Did 4X just go the way of the dodo bird? It appears so.

During yesterday's Management Committee meeting, the UCI made several big adjustments to the 2012 World Cup schedule - 4X has been eliminated entirely, and Windham has been confirmed as a World Cup venue. 

As of June, 4X was still listed on the 2012 UCI schedule. Over the course of the summer several rumors circulated concerning the future of 4X as a World Cup discipline. Today, that rumor has been confirmed. We're still waiting on an official press release concerning the situation. (Update: See below for the official statement)

Costs and low participation numbers are likely to blame.

Interestingly, 4X is still listed for the 2012 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Leogang, Austria.

2012 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Calendar
  • March 17-18: Cross Country #1, Downhill #1 - Pietermaritzburg, South Africa  
  • April 14-15: Cross Country #2, Eliminator #1 - Houffalize, Belgium  
  • May 12-13: Cross Country #3, Eliminator #2, Nove Mesto Na Morave, Czech  
  • May 19-20: Cross Country #4, Eliminator #3, La Bresse, France  
  • June 2-3: Downhill #2, Val di Sole, Italy  
  • June 9-10: Downhill #3, Fort William, Great Britain  
  • June 23-24: Cross Country #5, Downhill #4, Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec Canada  
  • June 30-July 1: Cross Country #6, Downhill #5, Windham, New York, United States  
  • July 28-29: Cross Country #7, Downhill #6, Val d'Isere, France  
  • August 31-September 2: Downhill & Four Cross World Championships, Leogang, Austria  
  • September 5-9: Cross Country & Eliminator World Championships, Saalfelden, Austria  
  • September 15-16: Downhill #7, Hafjell, Norway  

UPDATE: "Following the publication of the 2012 Mountain Bike calendar, the UCI confirms that Four-cross events will form part of the programme of the 2012 UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships to be held in Leogang, Austria. 

However, due to the high costs of constructing tracks and their impact on the environment, the UCI has decided to withdraw this speciality from the programme of events at UCI Mountain Bike World Cups from next season." -- 
UCI Communication Services 

Vital wants to know - where do you stand on this?

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24 comments
  • filthyanimal

    9/26/2011 7:11 AM

    Lot's of details and opinions being tossed around, but its seems like one thing is abundantly clear: the UCI is not doing an adequate job when it comes to running the show for gravity racing. It seems inevitable that gravity racers will have to take control of their own sport before it will flourish and meet its potential. This "revolution" also took place in most other extreme sports (BMX, skating, motocross). It takes a lot of knowledge, passion, and commitment to run a business in sports such as these, and if the sport is treated merely as a business to turn a profit, or an afterthought (as the UCI has treated gravity racing) then of course it is going to disappear because, really, none of this makes a whole lot of sense, financially.

    As far as resources to do this, could we get corporate sponsors involved? What about working with one of the BMX organizations or even one of the skiing organizations? Motocross? There are templates out there to follow ...

  • danielfox

    9/23/2011 6:03 AM

    I am pretty sure someone affected by this decision, for instance a team owner or a professional rider can sue the UCI under damages. They are also making statements without supporting evidence in relation to the damage that tracks could provoque to the environment. I am completely confident that they do not have any evidence or grounds to prove this.

  • t.martin

    9/22/2011 10:49 PM

    Gated racing is what got me into the sport of gravity racing. I didn't have to own a full blown DH bike to go head to head with my friends. In fact a simple Walmart bike did the trick. After my first season racing I would guarantee a Walmart bike has never gone faster.

    What is great about gated racing (4X and DS alike) is that it is a true test of talentt. Racing what's left of it today is still a blast. Sure the courses aren't always the best, but aside from DS and 4X, where else would you really learn how to ride a two wheeled drift into a jump rhythm?

    Gated racing is the ultimate test of bike control. If nothing else, I hope the sport never dies outside the world cup. I won't argue the fact that it pulls a large attendance or draws the greatest crowds; it's obvious that it doesn't. But remember that even a couple gates on a grass hill can equate to more fun with your fellow cyclist than any other form of competition. Keep it alive for the spirit of the sport.

  • lev

    9/22/2011 10:39 PM

    It really is a good time to move away from the UCI. I don't think many people aspire to have DH or 4X in the Olympics. Maybe a company sponsored series is what's needed. Someone like Redbull, who have a vision for this kind of thing. It also means that 4X courses can be a bit more rough and ready, rather than steep bmx tracks. It's a really good spectator sport, where as DH lends itself to TV (think freecaster). People aren't that impressed in the UK with British Cycling, who are affiliates to UCI. If there is a commercial sponsor, it may make races cheaper to enter too.

  • Daniel_Goss

    9/22/2011 9:57 PM

    The first mtb race I ever went to, before I was a mtb racer, was the 1993 Ironhorse in Durango. It was SICK! The XC guys were competitive in DH and Budweiser sponsored an event called the Bud Dry Roostmaster (they also had a DS!) It was a loop of steep, technical trail that went up Chatman Hill and then dropped down a bermed singletrack switchback section into two big sets of doubles, 6+ ft high, 12-15 ft gaps, then a tight bermed and woopty section into a techy step up, back into the uphill. The race lasted about 30 minutes. Rishi Grewal led most of the race with a buff Tinker Juarez and Jon Tomac duking it out for second with Toby Henderson breathing down their necks. Juarez followed Tomac around Grewal on the descent of the 4th of 5 laps. The ensuing battle for first around the next two laps was intense while a smoked Grewal somehow held off Henderson for 3rd. Tomac had Tinker hanging on his wheel into the final descent but couldn't hold the lead as Tinker boosted over the second to last double, passing Tomac in mid-air to win. If Eliminator could bring back that style of racing, it could be a good thing. but not a replacement for gated downhill racing. MX in the US is struggling, but not dead, and BX in the european scene is still kicking, something will be missing without it @ the WC. Super-D in the WC would be sweet, but still not a replacement.

  • bturman

    9/22/2011 5:18 PM

    A few words from Graves:

    "Ok ill bite, Its definitely pretty dissapointing that UCI have gone this way, especially when siting bull**** excuses as "environmental damage" really UCI?

    I can 100% honesty say that No riders knew this was coming, we all knew the rumours, but after the calendar was announced everyone thought it was all fine, we had heard more positive feedback all year and things were looking up, so it comes as a shock to all 4X riders that this has been announced. But at the same time, knowing some of UCI's past decisions, this really doesnt come as a shock, I cant say im entirely surprised.

    Just a couple things I have to say, DS is rad, BUT IT FAILED at World cups already, Top DH guys might ride it for a few races, maybe a season, but then will focus on DH solely again. if you havn't raced World Cups before, let alone at the top end of World Cup competition, you simply don't know what you are talking about to argue otherwise, No riders are going to waste a single drop more energy for their pet event then they have to. A lot of mental and physical prep goes into a World cup race, you don't just jump on your bike and ride as fast as you can down the hill, its far more complex than that, and is far to specialized now for anyone to focus 100% on more than 1 event.

    Also, for the good of the sport in the future, a big part of bringing 4X down was some key media people and people high up in the industry who seemed hellbent on killing 4X, Some had opinions against 4X and i'm fine with that, everyone is entitled to their own, but some went out of their way to bring it down, what their agenda was i'll never know, but you guys have just hurt your sales in some way, a small part of sales maybe, but sales none the less. And also the internet trolls who loved to bag 4X any chance they got, Mountain biking is too small for this Inter-sport bitch fest that's gone on at times, we need to work together to make things better, not sprout about on the internet like their opinion is law. As mum always said, if you don't have anything positive to say, then don't say anything.

    Luckily for me im in a position with top sponsors and my DH background to go back to that, which I had thoughts about mid 2010 and had a soild plan for by this time last year, so I feel very fortunate right now. Hopefully the Euro series, and 4X alliance can pick up the ball and run with it, but I feel for you guys who are now left high and dry who are outside Europe and without a race series to aspire to. Hopefully some good things of this for the long term, and being separated from UCI and their questionable decisions will help the sport, and I wish you guys all the best!"

  • sspomer

    9/22/2011 1:05 PM

    Here is a 2-part interview we did with Graves 2 years ago. Interesting looking back:
    Part 1 Jared Graves Interview
    Part 2 Jared Graves Interview

  • Nik_Benko

    9/22/2011 12:39 PM

    If anything, they should have pulled 4X from the world champs and NOT the world cup. Personally I don't care much for it at world champs because in the final everyone is willing to try anything to get the win, even if it ruins the spectacle of the race, just watch 2008, or 2011 world champ finals to see what I mean. Its much better for there to be a series where every place matters and its not all or nothing in the final round. anyways, UCI needs to go.

  • Petey G

    9/22/2011 12:22 PM

    If there was ever a time for Gravity Disciplines to break away from the UCI's less than impressive leadership. From their selling of the internet broadcast (only coverage in USA) to a bogus web site that NO ONE has ever heard of, to dropping one of our two disciplines, this just stinks of a lack of insight into this element of the sport. Seems like they'd rather worry about Trials, or Circus Clown Stunt riding comps.
    DH needs top go the way of Freestyle and create a new series, year round, with a race a month or something like that....UCI SUCKS!

  • bpatterson6

    9/22/2011 11:28 AM

    I know of 2 D-BAGS who are probly laughing their butts off right now. You know who you guys are. Both influential industry insiders and both had a hard on for killing 4x. Both of you are TOTAL D-BAGS. Congrats. You succceeded.

  • easyrider

    9/22/2011 11:10 AM

    Two words....F@

  • jjakubiak

    9/22/2011 10:54 AM

    Kaibrato you have no clue Guy!!!! Yes Graves did Dominate the sport but he didnt win every race. And if you watched any of the races you would have seen Roger Rindernecht, David Graf, Michael Prokop, Johannes Fischbach, Tschugg, and many more riders that ARE NOT on team RSP that are at the top of the sport. Even if Graves did win all the races it was a pleasure to see him dominate on that Yeti DJ!!!!!

    Anyways 4X hasnt Died, its still big in Europe and the UK. THe UCI had no clue what they were doing with 4X, they kept trying to build tracks that are better for racing and all they did was waste a bunch of money. Like world champs they wanted to take away the Gate and make a steep quick 1st straight that would take the BMX aspect out of it, but all they did was make the gate and lane choice that more important. If building tracks cost so much all they have to do is pick a venue that has a track already there like : Houffalize, Fort William, Leogang, Val DI Sole, Szczawno-Zdroj (Poland), Petermaritzberg, and the list goes on!!

  • bjenson

    9/22/2011 10:44 AM

    "due to the high costs of constructing tracks and their impact on the environment"

    sure. blame it on the environment. party at stikman's place tonight.

  • piggy

    9/22/2011 10:40 AM

    So this is why they named the new event the "Eliminator".....

    because they're going to make competitors eat ex-lax first.

  • patrickjmale

    9/22/2011 10:36 AM

    So this is why they named the new event the "Eliminator".....

  • piggy

    9/22/2011 10:32 AM

    everyone's going to gripe here, but I personally don't care that 4X is gone. it was usually a "first out of the gate wins" style of race, crossed with roller derby that made it look stupid. when it wasn't laughable roller derby it was boring for most fans, and previous commentary would back that up. they made some changes late this season that made it more attractive, but maybe it was too little too late.

  • MTB R&D

    9/22/2011 10:16 AM

    Our UCI team has shifted it's focus to DH and Enduro. Our 4x bikes were pit bikes at Windham. This sucks for product development...I have ridden DS specific frames since the 90's. DS has stuck around for festival events, I don't see 4x being added to Crankworx or other festivals.

    September 15-16: Downhill #7, Hafjell, Norway?...That's cool.

  • Eric Carter

    9/22/2011 9:34 AM

    Cracks me up when i hear.....OH YEAH DS IS COMING BACK! come on people
    UCI loves Road and XC before gravity, always has....I love DS and 4x but If DS was coming back it would replace 4x....
    It didn't, Eliminator is the replacement.......As i see it Gated racing suffers by this.

  • Yetifan

    9/22/2011 9:31 AM

    4x was so exciting trackside, & just watch the 4X worlds on Freecaster, tell me that is not exciting. Sure some tracks were a bit mellow looking, but they were the same for everyrider, and sometimes made it more exciting! I will miss 4X, and I think all these people championing dual have missed the point. If we argue inside our sport about such thing, people outside the sport (UCI it seems), just act and its gone. We loose both.So now we have no Dual and no 4X. If everybody had worked together, 4X would still be there, now there is a gap, a nothingness, and now our sport is missing something, and it can only mean less teams at world cups, less riders & less action at our world cup rounds, meaning less of a draw for spectators.

    I was around when Dual was dropped for 4X, Dual sucked back then to be honest and I don't miss watching it.

    4X was killed off to early.

  • kaibrabo

    9/22/2011 9:17 AM

    Answer: Dual Slalom! they took a Survey a while back and DS seems wanted by DH participation! F- world cup 4x, i hated just seing the same RSP guys up there and jared graves always in the finals. nothing against them, just got predictable....

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