Posted by Editoress on 05/15/20
The UCI has released a proposed calendar for the Mountain Bike World Cup and world championships, as well as the Olympic and Paralympic qualifying process for the postponed Games in Tokyo. Of course, all of these plans are dependent on governments allowing travel and events to take place, which is by no means certain.
The UCI has announced how the Olympic qualification process for mountain bike will be revised (Road and Track have already been finalized). The qualification for country quotas for the XCO was supposed to end on May 27, 2020 (after the Nove Mesto round). Now, the qualification ranking will consist of points collected up to March 3, 2020 PLUS from the first two World Cups of 2021 (not determined at this time).
The XCO world championships, which were scheduled for June 25-28 in Albstadt, Germany, will now move to Leogang, Austria, joining the Downhill Worlds that were already scheduled for that location. Leogang previously hosted the combined Worlds in 2012.
The Worlds will take place on October 5th to 11th, and will encompass Downhill, Cross-country, Relay and E-MTB, as well as the Redbull UCI Pump Track Worlds. This will begin one day after the final round of the World Cup series.
The remaining world championships will take place at the following times and locations:
• 2020 UCI Mountain Bike Eliminator World Championships: 23 August, Leuven (Belgium)
• 2020 UCI Four-Cross World Championships presented by Mercedes Benz: 10-11 September, Val di Sole (Italy)
• 2020 UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championships: 24-25 October, Sakarya (Turkey)
The World Cup has shrunk to five XCO events (from six) and seven Downhill (from eight), compressed into September and October. The dates and locations are:
• 5-6 September: Lenzerheide, Switzerland (XCO/DHI)
• 12-13 September: Val di Sole, Italy (XCO/DHI)
• 19-20 September: Les Gets, France (XCO/DHI)
• 29th September to 4th October: Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic (XCO) - two rounds
• 15-18 October: Maribor, Slovenia (DHI) - two rounds
• 29 October to 1st November: Lousa, Portugal (DHI) - two rounds
The first three are not changed from the previous schedule. However, the next three are early season events that had to postpone and, for the first time, will feature double rounds of back-to-back racing. This will be over six days (Tuesday to Sunday) for Nove Mesto, and will include two Short Tracks (Tuesday/Friday) and two XCOs (Thursday/Sunday). For the Downhills it will be over four days (Thursday to Sunday), with qualifying on Thursday and Saturday and Finals on Friday and Sunday.
We were talking to Haley Smith (Norco Factory) when the calendar was released, and she commented: "I am excited; it is very, very exciting to have the prospect of racing on the horizon. At the same time, I'm still skeptical that all those countries will be willing to allow foreign visitors at that point. If we go over to Europe, but the regulations are that we have to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, then all of a sudden it is not really feasible. So I'm excited, but a bit of me still has reservations about what the governmental restrictions will be outside of the cycling world, and whether it will mean that we can race."
UCI President David Lappartient declared: "The announcement of the 2020 UCI World Cup calendar and the holding of the 2020 UCI World Championships is excellent news for mountain bike, a discipline greatly affected by the consequences of the coronavirus. It is another step, after the announcement of the professional road cycling calendars, towards a resumption of the cycling season from this summer. The confirmation of the Olympic and Paralympic qualification systems will also make the future clearer for our athletes, who will be able to move forward with their training and competition schedule with a view to the Tokyo Games next year. Our calendars remain dependent on the international health situation, but we are moving in the right direction, and I thank the cycling family that has again demonstrated its sense of responsibility, its solidarity and its courage in these times that are extremely difficult for everybody."
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