Birdman’s 5 best races to watch from 2020.

It’s trainer season.  The best thing to do while racing your friends on Zwift is to watch bike races on the TV. 

Birdman is the one at the shop that faithfully rides the trainer every winter.  This year he is using the Tacx NEO 2T.  It’s a direct drive trainer and he has his Scott Foil setup on it.   

If you’re not racing or riding, it’s only appropriate to binge watch anything bike related on YouTube, RedBull TV, and anywhere else you can watch bike videos.  If more races had been held in 2020, Birdman would have selected a top 10 . . . so be watching for that in 2021.  

Race 1 of 2020: Downhill World Championships

The first race on our list is the 2020 Downhill World Championships in Leogang. As responsible Mountain bikers we should never ride trails when they are in this condition, but watching pros wrestle their bikes down the mountain in such slick peanut-butter mud is a real treat. Both the men’s and women’s races were races of attrition. The women’s race was won by the only rider to keep it clean and on two wheels the whole time. 

The men’s race was won in a similar fashion. As someone without the skill or the equipment to even attempt a run down this course I enjoyed watching the best in the world struggle against the elements. If you are a fan of underdog wins and watching riders in full white kits get covered in mud, then this is a race for you to watch. 

Race 2 of 2020: Nove Mesto – Mens

Race number two on the list is this fantastic example of tactical racing in xc mountain biking. Nino Schurter tends to dominate the xc scene and this race looked to be going the same way after a brutal attack on the last climb. Then after a short descent, Henrique Avancini made a great move on the technical climb choosing the opposite line and passing the two leaders right before hitting the pump track setting himself up for a great sprint finish. 

Race 3  of 2020: Tour of Flanders – Mens

This race was just fantastic. Watching two cyclocross racers go at it in one of the toughest races in the World tour was worth the wait. Racing head to head for the last 30 km after Julian Alaphilippe collided with a race official on a motorbike the Dutch and Belgian riders pushed each other to the limit all the way to the finish line with Mattieu Van der Poel barely outsprinting Wout Van Aert for the victory. This is a great race to watch for all cycling fans. 

Race 4 of 2020: Tour de France Stage 20 Time Trial

If you are suffering on Zwift, looking to set a new FTP, or if you just enjoy watching people put in their best effort, watch this stage for motivation. Tadej Pogacar and Primoz Roglic fought for the yellow jersey with Roglic holding it going into the final stage before Paris. A brutal mountain time trial was all that stood in his way, but his fellow countryman put in what might be the best ride we have seen in years on Stage 20. Needing to make up 57 seconds to take the yellow jersey, Pogacar put in a massive effort on the flat before hitting the climb making up almost 30 seconds before the real hard work began. His effort up the climb was heroic and he took an additional 90 seconds out of Roglic taking the lead by just under a minute. This is one of the best individual efforts in a grand tour I have ever seen. 

Race 5 of 2020: MTB XC World Championships.

If you know me, you know that I am a huge Pauline Ferrand Prevot (PFP) fan. No list would be complete without including her absolutely dominant victory in the XC World Championship race. Coming off of another surgery for iliac artery endofibrosis she was able to spend more time recovering than in a normal year and came into the Novo Mesto races with good form. She was able to win both races and turn her attention to keeping the rainbow stripes another season. After a poor start off the line, she quickly moved to the front and rode away from everybody in the horrible conditions. Only one lap in she had almost a full minute gap on second place and she never looked back! 

Where to watch the races:

Any of the MTB World cup races can be watched on Redbull TV and the others are available on the NBC Sports app if you have the cycling pass. 

Use the comments to share your favorite races from 2020.