Every Downhill World Cup Track of 2019

Apr 15, 2019 at 8:34
by James Smurthwaite  
Reece Wilson

You can now count with the fingers on two hands the number of days until riders put tyres to dirt at round 1 of the 2019 UCI downhill World Cup. This year sees the return of an 8 round series for the first time in a decade and also has three tracks that are either new, or returning after a hiatus, interspersed with some well established classics.

Let's take a look at each of the venues, and what we can expect to see in 2019, the helmet cams are from previous years but we've mentioned any changes we know are coming in the text below.

Round 1 - Maribor, Slovenia - April 27/28

Maribor makes its return to the World Cup circuit for the first time since 2010. In its 9 years of absence it has been a regular on the IXS circuit and will kick off the European series with a mini-World Cup this weekend that is expected to have most of the top riders in attendance.

This will be the ninth World Cup Maribor has hosted and the track still retains its classic lay out with a mix of bike park sections, deep woods, open piste corners and a fearsome rock garden slap bang in the middle. For the World Cup, the trail team are putting a new kicker on the start straight and will be resurrecting the finish area from the 2010 event.
Length 1.5km
Altitude Change: 387m

Previous Winners:
IXS European Cup, April 2018:
Laurie Greenland, Myriam Nicole
World Cup, May 2010:
Greg Minnaar, Rachel Atherton

Round 2 - Fort William, United Kingdom - June 1/2

Old Man Bill returns for another year on the World Cup circuit. As fearsome as ever, it's the longest track on this year's circuit. It has provided some classic races over the years from Kovarik's 14 second margin in 2002 right through to Pierron's breakout win last year.
Length 2.8km
Altitude Change 555m

Previous Winners:
World Cup, June 2018
Amaury Pierron, Tahnee Seagrave

We're all well used to the grey, gravel ribbon winding down Aonach Mor but the trail crew in the highlands have been putting in some serious work over the past few years with a new section after the Deer Gate and a couple of fresh woods lines. This year we've been told to expect some new, natural sections, which we're hoping to be the same fresh cut turns through the grass that we saw at the Scottish Champs last September. There are apparently even bigger plans in store for 2020.

Round 3 - Leogang, Austria - June 8/9

Leogang is often maligned but it consistently produces some of the highest drama on the circuit with Luca Shaw and Tahnee Seagrave both falling on the wrong side of that line last year.

The Austrian race returns in its usual slot straight after Fort William at the start of June this year. The fresh cut turns at the start of the track were a welcome addition last year and hopefully we see more of the same to shake up this largely bike-parky venue.
Length 2.5km
Altitude Change 469m

Previous Winners:
World Cup, June 2018
Amaury Pierron, Rachel Atherton

Round 4 - Vallnord, Andorra - July 6/7

Contrasts don't get much sharper than Leogang and Vallnord. Comfortably the steepest track on the circuit, Vallnord is a true test of bike handling and will require a totally different mindset.

We aren't expecting many huge changes to the track but it probably doesn't need any anyway.
Length 2.5km
Altitude Change 616m

Previous Winners:
World Cup, July 2018
Loris Vergier, Tahnee Seagrave

Round 5 - Les Gets, France - July 13/14

Les Gets won't be hosting a Crankworx round in 2019 but it does get a World Cup to make up for it. The last World Cup here was in 2002 but perhaps its most iconic race was the 2004 World Champs that saw Steve Peat hit the dirt within sight of the finish.

We've been told to expect the event to run roughly along the lines of the Crankworx track but with some additions for the World Cup. It has been a universally popular track with the riders but proved to be totally lethal in the wet in 2016. Either way, we're excited for what this classic venue can bring back to the World Cup circuit.
Length 2km
Altitude Change: 550m

Previous Winners
Crankworx Les Gets, June 2018
Troy Brosnan, Rachel Atherton

World Championships, September 2004
Fabien Barel, Vanessa Quin

World Cup, September 2002
Steve Peat, Anne Caroline Chausson

Round 6 - Val di Sole, Italy - August 3/4


A decade has now passed since we first went racing at Val di Sole so it has surely cemented itself as a modern classic of downhill racing. Last year saw Amaury Pierron seal his third consecutive win while Tahnee reignited her own title challenge with a victory snatched in the final few corners.
Length 2.4km
Altitude Change 540m

Previous Winners
World Cup, July 2018
Amaury Pierron, Tahnee Seagrave

Round 7 - Lenzerheide, Switzerland - August 10/11

After hosting the World Champs at the end of last year, Lenzerheide returns to the regular circuit in 2019. Its combination of high speeds and an unpredictable surface make it a tough course to master and more of a challenge than its bike park label might suggest.

Rachel Atherton asserted her dominance at the end of last season with a ten second victory, it will be interesting to see if she can produce another storming run here in 2019.
Length 1.75km
Altitude Change 402m

Previous Winners
World Championships, September 2018
Loic Bruni, Rachel Atherton

World Cup, July 2017
Greg Minnaar, Myriam Nicole

Round 8 - Snowshoe, USA - September 7/8

The overall titles will be decided at a totally new World Cup venue - Snowshoe Bike Park. The first World Cup on US soil since 2015 will actually close out the season as World Champs will happen the week before in Mont Sainte Anne.

Neko Mulally is helping the team in West Virginia to build the course and told us to expect a similar route to last year's US Champs but built wider to offer more line choice and with the addition of some machine built features for the broadcast.
Length N/A
Altitude Change 457m

Previous Winners
USA Champs, 2018
Neko Mulally, Samantha Soriano

World Cup
N/A



143 Comments

  • + 91
 If any country deserves a World Cup at this point, I think it's New Zealand
(and this is coming from a South African.We're old sporting rivals)

... Though Stellenbosch in SA could make a great venue if the effort was put in!
  • + 32
 Judging by the EWS recently they could build a SICK DH course in Tasmania too...
  • + 7
 A DH in Cape Town is long overdue. Jonkershoek could work with a bit of effort.
  • + 4
 It'd be an interesting discussion on where to hold it if it came to NZ. Rotorua already has Crankworx so it'd be nice to go somewhere else. Does Queenstown have a race line? I've never ridden there. Space around the bottom might be an issue too since it drops right into the township. I don't think Christchurch's bike park is quite there yet either, although they have plenty of potential to build on - maybe in a few years time once they've really established themselves.
  • + 6
 @Preachey: Cardrona (near QT / Wanaka) has the vertical. I'm sure with some Kiwi trail building magic they could turn out a super track. www.cardrona.com/summer/bike/mountain-bike-info
It would be so different to have a track with no trees.
  • + 16
 Problem is the rest of the world have to get there.
  • + 3
 @banffowen: Queenstown has the tracks, it'd just be where to put the finish because of the town. I reckon a street finish into the town like in croatia last year (but way steeper and with stairs etc) would be sick
  • + 2
 @djm35: Is it really that much of an issue? If you're travelling from Europe to North America surely it's not that difficult to do so to the Southern Hemisphere?

Maybe someone with proper inside knowledge of the logistics can answer this (not the PB armchair engineers)

I would imagine time zone differences clashing with broadcasting may also be a constraint, but it can't be that much of an issue either..
  • + 5
 @Spark24: When you consider the number of privateers from Europe compared to elsewhere yes, it makes a difference to costs, flights to the USA are generally cheaper anyway. No beef with Southern hemisphere or their tracks, in fact I used to live in your fine country.
  • + 19
 @djm35: Snowshoe WV is in the LITERAL middle of nowhere...
  • + 5
 @djm35: there's a greater representation of privateers wherever you are. Races are mostly in Europe, so mostly European privateers. If you put a race in South America, Asia, Aus, etc. I'm sure you would have a greater privateer portfolio
  • + 1
 @banffowen: that has my vote 100% its ridiculously good riding up there
  • + 2
 @djm35: True. But they've had World Champs in Townsville and Canberra. NZ wouldn't be much more of a stretch. Perhaps they could do a double up like EWS with a race in Australia, maybe another new venue like Maydena.
  • + 2
 I've heard from teams and riders that the isolated events are hard for everyone. You look at the big events in Europe and all the teams have their big team trucks. It is so hard to get that many team trucks to Australia, let alone NZ. It's quite hard to get to north america and some teams just do without their rigs. That's just crossing one ocean. Imagine crossing a whole continent and then having to cross an entire ocean.
  • - 2
 @hokiedoc2010: LoLoLoLoLoL spin a globe dude.
  • + 1
 @Tinga: pit setup is a pretty poor excuse in my opinion.
  • + 3
 @Tinga: and everywhere is hard to get to depending on where you start, perspective Man
  • + 3
 @Tinga: Simple solution. Team planes. Boeing needs some good PR right about now so they should step it up and provide the planes for free. Lol
  • + 1
 @Jimmy0: They start in Europe and can simply drive to other European countries. No one can simply drive from Europe to North America or Oceania.
  • + 1
 @Tinga: true, but you're missing my point. No matter where it is, it is harder for people not there to get there. If it's in Europe as it always is, everyone outside of Europe has a harder time.
  • + 1
 @Tinga: European events are isolated events for non europeans
  • + 1
 @Tinga: you can drive to Africa with a little help from a ferry...
  • + 33
 World Cup In Queenstown NZ would be off the hook
  • + 1
 Definitely
  • + 3
 @montysaunders: I read that in Blenki's voice
  • + 29
 SnowShoe looks gorgeous, I just hope the video coverage will be good on the woods, not just on the ski slopes which seem pretty boring. Can't wait for this season to kick off!
  • + 6
 YES!Lower Hareball is quite the trail in person.Just a couple rocks
  • + 3
 Snowshoe will eat. Mark my words.
  • + 2
 @nug12182: that trail is heinous, getting through the main rock garden is really tricky especially if its wet. and it rains often at snowshoe
  • + 1
 @grundletroll: Its a shame they use so much of the face on the top of the course.
  • + 3
 @charmiller: I don't know what that means, but it makes me uncomfortable.
  • + 32
 So it's called world cup and only one round is outside of Europe....
  • + 144
 Well... The Fort William round should have, in theory, been outside of the EU by now... Big Grin
  • + 1
 @SGTMASON: oh right! lol
  • - 2
 @SGTMASON: Britons never considered themselves as Europeans as far as I know. But I might be wrong...
  • + 27
 @alerion: We do, but only when it suits us
  • + 38
 @alerion: risking a pile-on here, but would say anyone under 50 probably more likely to consider themselves European and be comfortable with that and anyone over 80 same. The boomers in the middle need to get their shit together.
  • + 2
 @sourmix: seems to be the case doesn’t it!
  • + 14
 @SGTMASON: I had no idea that we where un-anchoring the UK and leaving the continent of Europe as well as the union.
  • + 3
 @sourmix: exactly! It seems the people who are really pushing for it are old enough for it to not really effect them while simultaneously denying the opportunities to those that it will.

At least for Americans Trump can’t even serve a decade. The UK will be clearing up Brexit for many, many years.
  • + 3
 @Killrockstar: Although there's no shortage of dinosaurs here who would love to do that if it was possible.
  • + 0
 Britain is the Quebec of the EU
  • - 6
flag Happypanda1337 (Apr 17, 2019 at 21:10) (Below Threshold)
 Two rounds not one. Vallnord, South Africa. Snow shoe, Colorado, USA But yes, I do think it would be nice if other countries from different continents bid. But apparently, you either break even or at a lose when you hold these events.
  • + 7
 @Happypanda1337: Hold up, are you saying you think Vallnord is in South Africa and Snow Shoe is in Colorado???
  • + 2
 Geography.
  • + 19
 From What I've read it's not the UCI who organises the event, I remember seeing an interview with someone senior in the organisation who explained the venues bid for the world cup, It takes a huge effort to put the event on and some venues don't want to or can't afford to host the event. His advice was if you want to see a world cup at your venue get involved with venue and help organise it. Please correct me if I'm wrong - I know the internet struggles to do that
  • + 3
 No need for correction, you are right. Most venues actually lose money when they host a round of the World Cup, which is why many don't bid, regardless of all the people calling for races to be held at various places.
  • + 2
 You are right, but if I am not mistaken while uci doesn't organize them, a huge chunk of the costs comes from them with fees, required expenditures etc. The EWS hosts rounds in places all over the world and while their setup is a bit different of course, the costs they require or incur for a place to host are pennies comparatively which attracts more locations to want to host. I would guess there would be more locations that would want to host a WC but cannot justify the costs that come with the circus, and those costs originate with the UCI.
  • + 0
 @metaam: It may appear as a loss at first, but they are more than likely to make it up in the long run as people want to go and ride WCDH tracks. I know I am guilty of this. I still have nightmares from my first time going down Champery. Although Champery has been tamed in recent years.
  • + 0
 @Boardlife69: Possibly, but ultimately unquantifiable.
  • + 2
 @metaam: It is quantifiable. Look at hotel bookings and lift tickets sold the year before a WC is announced, year of, and year after.
  • + 12
 Snowshoe will be very interesting. The weather can be unpredictable and the ground doesn't absorb water particularly well. If it pours and they use Lower Hareball, expect major carnage.
  • + 4
 And the mountain is wet every morning even when it doesn't rain. I used to wonder why the lifts don't open until 10am. Then i realized its sloppy nearly every day before 10.
  • + 11
 Should put more races in North America, have it evenly split between here and europe (4 races each) with the world champs held at a more exotic venue (Australia, South Africa, Southeast Asia, etc) so that way teams can spend half the season on one continent and not have to be flying everywhere.
  • + 14
 they need to bring World Cup back to Angelfire and race on good ole World Cup DH. that is one kick ass trail
  • + 4
 I couldn't agree more! Love some good, ole fashion, Angel Fire World Cup!!
  • + 2
 I live about 3 hours from Angel Fire so yes, yes to this!
  • + 15
 Am I the only one who wants to see some asia/africa countty at the wc?
  • + 3
 No, you are not. But iirc, Japan is potentially coming back into the mix for 2020.
  • + 1
 Bukit Dinding Malaysia
  • + 1
 that would be so sick!
  • + 10
 Cant wait for Snowshoe, Hareball is one of the most deceiving trails on video....its ultra rocky and steep.
  • + 2
 Came here to say the same thing. Lower Hareball is so gnarly. I really hope they use it in the race (and don't try to "clean it up").
  • + 2
 You couldn’t clean up that nasty bitch@brainbckt:
  • + 1
 @Engie85: True dat.
  • + 7
 Pardon me, but according to math, Vallnord isn't the steepest track. Les Gets is 550m over 2km making it 27.75 average grade while Vallnord being 2.5km long with 616m elevation difference gives average grade of 22.18
  • + 13
 You are correct, but bear in mind that the first past of Vallnord is pretty flat, then it gets reeeaaally steep at the bottom. So while Les Gets is mathematically steeper, Vallnord has the highest and gradients of the year, for some quite extended sections
  • + 12
 That's almost as steep as the Windrock Pro-GRT course (30%)...which is where they need to hold a WC.
  • + 10
 No MSA this year?
  • + 18
 World Champs
  • + 12
 world champs
  • + 11
 World champs
  • + 11
 World champs
  • + 11
 World champs
  • + 8
 World champs.... just joining in
  • + 8
 World Champs
  • + 9
 World Champs
  • + 9
 World Champs
  • + 9
 World champs
  • + 9
 World champs
  • + 5
 .....World champs
  • + 7
 World Champs
  • + 1
 Crankworks. Oh wait, World Champs.
  • + 16
 Road House
  • + 4
 World Champs.
  • + 5
 world champs
  • + 5
 World champs
  • + 6
 world champs?
  • + 5
 I think MSA is hosting World Champs this year. Can anyone confirm??
  • + 1
 @rglasser: I confirm. World Champs.
  • - 1
 No world champs this year?
  • + 4
 World Champs
  • + 3
 Chorld Wamps
  • + 2
 Word, chumps.
  • + 1
 World Champs
  • + 1
 Really? No MSA this year? Wink
  • + 1
 world champs
  • + 4
 Championships...........................of the world (Clarkson voice)
  • + 1
 World Champs
  • + 1
 Hey Champ, its the Worlds.
  • + 1
 Whirl Chimps.
  • + 1
 Worlds!!!!!!! Best track of the game!!!!
  • + 1
 Campionato Mondiale
  • + 2
 Any Les Gets locals/regulars - is the track on the Mont Chery side of the valley...? It seems to start a lot higher than I remember. I last rode there in 2012; has it changed a lot since then? Or is my memory malfunctioning (again)
  • + 2
 It could be further down the village. If you drive in from Morzine, you have Mont Cherry first. Then the village, just continue on and just before you leave the village the old World Cup is on your left if I remember correctly? But a ‘local’ probably knows it!
  • + 3
 Snowshoe - addition of machine built features for viewing - Bike parking out the natural stuff - not what the riders want or DH needs. Maybe just to break up those boring ski slopes - then that's OK.
  • + 18
 Neko will do it the right way... no doubt
  • + 12
 You've obviously never been to Windrock if you think Neko will dumb down anything. HaHaHa
  • + 5
 @Cbc4447: More likely he's gonna truck in all the rocks from Tennessee to Pennsylvania. Love what he's doing for American DH!
  • + 2
 @Cbc4447: every one that reads this should arrow up.
  • + 5
 European Cup more like it with a token visit to the USA. Frown

I’m still filthy I missed Cairns WC’s that’s all.
  • + 6
 1st race in Maribor is only 10 days away.
  • + 2
 Warm up is already this weekend as most of top teams will be at IXS race there!
  • + 4
 Gee's run down Vallnord is terrifying.
  • + 1
 Made the Les Gets and Snowshoe tracks look downright pedestrian in comparison
  • + 1
 Fort W - val di sole ... and many other for many times... it's time to change, discover new country, new bike park, new tracks...
  • + 3
 Supper stoked to be working the last event of the season at Snowshoe!
  • + 2
 Can't wait to hit up Snowshoe this year! One of my favorite places to ride/race in the country.
  • + 3
 Sweet GEEsus that Vallnord POV is insane!!
  • + 3
 We have plenty of elevation here in Norfolk, they should host one here
  • + 2
 Ah yes, I visited that speed bump once.
  • + 2
 Like going back to the 92 Grundig Supercups with only 1 round outside Europe.....
  • + 4
 Needs more Cap D'Ail
  • + 3
 Bring back 1992! Imagine riding 490mm handlebars on a rigid, 71º HA, 1.9" wide tire, cantilever brake equiped POS as fast as you can!
youtu.be/IZ5Xp68q0ew
  • + 1
 @nozes: 580mm was the shit
  • + 1
 @donpinpon29: In 92? I used 540mm bars from 94 to 99 on my XC bike, and most people used narrower bars at the time.
  • + 1
 @nozes: could be. But not narrower than that eith normal grips and bar ends. The brake cable housings front and rear almost touching
  • + 1
 Snowshoe rider is on a V10 rebranded as an Airborne. I don't get why companies do that, when its so obvious...
  • + 2
 M16
  • + 1
 He currently rides a Commencal rebranded as Airborne. It's because they don't have a DH bike currently, I'm guessing? Tommy Zula is a MADMAN on a bike too, btw.
  • + 2
 Can you add Mitch Ropelato to the fantasy DH rider list please?
  • + 1
 still waiting for the world cup to come back to western Canada
  • + 1
 Cool but not much description of the tracks.
  • + 2
 EIGHT rounds!!!
  • + 1
 Tie a race into Crankworks Whistler!!
  • + 1
 What about Mont-Sainte-Anne and the 2019 World Champs?
  • - 1
 Sweeeeeeet!!!

*Best part about Pink Bike race previews/ reviews.....non of the Pink Bike trolls ever comment on the stories with their 'Glass half empty' BS Smile
  • + 1
 Sea Otter should host a UCI WC DH race. Such a rad track.
  • + 1
 Vallnord is an extreme track!
  • + 1
 Bring on the gnar!
  • + 1
 World champs

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