Organizers of the Maribor World Cup won't get much of a break. The 2007 World Cup gravity racing finishes in the Slovenian locale, and that's just where the gravity action picks up again in 2008.
The UCI announced its World Cup schedule for 2008, and many eyes are already checking out the calendar in what will be an Olympic year. For many nations, World Cups will play a role in final team selection or preparation for cross country events.
In 2008, the World Cup will visit 13 venues in 11 countries on three continents. There will be no less than six triple events in the series. The Maribor event will, in fact, be the only gravity-only venue--it'll be the fourth World Cup for the year. All other events with gravity events will share the spotlight with cross country.
Downhill and 4X riders will end their 2008 World Cup quest in Styria, too. Maribor lies in the Slovenian Styria region and Schladming, while the final cross country / downhill / 4X event will be in Austrian Styria, just 240 km away.
Looking ahead, Maribor organizer Iztok Kvas said, "There will not be much of a break for our organizing team between this year's final and next year's opener, but we are happy to have the opening since there is a special charm to it. We are hoping for a short winter so we can get our venues in perfect shape on time."
The 2008 schedule has been shuffled slightly into a sort of split season to accommodate the Olympic Games, which run August 8 through 24. One Canadian venue is still to be decided while a new World Cup event heads to Canberra as Australia prepares for its bid to host the World Championships in 2009.
2008 Nissan UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2008
March 15-16: Manavgat/Antalija (Tur) XCM 1
April 19-20: Houffalize (Bel) XCO 1
April 26-27: Offenburg (Ger) XCO 2
May 3-4: Madrid (Spa) XCO 3
May 10-11:. Maribor (Slo) 4X/DHI 1
May 31 - June 1: Vallnord (And) XCO 4, 4X/DHI 2
June 7-8: Fort William (GBr) XCO 5, 4X/DHI 3
July 26-27: To be decided (Can) XCO 6, 4X/DHI 4
August 2-3: Mont Sainte Anne (Can) XCO 7, 4X/DHI 5
August 9-10: Oisans (Fra) XCM 2
August 30:31: Canberra (Aus) XCO 8, 4X/DHI 6
September 13-14: Schladming (Aut) XCO 9, 4X/DHI 7
October 4-5: Innsbruck (Aut) XCM 3
2008 UCI Mountain Bike and Trial World Championships
June 17-22: Commezzadura/Val di Sole (Ita) 4X/DHI/XCO/Trial
June 7: Villabassa (Ita) XCM