DH Visit Pohorje: A World Cup Track is Hard Enough When Dry

Question: Which downhill series is holding races on two current World Cup tracks?

Over the past two weekends Unior Downhill Cup has moved from round one on the island of Lošinj in Croatia to Maribor’s Pohorje mountain in Slovenia. The opening of 2020 World Cup in reverse order.

After hosting opening rounds of iXS European Downhill Cup and Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in April, Maribor welcomed the Unior DH Cup series as well. After weeks of rain the forecast was not very promising and Slovenia’s and Croatia’s downhill elite with some guests from Italy and Slovakia were in for a wet weekend on a demanding track which remained unchanged after the visit of the fastest in the world.

Saturday’s training session went well on a relatively dry track, then rain came in the late afternoon. So Sunday morning training and seeding run were held on a slippery and tricky track. As expected Jure Žabjek was fastest in men’s elite category with the time of 3:16.31, some 12 seconds off his time at the World Cup race which brought him 20th place. Luka Berginc, the 2018 UDC series champion who returned just to test his shoulder after an injury in early April, was second over 13 seconds behind, and Rudi Pintar, the 2017 iXS EDC junior champion, was third.

But the track dried well for afternoon’s final run and anyone still on wet conditions tires was wondering about their choice at the bottom. The track was much faster than in the morning and even with a light drizzle for the last riders on track the times were significantly improved. Relative to others Žabjek did not improve that much since he “only” shaved 2.5 seconds off his seeding run but it was more than enough for second victory in a row.

Rudi was second 9.12 behind and Aleš Virtič who lives and races in Austria and raced his last UDC race in 2017 was third 10.41 behind Jure.

“I’m happy with my run, the grip was great,” Jure said. “I know the track really well, hopefully now I don’t need to see it until next season, haha, I got a bit bored with it now after three races.”

2020 Unior DH Cup and iXS European DH Cup are not known yet but the World Cup returns to Maribor on May 2/3 2020!

Unior Downhill Cup continues on June 22/23 with 20-year edition of legendary Downhill Javor in Trbovlje, Slovenia, the backyard of the Lošinj organization crew. This will also be the Slovenian National Championships race. More on DH Javor

Photos by Urban Cerjak/Monster Energy