Pidcock, Sagan and defending champion Gaze to line up for the 2023 UCI World Championship XCC Short Track at Glentress, Scotland

Tom Pidcock winning the short track MTB in Nové Město.
A fresh Tom Pidcock will be amongst the favourites for the XCC rainbow jersey (Image credit: UCI MTB World Series)

The line-up for the XCC World Championships at Glentress is packed with some of the biggest names in cycling as the mountain bike events take center stage at the UCI mega Worlds. Defending XCC world champion, New Zealander, Sam Gaze is back to defend his title, with a fresh Tom Pidcock, the current Olympic XCO champion lining up, and Peter Sagan, who dips his toes back into mountain bike racing as the former world road champion sets his sights on the Paris Olympics next year. 

However, two big names missing from the start list are Nino Schurter who sits it out after winning the MTB team relay with his Swiss compatriots. Also missing the XCC is the newly crowned road race world champion, Mathieu van der Poel, who has been spotted training at Glentress and was expected to race the XCC. MVDP was initially entered for the Short Track race as a warm-up for his date with destiny at the XCO race at the weekend, but the Netherlands' cycling federation has now confirmed he will only race in the Cross-Country event, as he recovers from injuries sustained in the final lap of the Road race.

Van der Poel told the Dutch News Agency AD, "I'm still suffering a bit from the crash on Sunday, because of the adrenaline, I didn't feel it during the race, but after the finish, I immediately noticed that I had hurt myself." 

Peter Sagan racing mountain bike CX at the 2016 Rio Olympics

Peter Sagan is one of the star names at Glentress (Image credit: Getty Images)

Van der Poel will have the chance at the weekend to become the first male rider to hold world titles in cyclocross, road and cross-country mountain biking in the same season if he takes the win in Glentress after winning the UCI Cyclocross Worlds in February and the Road Worlds last weekend in Glasgow. Pauline Ferrand-Prévot made history in the 2014-2015 season at the age of 23, when she became the first cyclist to hold world titles in the three disciplines. 

Van der Poel has played down his chances of a second world title this week, saying his first goal is to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. Having not ridden in any of the early World Cup Mountain Bike events, he has not qualified for a front-row start position so will face a battle for a podium placing. 

MVDP crossing the line in the 2023 world champs road race

The XCC race comes to quick for MVDP who sets his sites on the XCO on Saturday (Image credit: Paul Brett)

The Short Track finals will be held at 5:45pm local time for a 'sprint race' of approximately 20 minutes for the world title. The Short Track event is normally used to determine the order of the riders in the front rows during the World Cup season but now has its own rainbow jersey up for grabs at this combined World Championships. The race will be held on a shortened course of 900 meters with 33 vertical meters on each lap.

There are still limited digital ticketing options left for the XCC and XCO events with remaining tickets available at Cyclingworldchamps.com. For those not lucky enough to see the action close-up, watching the TV coverage is the next best option.

How to watch the 2023 MTB World Championships on TV

In the US, you can watch the World Championships live and on-demand with a subscription to Flobikes, which will cover the road, MTB, Road and BMX events, but not the Track cycling.

In the UK, the BBC will show highlights of the UCI World Championships on BBC Two and BBC Three, and also have streaming live and on-demand via on iPlayer and the BBC Sport website, and also via the Red Button for some events. You can also watch live or on-demand on GCN+, Eurosport and Discovery+. Events are also covered by free-to-air broadcasters across Europe.

Paul Brett
Staff writer

Paul Brett is a staff writer for BikePerfect.com. He has been an avid cyclist for as long as he can remember, initially catching the mountain biking bug in the 1990s, and raced mountain bikes for over a decade before injury cut short a glittering career. He’s since developed an obsession for gravel riding and recently has dabbled in the dark art of cyclocross. A fan of the idea of bikepacking he has occasionally got involved and has ridden routes like the North Coast 500, Scotland and the Via Francigena (Pilgrim Route), Italy.

Current rides: Marin Alpine Trail 2, Ribble 725, Cube Stereo 160

Height: 175cm