Why Are So Many Road Cycling Teams Starting to Race XC?

Nov 4, 2021
by James Smurthwaite  
From the first lap after the start loop Mathieu Van der Poel and Thomas Pidcock played a very tiring game of cat and mouse.

Incoming roadie talk, but trust me it will all make sense in a moment.

In recent years, road teams such as Mathieu van der Poel’s Alpecin Fenix and Tom Pidcock’s Ineos Grenadiers began to dip their toes into cross-country mountain biking. This off season however, the floodgates seem to have opened and now both Jumbo Visma and B&B Hotels p/b KTM have joined the circuit through Milan Vader and Victor Koretzky respectively.

Why is this? Well, a new breed of racers is emerging at the top of road cycling. Rather than staring at their stems and tempo-ing to power as part of a train of riders, they’re powerful, explosive, unpredictable, and recover quickly to disrupt the rhythm of their rivals. Riders like Alaphilippe, Van Aert, Stybar, and Van Der Poel all got their start in cyclocross and are now dominating the road racing circuit. None of these riders are yet seriously challenging for the most prestigious Grand Tour races, where lightweight climbers and time triallists are still kings, but in the Classics, Monuments and shorter Stage Races, these riders are reigning supreme.

Ceylin Del Carmen Alvarado takes the win by nearly 20 seconds.
Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado is a cyclocross World Champion who also races MTB on Van der Poel's Alpecin Fenix team and is a World Cup winner at the U23 level.

Cyclocross’s sustained, hour-long efforts on sharp muddy climbs earned these riders their strong legs, while maneuvering skinny tyres through slimy mud granted them superior bike handling skills to their more robotic rivals. If that skillset sounds familiar, it’s probably because cross-country mountain biking isn’t too far removed from the winter sport from Northern Europe. If you take cyclocross but make the courses techier, the climbs longer and the bikes a bit more suited to the terrain, then you basically have cross-country mountain biking. Even with the more technical courses we’re seeing in cross-country these days, XC racing isn’t a huge leap from cyclocross, which is why it has started to attract the attention of road cycling teams.

So, what’s the plan here? Is cross-country just going to become a feeder series for road racing and all of its best talents will be frittered away to grind themselves up alpine passes for a living?

Well, hopefully not. Van Der Poel and Van Aert still race cyclocross races because they value it as an important part of their race calendar and it keeps those skills sharp through the winter. Similarly, Pidcock was able to twist the arm of Ineos into starting a mountain bike program so he could target the Olympics and both Vader and Koretzky have said they will race on dirt alongside the road next year, albeit with a reduced calendar focussing on the biggest races.

The moment Victor Koretzky has been dreaming about for a while.
Koretzky across the line edging out Nino and Flueckiger on the last lap.
Victor Koretzky won two World Cups in 2021, but will be racing fewer World Cups with his new team in 2022

XCO racing itself is also growing in viewership and prestige. Red Bull is never too open with its viewing figures but we know its streams passed 1 million views in 2015 and that it grew by 50% in 2018 alone. Add on top of this the drama and excitement of the Olympic Games and it’s clear mountain biking is a sport on the rise that team sponsors will want high-profile riders to be involved in. In fact, the inclusion of road teams is likely to be an even bigger boost for the discipline. Jumbo Visma has an annual team budget of €20 million, which we imagine is bigger than the rest of the XCO World Cup teams put together. Add to that the reported €50 million budget of Ineos Grenadiers, and you can start to imagine a significant financial boost for the sport of XC. The sport should also benefit from an influx of curious new fans that have come from the world of road cycling, who will further bolster its growing fanbase.

It’s going to be a very exciting few years in cross-country racing.


120 Comments

  • 169 7
 Because they’ve finally clued in that dirt rules and road sucks? J/K people… maybe.
  • 93 4
 Dang right! Its why I switched to gravel biking! Be safe be well, Incognito Robin
  • 19 0
 They got tired of doping, now they wanna feel STOKED !
  • 13 1
 @notoutsideceo: sweet! What’s your ride? Suspension gravel bike with idler?
  • 14 3
 @mitochris: TopFuel NEO Carbon baby! My friend, Peter Woods the CEO of Cannonade hooked me up - check out the pic of it in my profile!

Be safe be well,
Incognito Robin
  • 68 0
 Road doesn't suck, but all the drivers/cars on them do...

And if I wreck myself on the trails, it's basically 100% my own fault. On the other hand, I can follow all the rules and still be turned into road piazza by someone behind the wheel of a car/truck starring at their phone.
  • 3 0
 @notoutsideceo: How's Batman doing?
  • 31 1
 @danielfloyd: He's good thanks for asking! He's been dealing with some skin allergies and our naturopathic vet thinks he's developed an allergy to store-bought food...we've hired a personal dog-chef who comes in 3 days per week to make organic human grade food for him - you won't believe it, a week in he's already feeling better, his chi is more aligned then ever and he's PASSING me on climbs with the eBike!

Be safe be well,
Incognito Robin
  • 8 0
 @danielfloyd: Just to be clear...I'm not the eBike not him! The food is good but its not magic, ha!

Be safe be well,
Incognito Robin
  • 3 0
 @krka73: that is the exact thinking I’ve had for years. Me crashing into a boulder on a trail is almost exclusively my fault. Thousands of boulders moving at >>10 mph on the road within 3 feet of me and it doesn’t matter what I do to avoid them. I’ll control my own destiny.
  • 2 0
 @notoutsideceo: I was gonna say, that's an impressive chef if the food he makes can get your dog on a bike, haha! That's good to hear though.
  • 10 0
 @danielfloyd: I can't wait to go camping with him once we get the Cybertruck with the roof top tent! Dogs are the best.

Be safe be well,
Incognito Robin
  • 5 5
 @notoutsideceo: Gravel biking also sucks. Marketing companies wet dream.
  • 10 0
 @Hairyteabags: You got that right...I only ride on sunny days, nothing dreamy about gravel biking in the wet!

Be safe be well,
Incognito Robin
  • 5 0
 @tonkatruck: I am not taking your comment too seriously, but World Cup XC races definitely have their share of doping cases in the past. Jerome Chiotti, Filip Meirhaeghe, Christophe Dupouey, Roland Green, Margarita Fullana, and the list goes on.
  • 1 0
 @tonkatruck: never heard anything truer in my life
  • 4 0
 @Offrhodes: Don't forget where Michael Rasmussen and Floyd Landis started. Sadly, adding zeroes to the budget of XC teams means only one thing: more sophisticated "medical programs." Naive cycling journalists celebrating this stuff need to watch Icarus, and ask themselves when they think the door actually closed after Operation Puerto?
  • 3 1
 Because road cycling is boring as hell...... then they can have much more fun while keeping their lycra suits.
  • 1 0
 @mitochris: high pivot gravel bike
  • 63 2
 Because they are sick of getting ran over by cars?
  • 16 0
 Lol!

I want mountain biking to grow but - selfishly - I don’t want it to grow tooo much. It’s sweet that my local trails are quiet. It’s dope that I see my fave pros in Whistler walking around normally and I can go up to them and say hi. No need to buy tickets to crankworx, UCI DH or XC events! Just walk up to the tape! My favourite NHL, NFL players and teams? Over $100 to watch them from the nosebleeds and there’s no way those guys are just chilling on a sidewalk patio because they’d get mobbed.
  • 1 0
 @baldybrucetires: 100% agreed on this
  • 1 0
 @baldybrucetires: so true! Luckily, I feel as though it will always be a niche sport and that’s a good thing. The perfect balance, in my opinion, is just enough power to keep trails open but not mega crowded.
  • 1 0
 I feel this. While I was recovering from a wrist injury, I was riding road on an empty country road and was struck from behind by a car going 50mph. I broke two vertebrae and chipped out 12 teeth, along with other injuries.
  • 1 0
 Been mountain biking for close to 15 years, of which I have owned a road bike for about 10 years, I use it very little... The being ran over by cars anxiety is very real. Especially in So Cal where people are very distracted and have a hard enough time driving as is. Also the fun factor payout vs workout when riding a roadbike is way off balance. Why take the risk being that next white bike marker on the streets or highways when you can get just an effective and more fun workout riding on dirt?
  • 34 0
 XC is an Olympic sport, cyclocross is not, so maybe the hunt for Olympic gold has something to do with it?
  • 7 0
 Big push to get CX into the Olympics from Sven...rub was, it's a winter sport!! I think folks struggled with that concept and for that reason, I think it will be tough...
  • 4 0
 @RadBartTaylor: IIRC there's actually a rule that to be in the winter Olympics your sport has to take place on snow or ice. CX can take place on snow or ice, but it doesn't have to. I feel like the push to get CX in the Olympics has been mostly forgotten about. I definitely think it should be in there, though.
  • 5 0
 @PAmtbiker: exactly....I mean it's tough to sell a cycling sport to the Olympic folks that happens on snow and ice but at the same time it would be a travesty to have it in the summer in the dry...kinda defeats the *spirit* of CX.

IMO - F&*# it, hold it on the snow and ice...but like the Olympics a few years back in CAN, prob a good chance it will be proper mud and slush with global warming anyways...
  • 1 0
 @RadBartTaylor: Wouldn't CX be good for the Winter Olympics then? It isn't rare for a CX race to be held in snow and it shouldn't be too hard to find a suitable spot.
  • 2 0
 Damn CX isn't in Olympics (didn't realize)? That's one that should be for sure.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: happens from time to time. I can envision a situation where they'd need to compact the entire course and at that point you are just riding a bike on a nordic ski course. What happens if it's 4' of soft snow? You could groom it but still, Ski's will work, with bikes you'd probably just wanna throw on some snow shoes and run the whole thing.....

I think the reality is that the city's where the winter Olympics are held typically have lower elevation areas where it's going to be viable. But in Belgium, when it does snow, it's hard packed, a few inches, mixed with mud and really cold, condition you can actually ride in.
  • 1 0
 @RadBartTaylor: Yeah, that last point is what I was aiming at. Infrastructure is a requirement for the Olympics so these are typically held in areas where you do have a valley nearby. If you allow the competitors to practice the days leading up to the event, you won't have 4 feet of snow. It may have slushy parts, but that's part of the deal too. In XC, people have come to expect more or less predictable conditions (bar the bit whether a drop has a ramp or not) and in that sense CX may be a bit more raw. You need to be prepared for everything and things may suit you or not but at least the conditions are the same for everyone.
  • 1 0
 @PAmtbiker: maybe have "snowpits" instead of "sandpits". thought it be a nice to have CX held more in the village or town than on/up the hill, less travel etc, do it at night. be good IMO.

Or get it in the summer Olympics and get someone to leave the sprinklers on over night..
opps sorry boss ;-)
  • 1 0
 @finelytunedride: There are more than a few riders who combine XC in the summer with CX in the winter, so bringing CX to the summer Olympics would upset even more schedules. How would someone like MvdP have to combine all that? It was hard enough to combine road and XC but at least he was aware of the challenge up front. But riders like Evie Richard, Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado and probably a good few others are trying to match CX and XC and it would be a bitch if one single CX would be brought dragged to the other half of the year.
  • 20 1
 Time to make those tech sections even bigger. I love the direction many WCXC courses are going which require actual mtb skills both up and down.
That will filter most of the pure roadies out. Sagan may be another story Smile
  • 6 2
 Exacly! The gaines for a rider who's technically superior are too small!
Change the courses to make it so that you get an actual procentual acvantage if you're a better rider. No you gain what, top 10sek but mostly 5sek in a lap (Nino/Neff/Rissveds etc) but it's out of a 10-15min lap. If you could gain 2min (on a 15min lap)on other riders it would start to be a better course
  • 8 0
 Why don't we just time the transfer sections of an Enduro race? Problem solved (slightly tongue in cheek)...but could be an option. Honestly though, this is kinda why Enduro became a thing, fitness enough to get through a day but ultimately comes down to skill.
  • 12 0
 @LDG: Downhill gains will allways be small, because there's considerably less time spent on the downhills. Unless you'll make them climb down a ladder, this will be the case. Racers do use techy downhills to put eachother under pressure, which adds a lot to the excitement.

It's rarely race winning in the most immediate sense (getting to the last DH first usually does the tric), but it adds up if you can make your competition close gaps by putting in extra watts lap after lap.

Also: It's world cup racing with the best of the best. We tend to think a little bit black and white of the skilled riders as miles ahead of the rest, but they are simply the best among a really good field. With bad skills, you're not there racing, because no fitness makes up for that. Riders improve their game constantly, if they notice a weak point in themselves and the worst descender is still a pretty good one.
  • 2 7
flag LDG (Nov 4, 2021 at 14:27) (Below Threshold)
 @jeroenk: I agree but I still think the tracks are way too easy. Why don't they have more technical sections where it's flat or up hill? From the races I've seen the technical stuff is only on the downhill where as you said there are more marginal gains.
If they were to put a 200m or so technical part, on the flat bit of the course, where you would gain time by being a good rider but not by running.
  • 2 0
 @jeroenk: Yes but if courses have drops and gaps that are gnarly enough to make some riders have to WALK a B line option then you have a race Smile
  • 5 0
 I want natural tracks,with natural challenges. Even at its top level,the sport should reflect what people are riding,not something completely different. 4X was killed because of this. It the end of the day,it always was more BMX than MTB,people weren't buying 4X bikes and it lacked interest from the majority of the racers. I don't want XC to go that route.
  • 4 0
 @LDG: idk what you mean bruh.. some climbs are unridable to mere mortals in xc because of how technical they are.. flat sections have pumptracks and jumps and drops and wallrides…
  • 1 0
 @nozes: XCM has those natural tracks
  • 4 0
 @LDG: The track has to be race-able with >60 people on it. You have to have sections were passing is possible and it would suck to see racers getting more stuck behind people in front of them that made mistakes.
  • 4 0
 @LDG: Don't get me wrong: I'd like XC races to be more technical, but they've come a long way. The trend is definitely towards gnarlier courses, also on the flat or uphill. F.e. There are some iconic root sections in Nove Mesto and in Val di Sole they race up the rock garden of the 4X track. These girls and guys make that stuff look easy though. There's also a limit to how much multi-line tech puzzle you can find or build in a given area. If you tape the course a bit too wide, racers are experts in finding the easiest line around the gnar.

I am not sure if bigger 'dare' features are the solution. That's not what XC is about and there's already more of that than there's ever been. (On friggin' XC bikes!) If you make the features even bigger, riders will quickly adapt and it'll hardly be a time discriminator. The only change would be more injury risk.
  • 1 0
 @jeroenk: I never mentioned bigger dare features. But technical on the uphill and on the flats would make more time difference. Anywho, it's hard still and i doubt we'll see much changes but I hope the sport will continue to evolve.
From what I see it's still mayhem and hard to pass people during the first lap.
  • 1 0
 @LDG: You didn't mention that, but others did ;-).
  • 1 0
 I just want to see Sagan start a few XC races. That would be rad.
  • 1 1
 @jeroenk: this is absolutely spot-on but cannot be said to explain Kate Courtney's downfall.

Believe me I've tried.

Kate fans are a bit simple.

They will be happy to know she is doing yoga as we speak.
  • 1 1
 @jeroenk:" There are some iconic root sections in Nove Mesto and in Val di Sole they race up the rock garden of the 4X track. These girls and guys make that stuff look easy though"

Diplomatically said.

Former world champs will finish minutes behind due to their inability to keep up with the best.
  • 22 5
 I love road and mtb. Embrace them both!!
  • 13 0
 Anecdotal, and based on many years of observation: Road riders fitness levels are higher than MTB XC-only racers.

Assuming the courses are not overly-technical, raw aerobic capacity is a huge benefit to winning XC races.
  • 6 0
 Could be true, but it works the other way too. The riders mentioned in the article have great explosive speed and do well in road races with short, sharp climbs. I'd say their XC/CX races are basically intense interval sessions that help raise their power. Ride/race variety could be the secret sauce
  • 3 0
 Define fitness
  • 2 1
 It would be an interesting test to have road riders and XC riders compete in a two day race with one day on road and one day on dirt. Personally I would guess that XC riders would win because I think XC riders have more leg strength and can push more watts due to riding heavier bikes and pushing steeper climbs all the time. When I get on a road bike, it is so light and climbs are not as steep, so I feel really fast. Lol.
  • 1 0
 There's been a few XC racers who went all the way to the top of road such as Cadel Evans and Michael Rasmussen.
  • 1 0
 @GZMS: High VO2 max and high lactate threshold levels to start.
  • 1 0
 @njcbps: i dont see why it would be that way.. maybe its your circles..thing is, many mtb riders dont train, while higher portion of roadies do.. but those mtbers that train are no less fit
  • 3 0
 @GZMS: We are talking about riders at the elite level - world class. And every world class XC racer trains hard AF: coaches, intervals, thresholds workouts, gym, constant fitness testing, shrinks, the works.
  • 1 0
 @iamamodel: OP said that it is based on his observations, so i kinda assumed he knows those people personally to observe how fit they are.. i dont think that means we talked about world tour pros
  • 1 0
 @iamamodel: at the highest end , if we speculate, i dont see a reason why roadies would be fitter.. only thing is XC racers tend to have a bit more mass on upper body, so their per kilo stats will be worse, but it is not a dead mass, they need it to ride well and not crash..
  • 15 0
 Who would have thought that guys who are fast on bikes are also fast on bikes?
  • 9 0
 It will be interesting to see how the sport grows, especially in the US. The Nica leagues have seen huge growth; the Utah league has gone from ~500 racers in 2013 to 5000+ racers today. We've already seen the woman be a dominant force in xc, and this last year Christopher Blevins showed up for the men. I'd imagine that with more juniors racing, the US will be have a growing number of talented young riders and could be dominant in XC in the next 5-10 years. Hopefully the growth of the sport will trickle down and lead to more/better development teams that can take the young riders to the next level, as right now money is still a big barrier, and there are plenty of young riders with tons of potential that don't have a clear path laid for them after high school and are often on there own to make it happen.
  • 6 1
 "None of these riders are yet seriously challenging for the most prestigious Grand Tour races".....I think Wout is challenging, he's beating and staying with the best climbers in the Tour, beating the best sprinters and out TTing the best there are....he may not be overall contender, but when he finishes 19th overall and beats some of the best in the business doing that....he needs to be in the conversation...
  • 6 0
 Wins in a TT stage, the Champs, and the queen stage twice over Ventoux. What an absolute monster.
  • 4 0
 Sure he needs to be in the conversation, but the reality is he could only be in contention for a podium in the rare case the parcours suits him with a lot of timetrial miles, little steep uphill finishes after long mountain stages. Some of the other main contenders need to be absent too. He has proven he is close to Pogacar, Roglic or Bernal on a single long climb finish, but those guys (and some others too) rode minutes away from him after consecutive days of hard racing in the mountains.

He is quite the beast though... Maybe he could get closer if he would do a Tom Dumoulin and lose a lot of muscle mass, but he'll allways be a tall, big guy, as is Mathieu van der Poel. The fact that they are up there winning races that they shouldn't on paper is impressive enough.
  • 5 0
 Cross-country, like cyclocross, is spectator, television and broadcast friendly. They race around a relatively short course so it's easy to mount fixed camera platforms, put advertising hoarding in place as well as viewing areas for spectators. Plus the races don't last too long, an advantage for live television and streaming coverage. Sponsors pay millions to have their names printed on a team jersey, so it's in the interests of them and the teams to maximize exposure and promote themselves to a wider audience.
  • 3 0
 Fully agree, tours are awesome for participants, but, similar to EWS, most people watch only highlights.. While in xc you can have spectators’ attention for full xcc race saturday (maybe), and then full xco race sunday.. so even if races are shorter, there is actually more time to do ads and marketing..
  • 8 0
 Because everyone started to MTB during COVID godammit
  • 3 0
 I appreciate that the best athletes are staying with mountain biking, even if it's just part-time. It raises everyone's game and helps to put a reference on how skilled/fast/strong the best racers are. Far better than when Cadel Evans, Jakob Fuglsang, J-C Peraud and so many others had to leave MTB behind entirely if they wanted to earn a wage that matched their talent.

I'm glad there's enough money in the sport that athletes can choose the path they love, but I am a bit worried about Pinarello re-entering the mountain bike market and pushing top bikes past the $20,000 level. #pworks #fahk
  • 5 0
 I ride bikes. Pretty much every type of bike I can get my hands on. Commute to work, ride centuries, race CX, ride parks, hit jumps, generally slay MTB trails.
  • 3 0
 This all already happened in the 90's. In the early 90's, CX racers from Europe joined the MTB World Cup and dominated right away, later riders like Cadel Evans started in mountain biking and went on to win the TDF afterwards. Lance Armstrong did a few World Cups as well. The doping came along with CX riders and got later supported by more money and bigger sponsors. In the early 2000's the World Cup had a hard fall and just recovered from it the past 5 years or so. We don't need big road teams or money. Please stay out!
  • 2 0
 From the early days roadies have come across to mountain biking (think Bob Roll, Alison Sydor) but for the most part its been the other way with mountain bikers going to the road perhaps for the money/prestige (Cadel Evans, Ryder Hesjedal, Roland Green, Peter Sagan...the list goes on). I think what we're seeing on both the men's and women's side right now is a group of cycling superstars emerging that are so strong they can do it all. This breaks through the conventional wisdom that you need to specialize in one discipline to be competitive.
  • 2 0
 Why Are So Many Road Cycling Teams Starting to Race XC?

I would say its because some of their riders just have MTB oder CX background.

20 years ago there were Cadel Evans and Michael Rasmussen, 30 ago John Tomac. Now they are named van der Poel, Pidcock, van Aert or Koretzky. Not a new phenomenon.
  • 2 0
 Don't forget Evie Richards.
  • 1 0
 Teams have seen the havoc that MVdP, Van Aert and Pidcock have wreaked on all circuits and are realizing that the talent in CX and mtb more than holds their own on the road. MVdP and Van Aert are otherwordly talents so people expected them to make a splash. but when Pidcock went and won Brabantse Pijl, 2nd at Amstel Gold and 3rd at Kurne Brussels Kurne in addition to CX and mtb results I think it opened more eyes that it isn't just generational CX/mtb talents that can make a big impact on the roads. With budgets north of $20 million, they want to tap into that. The investment is worth them only racing a partial road schedule if it means they get wins.
  • 2 1
 Turns out being juiced to the eyeballs on whatever works for grinding up tarmac roads also works for grounding up dirt tracks, and the explosive growth of mountain biking means there's now has enough eyeballs on it to be worth the time switching bikes
  • 1 0
 I'm gonna guess it's money. There have always been top riders who want to race MTB but choose road because it pays better. Perhaps the environment is changing to allow higher salaries for XC racers or at least cross-over racers who can compete in multiple disciplines.
  • 1 0
 I'd say that's way too simple. These riders were mountain bikers first. Pro road teams realize there are a lot of advantages to having their squad do "alt calendar" races, MTB, CX, gravel. Mostly I'd say it's because it's exposure and the riders themselves want to do these races.
  • 5 2
 Or maybe, just maybe it’s because MTB is 10 times the fun of road riding. For some of the TdF stages the most interesting bit is the wheelie competition. Just saying….
  • 2 0
 I think including mountain biking in the olympics has helped as well. Tokyo had an awesome course with at least one viral moment (Favorite nose diving off of small cliff) whereas road biking had...a medal ceremony.
  • 1 0
 One of the biggest benefits of the road teams having XC racers is reach. You only have to look at the number of followers that these teams have through their social networks to see how many more people are going to see MTB content they post. The rise of streaming channels also means that they know people are watching and that the racing gets them the right numbers in terms of exposure to make the multi-discipline riders a good signing..
  • 1 0
 Nobody in the pro peloton is a bad bike handler. These people ride 300+days a year.

Riding urban roads in europe littered with road furniture with 200 other people at the same time requires a pretty dialed set of bike handling skills. Sure, mountain biking and CX are nice and help with some skills, but it's a marginal gain on the road. Mountain bike skills might help with some bunny hops here and there, but lots of road riders can do those, and I suspect everyone in the pro ranks can. It's a skill you see over and over in races as kerbs seemingly come out of nowhere when you're riding that fast in a group.

Descending big mountian passes is also completely different than mountain biking. Mountian biking would help when descending a pass, but so would just road biking.
  • 1 0
 Mountain biking - more fresh air even if it's horse, cow, and bear shit on the trails
Road biking - exhaust fumes, especially the black diesel crap that comes out the busted hemi redneck trucks

Mountain biking - worry about ghost bears and cougars
Road biking - worry about getting run over by cars and rednecks with their jacked up 4x4's

Mountain biking - obstacles include: trees, rocks, drops, roots, and other fun challenges; no trails are the same
Road biking - follow the white lines and hope not to be hit by a car or break your rims in potholes; all roads look pretty much like the other.

I'd still ride my road bike to get the cardio in, but nothing beats the workout from mountain biking.
  • 3 0
 Interesting article. Always fun to read about new ideas / observations in the sport.
  • 3 0
 Calling individual rider efforts team participation is a bit of a stretch isn’t it, good job pinkbike.
  • 3 0
 It is team participation, those riders aren't going to be showing up in their car 2 hrs before the race have a friend or parent hand them bottles. Firstly, the team needs to be registered as a UCI MTB team for them to even race in the trade kits instead of national colors. They will have a team van or truck to hold all of their equipment, a swany to take care of their nutrition and massage them between practice days, a mechanic to keep their bike in top condition. Plus they will probably have a true pit area where fans can watch them warm up or interact with them. Not to mention the 10's of thousands of dollars its costing the team to bring all of that equipment and support to each race. It is very much a team effort for a rider to participate in a world cup level race, whether that is one rider or 3 riders.
  • 1 0
 Why wouldn't they? They've already got the fitness and leg power in the bag. Now, they just have to learn how to keep the rubber side down, which we generally consider the more fun part of the process.
  • 2 0
 Are Vader and Koretzky going to ride on the road or are they sticking to XC but with road sponsors?
  • 2 0
 Bit of both. They will race some road and focus on the biggest mtb events like world cups.
  • 2 0
 This could be positive- bigger budgets , more advertising… new era for racing .
  • 3 0
 because they can keep doping without major consequences
  • 8 6
 Because mountain bikes are way more fun than road bikes!
  • 1 0
 both
  • 2 0
 My guess is the Scott team budget would be rather large...
  • 2 0
 Simple really....nearly everything in life is better on dirt.
  • 1 0
 Because they realized that a mid-level world tour pro can easily win a wold cup XC race?
  • 1 0
 Just a thought- I don't ride road bikes because drivers are more terrifying than bears and rocks
  • 1 0
 They are hiring cross riders for winter sponsor exposure and many are racing mtb's instead of road in the summer.
  • 1 0
 Disc brakes innit , they just want a full 8inch
  • 2 2
 This is cool but i still don’t want to see a overweight 50 year old dude in roady Lycra at my local XC loop
  • 4 0
 I'd rather see an overweight 50 year old dude in roady lycra who gives a smile and a 'hello' than see a skinny 24 year old dude in mtb race kit who gives a frown and an attitude.
  • 3 0
 @Braindrain: i feel this comment targets me
  • 1 0
 Seriously, wo this kind of news from PB, I just couldn't get thru the day.
  • 1 0
 Money makes the world go the world go round
  • 1 0
 increased exposure to the brands backing teams
  • 1 0
 Off-road/XC requires more sophisticated bike handling skills.
  • 1 0
 Trees and rocks aren’t texting and driving and running you over
  • 7 9
 Short answer - Mountain biking is just better than road cycling. Long answer - too lazy to type it out...but all you need to know, is mountain biking is better.
  • 1 1
 nah fam both be fun
  • 3 3
 Tl;dr .... because road cycling is dull as dishwater
  • 2 0
 do you ride road tho
do you have friends to ride with
do you have a proper road bike
what road hurt you?
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