Just like a World Cup: the top names from the Banyoles men’s Super Cup Massi19-02-2020
The best XCO race in the country and one of the best in Europe, with more than 1000 bikers. The first and only UCI HC race in Spain. The event that kicks off XCO’s international calendar. The epicentre of cross-country. In actual fact, the Banyoles Super Cup Massi needs no introduction. An exceptional trajectory has made it a key event in terms of both the number of participants taking part in a cross country event and their quality. Aside from the World Cup, elsewhere it is practically impossible to see all the world-class riders on the same starting grid. But, this Sunday in the capital of the Pla de l'Estany region that’s exactly what you’ll find.
To start with, eight of the top ten riders from 2019 will be on the starting grid. Frenchman Victor Koretzky (KMC Orbea), the current French champion, will start as the favourite in his own right after triumphing in 2017 and 2018 and taking second place in 2019. He won’t be coming alone, however, as the Dutch champion Milan Vader and Swiss rider Thomas Litscher will complete the KMC Orbea line-up for the main event – all of them podium hopefuls.
One of the main draws of the weekend will be the presence of the entire Specialized Racing team, captained by 2018 U-23 world champion Alan Hatherly from South Africa. Denmark’s Simon Andreassen, who is currently based in Girona, and the American rider Christopher Blevins will also be present.
Nevertheless, if we had to name the strongest team in the men’s event it would probably be Cannondale Factory Racing. Brazil’s Henrique Avancini is currently ranked the world’s number two and a star who has competed in Spain on very few occasions. Joining him will be Germany’s Manuel Fumic, in what is his final year as a professional rider before he retires, and France’s Maxime Marotte. A fearsome team.
Another outfit to watch is Absolute Absalon - BMC, which will be bringing all its stars. In addition to France’s Jordan Sarrou, the event will also be a chance to see the team’s latest signing, Titouan Carod, in action, as well as youngsters Filippo Colombo and Mathis Azzaro.
Practically competing at home, the Massi team will arrive with all their finest riders, including the Frenchman Hugo Drechou, Thomas Griot and the Portuguese rider David Rosa, all of whom know the competition very well.
The road to the Tokyo Olympics will see the presence of the Italian national team, which this year boasts such outstanding bikers as the Braidot brothers and Gioele Bertolini. It won’t be the only national team with presence, however, as Switzerland will be bringing the young Vital Albin and Joel Roth to pit themselves against the very best on Spain’s legendary XCO stage.
Another one of the names on the grid will be Frenchman Stephane Tempier, who will also make his racing debut in the Trek Factory Racing colours.
As in the women’s event with Julie Bresset, the men’s event will also have an Olympic champion in the running: the Czech rider Jaroslav Kulhavy, gold medalist at London 2012, who must be at his best from the word go if he wants to have any chance of getting to the Olympic Games after a 2019 that is best forgotten.
The Primaflor-Mondraker-XSauce team will also be going all out by bringing all their key riders, including Russia’s Anton Sintsov and Australia’s Daniel McConnell. MMR, meanwhile, will have its great star, Spanish champion David Valero, as well as the newcomer Nadir Colledani.
The list of international riders and their teams doesn’t stop there however. Switzerland’s Lukas Fluckiger will get his own personal team project underway in Banyoles and Germany’s Ben Zwiehoff will also kick off his XCO season with his new team, Centurion Vaude. Meanwhile, the German rider Markus Schulte-Lünzum, Switzerland’s Reto Indergand, the young Frenchman Benjamin Le Ny and the Australian Cameron Wright (junior world champion a few seasons ago) are other names to consider.
As for Spanish riders, aside from David Valero there will be the bronze medalist at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, Carlos Coloma, in what will be his first XCO race of the year. He will be accompanied by Pablo Rodriguez, who recently joined BH Templo Cafés UCC, and Sergio Mantecón, a regular in the competition, will also be back for 2020. However, all eyes will be on the U-23 Jofre Cullell; the Megamo rider already knows what it’s like to put on great performances in Banyoles and he’ll have an international showcase to prove what he is capable of.
With this starting line-up we are set to witness one of the best cross-country races in the world. The Super Cup Massi has left us astonished year after year with increasingly more mighty starting grids and the 2020 edition is no exception. The main men’s event will get underway at 12.40 p.m.
You can watch live in Outdoor Time TV.