The iXS European Downhill Cup will feature seven races in seven countries in its fifth season in 2012. Organizers announced the series schedule for next year.
Just as in 2011, the season will kick off in Monte Tamaro in Switzerland on a course dug into the mountain by Claudio Caluori. The first race of the year will show who's made best use of the winter.
The second leg will take the downhill community to Leogang, Austria. Up until now it has always been a World Cup location, but in 2012, Leogang will crank things up a notch, with the Salzburger Land region hosting the world championships. The iXS European Downhill Cup will provide the perfect pre-Worlds test option.
Innerleithen in Great Britain is scheduled as the third stop on the itinerary. The series returns here after one year away. Taking place exactly one week after the World Cup in Fort William and located just off the return route to the airport, the world's elite will have yet another opportunity to catch up with each other.
The fourth and thus middle race will take place in Italy. Pila may provide what is the most challenging course on the circuit. Corrado Herin, himself a former professional competitor, will be ensuring that the 2012 course is once again breath-taking and thousands of enthusiastic Italian cycling fans will be ensuring that the atmosphere is also right.
The series will head next to Spicak in Czech when the Cup visits the land of wafer papers and Slivovitz for the third time. Despite this year's poor weather, racers still enjoyed a course completely revamped for 2011.
Right after the world championships, the series will head for downhill mecca Portes du Soleil; to be more exact, to Châtel in the French part of the region. 2012 marks the fifth time the Cup visits, with the race taking place on the Bike Patrol course, not for nothing classed as a black run.
And the grand finale will re-visit a familiar old haunt. In 2011, Todtnau finally broke free of its narcolepsy and, after years of no races, the venue is back in business big time. The legendary course has been brought back to life.
For more information, visit www.ixsdownhillcup.com.
iXS European Downhill Cup
April 28-29: Round 1 - Monte Tamaro, Switzerland
May 26-27: Round 2 - Leogang, Austria
June 16-17: Round 3 - Innerleithen, Great Britain
May 4-5: Round 4 - Pila, Italy
May 11-12: Round 5 - Spicák, Czech
September 8-9: Round 6 - Châtel, France
September 22-23: Round 7 - Todtnau, Germany