Swedish National Champion Emil Lindgren has confirmed he will tackle Pietermaritzburg Mountain Bike Festival’s HC category cross country race in the hope of securing crucial UCI points ahead of next year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The PMB MTB Festival takes place at Cascades MTB Park from 3-5 April and will host a multitude of mountain biking disciplines including downhill (DH), marathon (XCM), enduro and cross-country (XCO) across a variety of age groups and abilities. With an HC XCO event being just one notch below a UCI MTB World Cup on the UCI points grading system, this is where the greatest international presence is expected as Lindgren and company look to bolster their international ranking.
Lindgren says: ‘Earning UCI points at this stage is huge as everyone looks to try qualify their nation and then qualify themselves. I’m here for seven weeks and have a big schedule that included the first leg of the SA Cup Series last weekend in Port Elizabeth, the ABSA Cape Epic, the second SA Cup Series leg in Johannesburg and of course the HC race at the Pietermaritzburg Mountain Bike Festival. Everyone is looking forward to the Olympics and is trying to do everything they can now to ensure they qualify and are selected to go.’ For Lindgren, the trip to Africa’s Bike City won’t be his first having tackled almost every edition of the UCI MTB World Cup as well as the 2013 UCI MTB & Trials World Championships hosted in KwaZulu-Natal’s capital. Lindgren added: ‘I’ve been to Cascades many times before and I’ve seen the development not only of the track but of cycling in the region in general and it has been great to see how Pietermaritzburg has become a cycling community! With Pietermaritzburg not being on the World Cup calendar this year but with a lot of international guys being in South Africa because of the Cape Epic, the HC race is a great opportunity and I’m sure it’s going to be a great race.’
Lindgren recently secured a third place at the STIHL SA Cup Series opener in the Eastern Cape, finishing behind Philip Buys of Scott Factory Racing powered by LCB and between Kargo team mates Brendon Davids and Alan Hatherly. Despite a switch to stage racing for one his year’s highlights, the Cape Epic, Lindgren is still confident he will easily be able to adapt back to the demands of cross country racing ahead of the Maritzburg showdown. Following the Elite Women’s clash at 11:00, the elite men’s HC XCO race takes place at 12:30 on Saturday 4 April.
Photo: Swedish national cross country champion and Kargo Pro MTB Team star Emile Lindgren will add an experienced international flavour to the upcoming 2015 Pietermaritzburg Mountain Bike Festival as he searches for crucial UCI points ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
Photo credit: Gameplan Media