Berta couldn't quite secure a win at home but she still ended the weekend with a 2nd place finish. Rebecca Henderson looked to be back on form as she powered her way to 3rd place. Pauline Ferrand Prevot had another tough weekend as she had a big crash in the woods ending her chances for a podium finish.

Following his worst World Cup finish in Leogang Nino Schurter proved why he is one of the greatest of all time as he took his 35th World Cup win.

Nino Schurter showed he was back to business as usual as he looked strong off the start and made sure to watch the rider around him before attacking on lap four to build a lead of over thirty seconds. No one could catch the Swiss rider as he crossed the line 26 seconds ahead of Mathias Flückiger. Newly crowned European champ Vlad Dascalu made his way through to the front and bested Joshua Dubau to the line to secure third place.

Elite Women

1st. Puck Pieterse: 1:19:49
2nd. Martina Berta: +52
3rd. Rebecca Henderson: +1:00
4th. Laura Stigger: +1:06
5th. Mona Mitterwallner: +1:53

Elite Men

1st. Nino Schurter: 1:20:22
2nd. Mathias Flückiger: +26
3rd. Vlad Dascalu: +38
4th. Joshua Dubau: +38
5th. Alan Hatherly: +52

U23 Women

1st. Sofie Pedersen: 1:07:09
2nd. Samara Maxwell: +38
3rd. Ronja Blöchlinger: +2:02
4th. Noemie Garnier: +2:21
5th. Sina Van Thiel: +2:37

U23 Men

1st. Carter Woods: 1:08:57
2nd. Adrien Boichis: +31
3rd. Riley Amos: +45
4th. Jente Michels: +49
5th. Mario Bair: +50

Weather Forecast

It looks like riders might be facing a mixed week of weather in the Scottish Broders, although with most of the track having an all-weather surfacing we shouldn't see the racing affected too much by some rain.

Wednesday, August 9 - Team Relay & EMTB
Cloudy // 19°C // 49% precipitation // wind 17km/h

Thursday, August 10 - Junior XCO World Championships & Elite Short Track World Championships
Cloudy and warmer with a shower in spots // 25°C // 40% precipitation // wind 11km/h

Friday, August 11 - Under 23 XCO World Championships
A thunderstorm in spots in the morning; otherwise, breezy with clouds moving away to leave sunshine // 21°C // 40% precipitation // wind 24km/h

Saturday, August 12 - Elite XCO World Championships
Considerable cloudiness with a little rain // 17°C // 80% precipitation // wind 17km/h

Weather forecast as of Wednesday, August 9 from Accuweather.

The Schedule

Wednesday, August 9
• 12:30 Cross-country Team Relay World Championships
• 15:00 Women E-MTB World Championships
• 16:30 Men E-MTB World Championships

Thursday, August 10
• 12:00 Women Juniors Cross-country Olympic World Championships
• 14:00 Men Juniors Cross-country Olympic World Championships
• 17:45 Men Cross-country Short Track World Championships
• 18:30 Women Cross-country Short Track World Championships

Friday, August 11
• 11:30 Men Under 23 Cross-country Olympic World Championships
• 15:30 Women Under 23 Cross-country Olympic World Championships

Saturday, August 12
• 11:30 Women Elite Cross-country Olympic World Championships
• 15:30 Men Elite Cross-country Olympic World Championships

Note: All times are local and subject to change by the event organizer.

How to Follow the Racing?

Tune in to Pinkbike to catch all the XC World Champs coverage throughout the week with results, photo epics, bike checks, race analysis and more.

Author Info:
edspratt avatar

Member since Mar 16, 2017
2,851 articles

  • 57 2
 Everything I need to know.... I can't watch it.
  • 57 1
 How is it possible in 2023 as the sport is more popular then ever and we are in a technologically advanced era with smart phones, smart TVs, wifi everywhere, drones with wifi, on-board cameras, etc. We can't freakin' watch the actual World Championships of this sport?? In other news the American Cornhole League championships were on ESPN2.
  • 5 1
 @yupstate: Right? Tag! They actually air f-ing tag!
  • 6 0
 You can watch it if you want to pay for another entirely different subscription from FloBikes. Pretty short sighted for UCI to use this somewhat obscure platform instead of the GCN/Discovery platform to drive more advertising in the US.
  • 19 1
 @salespunk: VPN and your GCN+ subscription works just fine

You pay for everythign you want to watch whether is movies on netflix, sports on ESPN etc etc why does everyone have such a hard time paying to watch mountain biking - even Freecaster used to charge for World Champs!
  • 6 2
 @paulskibum: 100% true, VPN and GCN+ works good. GCN+ subscription has a whole lot more than racing too. Great value for the cost IMO.
  • 2 5
 I can watch it but won't be
  • 3 0
 If you have a VPN account or can locate a free VPN the BBC and RTVE will be showing it free geo-restricted
  • 1 0
 it's easy
  • 1 0
 @yupstate: at least we have our priorities straight.
  • 1 0
 @paulskibum: I can't see the xc listed in any country on gcn.
  • 1 0
 @dstroud70: ive only stumbled across videos of professional tag on youtube but it looks pretty cool... there must be worse examples of spectator sports
  • 1 0
 No need to:
2023 Nino Schurter + Puck Pieterse // Scotland (Glentress)
  • 3 0
 @paulskibum: the payment is not the issue, I think it is great that the sport if monetized a bit so hopefully more riders get a good chance. But I spent 1h last weekend trying to figure out who I can pay to actually watch the DH race.

1) Discovery+ is thoroughly region locked, you cannot VPN to e.g. the UK and get a subscription there (my credit card was not accepted to being registered in the wrong country) or use your Norwegian login in the UK.

2) CGN+ did not show the race in Norway.

3) Because TV2 had the license, but also did not show the DH finals.

So I had to gamble that I can pay CGN+ in Norway, VPN to UK and login there to watch the race. Luckily that worked out.

But anyone with a bit less interest in the sport would 100% not have spent their money. As so many have figured out before, pirating is an accessibility issue. But somehow the f*ckwits at UCI came to the conclusion that "we grow the sport by making it REALLY HARD to watch the individual races! - everyone will love that!"

Not to mention the fact that the world simply does not have enough good commentators to make it enjoyable across 15 different platforms.

Those are the issues.

Create a 5USD race-weekend or discounted season subscription through one single access point with region based commercial breaks (see: youtube, twitch, literally any modern website...) and get Rob Warner to comment DH again. That enables growth. As long the answer to "Where can I watch the race?" is "here's a confusing table" the DH sport is, unfortunately, dying.

I foresee that the UCI will pat their own shoulders and present "strong viewership growth" for the combined world champs (basically a good idea) but will nicely ignore the fact that some "niche" sports went down in some if not all countries.
  • 2 0
 @paulskibum: I have GCN+ so no problem paying. Running a VPN on my Apple TV is a giant PITA, plus it seems to me that UCI could get WAY more revenue from advertisers if it were on a platform more people could see. Doesn't matter if it is Redbull TV, GCN+ or NBC Sports, but putting on FloBikes means that any company paying UCI for race banners, etc is getting near zero exposure in the US.
  • 19 0
 First thing you need to know is that you can't watch it and if you could the coverage would suck.
Bring on the fake breathing and "landing" sound effects.
  • 14 0
 eXC coverage had motorbike noises dubbed over the top.
  • 1 0
 I'm almost certain I heard canned landing FX in the XC relay race
  • 1 0
 are the sound effects just for FLO? or for GCN+VPN too?
or do the effects occur when there is drone footage?
  • 2 0
 @taprider: the production team is adding them, AFAICT. So that means all of the different “broadcasters” have to commentate over the sound effects.

In the DH race, the sound effects were added during drone footage.
  • 12 0
 MVP for the triple crown ?
  • 4 0
 Would be super,but I think Pidcock will take it. I expect a great battle anyway.
  • 4 1
 If MVDP wins it, he will be MVB or MVC for sure!
  • 2 0
 Would be great but I think impossible
  • 2 0
 MVDP for the PFP you mean?
  • 2 0
 Great interview with MVDP,looks like he's just racing so he can qualify for the Olympics,and not expecting anything,as he hasn't been on the MTB for a while.
  • 2 0
 @nozes: really nice interview….thanks for that
  • 10 1
 So sad that there hasn't been an XC world champs in the US for over 20 years. They seriously need to come back, and go back to Australia, Africa, and then do somewhere in South America for good measure.
  • 7 0
 I never watch XC, but it appears from the comments it is a bit like surfing. One of the coolest sports to watch, and unless I move to Australia, it isn't ever on TV anywhere. As a side note, whoever that Nino Schurter person is, he appears to be the Kelly Slater of XC MTB.
  • 1 0
 It's also not on TV in Australia, except for this world championships because it's bundled with the road racing.
  • 2 0
 @boozed: Good to know. I'm scrapping my plans to move across the globe. That was a big driver Smile .
  • 13 4
 Nino for the win
  • 5 3
 "After last week's downhill racing at the classic Fort William venue, the XC World Champs sees a band venue track and location for international xc racing as it heads to Glentress in the Tweed Valley."

What is "a band venue track"?
  • 6 0
 Might as well also add "Tune in to Pinkbike to catch all the Fort William coverage throughout the week with results, photo epics, bike checks, race analysis and more." - that's just lazy
  • 2 0
 @mashrv1: Also confused that according to this article there were 2 world champs in 2021...
  • 4 0
 @tominatr13: There have been two world champs each year as far back as at least 1990 (Overend / Furtado)
  • 2 0
 A typo of "a brand new track", unless I am greatly mistaken. But I see that they fixed it anyway.
  • 1 0
 @RobinLaidlaw: genuinely curious why the race would be held on a "track having an all-weather surfacing" instead of something more xountryish
  • 1 0
 I don't know, but its in the "Scottish Broders" apparently.
  • 1 0
 @HughBonero: so that the track (and therefor the race) doesn’t turn to absolute **** if they have the same weather as the DH and the road race
  • 6 0
 Carter Woods for the win!
  • 2 0
 Alright, I’m posting this at the end of the tread.

I’m an XC rider - check my username.

That said, I’m curious. Does a top notch DH rig make one faster than the competition, relative to is top end XC setup?
  • 1 0
 Can you refrase that please?
  • 2 0
 Does equipment matter? At this level, of course.
  • 4 0
 Is there any coverage or recap of the marathon world champs anywhere?
  • 3 0
 sadly, nope
  • 3 3
 my wife just approved me a Capex of 1500 usd for an XC bike, but all i see are hardtails at that price range, for all the experts out there, is it possible to get decent results or even podiums on hardtail XC bikes? i am talking about local races, nothing fancy.
  • 24 4
 Pssst, don't tell anyone, but it is the rider, not the bike that wins races.

Also, $1500 is more than sufficient to get a rig that lets you ride away from someone whose apparent role it is to approve CAPEX budgets for your leisure activities.
  • 2 0
 You can but it will be less enjoyable. Modern XC FS are super light and capable so the hardtail advantage is only on the used price tag. But the man behind the bars is the key for the win. Try to get a last gen Scott or an Orbea OIZ.
  • 3 0
 Absolutely. I race an "enduro hardtail" in XC races and podium every now and then with tough competition. Rider is 90%, bike is 10% (at most)
  • 2 0
 Check out the used market, too. There's a lot more value available in the used market, as long as you have a knowledgable bike friend help you select a good bike and avoid a lemon.
  • 3 0
 Depending on the competition where you're at, the top podium guys can likely take a tame used trail bike with a fast wheelset and not lose too many positions. If you have a 130ish bike buy some lightboi wheels and tires
  • 8 0
 You need to get bikes into your OPEX budget pronto, a race hardtail is the gateway to a while world of mountain bike spending. Good luck negotiating that one with The Boss...
  • 1 0
 yeah, a lot of local xc races could be ridden on gravel bikes. Like others have said, a fit person could win a local xc race on a used 20 year old hardtail. At cat 3 or 2 you don't need a full carbon 20lb bike to win, you just need to be more fit than your competition(basically).
  • 3 1
 I'd happily do local races on a $800 hardtail. Heck, an alloy singlespeed would suffice for most local race scenes.

Only reason to spend real $$ on an XC bike (and not on a training/nutrition plan instead) is if you're invested enough to start caring to travel to destination races. Local race scenes are really fun for their lax and have-fun nature. Nobody is showing up to the local weeknight event with their $10k XC rig, and if they are, they should try having fun on an XC bike instead.
  • 2 0
 Most local races are pretty tame and a hardtail is the best choice.
Get one with 120mm fork,light frame and wheels,and maybe a dropper post,and you're set.
Oh,and of course it will need upgrades,so better prepare your wife for it Big Grin
  • 2 0

I like everything you said.

I do it all on a stupid expensive bike, but know that it’s all the rider, and never the bike (within reason).
  • 3 0
 @eight-n-burly: I would argue that most are showing up on 10k XC bikes to races.
  • 2 0
 Most local races are nowhere near as technical as WC races. 2/3 of the field would not even show up if it was too technical so it would be the death of local XC racing. A hardtail is enough in that context, especially with a lower budget.

As for 1500usd. I think it is enough especially if you buy second hand. It is better to buy a 1x11 drivetrain as consumables such as cassettes and chains are much cheaper and the drivetrain is lighter. You can get a 9.5-10kg 29" second hand hardtail with decent quality components for that price. It will also likely come with decent tires mounted tubeless. Brand new, you will get an alu frame with a low/mid range fork and deore/NX drivetrain that will be more in the 11.5-12kg area and so so wheels. Plus the tires might be the cheap OEM spec hard tread material 60TPI not even mounted tubeless so additional cost to consider.
  • 3 0
 I've headed down a rabbit hole this year to try out an XC race for the first time (I have raced enduro for years and done a fair bit of XC style training for fitness, so it seemed like something I should try).
I had a £1000 alu hardtail that I already owned as a training rig, I've put roughly £500 towards upgrading it to make it race ready, mainly through lighter weight components and drivetrain improvements. The race is two weeks away (was supposed to be at Glentress too, but they moved it.. some other races happening there or something??).
Can't comment on the race outcome yet, but I can say all the little improvements to what was otherwise a very heavy hardtail, have made it feel noticeably more speedy and I've noticed big improvements in my segment times, although my training has hopefully made a difference there too, so fingers crossed.
My point being, aside from the fact that as others have said, its definitely more about the rider than the bike, is that you can achieve a lot on a tight budget if you do lots of research and choose your parts carefully- I purchased a lot of used stuff on ebay and here on PB, then resold my original parts to keep the cost low.
Not sure I have actually answered you question but anyhow, good luck!
  • 2 0
 hello everyone sorry for the late response, thanks everyone for their advices, i am asking because I entered an XC Race with my Commencal Meta and i destroyed my legs in the first lap, the podium finishers passed me in the second lap and placed 4th, it was kind of humiliating since with the Enduro guys I always excel on the uphills by quite huge margins, and i thought XC was gonna be a Walk in the Park, it was a humbling experience, the Meta being 17kg (18kgs with tools and water bottle) was quite a burden to manouver on the technicall uphill sections, so i was thinking an 11kg $1500 USD could do the trick, and of course, save the Anaerobic for the end of the race for next time.
  • 1 0
 @Jmac888: will follow your path then thank you, keep us posted on how the race goes, as soon as it happens of course.
  • 2 0
 @Narro2: If it's anything like the UK the guys on the podium will lap half the field, the speed of everyone at national level is nuts and a real lifestyle commitment.

Just pinning on a race number is class, I've raced XC with someone in a full face and they got the kudos! Your meta will have been spotted and you will have had unspoken credit sent your way. Hope you find the bike and give everyone an update.
  • 2 0
 @HankHank: right on, lets see how it goes, thanks for the positive vibes.
  • 1 0
 @Narro2: Oh god your back story sounds a little like mine! I'm the guy smashing all the climbs at the enduro race and thinking maybe I'm in the wrong sport. Hopefully my race goes a little better!
  • 2 0
 @Jmac888: yeah, master of none at the moment. lol
  • 3 0
 @Pinkbike I think the schedule dates are wrong.. it starts today not the 24th. The weather forecast is correct though Smile
  • 2 0
 It’s the first opportunity to qualify for the Olympic team in the US… maybe the rest of the world as well?
  • 4 0
 Cool track.
  • 6 3
 Nino Nino Nino Nino Nino Nino Nino Nino Nino Nino
  • 3 0
 "We've been here before, we're going in circles."
  • 3 0
 Got a free vpn trial for a week to watch both dh and xc with GCN+.
  • 3 0
 Too much climbing and pedalling ;-)
  • 1 0
 Glad I got some rain tires in the hands of America's top junior before he flew over. Good luck Nico!
  • 1 0
 Everything we need to know except who the favorites are this time around and who are the riders we should pay attention to?
  • 2 1
 Where can I watch this?

I subscribe to both Peacock and GCN+, but neither are showing it.
  • 4 0
 GCN+ is showing it but you need to make sure you’re not geo restricted using a you-know-what.
  • 2 0
 GET A VPN! GCN+ is showing it in UK and Europe.
  • 2 0
  • 1 0
 @paulskibum: not Norway. Need to pay about the same for a month as one year of GCN+ to buy yet another TV streaming channel.
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
 We need a WynTV XC addition. …XC is way lacking in coverage compared to DH.
  • 1 3
 This could've been an empty page and it still would've told me everything I need to know ahead of the 2023 XC World Champs.
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