The UCI announced the iXS Downhill Cup as the "official UCI European downhill series for 2012". The news comes after several years of close cooperation between the UCI and iXS promoters and after a new, independent downhill series called the DH1 was recently announced.
"A number of UCI decisions have received a lot of coverage from a wide range of media recently and there has been much discussion about the sport's future," read a press release from the iXS Downhill Cup. "Even if the reasons behind developments are not 100 percent clear to laymen, it should be emphasised that the International Cycling Union has done a lot for the downhill discipline in recent years. There has been a World Cup series for two decades now, and its value is priceless, despite some ups and downs. Without a doubt, not everything is perfect but the success story can only be continued through a constructive partnership."
Then iXS Dowhill Series, with its up to 20 races per year, will continue to provide grass-roots input from competitors, teams and individual venues based on the experience gained in running the races.
The series has been involved in the sport for 10 years in places like Switzerland and Germany and other European locations.
The UCI's Peter van den Abeele, Off-Road Disciplines Manager, said, "We are pleased to have such a reliable partner who has been working for many years to continuously improve race events in accordance with UCI wishes and is further developing mass audience awareness of the sport through targeted PR work."
Andreas Stöckli, event manager at iXS Sports Division, said, "Recognition of our Cup as the official UCI Europe Series confirms the significance we've developed together with our race organisers over the last four years. The goal was to create a prestigious series located between the World Cup and the national race series to thus provide athletes with an easier but nevertheless professional means of entering the world elite."
Next year the iXS European Downhill Cup will be held in seven different countries, taking place at top level venues offering the relevant country's most challenging courses.
In 2011, 2,570 competitors from 41 countries were at the starting lines of the various iXS Downhill Series. In this context, the European Cup is focusing more strongly on top world professionals, as confirmed by the participation of major teams.
Among others, many names from UCI elite teams appeared on the start lists, including world rank top 20 riders such as Troy Brosnan (Aus), Brook MacDonald (NZL), Cameron Cole (NZL), Markus Pekoll (Aut), Brendan Fairclough (GBr) and Florent Payet (Fra).
In order to further increase attractiveness for top class international riders, there are plans to raise further the media profile and to adjust the rules to reflect top athletes’ needs more.
For more information, visit ixsdownhillcup.com.
iXS 2012 European Downhill Cup
April 28-29: Round 1 - Rivera - Monte Tamaro, Switzerland
May 26-27: Round 2 - Leogang, Austria
June 16-17: Round 3 - Innerleithen, Great Britain
August 4-5: Round 4 - Pila Italy
August 11-12: Round 5 - Spicák, Czech
September 8-9: Round 6 - Châtel, France
September 22-23: Round 7 - Todtnau, Germany