Video & Story: World Cup DH Riders on the Developing Union Effort

Jul 13, 2022
by Alicia Leggett  

Things are definitely changing at the World Cup, and none are more keenly aware and concerned than the riders themselves. With the organization and broadcast rights sold to Discovery, the riders have decided to form a union to represent their interests to the powers above.

The riders will elect a representative to liaise with ESO, which owns and operates the EWS, as well as the UCI and Discovery to voice the riders’ interests when it comes to rider welfare and race logistics.

Henry Quinney caught up with several of the riders during this week’s track walk to hear what they had to say.

Both Vali Holl and Wyn Masters said it's scary to already be mid-season and have very little information about what will happen in the future. "We don't know anything about next year, nothing, no dates, no locations, how many people are going to qualify or DH1, DH2," Holl explained. "Like you just hear bits, but you have no idea about what's going to happen." While it's rumored that the race structure will largely remain the same, the uncertainty puts professional riders, whose careers are in the hands of the race organizers, in a uniquely vulnerable position.

Riders began discussing a possible union as early as 2020, Loic Bruni said, when many riders felt they had no say in how the UCI and Red Bull responded to the pandemic. Now that the sport is at a point where change is inevitable, Bruni has spearheaded an effort to make sure that decisions around downhill racing account for those most affected.

Finn Iles, who describes the effort as more of an association than a union, has worked closely with Bruni to lead the charge and echoed what others said about needing representation: "Right now we have absolutely no say in anything. We have no say for track, we have no say for prize money, we have no say for safety, no say for anything. And we're the ones that are the product."

Several riders mentioned an odd ramp at the finish area that they consider dangerous as an example of a course feature that likely wouldn't exist if the riders had been asked for input.

The first union meeting took place last week at Lenzerheide and the second one just happened in Vallnord.

Greg Minnaar, who serves alongside Myriam Nicole on the UCI Athletes' Commission, said that he believes the changes will be relatively subtle and positive, and he trusts that ESO has the experience in mountain bike racing to successfully take over World Cup downhill racing.

At the moment, details are scarce and credible details even scarcer, especially when it comes to the rumored changes to the race format and team setup for next year. We have reached out to both the UCI and ESO for comment and will update this story as more information becomes available.

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  • 168 0
 Don't be too harsh on yourself Henry, that was actually an excellent video. Additionally, it's awesome to see riders getting together to help the sport progress in the right direction.
  • 3 38
flag mi-bike (Jul 14, 2022 at 5:16) (Below Threshold)
 As opposed to regress in the right direction? Or progress in the wrong direction?
  • 11 0
 @mi-bike: progress as in "proceed" - which can happen in a positive or negative manner, Paulo.
  • 124 5
 The rumour of the qualification field being cut to 30 needs addressing immediately. That cannot be allowed to happen.
  • 69 59
 I don't know nearly enough about how this is going to go, and I could be convinced either way. But, to play devil's advocate... a move like this might help strengthen regional and national series, rather than bleed top-50 privateers dry trying to "make it" on the World Cup.

If cutting the field to the top 30 racers is what we need to do to get more support for juniors, men's and women's parity, more of the track on the livestream, and better national series, then I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing.

Bottom line, we need more information.
  • 40 10
 @brianpark: National Series/regional series, sorry thats not an american phrase, can you translate it for me?
  • 80 19

Yes we do need more info, but cutting to top 30 would be completely and utterly misguided. Take off your devil horns, stop bootlicking the industry plebs and just think about it for a second. Top 30 would favour the juggernauts and stifle the come-up of countless talented young riders.

A positive change would be to actually maintain or expand all the fields, increase prize money, and actually pay every single rider that makes the cut.
  • 48 3
 @brianpark: You forgot to list that 30 riders also makes more time for adverts.
  • 25 2
 @brianpark: * playing the UCI advocate, we all already know they are the devil of gravity mtb.
  • 23 4
 @skimtb1: yep agreed that's the concern, but tbh that's already where we're at. As for all the stuff you're proposing, I'm absolutely willing to pay for that, but I'm not sure the rest of the community is.

@commental: oh god, that's a good point actually. I absolutely love the pacing of WCDH racing right now and would hate to see that watered down for endless medical ads.
  • 14 13
 Continuing the devils advocate position...if only 30 riders get into the world cup, the field at national/crankworx level events all over the world will be absolutely stacked and the top 30 will have improved practice quality. We call downhill the F1 of mtb but you dont see 60 racers at that start line.
  • 74 0
 @brianpark: The other rumour that this report didn't address is the team registration going up from $3000 to $20,000. That, paired with cutting the field to 30 will just make the sport more elitist. It will likely spell the end for things like Neko's project and rider stories like the Denim Destroyer. I struggle to see that as a good thing for the sport.
  • 7 0
 * If the rumours are true.
  • 9 0
 @Jimmy0: Thankfully not all DH racers are on the track at the same time.
  • 34 1
 @brianpark: That's the MTB equivalent of "trickle down economics" which we have all learned is complete BS
  • 43 1
 One of the best parts of world cup dh racing is how top privateers can compete with the world's elite - riders like Coulanges and Trummer plug away for a good few years before having a standout race or season and getting picked up and end up proving themselves as deserving to be in that top cut. Dropping to even less than we have now removes that aspect of the sport and that pathway to success. If it were up to me, the qualification cut would go back up to 80, where it should have been all along. Also remember that by cutting 30, nobody is offer to fund or cover national level events instead. That will be up to individual nations to do and may well not happen or stagnate, especially if the WC is seen as out of reach.
  • 12 3
 @GrandMasterOrge: totally agree. We are digging in on this and will let you know what we find. I would hope that if there’s a fee increase it would apply to the Elite teams not the Trade teams or privateers. I don’t mind big brands paying more for their racing exposure, assuming that there’s better exposure, but so much of our sport is grassroots it won’t work to just take its legs out.
  • 22 1
 @brianpark: Stronger regional and national series would be great and all but it doesn't translate into WC skill. Over and over and over we're told that racing on a world cup track is completely different from any other course. Racing at WC intensity just isn't replicable regionally - the skill and speed gap is just too large.

Slimming down the field to 30 is just going to stagnate the top riders and make it virtually imposable to make the show. It'll turn into a F1 or MotoGP style thing where rider slots allocated by teams and not biased on skill (and guile) but on marketing. Who is going to kick Greg Minnaar out of a seat so some unknown kid from NZ can get a ride?

Just too many unknows leading to too much wild speculation. If I had spent my whole life on a single minded pursuit with untold sacrifice and luck to make it into the top mountain biking show I would be a little pissed.
  • 14 1
 @Jimmy0: we don't see 60 racers in F1 because F1 has such high barriers of entry that calling yourself 'world champion' after winning the season seems hyperbolical.

that's the beauty of cycling, it can theoretically be picked up by pretty much anyone
  • 4 17
flag cru-jones (Jul 14, 2022 at 0:13) (Below Threshold)
 @brianpark: Cutting down the field does not necessarily sound like a bad idea. But I would even go as far as, do we really need junior races at World Cups? Wouldn't it make the sport more accessible if it happens on a more regional/national basis for juniors? I think the majority of sports do not hold junior competitions at the same venues and same time as their most elite events.
  • 13 7
 @brianpark: Company man says company man things
  • 1 0
 @Jimmy0: This isn't strictly true though as an F1 race has two or so support races with F2, and W Series or an incident filled Porsche Super Cup race that spreads oil on some corner or other. That makes sense because the F1 cars are unique and expensive, but if everyone has access to more or less the same equipment, having one larger event makes a lot more sense.
  • 5 2
 @brianpark: I also do not think badly the decision to reduce the World Cup to the real elite of riders. However, this choice must be coordinated with the organization of the national championships of the individual states which will become the real ground where to identify the pilots to take to the WC. Is UCI worldwide? That dictates the rules to the national federations on the minimum number of regional / national competitions to be organized during the year by offering prizes to the first classified.
Moreover, at least in Europe, there are tracks in the WC standard ... it would be enough to organize the national teams on these tracks to prepare the pilots for the jump of the category.
  • 3 0
 @brianpark: how will cutting it to 30 help the juniors mate ? If you mean that more juniors will get to qualify instead of the current number i see that as a positive personally, but i'm not sure the paying public would agree. How many on here care about the juniors outside of the top 3 ? Even that is only because the top 3 juniors could mix it with the Elites as we've seen, if it wasn't for that, even less would care i think.

But the Pro/Elites are what people want to see, that's the same in all walks of life, it's the best of the best... That's what pays the bills. That's why RedBull only put the elites on coverage... lets start with getting some of the junior males and females on some coverage... after all, why not ? They've got the cameras set-up, it's not like it's a dedicated channel that needs sorting like say Eurosport, it's just a RedBull slot, so why are they not showing the Juniors ?

Removing the 30-100 from the Elites, will that really strengthen the Nationals ? Or just weaken the Elites ? Where's the incentive then for the nearly Elites.... If they know they're going home by Friday...will they want to bother ? But that doesn't necessarily mean they'll go to darkest Wales for a national instead.
  • 7 1
 @Jimmy0: F1 is the most expensive douchey elitist sport in the world, DH would be better served to find its own path.

The trickle down to the national level won't work, just like it doesn't in Formula feeder series, WNBA or any other sport where there is an obviously better product.
  • 2 0
 @Jimmy0: Until the UCI will threaten ban starters who compete in other events... thats nothing new....
  • 4 0
 @brianpark: Bleed the top 50 Privateers dry. Many of them who try, do so as the WC comes in their area - they aren't going to each race. It's a dream to be able not just to make the cut, but to actually line up in Quali's with the Likes of an Amaury, Minnaar, etc and meet these boys and spend the weekend in that vibe, I imagine, that must be worth punching their ticket alone. It would be for me.
  • 1 1
 @pbfan08: USA has several excellent regional series.
Downhill Southeast, Eastern States Cup, Northwest Cup, NorthStar Downhill Series, Trestle Gravity series.
  • 3 0
 @commental: if this we´ll probably see a new breed of DH racing like in motoGP... I naive to think RedBull is planning to abandon his chicken of golden eggs...
  • 3 0

I don’t see a move like this helping the national series, adding a dozen or less pros back to the races won’t help the country develop more riders. What we need is more races and more families/kids/individuals racing so race organizers have an incentive to hold more races at more locations. We also need organizations like USAC to offer a lot more support for athletes as well as make it easier for organizers to host a National. There’s a reason why we only had 3 Nationals this year…
  • 3 0
 @GrandMasterOrge: and the fact that as a viewer, I want to see those people plugging on the same stage as the power houses and see people like Neko doing a crazy ass project (which let's face it, is helping the industry and pushing the sport) and how cool it is when these people upset the field and punch way above their weight to get into the top 10 or 20. If we do what @brianpark said above and just delegate them to national series we will never see them, they will likely not get as much attention from brands to further their careers, and the fact that he thought those races would receive more funding is ridiculous, that will never happen in practice, as @LaXcarp said. Sorry @brianpark , seems you are outvoted by just about literally everyone here.
  • 2 0
Agree. We ran a race team, probably 25 years ago or more, and had a driver coming in with some backing from Mobil 1 nationally. Just before the season started, Mobil1 pulled their sponsoring of all national series in Europe, because they made a deal with McLaren for F1.

Being an avid motorsports fan and competitor for 35 years, I desperately hope MTB won't follow the silly money for the few.
  • 4 0
 I honestly think one of the biggest changes that should happen on the WC is the elimination of protected rider status. No other sport gives a free pass if you suck at quali. In motocross and supercross, there are 2 timed qualifying sessions to get the best overall lap. I think the UCI should adopt something similar where 2 runs on Saturday are both on the clock, and best time is the scoring time, BUT eliminate the protected rider status to allow for some shake-up occasionally as well. That would be a better shake-up than cutting to 30 riders so I can get some cialis commercials across my TV screen.
  • 1 0
  • 2 0
 @commental: We will show Brunis split time in just a moment, right after this 30 second Specilized ad.
  • 2 0
 @GrandMasterOrge: Don't forget about the Denim Destroyer.
  • 106 4
 Super Bruni, Corporate slayer, F**k Yea!
  • 42 72
flag conoat (Jul 13, 2022 at 15:36) (Below Threshold)
 it's not corporate slaying, ffs.....

if you slay the corporation, everyone one of these racers is out a job.

what this is and should be is, negotiating symbiosis.

TLDR: stop being a reactive child. the world and economics of commerce are never black nor white. its a million shades of grey.
  • 47 29
 @conoat: Corporations are just the most successful criminals, they only care about themselves, and profits. . . ffs! You must be a corporate dude slinging words like "Symbiosis" around like a weapon.

Oh and stop being a condescending prick, we know how the world works, obviously better than you who is just towing the company line, dude you're brainwashed!
  • 35 1
 @Bomadics: 4th generation union electrician here. Corporations have capital and the people have labor (even racing bikes is really just labor), neither one is very valuable without the other.
  • 6 25
flag iamamodel (Jul 13, 2022 at 21:20) (Below Threshold)
 @Bomadics: Did you make your comment from a device that was ethically harvested from an old growth rainforest, or did you get it from one of the world's largest corporations?

[sent from my SONY, turnover USD 81 billion]
  • 9 20
flag eugenux (Jul 13, 2022 at 23:58) (Below Threshold)
 @conoat: don't mind the negative props; what you said is 100% true.

unfortunately, there are many who simply cannot and will not understand the world in which they live and have utopic socialist fantasies that will never happen or succeed.
  • 13 1
 @iamamodel: Nice whataboutism.
  • 18 4
 @iamamodel: a phone is a product produced by the labor of a worker for surplus profit. That surplus profit is what these young racers are going above and beyond to generate with little or no say in how and when they do it. So leave your imperialist red herrings at the door, chode.
  • 2 1
 @colincolin: iamamodel took it right out from under me.
  • 9 3
 @eugenux: @iamamodel: @Kevindhansen: You guys think you are so smart and automatically assume everyone else thinks like you, my advice is to disabuse yourself of that concept quickly.

I am not raging against business, or profit I am angry about corruption and exploitation. I think you have the idea that a Corporation is a benign entity used to make wonderful items we all rely on and the world would stop turning without these behemoths. What they are is almost untouchable legal entities used to make profit at any expense, including human life and environment. They can only survive if they grow endlessly, and obviously that business model has a finite lifespan. This we are seeing manifest in current world conditions as these Corporations start eating their own tails, like the trillions in stock buybacks in the last decade. These buybacks used to be illegal until highly paid lobbyist further corrupted law makers and got it all legalized so they could steal more money from ignorant investors.

Let's take this giant MF'er Blackrock, one of the most powerful corporations in the world, their current scam is to buy up huge tracts of housing at one time, thousands of homes, sometimes over market value, then rent them back to the public at a 1 or 2% profit. Check them out, just randomly google shareholders in any of the top 100 corporations, Blackrock will always show up as one of the top owners. These Corporations you admire so much are buying your shit out from underneath you and will make you pay for the right to even exist, did you know about 10 corporations control most of the food in the world? So 10 men making all the decisions about how and what we eat, that is not a good thing.
  • 2 0
 @Bomadics: you're right......f*ck it then burn it all down.
  • 3 0
 @Bomadics: I think you're mostly spot on, but the part where you're off, which ironically even furthers your point IMO, is that these ten corporations aren't controlled by ten men, but rather each is controlled by a group of individuals or other corporate interest. IMO this actually results in worse, not better outcomes.... because no individual has to be responsible for the consequences of these decisions, they're all just advancing the ball toward its their inevitable outcome (what will make the corporation more money).
  • 4 0
 @jaytdubs: Yes I get your point, I was simplifying to ease the story telling, but like you said the truth is even worse, which I agree with on so many different levels!
  • 2 1
 @Kevindhansen: That is exactly what needs to happen, starting with the Central Banks worldwide!
  • 65 1
 Imagine the UCIs face when the top 20 riders refuse to race! Come in unions!
  • 3 0
 That would be awesome IF they actually did that. I don’t think the top guys would actually do it. Purse payout from what I know is pretty much nothing. But, the riders keep showing up to the races. So, hopefully they make a stand.
  • 7 0
 It would be interesting to know to what extent their teams would stand by them in that scenario.
  • 7 0
 @peterknightuk: well, since mountain bikes are by no means a basic necessity and they only sell (to a public of outdoor people) based on brand image, they'd better stand by the riders
  • 4 0
 @peterknightuk: There are enough riders desperate to win an WC DH that would compromise on their principles to step into one of those seats. For example, Specialized will not care as long as the replacement rider wins because it will build a media campaign around them
  • 2 0
 Riders are likely bound by their contracts first and foremost. The real power is the teams vs the organizers. If the top 20 sat out. Then 21-40 would be the new top twenty.
  • 10 0
 Looking into a crystal ball *Discovery cuts the field to effectively 20 or 30 riders, increases adverts, requires teams pay a huge fee, and makes viewing a paid subscription, then promises this will catapult the sport to F1 levels and will reinvest the funds to national series to build a better base and give out bigger prize purses and to more teams. What happens is the top riders comply because they have to and race the first year. Viewership is a fraction of what redbull pulled, sponsors are not seeing the value, all the riders actually racing are pissed and openly bashing discovery and the UCI (already do this so probably won't change). The era of the privateer is over, no more youtube series from people that are actually worth watching.... Pause... Redbull begins offshoot racing campaign without UCI that is built alongside the racers and team managers, addresses many of the smoke and mirrors that UCI throw viewers, teams, and racers through a loop, tracks are safer, gnarlier (ahem hardline anyone?), more inclusive, with more rider freedoms, content, and coverage. Teams and bike brands all see the value in this and the ones that were booted from WC immediately move to this format, teams that were with discovery now realize this is a dying format and slowly move back to Redbull. We are now left with a better race series, at more venues, with better tracks, happier racers, and better viewing.* I can only hope this is the direction it takes if things backfire.
  • 2 0
 @hallj2: We can only hope that this endeavour fails successfully.
  • 1 0
 It happened many times in road cycling. One I remember is the whole peloton doing a strike on Tour de France to protest against forbidding radio for racers. Both UCI and ASO did a Uturn on the decision
  • 1 0
Only a union will give the riders power to have a say in their futures.
Any loose association of riders that is not a union will fail. Thats one of the reasons why corporations spend millions of dollars fighting unions starting up.

WHEN you have a union you will be able to approve track design before getting to the track. And then again when you arrive and throughout the weekend.
Having a finish line in a carpark so they can sell VIP tickets is fine if the riders are getting a cut. Which mean $$$ for EVERY rider that qualifies

Having a narrow gantry over bridge which would be fatal if someone crashed into it at race speed just so they can sell VIP tickets is probably unacceptable in most people’s eyes

I would be surprised if normal padding without an airbag over the top of the gantry would prevent deaths because there is no progressive deceleration

Remember these people don’t care about you. They wanted interns to work for almost no $$$ for them recently.
  • 62 3
 Cathro's got time for that job
  • 10 2
 So many great individuals in the WC circuit that could spearhead the association. I immediately thought Steve Peat since he's a retired DH legend. I think racing + content creation + team management + racer association + being a father would be too much for 1 person, even if it's Cathro!
  • 12 0
 no let henry do it. i could watch a live broadcast of him nagotiating with eso and uci.
  • 2 1
 Neko Mulally was the first name that popped into my head for that role.
  • 1 1
 @srsiri23w: Aron knows how to represent least his...
  • 49 0
 Full support and respect for what the riders are doing- crazy for them to be risking so much every week without any say. Also, as the true DH experts, they are surely best placed to make suggestions for courses, formats, etc.
  • 4 0
 I think it would definitely do the sport good to have some insight into the creation of the tracks. I feel like I have heard about athletes representatives to the UCI. Would love to learn more about this side of the sport (hint hints pinkbike, might be a cool series)
  • 2 0
 I responded prematurely. This is a sweet thing you made pinkbike. Would love to see more about this side of things.
  • 2 0
 @adrennan: agreed, especially when a lot of times the riders want tracks that are even more full on than what UCI put out there. They just want the stupid shit that could get them hurt taken out. (cough cough, a 30 foot drop to nearly flat from a wooden bridge)
  • 35 0
 This should have been organized long ago. Racing on a track that most racers deem unsafe sounds dystopian. Nothing worse than unelected bureaucrats telling everyone what to do with zero checks and balances.
  • 15 0
 Flashbacks to Senna arguing for safety measures in FIA meetings. Sadly we all know how that turned out...
  • 34 0
 I keep hoping red bull backed out to start their own series without the uci
  • 6 3
 Just because it would be red bull, does not mean it would be good. Red bull made so much dumb shit with all kind of sports already, that i would be highly sceptical about something like that.
  • 7 0
 @Phipu: I see you haven't watched hardline. I think they ha E their finger on the pulse of downhill pretty well and no what the people want.
  • 13 0
 @adrennan: hardline itself isn't a red bull invention. It's a race on a track by Dan Atherton which is supported and streamed by red bull.
Most events i heard of, where the idea came from red bull, were actually pretty bad.
The good events with red bull sponsoring come from the athletes themselves which are brought to life thanks to the money red bull puts in.

So just because it's red bull, it doesn't mean it's good.
  • 2 0
 @Phipu: all of this to say athletes event backed by RedBull is good.
  • 2 0
 It's been nice to see the US gravel / endurance mtb race scene (Lifetime Grand Prix, etc) kind of keeping the UCI at arm's length and viewing them with distrust... I just hope that model continues to be viable in the long term without the UCI's backing.

Would be cool (or at least interesting) to see a non-UCI race series, but I think it's probably not realistic for a brand new riders union to organize all the people/money/coverage/etc to make that happen. Would have been great to have a strong union together *before* the decision to hand rights over to Discovery, so they could be involved and represented in that discussion. Better late than never though.
  • 1 0
 @Phipu: If they were smart, they would put the correct people in charge to make this a good series and allow the racers and teams to have input instead of going top down.
  • 27 0
 This is long overdue and good on the riders for getting together. The lack of transparency over changes is astounding. Henry good work, and bring on continued reporting on this Also found it funny that Finn said it wasn't actually a union that pretty much describes what practically is a Union.
  • 16 1
 They may have done of the same goals that a union would but creating an official union comes with a whole boatload of legal ramifications. Even just discussing it and calling it a union could bring certain ramifications with respect to labor laws depending on country. Which is probably why some riders aren’t calling it that.
  • 8 0
 It really is crazy that discovery has not gotten out ahead of this. Makes me think they have no idea what they're doing.
  • 1 0
 @sino428: Finn came across as really onto it in that video. He was studying bussiness a few years ago, presumably got his degree now. Good to have him and Loic on the job.
  • 25 0
 So interesting to see the difference in response from Iles and Minaar, which underscores the need for a riders union. I think this will be great for the sport from a safety standpoint alone.
  • 42 0
 Minaar spoke about it as "THEY". Everyone else as "WE" the riders. Very interesting.
  • 17 2
 Minaar probably not racing anymore next year?

Or has never seen or heard of the poorer and poorer EWS presentation for viewers with f*cked up timing, no live video, lame highlights, etc and worse race fee to stages quantity for the racers, mostly one day events on a single hill, exclusion of the privateers by making EWS100 a side event with less stages while still charging the same, and so on?

Or he's been with UCI for too long already?

Else he wouldn't be so chill?
  • 18 3
 Minnaar is playing it cool. He is very intelligent and speaks well. He knows whats going on.
  • 25 0
 I saw that as Minaar hedging his bets. Would have liked to see him come down off the fence and throw his lot in with the other riders.
  • 48 1
 @sylwhistler: Him and myriamn on are the UCI MTB commission. I'm assuming those two cannot speak to the current affairs without violating the rules set to the commission. For example.

Members of the Commission shall be subject to a strict duty of reserve and confidentiality, and
refrain from any unauthorised disclosure of information brought to their attention in the
performance of their duties.

Members of the Commission shall refrain from speaking publicly about the UCI’s affairs without
prior authorisation and from any act that might reflect adversely upon their position.

Any member of the Commission having a personal interest in a matter submitted for deliberation
must leave the session before the deliberation
  • 2 4
 He's either not racing next year, didn't vote for the union, or both.
  • 4 0
 @rustiegrizwold: thanks for sharing! I learned something.
  • 1 1
 @rustiegrizwold: so minaar an nicole wouldnt be allowed to be in the union i guess
  • 13 1
 As much as I like Greg as a rider, he is at the end of his career and he will be looking towards what comes next. His praise for Chris Ball, despite the way EWS presents to the outside world (it might be fantasitic series to compete in but I have completely lost touch and interest in what is going on) could be interpreted as keeping your options open for your next career move
  • 4 0
 @sylwhistler: Yep. Noticed that too. Very interesting indeed... Also kind of disappointing.
  • 1 0
 @rustiegrizwold: aaah. That explains it, I guess.
  • 4 0
 @Puddings: Yup. He appeared in Discovery's press release video, along with Jack Moir and Jolanda Neff. Disappointing, but ultimately not too surprising he's not going along with this.
  • 5 0
 I think (and there were signs in the years before, exactly like now) Greg Minaar is not doing its job to the satisfaction of the other riders, that is why they organized themself.
  • 1 0
 @Korbi777: Well I would assume that if/when the union is formed then the commission will change the structure.

Currently, there are 14 voting members and if the union just replaces the two gravity athletes making 13 members/parties, or if they're just an addition making 15 members, then IMO, the union could easily be outvoted and defeats the purpose of what they are trying to achieve.
  • 3 0
 @sylwhistler: @sylwhistler: This. It ripped my ears immediately. You can be careful and diplomatic as much as you want but then you can phrase it differently and not say straight away "THEY".

The interesting thing is this segment from Tea&Biscuits2 at 3:30min.
  • 4 0
 @SasaAbazovic: This^ I've been thinking about that sentence that Sam Hill said since the movie came out (Sam noted greg can't ride roots and would bitch about it and at night the UCI builders would be on the hill hacking them out) and there's been other accounts from other riders that sort of hint that he's kind of a prick and only complains to the UCI when it benefits himself.
  • 1 0
 You can easily spot the difference between old conservative riders and and young ones...
  • 2 0
 @commental: I suspect Minaar migth end up as a commentator in Discovery... He might already recieved some offer though...
  • 2 0
 @PauRexs: I think he'd probably make a good job of it.
  • 1 0
 @commental: He spotted already into hardline. So he proff.
  • 27 1
 Downhill is definitely a French thing. Waiting for the strike, I'll bring merguez !
  • 3 0
 Strike? The UCI and Discovery better prepare for some 1789-shit to go down soon.
  • 14 0
 I can already see the piles of burning DHFs on across roads to the DH courses.
  • 24 1
 Greg knows which side his bread is buttered......stick to the script.
  • 8 0
 And thus is not a good rider representative for the others.
  • 1 2
 @mtb-journal: R/whoosh R/lostintranslation
  • 20 1
 History will show that the riders who organized and frankly risked their professional careers to make the sport better for themselves and especially future riders are heros.
  • 12 1
 This is a good plan!!!
People complain about strikes in major sports, American Football, Hockey, Baseball. Everyone says "those guys make millions, what are they complaining about"
These guys have strikes for the little guy, so Bruni, Minnaar and company are sticking up for the riders ranked below 30, or even 60, where EVERYONE starts. They need their shot and with only 30 to qualify, that could really effect the sport. Truth is we mostly care about the top 30, but we LOVE when a guy with a triple digit plate makes it to the live feed on Redbull.
Let's hope this get's traction, 80 might have been too much, but 60 is good.
  • 7 0
 Minnaar? Not so much.
  • 10 0
 I fear ESO/discovery will adopt a similar strategy to what they have with EWS. Charge the “big brands” a big “registration/marketing fee” and part of that agreement guarantees them coverage. Unfortunately it has made the story of EWS media very boring of late. You mainly hear of Yeti, Canyon, Rocky Mountain riders plus the odd bit of lago garay because the media guys love him but you don’t hear of so many other interesting narratives at play.
The beauty of gravity Mtb is it’s accessibility and the fact that occasionally you see unheard of privateers mixing it with the worlds top 10, unlike any other sport.
I sincerely hope that the riders can have some influence, as I do not currently have much faith in the direction we are heading, would love to be proved wrong….
  • 9 0
 Honestly starting to wonder if the move to have Discovery take over was even a good one. I thought that since Discovery would obviously bring in more money since you would have to pay in order to watch and it being an already well established media coverage could be a good thing for the sport, but the lack of any venues for next year at all yet is concerning. If there was ever a time for DH to just cut ties with the UCI, it's now.
  • 5 0
 Will it bring in more money if it goes behind a paywall? Mercedes’ has pretty deep pockets and has paid a ton to have their logo constantly in front of tons of eyes watching it for free. Advertising supported content makes big money, just look at pretty much any YouTuber.
  • 13 5
 How has this become a discussion between riders and the UCI while the teams have largely been silent?

Major bike bands are appartently seeing record sales/profits. They are seemingly absent from this conversation yet heavily represented in the sport. Specialized have the resources to take companies to court left and right but they apparently can’t stick up for Bruni if he’s got legitimate concerns over the safety of the course. I understand there’s separation between Specialized Corp and Specialized Factory Racing but the point is some of these bike brands are huge resources and it feels like they could be way more involved.

Sorry it’s come to feeling like the need for a union. The riders are clearly on very different pages as to what this means and while I am sure it could benefit some others will likely lose because that’s the nature of collective bargaining.
  • 11 0
 the last sentence couldn't be more american
  • 1 0
 Frame manufacturers are primarily sponsors, most 'factory' teams are distinct endeavours with an exclusivity deal of name and prestige for frames and a cheque. Whilst they would like to protect their investments in the factory teams, there's not a whole lot they could do, and they could in theory pressure the teams into putting a 'scab' rider on the bike if it came to a top 30 riders strike, which would not help any of the people who go down the hill between the tape.
  • 12 0
 Love to see it!
  • 11 0
 What about that one UCI??? You didn't see that one coming. Jajaja
  • 10 0
 Union Strong! Organize and protect ya neck. The corporations don't care about anything but their profit.
  • 6 0
 Great idea by the riders, as they said in the video they have no idea about next year and we're in July, hinting that before they would know where and when the races were by now. Do Discovery even know whats happening next year?
  • 11 1
 We the fans are completely behind you
  • 10 1
 Finn: "It's not really a union"

...goes on to describe exactly what a union does lol
  • 11 0
 Using the term Union in some countries will have certain legal implications, especially if the riders are free agents/subcontractors providing services rather than employees of the team.
  • 2 0
 A union bargains on behalf of employees with their employer. Discovery/RedBull are not their employer.
  • 4 2

Union = communism, bad

Association = market economy, good
  • 6 0
 A lot of comparatives to formula one where a 20 racer grid is more reflective of financial backing and in some instances not talent.

I guess a $20k registration fee and 30 qualifying for races will enable riders in their twilight to prolong their careers if signed to teams.

How will the young talent emerge with $$$ or social media popularity and their brand rather than ability.
  • 6 0
 Cutting the field might kill the sport. The events themselves are local spectacles, and the hordes with the chainsaws and horns are both part of the show AND there to cheer on local heroes as well as see the elites. Turning DH into F1 would make it another sport I don't watch; multi-million dollar machines completely reliant on tech & money just isn't as interesting as watching Ben Cathro sit in the hot seat for a while on TV.

Best of three for qualifying might be a nice change, but I don't know how hard that would be on the riders.

I've really enjoyed watching the World Cup DH events on RedBull ad-free, and the same for the NBC TDF coverage. I suppose all those eyeballs not having ads for the latest Taco Bell invention is just too tempting to pass up.
  • 8 0
 Underpaid riders risking life and limb often needing crowdfunding to get through an injury isn’t right. Even at the pro level?
Change has to start somewhere.
  • 6 0
 This is great, this kind of organization has been around for decades in sports like F1 and I'm glad riders can have a collective platform to defend themselves with in the future.
  • 9 1
 What's Vali discussing when she brings up DH1/DH2? I'm not familiar with those terms
  • 2 0
 I guess it would be segregated DH races kind of like F1, F2
  • 4 0
 Skiing does it well with the Europa and Nor-Am cups being good feeder series into the main WC field. However these are run under national fields rather than trade teams and the last thing DH needs is any more interference from the national federations - it is bad enough having the UCI involved
  • 7 0
 I hope they just create their own series together with red bull or crankworx and not attend the uci worldcup anymore
  • 7 0
 I’m a the only one that was happy with redbull? Sad it’s coming to an end. I hope everything is for the best.
  • 12 0
 God no, Redbull media house spent the last 15 years bringing downhill back from the dead...their coverage literally rebooted an entire category of the industry, the data does not lie and views were up every year. Any whining about it was a few pinkers honestly, but globally redbull coverage was a massive win.
  • 3 0
 A lot of the Redbull moaners were not around for bad old days. Everyone shouts about how amazing Freecaster was but a lot of that is based on Rob Warner being well lubricated and having no editorial oversight, plus a few clips that circulate on youtube.There was a reason that the likes of Dirt were so important - a lot of the time it was the only place to get good insight on what happened in a race. Redbull for all their faults brought a lot of structure and reliability to the coverage. Could it be improved - of course but have Discovery proved trust worthy with the EWS coverage IMO, not at all.
  • 3 0
 @Puddings: that and just a general sense of entitlement. "I can't believe they didn't show X part of the track!! Red Bull sucks!!" ... Well, the track is a few miles long, and it's in the woods. How much do you think it costs to get every corner of track covered for this **FREE** broadcast???

Yes there were things that could have been better, but the quality of the broadcast (camera coverage, commentating, pre-race, all of it) was amazing for a free stream. I'm hoping we're pleasantly surprised with Discovery but I think it's more likely they paywall it, add some commercials, cheap out on production, and slowly suck the life out of mtb coverage.
  • 1 0
 @bkm303: *am I* right? I’ve had chance to go to World Cups and after the event it’s done I always go back and watch it on redbulltv again because you only get to see only a fraction of rider’s run. Never understood why people were whining all the time…it’s on them too haha…
  • 6 0
 This all reminds me all too much of what happened to Snowboarding years ago.
  • 5 0
 Care to fill in those of us who don't follow professional competition snowboarding?
  • 5 0
 @pmhobson: It was quite similar, when the FIS (International Skiing Federation) became the governing body of competitive snowboarding and initially establishing rules and decisions, withouth having heard the voices of the riders.
It came to a split in 2 group of riders, one supporting the efforts of the FIS, the others boycotting it.
To get a bit more background on it, you can also read this one here:
  • 7 0
 Bring back freecaster and unfiltered freecaster Rob Warner!
  • 3 0
 @brianpark: before those nearly-elite privateers would go to a national/regional race, there need to be good national / regional races. Just look at what Camille Balanche said about this years european champs, i think it was in the podcast of Singletrack Magazine. If the resumée of continental champs of pro riders is basically that the organisation was bs and their probably not gonna go anymore if not something chances dramatically, it's not a good sign. Also, if we want to strengthen national / regional races, there need to be national / regional races first.
  • 9 2
 Bruni/ Finn twins.. lol.
  • 3 0
 Almost as close as our usernames.
  • 3 1
 Without starting a debate on semantics, perhaps using the term "association" would help avoid confusion since the "U" in UCI already stands for Union albeit with a different meaning than a trade union.
  • 6 0
 Join the Union!
  • 3 0
 riders, make it happen asap, build a strong union! Don't let investors, broadcasters and the UCI turn a cool sport into a NFL-like monster.
  • 6 1
 Sorry Myriam and Greg, but the words "trust" and "ESO" do not go together.
  • 4 0
 Is it just me or did Gregs attitude come off as a bit "Im retireing soon so I don't care"
  • 4 0
 I respect and support the riders for doing this!
  • 5 0
 Henry’s best video
  • 2 2
 If all goes well next year that’s awesome. If not, a riders union could dump the UCI completely and look elsewhere for series sponsor.
In my biased opinion this is the greatest sport ever, and it should be an Olympic event. A person’s skills of gravity against a track and a clock, fastest wins, nothing more pure than that.
When I started racing DH in 1994 , I was sure it was something the world and the Olympics would embrace. Much like skiing , XC ski racing and DH ski racing.
What has been holding it back from where it should be ?
  • 16 0
 What's the benefit of going olympic ? Better to stay out of that mess
  • 1 0
 Yeah they could, but theres also some chance that riders go to register for next year or the year after or eventually and they find themselves having to sign into a contract that means they cannot simply leave and form their own event. If they want to race world cups they will have to sign this contract which means they can't race anything else and they can't opt out of events if they so choose. Professional sports...
  • 2 2
 I know that everyone will want to know what is happening next season, but I think that it is reasonable to assume that the organizers simply don’t know yet.
It takes a lot of financial commitment to host a WC - and who is going to sign the dotted line on that one in light of the last 2 years?

I want to know what is going on as much as the next guy, but I can see how getting a WC schedule going would be a challenge…
  • 2 2
 Good on them, the riders should always have an input into the sport; they are the stars of the show.

One point nobody has mentioned; keeping the status quo isn't going to grow the sport - and bring in new sponsors, more money, etc
I'm uncomfortable with some of the things mentioned, but this move to Discovery is an opportunity to grow and develop it into a bigger sport, than it currently is. Standing still isn't an option......
  • 4 1
 Why isn't standing still an option? If everyone likes it how it is then why not try to keep it the same?
The only people who want to change it are those who want to make more money out of it.
  • 1 0
 Going backwards can be classed as not standing still.
  • 1 0
 Income that will be going to Warner Bros as it will be their product to sell
  • 3 0
 Seems crazy that only get 3000 euros for winning a World Cup Downhill race?
  • 1 0
 Haha Henry you've out done yourself that was great journalism now we are going to expect more of this content. Seriously though, thanks for keeping us fans in the loop because we are worried too.
  • 4 2
 Gen Zers, time to step up and make a real change. The opportunity is there so go for it.
  • 3 1
 pardon my lack of knowledge about the topic, but I'm guessing the xco/xcc also moving to discovery?
  • 2 0
 Yes they are
  • 4 1
 NORBA, late 1990's early 2000's.. Mount Snows Yard Sale.
  • 3 0
 I keep Finn 's word "...we do not want to be thrown to the wolves.."
  • 1 1
 Maybe do DH1 and DH2 where the first is the absolute top 30 for the main stream and then DH2 could be the lesser gods a.k.a. p30-p60 the day before? Basically what Formula D does, including televised qually
  • 2 0
 Good for them and God speed!
  • 2 0
 Warner with Cathro and sixpack
  • 1 0
 I'm going to miss Warner.. if it's anything like watching World champs it's going to be boring asf
  • 1 0
 Red Bull Hard Line Worlds Series
  • 1 0
 "an odd ramp at the finish area" I wonder what track they are refering to
  • 1 0

I believe they're talking about this SUPER SICK finish where you make a hard right over some rubber floor mats on the edge of a wooden drop, then pedal across a flat pedestrian bridge, then make another hard right turn down a plywood ramp into the finish area.
  • 1 0
 Step up UCI and start the representation!
  • 2 2
 NASCAR, IRL , F1..... almost all are cookie cutter cars.. just saying
  • 11 14
 Unions can be both good and bad. Since the UCI has a monopoly on racing already, I don't think its anti-free-market to support a riders union.
  • 27 12
 nothing wrong with being anti free market
  • 10 1
 I'm surprised to see you acknowledge the corrective role that unions have in unfree markets. Kudos.
  • 1 2
 @freestyIAM: why's that?
  • 5 11
flag hamncheez (Jul 13, 2022 at 18:03) (Below Threshold)
 @phazedplasma: the only way to be anti free market is to be pro authoritarian. Free markets is what happens when you leave people alone. To depart from that requires police and a military
  • 9 2
 @hamncheez: no free markets turn into oligopolies and monopolies almost inevitably absent regulation.
  • 2 8
flag hamncheez (Jul 13, 2022 at 20:07) (Below Threshold)
 @freestyIAM: government is a monopoly. The government enables monopoly. There are extremely few examples in recorded history of a monopoly forming and persisting without government meddling in the marketplace. The UCI is a good example; it and the IOC are maintained in their monopoly status by partnering with governments.
  • 7 1
 @hamncheez: you need to read your theory comrade
  • 1 2
 @phazedplasma: Please, point the way. I have my undergrad in economics. This is something that I'm very passionate about, and I keep myself well read and up to date.
  • 4 5
 Racing needs drama for views. Brilliant marketing by Discovery.
  • 1 3
 Doubt all of dis comments bollocks mate
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