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Should the World Cup Downhill season have more races?

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10/13/2014 10:41 AM
Edited Date/Time: 10/13/2014 10:42 AM

Does the World Cup DH season have too few races? I know as a fan, I've debated this topic often with friends and fans. It seems that most of us feel more races could only be a good thing, but would it really be? There's the moto comparison of the top-level pros racing 75% of the year between outdoor MX and super cross, so why can't downhillers have more than 7 "big" races? The cost of globetrotting for the World Cup seems to be a challenge for many racers and to add more races to the calendar would just mean more cost. The potential for injury for riders grow because they'd be letting it hang out more times than normal. 2014 and 2015 both have those weird early-season gaps between races 1 and 2 - why not fill in with another race or 2? I also realize there's the complexity of dealing w/ the UCI, so maybe that's an issue, too.

I see both sides of the argument and want to know what you all think. Besides talk about this and the team gossip, what else are we going to do as DH race fans with 5 months before the next event?

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10/13/2014 11:01 AM

No, every race weekend feels like a big deal with only 6 or 7 races. Introduce more and it will dilute this feeling.
Plus national and local events will lose the big name pro riders.

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10/13/2014 11:10 AM

more for sure, it will still come down to the last race with the competition level these past few years. How about one in china or Japan, Spain, Peru, etc?

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10/13/2014 11:20 AM
Edited Date/Time: 10/13/2014 2:42 PM

Maybe an additional race at a rider favorite track (Schladming anyone?) but the biggest issue is the lack of an decent national series for the US. We really don't have a good series for our young racers to compete against the fastest riders in the country and develop their skills to be more competitive if they're fast enough to get on the world cup circuit. Plus, since I'm from Colorado, we desperately need a state/regional series b/c we have so many good tracks in the vicinity. Having more races on the WC circuit would allow for more exciting races B/C riders in championship contention who have bad races would be able to recover points and make the competition for overall would end up being more competitive.

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10/13/2014 11:36 AM

I don't think we need more races. I think we need them closer together. I feel like breaking up the races the way they did this year takes away from it being a series. Towards the end, it felt more like one off race weekends to me.

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10/13/2014 11:49 AM
Edited Date/Time: 10/13/2014 11:50 AM

I've reached out to some riders and team managers to get their perspectives.

Here's what Andrew Neethling had to say.
As a racer I would certainly love to see there be more World Cup races per year. The reality is that we get very judged on these races and sometimes only these races. It can be tough when you have some bad luck, mechanicals or even an injury. Previously when the NORBA Nationals were doing well we had a very competitive second series to compete in as well. With only, on average, 7 World Cups and 1 World Championship over a 6/7 month period, it can be a long time to be away from home and focused but only for a few big events. Adding events adds to the cost for everyone though. Teams and UCI would need to find the money somewhere. I do feel though if we were smart and really looked at venues close to each other and did a few in a row at a time we could increase the number of events and grow our sport.

Neethling at Windham
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10/13/2014 12:26 PM

I'm with Neethling on this one.

We absolutely need more high level events. 8 races out of 52 weekends is hardly enough to make a season. Look at Super cross with 14-16 events for example.

Ideally I would like to see a 10 race series plus World Champs. it would take some coordination of venues and timing to make it affordable but honestly that wouldn't be too difficult if the UCI made half an effort or didn't make it so hard to host a WC in the first place.

more back to back events would help. For instance you could do Leogang, Schladming, Maribor all in a row really easy with minimal travel. Val Di Sole, Pila are close, as are venues like Meribel, Les Gets, Champary. More than two North American rounds would be nice, and why the UCI can't figure out how to coordinate with Whistler/Crankwox is beyond me. Same goes for Crankwrox in France and now NZ.

Remove stand alone events in far away places (cairns, South Africa, etc) and if we are to go to those places then lets get two events going there. If a country only has one good track in one region worth racing then let's just look elsewhere. For the cost of travel to South Aftrica and Cairns in Just April alone last year an small team could have probably done the entire IXS series and had money to spare.

As it is now the travel budgets are massive, and riders are paid to sit and do nothing on many weekends where it wouldn't cost much more to drive down the road to another venue.

It's obviously a bit chicken/egg and you need more money and title sponsors on the UCI end, but how are they to sell the investment as worthwhile when they are only promoting 7 events?

It should happen, it could happen, but I can't say I have faith in the UCI to actually do it.

Remove all the red tape and BS and have a look at what the EWS has managed in just 2 short years. For 2015 we have 8 events coordinated (for the most part) with a WC schedule so travel makes sense and two crankworx rounds. If 4 guys can make that happen why can't the biggest cycling federation on the planet pull it off?





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10/13/2014 1:35 PM
Edited Date/Time: 10/13/2014 1:38 PM

Does Santa Clause have a sleigh and Reindeer!

F**k yeah

This should be a proper World Series

Eg that means all contienents no more than a month apart so it is about consistency, survivability and the best rider, only long enough season can prove this, so its not a lottery.

MX esp SX has too many rounds.

DH max 12 rounds per year for WC min 10 rds, but every 2 weeks maybe a longer break to relocate to furthest away continent or location, eg Aus NZ rds so teams, Media etc, can manage logistics, but in Europe def no more than 2 weeks

Further apart is hurting sponsorship and reveue growth which in turn leads to more money for trickle down so bigger teams, more teams, more women, more spectators, more more more, better competiton, so much potential, better tracks.

And held back by an anal archaistic organisation known as the UCI

DH could be massive on the sports scene

Just to much politics, agendas and lack of visonarys, where have all these gone from the 80s and 90s, sucked down by UCI and other political mamals and all to the detriment of DH, its been good because DH is good, man if DH ever had the right people @ the helm, it could be fricken fing amazing, holy shit balls sport of all times!

Yeah boi

Suck on that UCi...

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Still Dangerous!!

10/13/2014 2:01 PM
Edited Date/Time: 10/13/2014 2:01 PM

I'd say about 10 a year would be just fine, a number that would allow to have an organized and logical race schedule (e.g. A race every other week).

Also, I think this sport would get much bigger if RedBull realized that live streaming their events on their website with their own Media player isn't the best idea.
It would be much easier to stream it on YouTube, and it'd also get much more exposure.
I don't believe the UCI is this evil corporation that doesn't care about MTB, the conditions for someone to organize a world cup are nothing too demanding (unlike the winter olympics), I just think it is really difficult for most resorts to pull it off.

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10/13/2014 2:16 PM

fabdemaere wrote:

I'd say about 10 a year would be just fine, a number that would allow to have an organized and logical race schedule (e.g. A ...more

I thought this same way in the early rounds. However I started watching them in a Chrome browser and stopped having any issues. Just my experience.

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10/13/2014 2:33 PM

davetrumpore wrote:

I'm with Neethling on this one.

We absolutely need more high level events. 8 races out of 52 weekends is hardly enough to ...more

Well said, this should thread needs to be brought to the attention of the UCI and race organizers.

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10/13/2014 2:39 PM

Maverickdh005 wrote:

Does Santa Clause have a sleigh and Reindeer!

F**k yeah

This should be a proper World Series

Eg that means all contienents ...more

Totally agree with most of the post, except for the idea that SX and Outdoors have to many rounds. The high number races allow for a more competitive series and truly allows the best rider to become champion B/C as everyone knows you can always have a bad race. So with the current world cup set up one or too bad races takes you out of championship contention. But in moto there's enough races that you can recover points and stay in contention for the championship.

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10/13/2014 3:11 PM

May already be a dead horse, but yes more races!

Maybe instead of criss-crossing the world every weekend, spend two weeks at a venue or have two events closer to each other.

Another option is to keep the 7 big races, and have an equal amount of "smaller" races.

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10/13/2014 4:38 PM

Yes. I'd love to see more races!!

Travel budgets are the obvious limitation, so more races closer together for less travel. knock out some of the far places, or have a couple races while everyone's there.

This would also have added benefit of more Claudio Previews.. I think we can all get behind that!

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10/13/2014 4:50 PM

I guys definly for me maybe 1 or 2 more races can be perfect, but i have a question for you, how about a race like china or japan something like that, south america like brasil argentina colombia, and 2 places i think are forgot in europe Portugal and Spain, I'm Portuguese and i never see a wc here, and we have very good places believe me, and if UCI thing change some places who know this changes can make a new boom in sport, this is my opinion and sry for my bad english xD cheers guys wink

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10/13/2014 7:09 PM
Edited Date/Time: 10/13/2014 7:16 PM

More races. The point of arguing that it'll be more costly for other riders I feel is moot because the ones who do the best every year and are most competitive are the ones that are supported enough where they can make these races. Plus it will only expose DH more, creating more fans, more interest and more sponsorship money and opportunities. Two of the biggest contributing factors playing against the unknown shredders is exposure and lack of sponsor support. The sponsors have the money but not the willingness to dump more of it in if they're not being exposed to wider audiences. Both of these will be increased with more stops/venues. How can US riders for example, prove themselves if there's only one stop in the US maybe once a year? Neethling's point is great as well. I just feel there's absolutely no logical reason not to have more races.

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10/13/2014 7:39 PM

I think they should stick with what motocross/supercross does. Have races very close to another weekend after weekend, or at the very least every other weekend. Maybe have 6 races in europe that hit al the big race tracks then come to USA/CAN and have about 6 more races that have close venues.

Having race tracks in china or south america is a cool idea BUT IT DOESNT BRING MONEY TO THE SPORT or help it grow!

One of the big reasons why motocross grew was consistency of venues. How are people going to get into the sport if they only get to see it once a year and in some cases venues have a World Cup race and never get it again!! Its bizarre.

Colorado and the Northwest have SO MUCH potential for tracks and they havent been here since what Snoqualmie?

Get it together UCI and bicycle companies. More people coming to the veues and people getting involved in racing and riding sells more bikes and components!!

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10/13/2014 11:23 PM
Edited Date/Time: 10/13/2014 11:26 PM

I think there should be more races.

What I would do is say go to france for round 1 2 3 , austria for 4 5 6 , and so on , more racing less traveling most countries have more than 1 WC worthy track , infact most bike parks have more than 1 WC worthy track

And at least one track a year should be some kinda WC DH ski style one where people put on 40 tooth plus chain rings and do 40 mph plus all the way down

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10/14/2014 7:11 AM

Inevitably, adding more races will increase the competitiveness of WC racing. The real question is, is this necessary? Looking back at 2014 reveals one of the most pitted battles for world cup overall. Each of the top three riders of the year had one throw away, with Hill knocking on the door in 4th. If that didn't make you shit your pants, I don't know what will. 2013, almost as good with the Atherton Smith battle.

One aspect that has resonated from a lot of posts in this forum is the lack of races that prepare racers for world cups. I feel establishing legit regional and national circuits in the US and even Canada would do a lot. Just look at the British Downhill Series. Wins in this circuit are heavy with boatloads of top contenders.

Reinforcing the legitimacy of national level races will bring in world cup talent which is good for spectators, developing racers, and economies. Rewind 10 or 15 years and the USA hosted a lot of world cups. More importantly, a cluster of NORBA races attracted world cup talent.

The FMB also debuted the amateur series this summer to get groms into big events. Maybe the winter series in Fontana or other places could be proving grounds for world cup talent. Unless you're a Luca Shaw, attending world cup races costs a tremendous amount. I feel a winter or before April series could attract world cuppers and foster world cup hopefuls in the process.

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10/14/2014 9:27 AM
Edited Date/Time: 10/14/2014 9:27 AM

Great input so far everyone.

Sir Steve Peat gave a quick response as did Syndicate team manager, Kathy Sessler.

From Kathy Sessler
I would like it if we had 8-10 World Cups. I generally think we don't have enough of them. I think most of the managers agree with this based on meetings we've had.

From Steve Peat
I certainly think we need more races. We used to have 8 back in the day, and I think it made for better racing through the season. It's the World Cup, so racers have to be good on every type of track, short, medium or long, so let's get more races and a good variety of course styles.

Steve Peat in Norway at World Champs
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10/14/2014 9:41 AM

It would be amazing to ask managers if the proposition to have geographically closer races near in terms of time would indeed reduce the financial constraint, and whether there is a constraint in the first place( if 10 races are not feasible because no one would have enough money). Go on sspomer, you got the power!

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10/14/2014 10:06 AM

Needles:
“I do feel though if we were smart and really looked at venues close to each other and did a few in a row at a time we could increase the number of events and grow our sport.”

Dave Trump:
“…more back to back events would help. For instance you could do Leogang, Schladming, Maribor all in a row really easy with minimal travel. Val Di Sole, Pila are close, as are venues like Meribel, Les Gets, Champéry. More than two North American rounds would be nice, and why the UCI can't figure out how to coordinate with Whistler/Crankwox is beyond me.”

In addition to adding more races, I would suggest substituting Bromont for Windham and adding a World Cup at Whistler. If people really want a World Cup here in the states then bring back MOUNT SNOW VT.

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10/14/2014 10:46 AM

@chuck norris, I would give anything to see today's riders and bikes tackle an old-school Mount Snow course at the World Cup level!

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10/14/2014 11:43 AM

I guess the reason UCI "does not manage to coordinate with Crankworx Whistler" is that:
1. Whistler is not interested in hosting a WC/ doesn't wanna pay for that
2. UCI is certainly seeing Crankworx as a growing competition, co-organizing the EWS and now with 3 Crankworx events it could be the beginning of an alternative WC. I even guess it's gonna turn to war at some point with penalties to riders entering unsanctionned events as the rule has not been cancelled but only suspended I think.

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10/14/2014 12:14 PM
Edited Date/Time: 10/14/2014 12:22 PM

BiD wrote:

It would be amazing to ask managers if the proposition to have geographically closer races near in terms of time would indeed ...more

Wrong question keeps being asked, its not how you reduce costs or constraints, thats down to good planning budgeting and management!

The question everyone should be asking is why and how is the UCI and all other bodies charged with the management and leadership of our sport going to grow revenues and exposure of our sport, then a true World Cup series that is only legitimate when its global on every continent.

If people dont want to travel globally the dont race World Cups, but dont detune a championship thats supposed to determine the best riders in the World from the World.

Believe it or not everything does not including the universe revolve around Amercia!

In my mind DH, MTB has had enough time now to be where MX and SX was in mid 2000s and serious questions should be asked why the sport is not where it should be for trade teams, riders all sponsors where money comes from, not just select few but accross the board, dont give me excuses either its been badly managed and agendas have been holding back what should be a premier series World Championship.

Enduro is proof of that!
RallyX is another, list could go on, both started after the global financial crash and both are booming with sponsors and growing rapidily.

Firing squads need to be organised in DH and heads should roll and anything resembling tight Lycra on the UCi delegates board should be shot at dawn if DH is going to grow to where it should, theyre is no reason at all it cannot generate massive revenues when managed properly for all, not just some greedy people and sponsors.

On other smaller scales and this has always been an issue, I feel for organisers as its voluntary but its also critical, we I manage a team and our team riders keep getting club promoted, or end up in wrong class.
Great people who volunteer but downside is we have a team to promote our brands, our results actually are last in order but the exposure in results list as a team name brand and loints is why we sponsor people if this is not right we lose massive exposure, so why bother with a team, we support DH because we love it, but it also has to be recprical otherwise we wont be running a team, riders wont have another option and DH loses again.
Im not bitching at volunteers but highlighting the importance even down to a local race, people put theyre bodies on the line, this aint tidly wink brothers, people get hurt doing what they love, this needs to be right, it may be a small reward, but riders have earned that atleast....

Mav..

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Still Dangerous!!

10/14/2014 1:28 PM

davetrumpore wrote:

I'm with Neethling on this one.

We absolutely need more high level events. 8 races out of 52 weekends is hardly enough to ...more

I'm sorry, common sense isn't allowed here. wink

Agreed with everything you said. Well said.

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10/14/2014 1:55 PM

N'Duro wrote:

I guess the reason UCI "does not manage to coordinate with Crankworx Whistler" is that:
1. Whistler is not interested in ...more

We've heard some interesting rumors about a Whistler World Cup. Course to be built on the steeper, rarely used Creekside portion of the hill. We'll see if it comes to fruition. Unsure if it'd be associated with Crankworx or not.

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10/14/2014 2:24 PM

Maverickdh005 wrote:

Wrong question keeps being asked, its not how you reduce costs or constraints, thats down to good planning budgeting and ...more

Honestly, regardless of its name, the World Cup does not need to be on "every" continent- that's absurd. Like the FIS Alpine World Cup, UCI WC DH should only be held at venues worthy of hosting steep, gnarly DH tracks. There are no alpine DH or Super G races in Australia or NZ because it's simply not steep or technical enough. A UCI WC DH event should be showcasing the best athletes on the most difficult terrain, not simply because you feel like your area should host one because it might grow your sport in your location. Your sports growth will happen through local support and the community around it, not because the UCI comes through. The DH scene in the Catskills is not booming because of Windham. Most everyone (including racers) would much rather have more DH events at places worthy of having said event, like Schladming, Val Di Sole, Maribor, etc rather than Cairns or Rotunda.

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10/14/2014 4:34 PM

Here's what Greg Minnaar had to say on the matter.
My ideal WC season would be a 10-race series for a couple reasons. 10 races gives you enough time to come back after a mechanical, we have the calendar to accommodate, we have great venues that we don’t use, we have a huge following that are thirsty for more racing.

Greg ripping Windham
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10/14/2014 4:57 PM

Are you kidding? As a fan.. who wouldn't want to see more World Cups? I didn't think the Team Managers/Ownership and racers felt the same way. But now I'm excited..!!

Absolutely.. more WC's.. link the one's that are close in proximity and make it happen.

From what I understand though ... to host a World Cup you have to bid on or pay an astronomical price for the privilege of hosting one. I saw the piece on Windham and was blown away.. Venues can't afford to host a WC based on first year numbers. It takes a big investment period.

But I'm super stoked on racer's and manager's wanting more WC's.!

P"

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