With 25 World Cup wins to his name, Lopes retired from World Cup 4x racing in 2008, but next week he is making a return. He’ll be racing XC world cups #2 & 3 in Dalby Forest, UK, and Offenburg, Germany, but not really expecting much in the way of results in the XC races. Rather, he hopes to place high in a new discipline that the UCI is testing, called XC Eliminator. Much like 4x there will be a timed qualifier where 32 riders will make the show. Groups of four riders will race in approximately 3-minute-long heats, with the top two advancing to the next round, until the final four are matched up.
Lopes commented on his chances and this new format, “I’m looking forward to the challenge. Obviously I have plenty of experience racing 4x, but those races are gravity fed and usually no more than 1 minute long, so tripling that amount of time with some small climbs and plenty of flats will be tough. Three minutes is a lot longer than you think when you’re going all out and I know how strong these XC guys are, so I’ll cross my fingers the courses suit me as much as they can and that I am feeling good.”
Follow the latest Lopes info at www.brianlopes.com or on twitter @brianlopes.