The UCI's decision earlier this week to eliminate four cross racing from its Mountain Bike World Cup series has surprised and upset many four cross racers in the sport. In response the Four Cross Alliance has promised to put together a new, alternative world-level series so elite-level racers can continue to compete on the world stage in the run-up to the 2012 UCI Four Cross World Championships next September in Austria.
"The Four Cross Alliance is as stunned and surprised as are the majority of people out there...," read a statement from Scott Beaumont and Chris Roberts of the Four Cross Alliance.
"The discipline that has provided so much entertainment during the 2011 Mountain Bike Series seemed to have secured its future with the UCI after what will be remembered as the finest, most unpredictable race series ever seen."
The organization also explained that it was concerned that the UCI would not respect existing rider contracts.
"This decision to simply remove the discipline with no warning to riders, teams, federations or organisers, with a complete disregard to any contracts that are currently in place is probably the point that we are most annoyed about," said the statement. "There are teams and riders out there who have contracts which will run through 2012 to race World Cup Four Cross. We definitely feel that some better consultation and warning would have been an appropriate move from UCI."
The statement continued: "We really feel sorry for the World Cup organisers who have successfully won their bids and have contracts in place for the 2012 Mountain Bike World Cup season which was due to include 4X.
"Although we see this decision as being entirely the wrong one from the UCI and its management committee, the Four Cross Alliance now sees this as an opportunity to help develop the sport to its full potential by creating a new Four Cross World Series."
"After what has been a very successful 2011 season for four cross, the sport has continued to grow and showcase four cross as being one of the most exciting cycling disciplines the UCI have ever created. To end the sport now we feel is a mistake, and it is vital to the continued development of the sport that four cross remains on the world stage."
"We have had nothing but words of support for four cross in the last 24 hours and we anticipate many more opinions to be voiced in the coming days."
The alliance said all the positive comments on the internet about four cross has motivated the group to make a new world series a success.
"The Four Cross Alliance plans to work with the UCI, where possible, to create a new an exciting future for the sport of four cross. The plans are already starting to take shape in the very short time period we have had to work on creating a new... series.
"We have to get contracts in place before we start to publish details of the new Four Cross World Series, but what we would like to say to all riders is continue to finalise your sponsorship deals for 2012 with the knowledge that we are working on creating a new Four Cross World Series for 2012 and beyond."