Mountain Bike Cross-country

Want to watch the world’s best cyclists tackle the trails at Glentress Forest in Scotland? Here’s everything you need to know about Mountain Bike XCO.

Dates: TBA

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An Italian rider is pursued through a chicane by a number of riders with dust flying


Cross-Country (also known as XCO) races look chaotic - and that’s because they are.

After a massive crowd of riders pours off the start line, rough terrain, steep slopes and mud-based mayhem is the order of the day as they jostle for position, biding their time to attack in sprint finishes that separate the wannabes from the medal winners.

How it works

Glentress Forest is legendary amongst mountain bikers for its technical climbs and fast, flowing descents. On its roughly 30km cross-country course, new legends will be made.

After the elbow-to-elbow brawl at the start line sorts the strongest riders from the rest, they race to complete a set number of laps as quickly as they can. But if they go full gas too soon, they’ll burn out before the finish. Races last for over an hour, so endurance, stamina and mental fortitude will win the day.

Given the uneven terrain, the bikes take just as much punishment as the riders. Punctures and other mechanical failures will happen - often requiring them to get off and push to a technical zone - so no lead is safe. 

Anything can happen on the day, so make sure you’re part of the action at Glentress.

Glentress Forest

Glentress Forest,
EH45 8NB.

Current UCI World Champions

Evie Richards

Evie Richards

Women Elite - Cross-country Olympic (XCO)

Mona Mitterwallner

Mona Mitterwallner

Women Under 23 - Cross-country Olympic (XCO)

Line Burquier

Line Burquier

Women Junior - Cross-country Olympic (XCO)

Nino Schurter

Nino Schurter

Men Elite - Cross-country Olympic (XCO)



Men Under 23 - Cross-country Olympic (XCO)



Men Junior - Cross-country Olympic (XCO)

Evie Richards surrounded by a turquoise brushstroke

Fun Facts!

  • In the elite men and women’s categories, races take between 1 hour and 20 minutes and 1 hour 40 minutes.
  • Paved sections can’t exceed more than 15% of the course. There’s no limit on how much mud there is.
  • Riders want to be as light as possible. That goes for their own weight and the weight of their bike - every gram counts.