The much-anticipated changes to the World Cup have now been made public. The main bullet points have been listed out below, followed by the full press release:
- The EWS becomes the UCI Mountain Bike Enduro World Cup (EDR), and all races will be held as single-day events. The E-EWS is also elevated to World Cup status. The overall event classification is still determined based on a rider's cumulative time on the timed stages, but there is also a new points system now that will be used to determine the start order for the last stage (we have not been able to find any details on the points system so far).
- The DH World Cup sees some big changes with the introduction of a semi final between the qualifying round and the final for the Elite Men and Women categories (the junior categories remained unchanged). 60 men and 15 women qualify for the semi final, and the top 30 and top 10 women then move onto the final. The semi-finals will take place earlier in the day on finals day. This means junior racing will now take place the day before elite finals, and thanks to an increase in participation, the junior women's category will now also feature a qualifying round as opposed to the current seeding round.
- The points system is changed, with the majority of points being awarded in the semi final and final. The winner of the qualifying round now gets only 50 points. The winner of the semi-final round gets 200 points, while the final is worth 250 points. No points will be awarded for qualifying and semi-finals at the last World Cup of the season. An extract of the new points table is provided below.
- Protected riders: the top-10 men and top-5 women from the previous year's overall standings are protected with regards to the semi-finals throughout the entire season. Among them, the top-5 men and top-3 are also protected for the finals throughout the season. In addition, up to 20 men and 10 women from the current World Cup standings are protected for each semi-final (included those with full season protection). This means that there are only 40 "open" semi-final spots for the men and 5 for the women to fight for among the non-protected riders.
- The stated goal is to broadcast the semi-finals as well as the full 30+10 runs of the men's and women's elite finals. The junior categories will also be broadcast for the first time.
- Changes to the text regulating apparel, to move away from definitions based on type of fabric used ("lycra" was previously banned) towards definitions based on intended use: "Jerseys used in downhill events should be of a type specifically designed and sold for use in BMX Racing or Mountain Bike downhill events. Jerseys designed for road cycling, skinsuits, or one-piece suits comprising the jersey and the pants/shorts are not permitted for use in downhill events. The jersey must be either close fitting around the waist or must be tucked into the pants before the start to not cause interference. Long pants or short pants combined with suitable knee and shin protection are allowed. Such long or short pants should be of a type that is specifically designed and sold for use in BMX Racing or Mountain Bike downhill events. Long pants of the type described above must be of one-piece construction and made of tear-resistant material. They should cover the entire length of both legs until just above the shoe or ankle. Short pants of the type described above must be of one-piece construction and made of tear-resistant material. They should be worn together with suitable leg protection, that covers the entire knee and the entire shin until just above the ankle."
Updated World Cup DH Points Table (extract)
Full Press Release:
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) are pleased to announce that the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup will be further extended from 2023 with the introduction of enduro and E-enduro to the calendar. This follows the recent announcement of the addition of cross-country marathon (XCM) to the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup.
The existing Enduro World Series (EWS) is elevated to UCI World Cup status and will feature alongside cross-country Olympic (XCO), cross-country short track (XCC) downhill (DHI) and XCM. All enduro events on the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup will be one-day events.
Enduro (EDR) racing comprises several timed Special Stages - predominantly downhill - and Liaison Stages to reach the start of each Special Stage. On each Special Stage, riders start individually at regular intervals, with all their recorded times added up to decide the winner. To reach the start of each of the Special Stages, riders cover Liaison Stages either by bike or with mechanical assistance (chair lifts, trucks etc). Liaison Stages are not timed but riders must reach the start of the following Special Stage within an allocated time.
New at each round of enduro racing at the 2023 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup will be a points system for each timed Special Stage. An overall classification according to points won will decide the order of riders for the last Special Stage, with the rider who has accumulated most points setting off last.
E-Enduro (E-EDR) follows the same principle but the courses will be slightly different, including challenging technical climbs suited to the attributes of an enduro E-mountain bike.
The integration of enduro and E-enduro into the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup is another development for the discipline since the UCI’s partnership with ESO Sports and Discovery Sports Events, two of WBD’s specialist sport organisations. The integration of XCM into the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup programme and the introduction of Under 23 categories for the XCC were announced in September.
Another enhancement to the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup from 2023 will be increased screen time for the Elite downhill competitions thanks to the introduction, at each downhill round, of a semi-final between the qualification and final. Featuring the top 60 Elite Men and top 15 Elite Women from qualifying, the downhill semi-final will see men outside the top 30 and women outside the top 10 enjoy broadcast coverage for the first time.
Forty Elite riders (30 men and 10 women) will qualify for the final, where the goal is to broadcast each of the 40 runs in their entirety live on WBD platforms.
In addition, thanks to the increased participation of Junior Women, a qualifying run will be introduced for this category, with the fastest 10 proceeding to the final. The Men Junior and Women Junior competitions will also be broadcast for the first time.
The amendments to the UCI Regulations for mountain bike which will come into force on 1st January 2023 can be consulted on the UCI website.
The full calendar of the 2023 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup will be published next week.
UCI President David Lappartient said: “The UCI Mountain Bike World Cup has been delighting athletes and fans for more than 30 years with multiple rounds being held worldwide throughout the season. I am thrilled that this international series will also include enduro, E-enduro and cross-country marathon from 2023. These formats will add a new dimension to the reinvigorated series that is taking the mountain bike discipline to even greater heights.
“Also thanks to our partnership with Warner Bros. Discovery, the spectacular downhill racing will benefit from greater exposure that will enchant existing fans and attract new audiences. I cannot wait to witness this new extended UCI Mountain Bike World Cup from 2023.”
Chris Ball, CEO of ESO Sports, added: “Mountain Bike racing has reached an incredible level over the past few years and this evolution of the rule book will allow the sport to change gear again and accelerate towards an exciting new future, celebrating the sport in all its forms.
“With more racing in short track and a new semi-final in downhill, fans will be treated to more action than ever. The awarding of UCI World Cup status for enduro, E-enduro and cross-country marathon will also put a greater spotlight on these incredible mountain bike formats and allow us to both push the front end of racing whilst maintaining amateur participation at many of our events.
“Along with the UCI, we believe these changes will help broaden the appeal of mountain biking and enhance the race experience for athletes, teams and fans alike.”
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