Friday Jun 20, 2014

INTERVIEW: Urban legend Filip Polc talks City Downhill

Filip Polc is one of the world's best urban downhill riders and has helped propel the sport to new levels of popularity. It may not be as well known as more traditional downhill, but the inaugural year of the City Downhill World Tour is set to change that.

The four-stop series is the brain-child of Polc, who also leads the overall standings in 2014. This Saturday, after a successful start to 2014 in Brazil and Chile, the CDWT returns home to Bratislava, Slovakia. We caught up Filip to see what is in store for fans of City Downhill on Saturday and beyond.

To watch the City Downhill World Tour 2014 LIVE from Bratislava on Saturday 21st June at 5pm CET, click here!

Polc believes the City Downhill World Tour has a bright future

Q. How did you get into urban downhill racing?

"1999 was my first chance to taste this new generation of downhill racing in Lisbon, Portugal. I really liked it right from the first run and I did well. I think I got third place and Peaty [Steve Peat] won."

Q. What do you like about it?

"I like the different location, the crazy big crowds, the great atmosphere, and that it's a one day event!"

Q. What are some of the major differences between urban and traditional downhill racing?

"The technique is the main difference. You only have a few runs to practice and try all the jumps and be ready to go fast in qualifying and then finals!"

Even though the hill isn't that big the track is very fast

Q. How popular is mountain biking in Slovakia?

"I think biking in general is quite big now here. We have Peter Sagan in the green jersey from the Tour de France and also the XC and DH scene is big. We are definitely biking fans."

Q. Why is Bratislava a good place for the City Downhill World Tour?

"We have Bratislava Castle on the top of the city and even though the hill isn't that big the track is very fast. It is also technical and good for the cameras – which are all good parameters for great race!"

Q. How competitive is the City Downhill? Is it a novelty for some of the riders or do they really want to win?

"We have 10.000 euros on the table, we have great media, why not win!" 

 Polc on his way to winning the opening race of the tour in Santos, Brazil. 

Q. You've won both races so far this year. Can you make it a hat-trick of wins on Saturday?

"That is the plan! My goal is to win!"

Q. You are top of the overall standings on the City Downhill World Tour, but who are some of the other riders we should be looking out for?

"Mick Hannah got injured, what is pretty bad for the overall standings, but Marcelo [Gutierrez] won this race last year and now we have Tomas Slavik, the current World Champion in 4X, Johannes Fischbach and Andrew Neethling. It will be super tight!"

Q. What differences can we expect in this year compared to Bratislava in 2013. How has the City Downhill grown since then?

“We have some changes. The biggest change is the new finish area with a new jump. Just before that we will have a new stair gap with two possible landings! That one will be big and rough!"

We want to have races on all the continents, more cool cities and the best possible tracks! 

Q. How do you see the future developing for the City Downhill World Tour?

"We want to have races on all the continents, more cool cities and the best possible tracks! Next year we would like to add a few new locations and increase the number of races. We also want to keep or increase the level of riders competing and always be able to show the race live." 

Q. It’s live this Saturday! Why should everyone watch?

"Because it will be a crazy race, with great riders, big jumps and high speeds. And because the City Downhill World Tour rocks!"

 The podium from the trial event in Bratislava in 2013. Can Polc improve on 5th place? 

Channels: City Downhill World Tour 2014: Bratislava, Mountain Bike