In a Management Committee meeting held in conjunction with the UCI Road World Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark, the UCI made several significant changes affecting the highest level of cross country and gravity mountain bike competition in 2012. It eliminated the four cross World Cup effective in 2012 and confirmed that the World Cup will return to Windham, New York in the United States next year.
Perhaps the most sweeping change to next year's World Cup is the elimination of the four cross discipline from all gravity World Cups. Four cross was still included as of the preliminary 2012 calendar released by the UCI in June; however, it was removed from the version published on the UCI site today.
Four cross is still part of the 2012 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Austria. "Following the publication of the 2012 Mountain Bike calendar, the UCI confirms that four cross events will form part of the programme of the 2012 UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships to be held in Leogang, Austria," read a statement from the UCI issued on Thursday after Cyclingnews asked the UCI to confirm the status of the four cross Worlds.
The four cross World Cup decision comes in time for the 2012 Olympic year, when many four crossers were likely to switch their focus to BMX racing, which is an Olympic discipline while four cross has never been an Olympic discipline. Four cross courses are also notoriously expensive to build and the discipline consistently draws fewer competitors than downhill.
"Due to the high costs of constructing tracks and their impact on the environment, the UCI has decided to withdraw this speciality from the programme of events at UCI Mountain Bike World Cups from next season," read a statement from the UCI explaining the decision.
On the cross country side of racing, the UCI confirmed that the 2012 World Cup will return to Windham, New York. The venue has twice previously hosted the World Cup. In its first year in 2010, it was a triple, featuring four cross, downhill and cross country. In 2011, it hosted downhill and cross country, but not four cross. 2012 will feature the same two events. The area was recently devastated by rains and flooding from Hurricane Irene and efforts are underway to rebuild.
Finally, the UCI confirmed that the cross country eliminator, mountain biking's newest World Cup discipline, will be held in conjunction with three cross country World Cup rounds: in Houffalize, Belgium, Nove Mesto Na Morave and La Bresse, France. Cyclingnews is in process of finding out whether those three eliminator events will count toward a World Cup series of any sort.
As previously reported, the cross country eliminator will be run as a world championship event for the first time in 2012.
2012 UCI Mountain Bike Calendar
2012 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Calendar
March 17-18: Cross country #1, Downhill #1 - Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
April 14-15: Cross country #2, Eliminator #1 - Houffalize, Belgium
May 12-13: Cross country #3, Eliminator #2, Nove Mesto Na Morave, Czech
May 19-20: Cross country #4, Eliminator #3, La Bresse, France
June 2-3: Downhill #2, Val di Sole, Italy
June 9-10: Downhill #3, Fort William, Great Britain
June 23-24: Cross country #5, Downhill #4, Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec Canada
June 30-July 1: Cross country #6, Downhill #5, Windham, New York, United States
July 28-29: Cross country #7, Downhill #6, Val d'Isere, France
September 15-16: Downhill #7, Hafjell, Norway
August 11-12: London, Great Britain
August 31 - September 2: Downhill & Four cross, Leogang, Austria
September 5 - September 9: Cross country & eliminator, Saalfelden, Austria
September 22-23: Marathon, Ornans, France
Designated National championships weekends
July 21-22: Cross country, Downhill & Four cross, worldwide
September 22-23: Marathon, worldwide