The UCI and Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) have announced that from 2023 Enduro and E-enduro will be added to the World Cup calendar and there will be a semi-final event at DH World Cups.
It seems like there will be some big changes coming next year with the EWS being given UCI World Cup Status and becoming known as UCI Mountain Bike Enduro World Cup (EDR) as it is brought to a similar level as DH and XC. Alongside the changes for Enduro, the UCI press release also lists some big changes for DH racing, U23 XCC racing and the long-needed inclusion of Junior racing broadcasts.
EWS is now EDR
First up in some of the biggest racing changes we have seen in years is the EWS now becoming known as the UCI Mountain Bike Enduro World Cup (EDR). The change will mean that top-level Enduro racing will now feature alongside the XC, XCC, DH and XCM World Cup races.
With the change comes a switch-up in format with every race now being held on a single day and featuring a new points system. There isn't a ton of details on the points system in the press release but it does say that there will be points given for each timed special stage. An overall classification will be decided on these points and for the last stage, the start order will be switched up based on the point rankings, meaning the rider with the most points will be setting off last. It does say that the winner will still be decided on the overall recorded times for the special stages.
E-Enduro (E-EDR) has also been given World Cup status and from the press release, it sounds like it will be following the same ideas while also adding technical climbs to the courses.
Format changes to the DH World Cups
Also included in the UCI and WBD's announcements is a new format and some long-awaited inclusion for the DH World Cups.
The biggest change will be the addition of a semi-final set between qualification and finals, with the top 60 Elite Men and top 15 Elite Women from qualifying. Semi-finals will be broadcasted and the press release says this will means riders outside the top 30 Men and top 10 Women will get broadcast time. From the semi-finals, the top 30 Elite Men and 10 Elite Women will move to the finals to get another shot on track and each of the 40 runs will be shown in their entirety live.
The Junior racing will also see some changes including qualifying being added to the Women's racing and both categories will be broadcasted for the first time.
Alongside this big update on the state of racing next year the press release adds that a full calendar for the 2023 World Cups will be published next week. An updated list of rules and regulations starting on January 1 2023 has been published by the UCI here
Original Press Release from the UCI
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) are pleased to announce that the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup will be further extended from 2023 with the introduction of enduro and E-enduro to the calendar. This follows the recent announcement of the addition of cross-country marathon (XCM) to the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup.
The existing Enduro World Series (EWS) is elevated to UCI World Cup status and will feature alongside cross-country Olympic (XCO), cross-country short track (XCC) downhill (DHI) and XCM. All enduro events on the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup will be one-day events.
Enduro (EDR) racing comprises several timed Special Stages - predominantly downhill - and Liaison Stages to reach the start of each Special Stage. On each Special Stage, riders start individually at regular intervals, with all their recorded times added up to decide the winner. To reach the start of each of the Special Stages, riders cover Liaison Stages either by bike or with mechanical assistance (chair lifts, trucks etc). Liaison Stages are not timed but riders must reach the start of the following Special Stage within an allocated time.
New at each round of enduro racing at the 2023 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup will be a points system for each timed Special Stage. An overall classification according to points won will decide the order of riders for the last Special Stage, with the rider who has accumulated most points setting off last.
E-Enduro (E-EDR) follows the same principle but the courses will be slightly different, including challenging technical climbs suited to the attributes of an enduro E-mountain bike.
The integration of enduro and E-enduro into the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup is another development for the discipline since the UCI’s partnership with ESO Sports and Discovery Sports Events, two of WBD’s specialist sport organisations. The integration of XCM into the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup programme and the introduction of Under 23 categories for the XCC were announced in September.
Another enhancement to the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup from 2023 will be increased screen time for the Elite downhill competitions thanks to the introduction, at each downhill round, of a semi-final between the qualification and final. Featuring the top 60 Elite Men and top 15 Elite Women from qualifying, the downhill semi-final will see men outside the top 30 and women outside the top 10 enjoy broadcast coverage for the first time.
Forty Elite riders (30 men and 10 women) will qualify for the final, where the goal is to broadcast each of the 40 runs in their entirety live on WBD platforms.
In addition, thanks to the increased participation of Junior Women, a qualifying run will be introduced for this category, with the fastest 10 proceeding to the final. The Men Junior and Women Junior competitions will also be broadcast for the first time.
The amendments to the UCI Regulations for mountain bike which will come into force on 1st January 2023 can be consulted on the UCI website.
The full calendar of the 2023 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup will be published next week.
UCI President David Lappartient said: “The UCI Mountain Bike World Cup has been delighting athletes and fans for more than 30 years with multiple rounds being held worldwide throughout the season. I am thrilled that this international series will also include enduro, E-enduro and cross-country marathon from 2023. These formats will add a new dimension to the reinvigorated series that is taking the mountain bike discipline to even greater heights.
“Also thanks to our partnership with Warner Bros. Discovery, the spectacular downhill racing will benefit from greater exposure that will enchant existing fans and attract new audiences. I cannot wait to witness this new extended UCI Mountain Bike World Cup from 2023.”
Chris Ball, CEO of ESO Sports, added: “Mountain Bike racing has reached an incredible level over the past few years and this evolution of the rule book will allow the sport to change gear again and accelerate towards an exciting new future, celebrating the sport in all its forms.
“With more racing in short track and a new semi-final in downhill, fans will be treated to more action than ever. The awarding of UCI World Cup status for enduro, E-enduro and cross-country marathon will also put a greater spotlight on these incredible mountain bike formats and allow us to both push the front end of racing whilst maintaining amateur participation at many of our events.
“Along with the UCI, we believe these changes will help broaden the appeal of mountain biking and enhance the race experience for athletes, teams and fans alike.”