Welcome to the 2023 Pinkbike State of the Sport Survey. This anonymous survey is designed to help shed light on key issues affecting the professional field and elite competition. We surveyed the best riders in the world to hear their thoughts, ideas, concerns, and criticisms on mountain biking as we go into 2023, all in an anonymous format. To read the introduction to the survey click here, and to see all the other currently published SOTS articles click here.
The Pinkbike survey has revealed that 49% of EWS racers feel that penalties are not fairly and consistently applied
Worryingly a further 29% of riders feel neutral on this topic leaving only 22% of racers surveyed finding that the current organisation tackle rules breaches consistently and fairly.
The data paints a difficult picture, with racers apparently not having confidence in the organizers that any matter will be handled correctly by the respective authority. In this case, since 2019, the UCI and ITA (International Testing Agency).
As part of the survey, riders who currently find racing as a whole unfair were asked to leave a comment on why they that way. The response from riders has included allegations that there can be elements of favoritism.
Other respondents have suggested that some riders are getting extra track time compared to the rest of the field. There are also comments suggesting some elite riders are conducting unauthorized shuttling of stages and generally bending the rules. Also, very concerningly, there is also a perception amongst some that there hasn't been strong enough punishment for riders caught doping.
It is worth pointing out that while our data represents riders that don't feel rule breaches are being handled to their full extent, there is a general consensus of 65% of riders that the racing is overall fair.
This however is notably less than XC or downhill, which both have around 90% of riders feeling that the racing is fair and honest.
When asked if they'd like to leave a comment to represent their views on issues of fairness and sporting integrity, several riders did note that they felt that the lack of consistency was troubling, with particular instances noted of riders pre-riding courses, course cutting, favoritism, illegal assistance on transition stages and lurid accusations of doping. It's hard to say for sure to what extent these comments should be taken at face value, and we'll hopefully be able to delve into the issue further, as well as explore the other trends from the survey, with stakeholders at the elite level of enduro, in the coming weeks.