UCI launches World Cup series for mountain bike discipline

The International Cycling Union (UCI) has returned mountain bike’s cross-country eliminator (XCE) format to the highest level of the sport with the launch of a new World Cup series.

Commencing in May, the 2017 Mountain Bike Eliminator World Cup will be characterised by city-centre competitions in eight cities across the globe. The UCI will organise the series in partnership with City Mountainbike, a company which specialises in the staging of XCE events in urban settings.

City Mountainbike will be responsible for all aspects of the event organisation, such as the course set-up, official timing and television production. Raced over short and technical courses in heats of four riders at a time, XCE is a mixture of cross-country Olympic, for the type of course, and four-cross, for the format.

The discipline had featured on the programme of the Mountain Bike World Cup for three seasons from 2012 to 2014. The new World Cup season will commence in Volterra, Italy on May 5-6; before travelling to Columbus, United States; Waregem, Belgium; Bangkok, Thailand; Winterberg, Germany; Apeldoorn, Netherlands; Antwerp, Belgium and Beirut, Lebanon.

The XCE season will finish with the 2017 Urban Cycling World Championships, which will feature XCE, trials and BMX Freestyle Park. The first edition of these Worlds will take place in China during the final quarter of the year, as part of the partnership the UCI signed with the Wanda Sports division of Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda in December. The exact venue and date of the World Championships is yet to be determined.

In line with the strategy to develop women’s cycling implemented by the UCI since the election of Brian Cookson as president in 2013, the Mountain Bike Eliminator World Cup will offer equal prize money for men and women.

Cookson said: “I am delighted by this partnership with City Mountainbike, which enables us to relaunch a discipline that is spectacular and popular with fans. With this new UCI Mountain Bike Eliminator World Cup, we confirm our desire to bring our sport to where the public is, in the heart of cities.

“As with trials and BMX Freestyle Park, Eliminator requires minimum logistics, which fits in with the desire of cities to organise events that use temporary installations. The international character of this first edition proves that the format appeals to cities throughout the world and we are delighted by that.”