It's Going to Be Harder to Qualify for a DH World Cup in 2018

Oct 17, 2017 at 11:23
by Mike Kazimer  
Warning Contains spoilers...


We're still six months away from the first race of the 2018 DH World Cup season in Lošinj, Croatia, but the UCI recently announced a number of rule changes that will have an affect on the world's fastest downhillers. The biggest change is that the number of elite male riders who will be able to qualify for finals has been reduced to 60, down from 80. This change is in line with what we saw last season, when the number of elite women who could compete in the finals was dropped down to 15, and the number of junior men was dropped down to 20.

bigquotesThe top 60 men elite, top 15 women elite and top 20 men juniors from the qualifying rounds qualify for the finals. All women juniors who started in the seeding run are qualified for the final.Article 4.5.027

The rules regarding protected riders have also been changed slightly. The top five women and the top 10 men from the final 2017 World Cup ranking will be protected, as will the current top five women and top ten men after the first round of the season who are not already protected.

Note: The wording of the rule regarding protected riders isn't entirely clear, and an earlier version of this article misinterpreted the update. A revision to the wording will be completed by the UCI before the season begins.

bigquotesThe first 10 women elite and the first 20 men elite in the qualifying round are awarded World Cup points as per the scale in article 4.5.037. However, in the last round of the UCI MTB World Cup season, no points for the qualifying round will be given. The points (qualifying round and final) will be awarded to the riders with corresponding position in the final.Article 4.5.030

bigquotes'Protected riders' to the final are:

1.Riders ranked in the top 5 women elite and the top 10 men elite of the final World Cup standings of the previous season

2.Riders ranked in the top 5 women elite and the top 10 men elite of the current World Cup standings. For the first UCI MTB World Cup round of the season, the top 10 women elite and the top 20 men elite of the final World Cup standings of the previous season are 'protected' for the final.

They must start in the qualifying round but qualify automatically for the final in any case. If the times of the protected riders are not among the 15 best times for women elite or the 60 best times for men elite, they must ride the final in addition to the 15 women elite and 60 men elite already qualified.
Article 4.5.031


What's the takeaway from all those rule revisions? Well, one thing's for sure – qualifiers will be more important, since fewer riders will be able to make mistakes and still race in the finals. And while it will be more difficult to make it into finals, the riders that do get there have proven their worth, which should make for a more entertaining event for spectators. Bear in mind that the points required to actually enter a World Cup race haven't changed; it's just that making the jump from qualifiers to the finals has become even more of a challenge.

Along with those rule changes, riders will still not be allowed to wear cameras for the XC finals or for DH qualifying and finals, although they are allowed during training. However, the UCI can make an exception and allow a camera during finals, but that footage must be for the TV production company broadcasting the race.

Finally, there's one more important new rule in the books:
bigquotesDuring MTB races no electronic bikes are allowed on the course at any time during training and competition.Article 4.1.0.41



199 Comments

  • + 520
 Now more than the ever the EWS should start the DWS, down with the road biker run UCI.
  • + 64
 Agreed 100%
  • + 88
 Pls. I just don't see the point in these rule changes. If it ain't broke, why try and fix it. Seems like moving the chairs around to justify the UCIs existence.
  • + 17
 @alexhyland: The tracks will be in better shape for the finals.
  • + 9
 Amen sir. If I win a large lotto tomorrow, helping making this ^^^ or similar happen will be on my agenda. I would love to put in say 15 million into a managed trust with guaranteed payouts over a set amount of years as seed money. These would be more in line of the risk the riders take.

I fully understand demand, niche market, etc. etc. But I can dream.
  • + 100
 @enrico650: I did two world cups and I can promise you that the most track wear comes from the top 20 men. And there will still be two days of a few hundred people on the track for practice before qualifying. Those 20 out of 250 aren't gonna make the difference. All I see this doing is hurting downhill. I know plenty of people who barely squeaked by in qualifying then laid it down in finals; this is just gonna kill the dreams of some privateers trying to leave a mark
  • + 21
 MOAR of this!.. The UCI is just trying to slowly strangle the DH series... DWS with more races!!!
  • - 1
 @alexhyland: I imagine it was an economic decision. My understanding is that WC's are rather expensive for whatever national federation is hosting it. But then again, maybe I'm wrong and the high overhead only applies to world championships...
  • + 30
 Pretty Much F#$%s over the majority of privateers and new comers trying to race. Not saying you can't still qualify as a privateer, but the odds of someone getting in the main show living out of a van at the races compared to someone getting massages by the team masseuse in their air conditioned hotel room before a race is a lot less with only 60 spots to spare, and roughly. I can't say I've been there because I was never fast enough to race a WC by a long shot, but less riders means less money having to be spent by everyone except the riders working for it on their own. This has everything to do with the UCI wanting to spend less money on mountain biking and the teams wanting to condense and focus the funds on the riders who are demanding larger amounts of money. I sure after Aaron started asking for more, other top riders began asking for more too?
  • + 7
 @n3sta: The venue/location pay for the event and not the national federation.
  • + 3
 @si-paton: has less to do with the venue or UCI wanting to spend less money and more on the teams wanting to spend less money and pressuring the UCI as a result I would guess
  • + 2
 @si-paton: Thanks for clarifying for me!
  • + 6
 @TerryJAdams-Monster: not only will it make the teams smaller it will make them less apt to spend money on a privateer given the greater possibility that they will not qualify now, you're gonna see the teams only supporting the riders they for sure know will be in the top 20
  • + 0
 @enrico650: er how? Potentially just as many riders trying to get into the final.
  • - 14
flag endurocat (Oct 17, 2017 at 17:32) (Below Threshold)
 @kleinblake: Still, less riders, less Damage.
  • - 11
flag nvranka (Oct 17, 2017 at 18:03) (Below Threshold)
 @enrico650: I'm glad you're at least not being downvoted for this comment, as it really is true. The tracks get beaten to absolute shit with the quantity of riders at these events, and frankly this is the WC we're talking about...doesn't need to accommodate such a wide net of riders who will not even be worth watching in the grand scheme. Plenty of local/national series for those guys/gals
  • + 25
 @nvranka: ohhh the tracks are too smooth and bike parky. We need rougher, gnarlier tracks....

Ohhhh now the tracks are too rough, lets reduce riders....
  • + 4
 @ajayflex: totally! Oooooh the tracks getting beat up. It's fkn dirt riding not tour de france
  • + 12
 ditch the uci and bring in a real promoter and tether all the head cams to the broadcast get this shit on netflicks and so on.
  • + 5
 @rossfr
uhm, the Crankworx DH series already exist, and it's adding (great) venues every year...
Let's cross fingers
  • + 2
 @bman33: I was thinking the same thing on the way home, dreaming of a Euromillions win last week, what would I do with it? Fund a British Downhill or World Downhill series
  • + 2
 @alexhyland: This change is one that Redbull has been putting a lot of pressure on the UCI to make for a few years now. As a privateer World Cup racer, I try to stay as in the loop as possible and there was lots of talk about this happening last year. As the only broadcaster of the series, Redbull has as much, if not more, weight to throw around, when it comes to changes in WC DH, and I think they hope that with fewer riders they will be able to broadcast the entire finals.
  • + 1
 Too damn true!
  • + 1
 @giantkid97: Which rule are you saying that RedBull had a part of??
If you are talking about the number of starters for the mens final at (60) this has nothing to do with RedBull.
  • + 2
 @giantkid97: why would making the cut top 60 have any affect on broadcasting? We currently see top 20 men and top 10 women. So unless they want to increase the broadcast time 3x, cutting the final spots wont have any impact on that.
  • + 1
 @graeme187: Our diabolical plan just may work. YOU only need to win the UK/Euro lotto, I will win the US lotto and BOOM....we take it all over. I'll keep you posted on my end of the fantasy once I win!! Rubber side down man!
  • + 131
 What is the purpose of no cameras? It was so awesome to watch Troy Brosnan's vallnord winning run among others. A pov from practice just isn't the same.
  • + 57
 Distribution rights / footage exclusivity. Cuz Bidne$$$ :/

"UCI can make an exception and allow a camera during finals, but that footage must be for the TV production company broadcasting the race."
  • + 107
 Drop the UCI!
  • + 40
 @Scotj009: pinkbike should just start there own world cup series to compete with the uci.
  • + 61
 @kurtz433: Funny that. That pretty much makes it clear that the ban was not about safety, as had previously been argued by the UCI.
  • + 4
 Originally the UCI were saying it was a safety thing. A camera was something that could snag a helmet apparently.
  • + 9
 You haven't been able to use your own camera in race runs for many years. You can only use camera's provided by the UCI/Red Bull. This is where Troy's run from Vallnord came from
  • + 4
 @trumbullhucker55: I believe it's a timing thing. They don't want the teams to be able to dispute their timing.
  • + 3
 @adrennan: if Mike Levy isn't a "protected rider" I won't watch it
  • - 1
 If it were about safety, I'd accept it. You can have a smooth Kali helmet, it isn't worth much if you've got a camera gripping the dirt. But only accepting it for official UCI broadcasts sucks. Teams release their own videos which are great for their sponsors and probably do more for the sport than the money UCI makes. Also, I do think that helmets could work with appendages but they should then be tested and certified as such. That will probably stimulate the development of smoother and/or integrated cameras (into peaks or goggles for instance). This rule doesn't do anything good for the sport.
  • + 117
 Ok, here is what we do:

The entire Pinkbike community pools 10% of their collective income (dentists, I'm looking at you).

That's probably enough money to arm wrestle the DH World Cup rights away from the UCI? ...

Rewrite the rule book using Pinkbike polls to determine what we the collective actually wants.

Richard Cunningham is hired as the executive director?

???

...We probably don't profit.
  • + 44
 Will never happen. Dentists already donate 10% of their income directly to UCI.
  • + 19
 @ninjatarian: Also to Porsche dealerships.
  • + 19
 @elusivedesertfox: I love the Heck out of my Twin Turbo Cayenne!!
  • - 96
flag whitebullit (Oct 17, 2017 at 13:03) (Below Threshold)
 @ryanholio: fag
  • + 1
 @ryanholio: Hot pepper!
  • + 7
 "Rewrite the rule book using Pinkbike polls to determine what we the collective actually wants" and roots wins again
  • + 1
 Hahahaha yeah just another 10% on top of the 40% already in America. Dentists would love that hahahaha
  • + 25
 *Pinkbike rewrites rules* "No ebikes within 2000 miles of course"
  • - 8
flag hamncheez (Oct 17, 2017 at 15:13) (Below Threshold)
 the dentist joke is getting really, really old. EEFFf someone who worked their butt off in school and sacrificed their social life, and now works long hours so what little biking time they do have they make sure to invest in quality components to have a good time.
  • + 8
 @whitebullit: Well you're an utter plebeian aren't you.
  • + 2
 @rwjones4: No ebikes within 2000 miles of earth
  • + 20
 @hamncheez: The world weeps for the dentists, taking such slings and arrows, because no one else riding a mountain bike has to work or went to school, or has very little free time. I AM CRYING SO HARD

oh, wait. I'm not. It was a JOKE. Lighten up, Francis. Wink
  • + 2
 @ryanholio: you totally should! those things are rad.
  • + 2
 Or just a Redbull world series
  • + 7
 @hamncheez: oh get off it...dentists have it easy compared to real doctors/surgeons anyways.

Plus this community just uses dentists as a synonym for "rich people who have shit I don't"
  • + 1
 @nvranka: what bugs me is the hate for successful people in general. If you are a dentist, doctor, etc, you worked much harder than the rest of us in college, professional school, residency, and you most likely work far more hours than the average pb user. Why is this bad? Why is this mocked? Doctors/lawyers/dentists on average work more hours, so the free time they have for recreation is less. You've worked your tail off to get to your high income, and your free time is precious, so of course you are going to make sure to have the best stuff on your bike since the little time you have to ride is so much more valuable.
  • + 2
 @hamncheez: its mocked because we're just jealous.
  • + 2
 @hamncheez: haha it's nothing new and will never change...plebs like to bitch about how they don't have all the toys, but in reality have no idea what it takes to make real money
  • + 1
 @hamncheez: It's actually a pretty light hearted joke. I ride with plenty of professionals including an orthodontist and they all make self deprecating jokes about "dentists" all the time. Did you miss @ryanholio making fun of himself?
Anyways, the majority of Pinkbike users aren't exactly hurting for cash. $0.02
  • + 1
 @ryanholio: l'd gladly volunteer to to jump behind the wheel of your fire road rocket as shuttle driver anytime!
  • + 58
 Next thing you know, UCI will be telling us that Claudio can no longer do his course previews. THAT will cause riots.
  • + 3
 @colincolin: You scared me for a minute there. Almost not funny. Smile
  • + 37
 Sounds like Red Bull are running the show here - shorter races, easier tracks, more of a 'show' now. I know of a few guys who follow the WC races, a photographer and mech - both are pretty critical of things at the moment. DH is still the highlight of mtb racing for many but I hope it doesn't continue on this path.
  • + 14
 ^^^^FACT^^^^
  • + 5
 People demand more coverage,RB delivers it. As simple as that.
Would anyone thought it would be free?
  • + 2
 @nozes: Just because you provide something doesn't mean you can get away with running roughshod over what people want. People only put up with so much 5h1t before they feel they've been backed into a corner.

With DH, that corner is in sight!
  • + 6
 @nozes: you would prefer live coverage over retaining the actual basis of the sport of DH racing?

And though you may get a few short sections stitched together for a live run we are not allowed to see any other footage unless you pay up, so coverage is actually worse and it's the guys with the passion / skill to get the best footage being handicapped.

Let's be honest, the whole damn sport of WC DH is being handicapped and is being run as a show for red bulls live coverage, it's not a race series for the riders any longer.
  • + 11
 If they want a show bring back 4X and real tracks
  • + 1
 I agree with everything ,I was only trying to say it would come at a price.
I've seen all types of coverage (and lack of) in the past 25 years,and somehow knew this would be coming.
XC getting in Olympics changed to a TV friendly product,and DH didn't even need to get there to changed too. Yeah it's dying,and I don't see a simple solution.
  • + 5
 @Racer951 I was scanning the comments to see if anyone had said this. I couldn't agree more. It makes perfect sense for the TV productuon company.

This also explains why this article, from Sept 25th but not published on anyone's news feed and with no comments as of 1 minute ago, may well appear on a news feed near you soon.

www.pinkbike.com/u/mattwragg/blog/one-question-does-mountain-biking-need-the-uci.html
  • + 1
 @orientdave: I think the answer to the question, "Does mountain biking need the UCI" is no!
  • + 2
 @BDKR: When we get our bikes out at the weekend and go off for a little jaunty adventure, no, we do not. They don't get a look in in my world.

It probably always is like that down at the grassroots; ask any Sunday League football (soccer) player "Does football need FIFA?", and we can guess most would say "No!".

But that article seems to suggest that those working in the WC disagree with the grassroots.... Wink
  • + 3
 @orientdave: People should remember that a body such as the UCI has power because those affected by it give it the power and allow it to operate on their behalf.

THEREFORE, it's no difficult task to imagine those affected by it changing it in some way or turning their backs on it.

If some other sanctioning body showed up and battled for control, it would not be without precedent.
  • + 34
 Do you remember back in the day when freestyle skiers had gotten sick with the over-regulation of the events and eventually split off? This sounds really familiar...
  • - 31
flag parallaxid (Oct 17, 2017 at 11:59) (Below Threshold)
 no
  • + 8
 same happened with snowboard about year 2000, riders got sick of the square-minded FIS events and they created the TTR, being now FIS 2nd class
  • + 11
 Itd be good to hear what some of the riders opinions are
  • + 1
 @ismasan: I still weep over the end of the ISF in the 90ies. FIS snatched the main sponsors with some shady deals and essentially killed a rider-centric snowboard federation. I worry that the UCI will do the same to EWS if they ever realize there's $$$ to be made with that race series.
  • + 28
 Don't really have an opinion on reducing the number of riders and protected riders, though it would suck for riders who place 61-80. But WTF? No cameras for finals? What a boneheaded move on the part of the UCI, I love watching the POV winning runs.
  • + 6
 It's been like that for ages
  • + 2
 @russthedog: Until what, two years ago? Or last year? And now they go back on it.
  • + 2
 @mnorris122: sorry i don't understand what you are saying?
  • - 2
 @russthedog: It's been like what for ages? I assumed you were talking about not allowing cameras. They weren't allowed until one or two years ago, and then they were, I really don't understand why they're going back
  • + 3
 @mnorris122: I don't know what you are talking about, riders have not been allowed to use their own cameras in race runs for at least 2 years.
  • - 2
 @GFGF: www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2tAEA2s_vg mmmm i dunno about that one mate
  • + 4
 @mnorris122: Not Troy's camera...It's a camera provided by the UCI/Go-Pro/Red Bull as part of the agreement with the 3 partners in World Cup. Go Pro provides the cameras. The UCI sends out a communication prior to the finals with the list of Men and Women who are authorized to use cameras in the Final. No worries though.
  • + 2
 @mnorris122 blame Redbull... No cameras has to do with who bought media rights...
  • + 29
 "all spectator cell phone coverage must be handed over to the TV production company and cannot be publicly streamed on the internet"
  • + 4
 Yeah, good luck with that one! Some of this modern small print wants shoving so far up the company that have produced it's ass! This is a prime example. Have loads of followers of a sport, get them involved, try and sue them. Good work!!!!!!!!!! Tw@s
  • + 28
 ''How to kick privater from world cup in 1 lesson"
  • + 5
 Bottom line is that are fast enough they will be in. Nothing weird here
  • + 22
 Power grab on the media payments riders are getting - "riders will not be allowed to wear cameras for the XC finals or for DH"

Enduro it is.....
  • + 35
 So if riders are not allowed to wear them. Would a bike mounted one get past that rule?
  • + 15
 @Nairnster: loophole number 1 found. Good lad!
  • + 5
 @cunning-linguist: or a drone follow cam
  • + 21
 Respect to the privateers....it ain't any easier.
  • + 13
 The media will move to live helmet cameras in 2018 or 2019 for those areas of the course that are not covered by the course cameras. I discussed this with a media person at a world cup this year. The media from rider's cameras has a commercial value to it so the freedom to use a camera will be taken away as the riders give it away for free when it is put on youtube/pinkbike.

I agree with having better coverage for the areas of the course that are not covered by the ground cameras but taking the riders ability to use cameras is short sighted. Controlling all of the media is what happened to NASCAR. A consulting firm told them in 2007 that their control and cost of media was to costly, narrow focused and created the scenario where NASCAR had become "Insignificant." They quickly changed and brought back viewership and additional revenue streams. I don't see this being good for the UCI, world cup, racers, sponsors, events, or the driving of additional revenue streams in the bicycle industry.

Also 15 women to compete in finals? No better way to tell the talented women in the sport that they have little value. From my perspective UCI continues to be run poorly and doesn't listen to what views/competitors actually want. Would love to see the numbers behind all of this.
  • + 12
 Media stuff aside...

The 15th placed woman is about 2-minutes slower than first place. It may sound harsh, but unless that is only 30-seconds back (15th place), there really is no argument for putting 20, 30, or 40 female "elites" through to finals. They're just not good enough.

Womens DH is a pretty consistent podium - Rachael, Tahnee, PomPon, Tracey, and then maybe Emilie or one of the other girls at Emilies pace. The person most likely not to podium this year is the current womens DH world champ, but that's an entire other story (not saying that she won't, but she'll have to find some pace if she is to be consistently on the podium).
  • + 2
 @handynzl: and the did the top 15 this year and it seemed ok?
  • + 3
 Doing a live coverage of the entire track simply isn't possible since the riders overlap their races. One starts before the previous finishes.
  • + 1
 @handynzl: Same women? Yes, because you're concentrating all the same elite women to compete in the finals over and over again.
If you had 60 women, you'd get variations like the men get.
It's sad that we're limiting the exposure of women in the finals and subsequently limiting their visibility and sponsorship hopes. If we don't give them an equitable coverage, how do you want things to change?
  • + 10
 Won't be long till we see the same 10 manufacturers and same 10 racers each year racing the same courses. No more privateers no more juniors and no more properly supported women's segment no more anything but the best of the best racing... nothing like a fun sport called bicycling becoming the F1 of racing bikes....
  • + 4
 We dont see privateers anyway on the TV feed unless they hit lucky
  • + 1
 @CM999: I am just talking about in general. Less and less privateers will be at these races as long as there is all these new rules being put in place each year.

And it's not like there are new UCi sanctioned events popping up to help up and comers collect enough points to even be eligible... If anything there are less and less events each year.
  • + 11
 Another move towards the way mxgp has gone, soon only invited trade teams will be able to compete to push the privateer and his measly scruffy camper van out of the pits altogether to makecway for the big rigs
  • + 10
 That's exactly what I read, too. I also think people will be a lot more careful with tire pressure. Having fewer protected riders and fewer spots in finals means that mistakes and mechanicals in qualifying are even more devastating. No soup for you.
  • + 13
 @TEAM-ROBOT: WC downhill has become a rich kids sport. Who else can afford to not work, travel and ride a $10,000 bicycle. EWS is that way too! They both have trade teams and can buy their way in, Good thing with WC downhill you need to at least be fast to qualify! ! ! Motocross went the way of the rich years ago, just takin mt. Bikes awhile to catch up ! !
  • + 4
 @MX298: fully agree. Red bull.and monster are all about image and advertising, they want big teams with big rigs and huge pit setups. Its a sad state of affairs when pleasing the sponsors and looking professional comes before the actual quality of the track, and that goes for moto and dh, and not just wc dh.
  • + 9
 I can see arguments for the cut from 80 to 60. Keep the events manageable in length, both to make them a more attractive media package, but also to keep conditions on the track more consistent through the final round; that sort of thing. But man, the privateers must be bummed. DH WC doesn't really seem to have a real development pipeline. There's not a really clear, cost-effective (or at least not cost-prohibitive) way to break in.
  • + 11
 You can thank USA cycling for the lack of development thing. They collect fees but no support!
  • + 3
 how many up and coming riders will this put off? How many sponsors drop out as riders no longer qualify and get any coverage? privateers as you say are screwed.
  • + 4
 @Racer951: Then again, it seems like much of the grass roots momentum is in enduro. Lots of local events with big participation numbers. If a young person were to try to break into professional gravity racing - it seems like enduro would be the way to do it. Make a name for themselves locally, get a bit of local industry help, move up to regional events, progressively move up until they can place well enough in the national series events to then get entry into EWS. That's a pretty clear progression - tough, lots of competition, but definitely manageable. UCI seems convinced that WC DH is the pinnacle of the sport - I'm not so convinced they've got that right for the long haul.
  • - 1
 @g-42: Enduro progression doesn't work like that. There are not regional or national events. I know for a fact that the kid who wins your local EWS qualifier enduro pays for all his own stuff! At least you can't buy your way into a WC downhill like the EWS. It's a rich kids sport!
  • + 2
 @MX298: richie wins the ews quali near me, does he pay for his shit?
  • + 1
 @maxson: he does? Really? It was a response to "that's a pretty clear progression" statement. Richie was a Junior world downhill champion too! ! ! My point was that there is no progression path . . . And not everyone gets get free shit ! ! !
  • + 1
 @MX298: I didn't mean to imply that the progression path is easy, or cheap. But it's a hell of a lot more feasible than the progression path into WC DH. Trustfunders will always have an edge - no need to work for a living leaves more time to train and compete and improve; ample funds make it easier to get to events.
  • + 7
 Wake up people and smell the coffee, sorry meant smell the Bull, the Red Bull.
Someone, somewhere is pulling the strings here to ensure better exposure and content for Red Bull Media House. Remember they stopped everyone filming at the events a few years back. Now we can all agree the footage we see is pretty good these days so credit where credit is due and thankyou Red Bull.
The real problem is the coverage, nobody besides us hits up redbull.com/bike, my next door neighbour or yours will never look there for content. Yet when it was on the likes of Eurosport back in the day the viewing numbers were massive, I know because I used to commentate on the World Cups for them for the last 2 years they did it. Up next after the Moto GP we have the mountain bike world cup from.. That meant millions of people going, i'll watch that for a laugh which also meant big sponsors like Grundig, Diesel and Nissan.
The sport needs to go mainstream and whilst I thank Red Bull for doing a great job, it's coverage is weak compared to the mainstream media outlets out there. We need to ditch Red Bull and go mainstream to ensure prize money increases along with riders wages/sponsorship packages etc.. I've said my bit, i might be introuble now for say all of the above, oh well!
  • + 1
 I think most of us here had come to that sort of conclusion but your insignt is invaluable, Si. Keep it coming, poops to the trouble.
  • + 6
 "During MTB races no electronic bikes are allowed on the course at any time during training and competition."

lol Imagine someone racing a WC downhill track on an e-29er-enduro-MTB
  • + 9
 With that wording you can't use Di2 shifting from Shimano.
  • + 1
 I was just thinking that myself...
  • + 0
 Electronically assisted? - I mean that could apply to a motor miraculously being connected to a wheel.
On the bright side should suppress a possible chance of mechanical doping.
  • + 6
 “The only exception to that rule is at the very first race of the season, where the top 10 elite women and the top 10 elite men from the final World Cup standings will be protected. ”

Should be top 20 elite men.
  • + 3
 Good catch - that's been updated.
  • + 6
 On another WC DH note: Greg Minnaar will be in SF for the opening day of the McLaren Bike Park in SF this Saturday! He's a 'Gold Level Donor' -Hey Greg!!
  • + 1
 Wait, really?
  • + 2
 @chrisjk: Yep it's true!

www.facebook.com/mclarenbikepark/photos/gm.120651735276257/10155702168508764/?type=3

Dunno know if that link will work as it's FB but Google McLaren Bike Park Minnaar if interested.
  • + 1
 Greg: Where's the rest?
  • + 8
 #makequalifyinggreatagain
  • + 6
 The big question, is it Uci making these decisions? Or are Red Bull actually pulling the strings at Uci hq? #moneytalks
  • + 5
 Damn. Speaking from experience, making top 80 wasn't easy to begin with. Getting into the world cup is going to be for the super talented only.
  • + 2
 Not just talent either, support too. Going to be a difficult task getting a non factory rider into the finals.
  • + 1
 @Racer951: True, I raced a couple as a privateer. Everybody in the top 60 has a serious team behind them. You are at a disadvantage when it comes to everything. But I guess that's the whole point. Keep the privateers away. The reality is that 99,5% of people who show up at a world cup are incredible riders. But they want all pro's.
  • + 3
 So qualifying doesn't get points on the final round of the WCup? Sounds like we will get riders purposely slowing up slightly in quallys to get a more preferable start time depending on conditions... a-la previous world champs. Backwards move.
  • + 4
 Fuck the bureaucracy that is UCI. Like FIS is to skiing, UCI hinders progression and development of the sport while charging a hefty fee
  • + 3
 Actually, I looked into that a bit recently. The UCI loses money on mountain biking events. More than on any other branch of cycling (road, track, BMX) . They make the most money on the road racing WC and put part of that into DH and XC mountain biking. Whether they hinder progression is a different discussion but the hefty fee part is not true.
  • + 2
 Based on the wording of the no camera rule, they will likely want to own the rights/licensing to the race runs for either live playback or rebroadcast. making it more like auto racing with POV action while the race is in progress, showing the sections of the course that manned cameras cant get to.... or at-least they should!
Smaller final field = more individual camera time = sponsor advertise money.
no doubt Pay per view and/or specialty channel probably coming.
  • + 4
 Gutted about the cameras, with such sparse tv coverage it was nice to see the complete tracks at speed. Hopefully the coverage is better
  • + 3
 How about making changes that actually benefit the riders, like not requiring riders to be injured on a section of trail or jump before making changes to it?
  • + 1
 There is so much the UCI need to do to improve the coverage of this amazing sport (which is surely a sleeping monster) and this is what they come up with ??!!. Loads of sports have broken free from their respective governing bodies and gone on to great things..... someone help.. please.
Just out of interest, what do road cyclist think of the UCI?
  • + 1
 I disagree, making it more 'tv friendly ' and making it the f1 of dh is what is doing the damage, turning it into a big money red bull advertising campaign and sod the riders
  • + 2
 It's the bean counters they have employed that have wormed their way into a position where they can scare the crap out of the folks that were once in it for fun... if any of them are left?
  • + 1
 From the quotation, what I gather is that current top 10 in series are protected, in addition to top 10 from last season. For a maximum total of 20 protected riders, hence why the first race has top 20 protected.

If top ten remains the same, those ten are protected. If top ten at first race get tossed (ala another lourdes), the new top ten are protected as well as last seasons top 10 (protected for the entirety of the season) - totalling 20 protected riders. Same for women's, but 5 and 5.

This can be a huge impact for those in last seasons top 10 that suffer injuries, or mechanicals by taken pressure off of subsequent qualifying.

Not a bad deal as far as I'm concerned.

Reduction to only 60 qualifying. Those on the bubble will feel the impact for sure. Can't help but think this is the UCI's response to varying weather conditions of last years finals (esp. Lourdes) - keep race duration shorter to minimize chance of different conditions. Not the choice I would have made, but I could see how this could have come about from comments from those at the top (ala Bruni after Lourdes).
  • + 1
 Top 10 riders from last year are protected at the first round only. At least that's what I got
  • + 1
 What is the logic behind this one: "However, in the last round of the UCI MTB World Cup season, no points for the qualifying round will be given."? Does that mean they want riders to try and play the weather and qualify with a slower time to race on a fresher track before the rain? Why have a different set of rules for the last race?
  • + 3
 It won't make much of a difference because if you are a top rider in the World Cup standings you will be protected and will run near the end anyway. The same as this year
  • + 1
 I think they want to avoid a rider winning the overall in qualifying, like what happened in andorra in 2016 ( almost). I don't like it though.
  • + 1
 these rule changes make the race unfair. For example, a top ten last year elite mens rider, can take it easy on qualifying rounds, greatly reducing his fatigue and risk to injury. And even if he gets the worst time he will still be in the finals. How is this fair?
  • + 3
 Always had protected riders, most top elites won't take it easy in quail anyway, races are so tight quail points matter.
  • + 2
 No top 10 rider takes it "easy" in qualifying
  • + 1
 Wow. Surprised at RedBull blaming. Their folks are deployed no matter how many racers. They have historically only shown Top 5 W and Top 20 M so nothing changes there. It was a handful or less of the elite riders who complained a while back that track conditions eroded too much with the # of riders practicing and racing "after" qualifying. Initially they hit Jr's (dropped 10 from 30-20) and Women. Elite men delayed a season or so and is now at 60. So the extra 25-35 riders had such an impact.....NOT. I feel it's the wrong path to "grow" the sport, especially for up n' comers and privateers.
  • + 2
 In a sport trying really, really hard to increase the female user participation the UCI is pretty much saying screw that....set sail for fail UCI...
  • + 3
 Everyone blaming the uci, Wake up people, cant you see that red bull are calling the shots?
  • + 1
 I don't understand how its RedBull's doing, they only televise like the top 10 riders and if there are less people qualifying that only speeds up the qualifying part. I don't see where Redbull is affected or calling the shots what am I missing?
  • + 1
 OH GOD NO, i am so sorry for the fellow privateers among us, this is bad news. very, very bad news. in my opinion,the Downhil series should move out of the UCI. it almost seems like the UCI is killing the sport.
  • + 1
 All the up and comers just come to mind. Hope these rules aren't outweighed more negative than positive for the sport. What we want is growth and development as well as entertainment. Just keep DH alive
  • + 0
 Long time lurker, first (maybe) time poster.

Can the UCI just F*** off!!
have they ever done anything productive? They are up there with my most disliked organisation, somewhere between U2 and PETA.

Also, "During MTB races no electronic bikes are allowed on the course at any time during training and competition."

Electronics is sub 5 Volts, Over 5V is generally considered Electric.

They're banning DI2, electronic shifting, but not E-bikes?

Incompetent.
  • + 5
 False Scarcity.
  • + 2
 new protected rider rule down to 10, is silly. Also, I guess this means freeride flickers still won't ever quality for a world cup.
  • + 5
 RIP PRIVATEERS
  • + 2
 media companies just wants some slice of the pie on the monetized vids. Might be good for the rider if they can leverage it on their behalf.
  • + 2
 Way to make the small number of ladies we have in the sport feel valued.. Picard facepalm UCI
  • + 1
 The UCI never has any good news! This sucks! Why the change? The UCI doesn't care about downhill so why have the series. Why not make a DWS?
  • + 3
 Even more pressure on the mechanics anti-punny front!
  • - 1
 Maybe this will force a little tyre development.
  • + 3
 Electric bike not electronic I guess
  • + 2
 Just shows how much sense all these regulations have, if they don't even know what e stands for in e-bike Wink
  • + 1
 Telemetry is considered electronic?
  • + 1
 I'd be very interested in hearing what the racers have to say about this, from all sides, the Top 10, the mid pack guys and the guys who fight to qualify in the top 80.
  • + 3
 Best rule yet "No E bikes on the trails"
  • + 3
 Privateering is over. UCI finger the middle!
  • + 2
 Well, I guess that means I'm out yet again.
  • + 2
 Trolololololololoooooo... :'(
  • + 1
 At least there are 2 Troy Lee Designs D3 helmets on this podium shot. And...thanks UCI for making DH racing more inviting!
  • + 2
 It will make racing that much more fun to watch.... oh wait, nevermind
  • - 1
 What's the takeaway from all those rule revisions?

Women have less value than men apparently. Seems to me that the rules should be the same. Maybe you are slow to begin with, but practice makes better...
  • + 0
 So, were people using e-bikes on course prior to this rule change? i can only assume they were or the rule wouldn't be necessary
  • + 2
 Unfair Corporate Infrastructure
  • + 2
 #f*ckuci
  • + 1
 Today the sport of Downhill racing posts #metoo
  • + 1
 Bring fest dh series on!!!!
  • + 1
 Time for a brake away series... On better tracks Buy buy with the UCI
  • + 1
 No e-bikes allowed??? What kind of bullshit is this UCI??
  • + 0
 What would the riders lose anyway in case they just drop the stupid uci? DWS NOW!!!!
  • + 1
 Looks like Duke Best is at it again..
  • + 1
 It will soon be UCI invite only.
  • + 0
 Uci redeemed!!! No e-bikes
  • + 0
 if it aint broke, dont fix it.
  • + 0
 Good way to kill the sport
  • + 0
 grats, politics and redtape ruining sports yet again. FU UCI
  • + 0
 the uci strike me as a bunch of dudes who would drink water at a party
  • - 2
 All junior woman who simply participate get to go to the finals, but only the top 20 junior men get to go on?.....yeah that seems pretty fair.
  • + 8
 It makes some sense in that it encourages young women to participate in the sport, which could potentially increase the number of gals competing at the elite level. Im cool with that.
  • + 5
 @rallyimprezive: I totally understand the idea of that but we're not talking about getting the local kids down the street into mountain biking. We're talking about girls who are on a mission to become pro and to compete at the top and learning how to handle yourself under the pressure of qualies is huge. Yes it may get girls there to simply participate but it does not aid in the transition between junior and pro. The whole idea to me of the switch to have a separate junior category is to get those riders prepared for the big leagues. A world cup race isn't where you dip your toe in the water and wonder if dh racing is for you, that's what the local and national stuff is for.
  • + 1
 @mtber111: Good argument, and I appreciate the perspective.
I would only argue that there has been a significant change lately to encourage women to ride - at the grassroots level, all the way up to bike manufacture. Local, regional and national events are certainly the stepping stones to world cup, and hopefully by then these gals will already experienced some of the pressure that would prep them for the big leagues. Not to mention that making junior women's WC look more obtainable may encourage more to pursue it.

I will admit that what im saying is mostly just wishing and hoping, but it sounds nice. Id like to see MTB continue to grow as a co-ed sport. My wife and I ride together and sit on the couch during WC season to watch all the races. She loves having girls to watch that she can be proud of.
  • + 1
 The UCI sucks
  • + 0
 Y tho?

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