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Video: The Racing Rewind - What Makes A Great World Cup Venue?

May 13, 2024 at 21:18
by Pinkbike Originals  

As we prepare for a new venue this weekend, we thought we would look back at some of the venues that came onto the calendar in recent years.

Only the last meters of track left for Pierron. It was green all the way with a few seconds to spare. Eruption in Les Gets is a go.

Les Gets, France, 2019

Les Gets, in 2019, exemplified the idea that introducing a new venue can breathe fresh life into the calendar. While not truly a new venue, its rejuvenated track offered something new and exciting for racers and built upon some of the foundations that featured in the Crankworx races. Returning to such a popular area for bike tourism was accentuated by the fervour of the French supporters. Despite initial teething problems, such as Rachel Atherton's unfortunate injury, Les Gets quickly established itself as a premier venue not only because it offered great racing but because it did so in a place that already attracts mountain bikers in their droves.

Myriam Nicole s winning race run from Round 3 was a thing of beauty but today circummed to mistakes she couldn t afford to make.

Lousã, Portugal, 2020

Situated amidst Portugal's picturesque mountains, the track in Lousã offered a diverse terrain, open line choice and some sizeable hucks. Despite scheduling challenges, the double-header event delivered great racing moments and saw emerging talents like Marine Cabirou and Matt Walker come good for their maiden, and so far only, overall titles. The success of Lousã underscores the importance of versatile tracks and robust local support in making a venue as good as possible. It took a huge local effort to bring the race to Portugal, not least because of the complications of the pandemic. That said, it proved to be a hit when it eventually did arrive.

A morning practice crash took the wind out of Amaury Pierron s sails today.

Pal Arinsal/Vallnord, Andorra. 2022

Andorra, while a seasoned World Cup host, unveiled a new track layout in 2022, which, in some ways, showed the evolution of downhill racing for good and for bad. While Andorra has been a mainstay of the calender for the past decade, the revamped track came down a different, much higher part of the resort. Its blend of high-speed sections, moto-inspired turns and pinball wooded sections was fantastic to watch, even if it wasn't universally praised by riders. For 2023, the track saw some revisions, and everyone was better prepared for the limited pit space at the bottom of the track.

Loic Bruni was fired up after wet weather took him out the running last week in Andorra.

Loudenvielle, France, 2023

Lastly, Loudenvielle's inclusion in the 2023 calendar introduced a varied and technical course that seemed to offer something for everyone. Despite weather-induced disruptions, the track's design, spearheaded by Romain Paulhan, offered an exhilarating blend of speed and technicality, ensuring memorable racing moments. It has the unfortunate association of the cancellation of the junior race, but by the time the elite riders got underway, the racing was excellent.

What is your must have characteristic for a world cup track?

This video is presented by Bell Helmets


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pinkbikeoriginals avatar

Member since Feb 15, 2012
1,137 articles

  • 40 1
 Transplanting from the west coast USA to morzine for the month of July with the family. Can't wait to see Les Gets energy first hand. My family has officially banned me from playing last year's Sleeper shreddit from Les Gets... Apparently it doesn't get them as worked up as I do. Pinkbike, if you need a foreign correspondent, let me know. My daughter would love to give the perspective of a 10 year old American watching her first world cup.
  • 8 1
 A little girl doing a WynTV thing could be pretty cute.
  • 2 1
 M E T O D
  • 1 3
 It's such a vibe man, been the last 2 years for World Champs and then the WC last year, going back this year. What a place, bring your chainsaw
  • 1 2
 @jeffrocx: YT channel incoming
  • 2 0
 @weirc: *cowbell solo*
  • 13 0
 @markdavid: it's a well kept secret but chainsaws at races are actually the worst
  • 29 1
 Les gets is free 147,000 turn up to world champs, Fort bill is £80 for weekend 20,000 turn up to the world cahmps.
It really is that simple.
  • 2 1
 Been to Fort Bill loads but it's way past it's best
  • 8 0
 I doubt that Ft Bill could handle 150k tourists. It's a much smaller resort. It probably makes more sense economically to charge people, the local infrastructure is already stretched at 20k visitors.
  • 1 2
 And there you have why there's very little money in MTB...........Any other sport would be charging, and making money........
  • 3 0
 World Champs was sold out. The place is pretty small.
  • 5 0
 You can't compare a venue way up north in the middle of nowhere on an island vs. Les Gets beeing in the central of Europe.
  • 5 0
 @Twr: regardless of location Fort Bill still used to get packed out and have the best atmosphere on the circuit. Now the organisers are jumping through so many hoops to satisfy the broadcasters that they've killed the atmosphere for the people who actually show up. Not to mention this year's event clashed with the 6 day trial which meant all accommodation was fully booked months before the world cup dates were announced. The track is taped 20 metres wide, the new cramped finish area is awful, booming music, annoying DJs and commentators, no room to breathe and the finish line has moved up the hill so the riders arrive on the brakes. They really sucked the life out of it this year.
  • 2 0
 @TommyNunchuck: We missed Fort Bill for the first time in years this year, I heard mixed reports, but from what we could see on the TV and through rider YouTube edits, the track changes looked great (they were for WCs last year) and the atmosphere was still pretty good. I hate what they've done to the finish line though. Would love to have seen Bruni's run down as he looked fantastic. Back next year if they're chosen...
  • 1 0
 @Twr: That's funny because it's true.
  • 11 0
 Great video! I would love the inside scoop on why Snowshoe was removed. Always loved that stop on the circuit, especially being the only US stop. The race track was certainly very unique, makes for interesting racing, and has seemingly good infrastructure for the event.
  • 6 1
 I as a fan from the southeast loved attending snowshoe world cup. Especially after riding there over the years. However The shoe wasn't a favorite of the riders since it was "flat" up top. Plus zero phone service and hours from the airport.

When you compare the other euro stops and MSA to snowshoe its just a huge pain in the rear for organizers and teams. I'm stoked it happened but I can see why it's not happening anymore. Hopefully another US location can pair up with whistler hosting a world cup in the future.
  • 3 0
 I'm sure there's multiple factors but the leading one I heard is the UCI upped the cost to host and Snowshoe didn't wanna pay. For those that don't know, yes the venues PAY the UCI to host the world cups not the other way around.
  • 3 0
 @t-rick: I've always thought Killington would make a great world cup venue. Close to Mont Saint Anne, loads of terrain, good lifts, close to airports
  • 2 0
 @yoimaninja: It's no longer the UCI charging the hosting fees, but ESO/Discovery/WB.........It's exactly the same way most global motorsport is run. Venues have to pay to host.
  • 17 1
 Hafjell was good
  • 2 0
 I remember Stevie got his first World Cup win there!
  • 14 0
 Ever heard of Champery or Schladming?
  • 9 0
 champery back for 2026 all being good..
  • 16 0
 Champery is hosting the World Champs in 2025.
  • 3 0
 @KrisLord: even better next year Smile
  • 5 0
 @KrisLord: Let's hope Danny can finally sit down...
  • 1 0
 @KrisLord: LETS GO!!!!!!
  • 1 0
 @KrisLord: Best DH news in a long time.
  • 9 0
 Being able to watch it with Rob Warner
  • 8 0
 Correct ortograph for "Loudonville" is Loudenvielle Wink
  • 1 0
  • 6 0
 Mercy bow coop
  • 6 1
 I dont understand why seemingly everyone wants to see a world cup in Schladming. The track is fun, but apart from some very short technical sections it's a typical bike park track, not a race track.
  • 5 0
 haha if you wanna see bike park track on WC race wait for this weekend Wink
  • 1 1
 @Blablablup123 Yeah, what do those athletes know anyway, amiright?
  • 3 0
 @TEAM-ROBOT: "I dont understand why [...]". Do I have to explain to you what that statement means?
  • 1 0
 @TEAM-ROBOT: btw, I have actually ridden the track in Schladming, and ~6 other current and past world cup tracks.
  • 2 0
 It's definitely not the track it used to be. That changed some time ago.
  • 12 5
 When we dont race 32 rounds in Europe and 1 in canada. This is the European Cup. No a World Cup.
  • 11 3
 bit like the baseball world series Wink
  • 5 0
 Everybody say: Szczyrk, cause that's where the track is Smile
In case you think you are cool cause you can say Bielsko-Biała Smile
  • 9 0
I did love Szczyrk , I use to live 10km away from it for most of my youth.
It was Polish Whistler , everyone from around come there to downhill.
People like Michal Prokop (author bikes 4x racer) and Filip Polc (evil bikes) were often there in around 2000
Had many rides with them and many other fast visitors.
Lots of rocks and roots and good all-year lift.
Plenty of tracks in random directions towards Szczyrk / Ustroń and Żywiec.
Some long and some short, technical and fast.

I don't live there for nearly 20 years and I'm hoping that who ever prepared the track they use all possibilities on offer.

Hope the organisation of events step up on level and make it better then Diverse contest or Nokia DH (nationals in Poland in around 2000-2010)

A bit shame I can't fly there at this moment, but for sure will pop down with visit around late summer

Wish you all good race, enjoy food and nature.

Don't get your bike stolen like Jesse from Canyon and all Frameworks team.
Thief's will wait on a big event like that ...
  • 2 0
 I can say Szczyrk, no issues whatsoever
  • 3 0
 Genuine question: do people (riders and fans) want the same venues that are 'iconic' or new venues that may turn out to be duds? I think it definitely skews too heavily towards the venues that are the same year after year with only a couple new places over the course of several years.
  • 2 0
 A great world cup venue has a track with high speed, technical and demanding whilst fun sections with lots of varying line choices for all categories. Excellent facilities for both spectators and teams/riders and resulting in a positive return to the local area/economy for host the event.
  • 1 0
 That last bit might be asking too much.
  • 1 0
 @commental: yes i know but i would make it great.
  • 6 0
 I miss Maribor...
  • 4 0
 its such a shame theres no world cup stop in the netherlands, so many good options for a venue here
  • 3 0
 Henry,repeat after me: Low-zahn.
That's how we spell Lousã.
  • 2 0
 No, that's how you say Lausanne Wink
  • 3 0
 Fans. Fans make a good venue.
  • 3 1
 A proper track and not some manicured loser shit that gets further neutered to accommodate lower caliber riders.
  • 1 0
 Best fan base and race curses are in France. I got lots of good memories about Les Gets and the long long time ago Metabief.
  • 3 0
 Rob Warner makes a great venue.
  • 4 4
 that video doesnt say what makes a great world cup venue. but you know what does? 2014 meribel pov. that track was indeed GREAT
  • 2 0
 Meribel is exactly what came to my mind when I saw this article
  • 2 0
 bring back Balneario Camboriu
  • 1 0
Ft. William
Val di Sole

It's the trifecta of: Track, Venue resources, and Spectator access/accommodations
  • 3 2
 Ft bill has only gotten more boring imo
  • 1 0
 Whistler, Bromont and then MSA would be a wicked final three races.
  • 2 0
 Whistler doesn't want or need a world cup... They make more money without it. A world cup would be a financial loss for whistler. The locals already put up with enough from shitty tourists.
  • 1 0
 @OlSkoolJake: Yeah true, I mean perhaps Whistler could be replaced with "somewhere in western Canada".
  • 1 0
 @Canadmos: again it's about money and logistics... nothing out here is comparable in that realm, to Whistler. Bike parks are already chalk full around here in summer. Now throw a few thousand extra people and all the things needed to run a world cup.... ain't happening anytime soon. We have crankworx... that's enough.
  • 2 0
 @OlSkoolJake: I don't care about money or logistics, I just want more racing. And more racing in Canada. Quit being a downer. Smile
  • 2 0
 @Canadmos: For 2025 the UCI will be introducing a new track to the DH World Cup somewhere in western Canada. You heard it here first.

Faaaaaaaar western Canada to be precise: France.
  • 3 0
 @OlSkoolJake: 1199 was built with a WC DH in mind, I think it would be amazing to see a World Cup here, the stoke would be incredible. And the opportunity for all the young rippers to witness a WC in person would be priceless.
  • 2 0
 @OlSkoolJake: Many people in whistler want a world cup, including some people who have the power to make it happen. 1199 was built with input from world cup riders to potentially be a world cup track. And Vail and the local government would happily milk every dollar from hosting a large event like this. But there are political and logistical issues between WB and UCI that need to be worked out.
  • 1 0
 But none were in North America..
  • 1 0
 NA only has few bike parks that could logistically host a world cup. Most don't want to because its lost business for a week or more. UCI doesn't offer enough for the resorts to be focused on small segment of the sport and all the resources it requires to host an event. When they can make bank charging stupid lift prices to park rats.
  • 1 0
 No UCI or WBD

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