After 3 long years the iXS Series finally returns to Maribor! Let’s take a look on what to expect: Who will be there? Who are the favorites? And what about the track?
Although the season has only just begun, the timing for this race could not be better! Only one week after the race in Maribor, the World Cup invites the downhill elite to the World Cup in Croatia and lots of riders decided to pay Maribor a visit on the way. More than 350 riders from 30 different countries already registered for the race, including a number of UCI Teams:
Unior/Devinci Factory Racing
Canyon Factory Racing
FS Funn Factory Racing
Propain Dirt Sixpack
CUBE Global Squad
The odds-on favorites of the Elite Men category in Maribor are definitely Mick Hannah (AUS - Polygon UR), Brandon Fairclough (GBR - Scott Velosotutions), Troy Brosnan (AUS - Canyon Factory Racing), Remi Thirion (FRA - Commencal Vallnord) and Brook MacDonald (NZL - MS Mondraker), while all eyes will be on Miriam Nicole (FRA - Commencal Vallnord), Tracey Hannah (AUS - Polygon UR) and Jana Bartova (CZE) among the Elite Women.
Back in the days, when Maribor still hosted the World Cup, it already has been one of the most popular downhill venues and favorite race tracks among the downhill elite and even now, it appears not to have lost an inch of its popularity. After the last iXS European Downhill Cup in 2014, the track has been granted a makeover, so we are looking forward to checking out the new course!
Check out Jure Zabjek's (SLO - Unior/Devinci Factory Racing) Course Check 2017! (Unfortunately he won't be able to take part in this year's race, due to an injury.)
Unfortunately, the early date for the race combined with the surprisingly long winter took its toll in Maribor. Even at the end of March the organizers still had to get rid of the snow covering the race track. But they already started to work on that in the week leading to the Easter weekend and the rising temperatures come in handy. On 25th March organizer Iztok Kvas said:
“On the top part from the start through the first forest, we have around 5-20 cm of snow on the course. Tomorrow we will start to remove the snow in that part. On the ski slope in the first two banks we will have the biggest problems removing the snow. According to the weather forecast in the following week, the temperatures will rise until 20 degrees for the next weekend, so I think we will manage to remove all the snow.”