Reports of regular additions to the marathon and stage racing calendar may make it seem like mountain biking is growing, but the UCI offered proof of an increased interest in high-level competition Thursday when it published its list of 2008 teams, up 43% from 66 teams in 2007 to 95 teams in 2008. 311 riders are registered on the UCI teams for 2008
On its website, the UCI explained the growth by noting an increase to 14 teams in the US, 11 in Germany and 10 each in France and Italy. Looking at the composition, 40% of teams are gravity-racing oriented while 52% contest cross country and marathon disciplines exclusively. The rest of the teams compete in both gravity and endurance racing.
"For the first time this year, the UCI Mountain bike Teams will display a logo on their jerseys proving that they meet the UCI's strict quality criteria, particularly in the administrative, financial and ethical areas," read a statement on the UCI's website. Also new for this year, the winners of all four mountain bike World Cup disciplines will wear identical leader's jerseys.