The Story Behind the Start Order at the UCI World Cup DH in Losinj

Apr 25, 2018 at 21:03
by Sarah Moore  
Brook Macdonald took a huge slam in his final run that required medial attention trackside. But in true Kiwi fashion he would set off again and still finish his run.

Despite the fact that Brook Macdonald qualified first in Round #1 of the Lošinj Downhill World Cup, there were 18 riders who rode down the track after he did. For viewers watching the event live, the seeding order of the riders in the final caused major confusion. Viewers saw that Brook Macdonald was on course, and worried that they had missed the entire race. Then Baptiste Pierron from Voul Voul Racing took to the track, further bewildering viewers.

So what happened. Why didn't the Bulldog start last since he qualified first? Why didn't riders go down the course in reverse order to how they qualified? We asked the UCI.


bigquotesLast year, the Elite teams requested the addition of protected riders based on the top 5 Women/Top 10 Men from the previous year, protected all season, in addition to the protected top 5 Women/Top 10 Men from the World Cup ranking current for the event.

Also last year Red Bull Media House requested the start order to be such that the last rider down in the finals was the current WC leader.

The first start list that was issued [see below] after qualification caused a discussion as it did not rank the protected riders in qualification order which was the intention when it had been discussed with the teams last year. After consulting with the Team Manager representative and Red Bull Media House, we agreed to issue a second start list [see below] using qualification to rank the protected riders.

Exceptionally, and nobody can quite remember the last time this happened, the fastest male Elite qualifier was not a protected rider, so we were forced to stick to the regulations with this and start him before the protected riders in the final.

Since the weekend, we have been in consultation with RBMH and the Elite Team Representative to gather opinion and updated wording suggestions for the regulation concerned and on how we would like to move forward. Then we will liaise with the UCI MTB Commission to see what is possible for the next rounds.

It was certainly not our intention to cause the confusion that occurred and we hope to make the necessary changes as quickly as we can to result in a start order for the finals that is both fair for the athletes and exciting for the fans.
Simon Burney, Deputy MTB Coordinator


Here's the regulation that caused the change:

4.5.033

THE START ORDER FOR THE FINAL IS DETERMINED ON THE BASIS OF THE REVERSE RESULTS OF THE QUALIFYING ROUND (THE FASTEST RIDER STARTING LAST), EXCEPT FOR THE PROTECTED RIDERS (DEFINIED IN ART. 4.5.031) WHO WILL START AS THE LAST RIDERS BY RACE NUMBER REVERSED.



Basically, because Brook Macdonald was not a protected rider, he had to start before all of the protected riders in the final due to this new rule. This scenario was perhaps not one that the UCI, RBMH and the Elite Teams foresaw, and it sounds like further work will be done on the wording of this regulation.


Version #1 of the Men's Start List:



Final Men's Start List:




198 Comments

  • + 269
 send them all down at once, with guns & beer.
  • + 81
 That's kinda what Megavalanche is, right?
  • + 8
 @PHeller: Mega track is too big. We need real casualties!
  • + 57
 @chyu: then Make Mega E-valanche for E-bikers. We will place Pinkbike commenters in a line at the bottom of the glacier, tie them to rocks, and give them pneumatic rifles. They will have to shoot as many E-bikers as they can or get ridden over. Fair play?
  • + 44
 @WAKIdesigns: Or red bull fox hunt style, 100 angry PB commenters with weapons chasing one e-bike down the hill.
  • + 1
 @robaussie99: in my option there would be losses on both sides, more casualties, more drama. Blood on the snow mmmm...
  • + 3
 @WAKIdesigns: That's a good point. Assuming of course in my scenario the e-biker fights back and is a highly trained special forces soldier and kills all 100, like in a movie I saw one time. Minus the e-bikes.
  • + 3
 @rocky-mtn-gman: best reply ever
  • + 1
 @PHeller: or is that's the red bull fox hunt
  • + 4
 @WAKIdesigns: and have them e bikes going from bottom to top, while the real bikes go standard top down format. Add chariot wheel spikes and keep the guns idea mounted, but on the handlebars like ww1 airplanes...oh and you can either have a motor on your bike or a gun...
  • + 1
 And today, sir, you win the internet.
  • + 3
 @takeiteasyridehard: I like you. Genius! But since regular bikers have the advantage of more kinetic energy (since they are tumbling down the hill), can E-bikers drag Thule Charriots and in them Willy Wonka dwarves armed with bows and arrows? Some may carry sound system playing music by Wagner

Aim for the leader!!! And you see Sam Hill charging at Sam Pilgrim. Wyn Masters on Eddie Masters throat, brother against brother, absolute drama. Danny Hart throws ring of power into the volcano, Steve Jones slams Brook McDonald down from his bike, gets on top of him and Bulldog says: this... is... for... Matilda
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: that brought tears to my eyes
  • + 3
 @WAKIdesigns: I take it back, WAKI wins the internet today! LMFAO If anybody has any animation skills...
  • + 1
 Mighty American of you...
  • + 1
 @rollchal: Ya, 3 in the top 5. And the win. That's American! Where was ur little golden boy, Finn? Shut up, Canada. Adults are talking.
  • + 1
 @BaldBilly: Chill, Murcia.
  • + 1
 @robaussie99: sorry, Canada. I let one idiot piss me off and shit on you all. But in true "murican" fashion, I apologize for being an a*shole. But first, I had to be an a*shole in order to apologize for it. So America, f*ck yeah!!????????
  • + 1
 @robaussie99: meant to be a joke.
  • + 139
 Keep the start list simple for stupid people like me
  • + 146
 Its simple man, carry the 10 over, drop next 10 x 3.14 x A2 + B2 = C2 = Bulldog
  • + 57
 Something for the dipshits in charge to ponder. Fastest qualifier goes down last. Second fastest goes down second to last, and so on, etc. How racing supposed to be. Pissing everyone off will not help you sell more of your stupid energy drink.
  • + 26
 @SlodownU: Yeah, but it's not just Red Bull. This is something the elite teams (the riders themselves) requested last year. I think there's something to be said for giving the teams a voice, and UCI taking their voice into consideration.
  • + 16
 @TheR: to lock out competition. This doesn't sound healthy for competition.
  • + 1
 @SlodownU: this is as much a UCI decision as a redbull one. Let’s be sure and pass the blame evenly Wink
  • + 15
 Not that I care anything for Nascar but if they had protected drivers instead of a pole position it would suck. I mean what is the motivation to do well in qualies if your someone. I understand that they could be protected if they did well all year, but I think it detacts some excitement from the race. And why the hell do the best riders in the world need protection. Lame
  • + 26
 Why not keep the protected riders in the "protection list" but using qualification result as a start order sequence.
  • + 12
 @TheR: The teams asked for the top 5W/10M from last season to remain protected throughout the current season, but RBMH requested that the start order be changed to allow the current #1 rider start last. Sounds like the teams still want the protected riders to start based on quali times rather than the number plate, but that's not how the rule ended up being written.

RBMH has been great for the world cup, coverage has never been better. My only gripe is that so much of their focus is on creating celebrities out of guys like Gwin and Bruni, it'd be nice to see more focus on the race and the track.

@SlodownU: Redbull media makes way more money than the beverage company. They want more people watching their programming and I guess they figure having the superstars start last will be more exciting for the average person. If they end up selling some sugar water because of it, that's just gravy.
  • + 12
 @TheR: Keeping protected riders from last season is a good idea, but they don't need to mess with the start order for that to work.
  • + 10
 @SlodownU: "That stupid energy drink" is the reason you can watch the races live. Don't bite the hand that feeds you
  • + 7
 @honda50r: agreed man. If it wasn't for RedBull the drink we wouldn't have a lot of the current sporting or community events that we do have. Just look at how much Redbull does for small community events like the soapbox race, and the flutag(or however it's spelled) Not to mention the Redbull music academy and other grassroots projects they have to help other talented artists.

I'm tired of going into a bar and all I see is hockey or baseball on the TV's. Bars don't need tv's but I'd much rather a Redbull event on it than hockey.

sometimes you gotta mix with the formula just to see if something different works.

In the end... watching the event is Free and well covered.
  • + 1
 @pushingbroom: Yes, and in the end it's in their interest to have the top athletes in the prime spot. If it's in their interest, we also benefit, because if there is no Red Bull, there is no broadcast.
  • + 3
 @LoganKM1982: and of course the protected riding will be slower in qualifing now. They have nothing to gain from pushing it.

These are lame rules every rider should have to earn it every event.
  • + 4
 @chyu: So you would have been cool with Loris going first (since he got a flat) and having 52+ riders come down before his time was beat?
  • - 2
 @honda50r: Lets be clear, if Red Bull goes away, pretty sure someone else will step right in.
  • + 7
 Couldn't agree more. Why would you change something so simple. Literally everything else is confusing. The only other sense making way I could think of is that top 10 qualifiers may chose the racing order with the fastest qualifier choosing first straight after qualis are done. In this way they could gamble in case weather turns bad or track gets blown up more.
  • + 1
 Now that is an interesting idea. @WAKIdesigns:
  • + 2
 @dhx42:
this is a good point.
  • + 6
 @h-beck83: fastest quali time gets 50 championship points. taking 1st in qualies and finals increases the points gap over 2nd place substantially.
  • + 2
 @reverend27: except valuable WC points.... I think riders still want those to then make sure they stay protected for next season too, the exciting points race now stretches to 10th at the end of the season, to stay protected
  • + 2
 @reverend27: but points are still up for grab in qualifying so yes, they will still push it.
  • + 1
 @reverend27: going down last doesnt make you faster?
  • + 2
 @honda50r: We had a feed from forecaster before Red Bull, which was less flashy but showed the whole event and didn't the rules.
  • + 2
 @dhx42: Yep. That's how qualifying works.
  • + 1
 @dhx42: Actually under the old rules Loris as a protected rider would have gone 21st, which was quite a sensible protected rider rule. Still stops tactical qualifying and keeps the top riders at the end.

It seems to me this has mostly been caused by Red Bull only showing the top 20 rather than 30 riders.

Also I don't know why my previous post triple posted.
  • + 1
 @TheR: I'm sure the teams do want it. It protects them and makes it harder for others to break into the top 10
  • + 1
 @TightAF: and the top teams
  • + 4
 @arden0: they focus on the riders they sponsor at the expense of everyone else
  • + 1
 @reverend27: points! They get points!
  • + 0
 It makes qualifying kind of pointless. Not literally pointless, because points can be won, but it cannot accurately be called qualifying now since twenty riders are pre qualified. Perhaps they could move to a superbikes style two rave weekend. Run one on Saturday, and run two on Sunday, with equal points for both. They could even sell it as a feature. Fourteen race world cup season!
  • + 1
 @JoeRSB: This!
  • + 2
 @chyu: What the hell... that just makes way too much sense.
  • + 2
 @h-beck83: the motivation is to get as much points a possible for the WC overall IMO.
  • + 1
 @JoshParsons87: Right on. I didn't know you recieved points this way. Thanks.
  • + 2
 @jaame: I am not sure I agree here unless I am reading the rule incorrectly. This change is funky at the start of the season which is why things look bad.

As I read the rule, the top 10 in the current standings and top 10 from last year are protected riders. Won't we start to have a lot of overlap? I bet after Ft. Bill there may only be a few riders in the current top 10 who weren't the year before which would mean there would be maybe 10-13 protected riders. Wouldn't this put more pressure on qualis because the points will be harder to come by to be top ten in the current year?

That being said, I do think the protected group should be guaranteed a last 20 start (they are typically the fastest down and most relevant to the series chase). But other than that the start times should be based on Quali time.
  • + 117
 "Also last year Red Bull Media House requested the start order to be such that the last rider down in the finals was the current WC leader"

Well that's all there is to it, Qualifying only goes towards points accumulated alltogether, whatever the results of qualifying in Fort William it will be Aaron Gwin the last man down the track.

Call me old fashioned, but I don't like it one bit. Wathching qualis just lost all its charm.
  • + 7
 upped, I totally agree.
also don't quite understand why the need for protection? and from what exactly?
  • + 36
 What's the point of qualis at all if it isn't for the start order on race day? Why not just tack on 50 points to the race?
  • - 2
 @Patrick9-32: "What's the point of qualis at all if it isn't for the start order on race day"

The point of qualis is to qualify. You do realize that not every rider qualifies to race in the final right?
  • + 4
 @sino428: But if they don't matter for the top 20 riders why not just run everyone with enough points (like they do with qualis) in the morning on race day in the order that they run qualis?
  • + 4
 @Patrick9-32: It does matter. It says the protected riders are still going to start in the order they qualified.
  • + 3
 @sino428: Not if redbull gets their way, they wanted it in World cup ranking order.
  • + 1
 @Patrick9-32: So you are worrying about something that hasn't, and likely won't even happen?
  • + 5
 @noisette: I think the point of protected riders is to keep top athletes in the race that suffer a mechanical in qualifying. Like lets say Bruni blows up a wheel in qualies then the final comes along he drops first and no one can touch his time until the last 15 riders. Kinda takes the excitement out of the race.
  • + 3
 @cooki3s: This actually makes sense to me. i wouldn't want to watch that. There might not be a lot of change in the hot seat which I enjoy seeing. The only time I like when the hot seat doesn't change when its some unknown or a surprise. Mullaly in the world champs a few years ago with no chain was pretty awesome. Lost his chain, took the hot seat, and no one expected it to stand for as long as it did.
  • + 7
 @cooki3s: the point of protected riders, and the reason the teams and RBMH requested these rules, is so that top riders can be guaranteed consistent TV coverage and insulate themselves from the volatility inherent in the sport... riders and teams thus have increased chance to deliver value to sponsors and better chance to further develop sponsor revenue...RBMH can more consistently deliver to fans the chance to see top riders racing and build a fan base for the World Cup based on fans watching celebrity athletes... the value of established riders and teams just went up, and the chance for new riders and teams to develop value just got complicated...
  • + 3
 @eriksaun: Nice bit of analysis. Because the only way to make it possible to find lots of sponsorship dollars necessary for this whole thing to exist is for it to be a marketable media package.
  • + 3
 @eriksaun: Great words. Top riders just increased the share price. Newcomers to the sport get bumped. Not ideal, is it the old guard protecting themselves, thinking of themselves, you tell me..
  • + 4
 Top 10 Men and Top 5 Woman all have mechanicals in qualifying. They all get to race on race day, in a preferred order to suit themselves. I'm sorry, but that's not racing, that's match fixing. Anyone has the opportunity to win on race day, oh wait, no they don't. Pretty much saying that if any of the riders that have won one race in their career, they shouldn't have because they're not a marketable person.
  • + 1
 @Waldon83: But racing last is not necessarily a huge advantage in DH MTB. Tracks hardly ever get better as the day progresses, just more bombed out. So the advantage you get from knowing whether you can play it safe (because your closest competitors have had lousy runs, or because you saw on the screen or heard from a bystander where they ran into trouble). And beyond normal deterioration of the track, once in a while you have a change in weather that turns what was a fast track for the first starter into a complete nightmare for the last few starters (see last season's opener for one of those...).

But while match fixing it is not, it is a bit obnoxious. Because by putting the not-yet established fastest qualifier (like MacDonald in this case) early, they don't get hyped the way the established guys are. All in the interest of creating the overall media package that overall creates the most viewer interest (and thus gives the sponsors the most bang for the buck). Perhaps that's cool with the other riders (rising tide lifts all boats, what have you), but it sure makes it harder for a fast newcomer to establish themselves, so yes, it favors the incumbents a bit. And yes, that leaves a bad aftertaste, I'm totally with you on that. But calling it match fixing is a bit over the top, I think.
  • + 0
 @g-42: I'm totally with you, it was tongue in cheek.
  • + 1
 @g-42: but the counter argument is that a rider has to work his way up the ranks. I have no problem with protected riders having and advantage since they earned that protected status through results. It comes down to rewarding those riders that have consistently produced results or rewarding a rider for having one good run on qualifying day. I have no problem if they want to shift the focus more to rewarding longer term success.
  • + 74
 It’s pretty simple really, take the riders that “qualify” from qualifying, take all the protected riders, throw them all in a list and rank them based on their time in qualifying. Just because you’re protected doesn’t mean you should ride last if your time was garbage. The fact you’re allowed to ride at all should be enough.
  • + 12
 This is the only sensible option. Other than the chance of someone sitting in the hotseat for three hours and making the rest of the riders look like a bit of a joke.

Their argument is that the riders people want to see wouldn't appear in the livestream. Why not run the live stream (possibly without commentary for the first hour) throughout finals?
  • + 2
 Yup. This would be so easy.
  • + 4
 This is the right answer. I get why they want protected riders in general and have no problem with the 10/10 5/5 split of season-long and current rank. Just order them based on qualifying times and insert any non-protected riders who qualified faster in the appropriate spot.

UCI has the data so they can do the math, but I bet you end up with ~30 riders (20 protected, 10 non-protected) in the top 30. Show those runs and cut down on some of the pre-show/interview type stuff to fit the mens broadcast into two hours.
  • + 0
 roba -> agreed, but that only gets you halfway there.

Then you release the riders in packs of 3 every 30 seconds and now we're ready for some interesting racing!
  • + 2
 I totally agree!!!
You´re doing good in qualifying you´re last man down the hill. You fu*k up in quali, you race first.
Racing as it ever was...
  • + 40
 And Lord Peaty spoke thusly, "He who qualifies fastest, shall be lastest."
  • + 5
 Amen!
  • + 17
 Call me crazy but if you’re good enough to rank P1 in both practice and qualifying against the worlds best riders, then you damn well deserve to ride out of that start gate last on race day...
  • + 14
 F ....THE...UCI. So happy to see Crankworx, EWS and similar events growing. WC Downhill is the pinnacle of MTB without a doubt and I love it. That said, the UCI could give to sh*ts about it. Red Bull has done great things with action sports all around and brought a great deal of $$ along with them. However, their race coverage is going downhill (no pun intended) and they are beginning to act a lot like the UCI in many perspectives.
  • + 2
 As long as the UCI stays away, things will be good. And action sports will do just fine without Red Bull.
  • + 6
 As much as I hate the UCI, this is all the fault of Red Bull and some of the teams.
  • + 1
 @rsbromley: looks like it. That said, UCI should have put a foot down. They didn't. I'm not sure if Mercedes demanded any changes
  • + 9
 So the UCI basically did what the representatives from the teams requested that they do, and you are still killing them for it?
  • + 12
 @SlodownU: Will it really do just fine without Redbull? Action sports are sponsor driven and Redbull has been probably the biggest sponsor of action sports the last decade. Careful what you wish for.
  • + 1
 @sino428: My guess is those 'teams' are one or two major players (Trek, Spec.) who are trying to sway the video feeds in their favor. I could be wrong, but I highly doubt Mondraker, Propain, Transition, etc, are the ones asking /requesting this change
  • + 7
 Did you not watch the race ? They had .. FOR THE FIRST TIME .. the entire course covered with cameras so you could see the entire run. How is that less coverage ?

Also, if you bothered to watch the pre race chat, they had a UCI director on that was very much in favour of adding more races to the calendar but the biggest thing missing... was money. Having Mercedes on board as a title sponsor should help with that.

The teams wanted the protected riders because of the disaster that happened in Australia last year that ruined the event for spectators and the overall points chase for the top riders.
  • + 6
 @bman33: If you bothered watching the pre chat show.. you'll see it was a big push from the big teams lead by Martin Whitely from YT ... come on dude.
  • + 5
 @pushingbroom: I agree. There appeared to be an air of arrogance around him, and Rob Warner was just rolling over - like hell he wouldn't have wanted to ride down the hill last if he had qualified first when he was racing and let someone else run last. Seems to me that YT / Whitely are pushing to make this the AG show and be damned the rest of them???
  • + 2
 @bman33: Its all the Elite teams, not just Trek or Specialized. They have a committee made up the team managers of all the Elite teams. There are actually 15 elite DH teams registered for 2018, including Mondraker and Transition.
  • + 1
 @pushingbroom: I did watch to pre chat show. Totally forgot about YT. Martin Whitely is a bit of his own identity with any teams he managers. During the Trek days, Trek was the main frame/bike sponsor, but Martin ran the show. Very similar to what he has crafted with the YT Mob team and it's sponsors
  • + 6
 @sino428: Yeah I don't understand the UCI bashing. It sounds to me like the teams and Red Bull wanted to change the format, the UCI said ok. Then the change didn't exactly go as expected and they want to fix that. Most of the interviews I've heard from people who actually deal with the UCI, the teams and riders, seem to think that the UCI really takes their input seriously and works with them and it seems like they don't take forever to fix things either.

Formula 1 did the same thing last season. They tried a new quali format, fans and teams weren't stoked on it, the FIA and teams got together and for the next race it was back to how it was. Most people were happy that F1 was willing to try something new. Sometimes you try and improve something and it doesn't work out, what is important is recognizing that and making adjustments as needed--that seems to be what they are doing here.

I think the concept of having the championship leaders start last makes sense. A lot of the drama of the race is around what those few guys are gonna do and how it affects the overall. It does make qualifying seem weird though and I'm skeptical they can fit quali in with that overall. Maybe they just need to make it so the top 3 guys (not 10) in the overall are guaranteed in the last 10 riders and otherwise it's down to qualifying order.
  • + 12
 Don't let Red Bull take so much participation to importants decisions in this sport...... They are a value for this sport it's clear, but there are limits to me, they crossed the red line i think !!! It's too much
  • + 10
 Not sure how I feel about this portion...

"Also last year Red Bull Media House requested the start order to be such that the last rider down in the finals was the current WC leader."

Makes qualifying meaningless for whoever's leading the overall. They could roll out of the start gate in qualifying without having to risk anything and still be last person down the hill.
  • + 2
 The riders still earn points based on qualifying performance though, which hopefully discourages protected riders from just cruising down the course. However, I agree that it is still a bit of an unfair advantage since they have less to gain and probably won’t go 100% or risk as much to top out during qualifying.
  • + 4
 @BamaBiscuits: but what does anybody actually gain from going last? Usually it means you get the worst conditions and the most blown out course, and/or you get caught in the rain if that happens to start midway through finals. If anything I think this actually does the opposite and means people have MORE to gain by giving it everything in qualifying since it won't necessarily disadvantage them in the finals.
  • + 4
 @Socket: They get to know how hard everyone pushed it. If 20 seconds dropped off the quali time he knows he's gotta pull something special. Or if his main rival crashed he knows he can take it easy and not risk injury.
  • + 1
 @Socket: Good point. In alpine skiing, the top qualifiers go toward the front of the pack. (In downhill and Super G, and in the first run for slalom, GS and combined). No one wants to ski in the rutted-up mess after 40 people have shredded the snow to crap. (At the same time, no one really wants to go first, either).

Rocks and dirt are not the same as snow, granted, but I would still think the course is in worse shape at the end of the race than it is in the beginning... In what way is it an advantage?
  • + 1
 @TheR: Depends, if the course is wet but not raining it tends to dry out and get faster the more riders and time goes by.
  • + 10
 The men's start list should be:

•Qualifying order in reverse
•If a protected rider failed to qualify, stitch them into the starting order beginning at 10th.

Tracks vary, and so do riders' strengths. Of course the fastest qualifiers on a particular track should go last. Also, we could easily see a consistent 3rd place finisher leading the overall. If they are always going last, that steals much of the excitement from their runs, and they will never see the hot seat. Get it together, people.
  • + 18
 If a protected rider fails to qualify, they should be riding first. Being protected gets them into the finals, it should not give them any more advantage than that.
  • + 7
 @Fix-the-Spade: if they're protected they should not be getting held up by other low-ranked riders, and they should be getting the media exposure, so starting them in 20th or something does make sense. Nobody wants to miss the coverage of Gwin/Minnaar/Bruni's race run because of a flat in qualifying, that'd be silly.
  • + 2
 @Socket: well it would add a challenge to qualifying for them. The top guys who can qualify easily if they go full gas need to ride at 90% to ensure they get a top 20 to get on TV and max media exposure.
Remember, if they f*ck up and flat or crash in quali they still get to race and still get to sit on the hotseat and get the championship points if their race time is fastest.
  • + 2
 @AyJayDoubleyou: And if you get to sit in the hot seat then your sponsors get coverage (possibly more!). It's pretty simple, really. Just have Red Bull zoom out a bit to give the sponsors some air time.
  • + 1
 @Fix-the-Spade: agreed, but they should also show their runs on rbtv. That way, it's fair, and sponsors are happy.
  • + 3
 @Socket: That denies other riders and sponsors their TV time for what might be their only world cup finals appearance that year. This whole situation stinks of major sponsors rigging things so nobody else gets any coverage, at the expense of the minor teams and the competition as a whole.
  • + 1
 @Fix-the-Spade: Hit the nail on head, this format would work very well if we were give more coverage of the event watching the top 30 for example of elite.
  • + 4
 I don’t care tbh. If they f*ck up qualifying then that’s tuff. You don’t see lewis Hamilton on pole each race because he won the championship last year. It isn’t fair on the person that qualifies first. Where is the point of qualifying? @Socket:
  • + 1
 @Socket: after this year all riders are shown in the live stream, there is no reason why to show protected riders later. They get shown and that must be enough.
  • + 1
 @Socket: This is that we've had for years, protected riders used to get slotted in 21st or so last year.
  • + 1
 @Fix-the-Spade: amen to that
  • + 4
 I agree with the statemetns of keep it simple. The idea of qualifying the fastest and going last is that yo have a sense of all of those that have gone down before you. You (Bull Dog) earned it by...qualifying the fastest.

No disrespect to Gwin but it sounds like he can just role down slow for every qualifier this year and still go last. That doesn't seem fair to all of the other riders pushing the limit to qualify in a later position.Besides it is inherent in the word...qualify.
  • + 3
 I wonder what WC racing would be like without the UCI...Maybe RedBull could start its own series. Maybe do a handful of races in North America? There’s this place that seems to be pretty popular... I think it’s called Whistler or something...
  • + 2
 This really pisses me off, and I'm just a fan. I imagine there would've been some pissed off riders. It just goes to show how out of touch UCI are with the sport - not understanding the sacredness of the start order being what it is. Nothing more exciting than when a new or up and coming rider makes the top 10 in the start list and lays down a scorcher. Is this something we won't see happen anymore?
  • + 6
 This is stupid. Macdonald qualified first, he should ride last. PERIOD.
  • + 2
 Red Bull / UCI Stole my format!!

I predicted this would happen last year

This is aimed at DHWC racing as a whole. As Barel and many other Elite riders have said WC DH is the F1 of Mountain Biking. This is how I think it will probably end up in the next few years.
1. 6-10 Rounds a year
2. Top (20?) Male / Female riders from previous season have guaranteed entry to all rounds for the season.
3. Riders who were outside the top 20? Get the opportunity to qualify for the remaining (20?) race day positions.
4. Finish in the top 20 on race day, you're qualified for the next race. (not sure how this would work)
5. Juniors get to race world champs / have a separate race series.
6. New riders must gain enough points / prove competitiveness to be allowed to race.

Less riders on track will be better for TV coverage as it showcases the pinnacle of the sport, which in theory should bring more money into the sport. I know this sounds strict, but you have to work your way up the chain in any major sport to get to the top. In F1 you can't just earn your 30 points in local races and turn up to race the F1 on Sunday.

www.pinkbike.com/u/laurenjenkins/blog/snapshot-an-industry-view-on-the-uci-changes-announced-in-2016.html
  • + 2
 Can someone give me an update on the protection rule? This is the first I've heard of it. What make's you a protected rider? Also, I like RedBull a lot and what they do for sports and other areas of their interest... but allowing media production to influence rule changes in sports is just not ok in my opinion. The UCI should have nipped that in the butt when they had the chance.
  • + 1
 As I understand it, previously the top 20 men/10 women of the current season were protected, but this year the top 10 men/5 women of the current season are protected, plus the top 10m/5w from the previous season are also protected.

I think the UCI has to take Redbull Media's requests into account, they are what makes the racing so accessible and popular, if they piss off RBMH they'll lose their largest media partner and sponser. But I think we all agree that RBMH really screwed this one up, seems like they just want their highest paid athletes down the hill last regardless of the course.
  • + 0
 @arden0: Fair point on the RBMH thing biking isn't nearly televised enough.

Back to protected... what does being "protected" actually mean though in this context?
  • + 1
 The media influences small rules changes and presentation of all professional sports.
  • + 1
 @BEEner: A protected rider will get to race on race day regardless of what happens in their qualifying run. For instance, if Gwin got a flat and came last in qualifying he'd still be able to race, but if Brook Macdonald had the same thing happen he'd be sitting that race out. It also affects the start order, depending on how the rule is written.
  • + 1
 @arden0: cool thanks!!
  • + 2
 I think what the team requested does make a lot of sense in order to make sure the top riders who had problems in qualifying still get broadcasted.

If I was to decide, the best 3 or best 5 qualifiers would start last and would be preceded by the 20 protected riders in the order they qualified.

- The best qualifiers will get the exposure they deserve in the live feed;
- There will be no risk of missing some of the top racers in the live feed (even if they had a problem in their qualification run);
  • + 1
 Elite'ism
says it all really
when a sport becomes more about big money corperate sponsorship coverage than talant.......

"Also last year Red Bull Media House requested the start order to be such that the last rider down in the finals was the current WC leader."

Well... It's the start of a NEW season.. so surley the fastest qualifier is the current WC leader?
  • + 1
 But that start order still doesn't make sense - surely if Bulldog qualified first but had to start behind the protected riders (10 from last season, and 10 from the current season, of which there would be none as this was the first race), he would be starter number 49, not number 46.

Where does the UCI come up with such bullshit?
  • + 2
 Give them protected riders a second chance qualifier in case they have a flat or something like the lcq in supercross. They get another shot at qualifying and you start it in the order it's supposed to be. fastest first!
  • + 3
 after this explanation it certainly makes more sense... also agree that the odds of having an unprotected rider qualifying first is rare.
  • + 2
 The rare times it does happen are exciting, though. The tension building up to their race run breaks up the normal routine, and heightens the viewers sense of wonder. This change is just part of the old "too many cooks spoil the pot" dilemma that flattens out those peaks of excitement. It's like when a music artist gets signed to a big label and their songs end up getting over produced and watered down in order to sound inoffensive in the background of commercials and summer movies.
  • + 1
 The top ranked WC rider going last is a departure from the norm, but I don't hate it. You want to go last? Win enough races and qualies to be top ranked. Just like any given week. The order, from 2 onto the rest of the field, should reflect quali position. As others have said, if you're protected and you miss the cut, you go first.
  • + 1
 I feel the biggest thing about dropping last is the prestige and publicity, important things for a professional athlete. The courses normally seem be pretty torn up for the final rides so I Idon't see a significant advantage for performance. I understand the reasoning behind the protected riders but it sucks for the mid pack guys trying to push through. The majority of the time the quality of the top guys shines through so I'd like the top 20 to have only a couple of free passes into the final over the season rather than every single one. If you have lots of bad luck or ride crap on a regular basis it's not fair that someone who rode faster misses out.
  • + 1
 I think with all the controversy around large Swiss sport governing bodies and how easily they are corrupted we might suggest an idea such as in the IT world. Open source. Only service costs. It is no secret that Swiss banking made its profits on washing blood money. It is no secret that we have lost some great racers as they calculate the benefit of winning does not outweigh the risk. It is no secret RB have not been kind so some of their athletes, and when tragedy strikes, to their families. Just an idea. Clearly we all want to make a living but when it becomes more about the money than the sport which was so passion driven something is obviously wrong. On a provocative note: I'd like to see some of the UCI goons race a dh race with their silly rules.
  • + 1
 I was searching for the start order and was finding no one. So this was made really bad. Useless changes and no information to find in which way they are going to start. That RBMH can tell the UCI, how the riders had to start is just crazy. Time for a new platform to stream the races!
  • + 1
 Could this be caused because last on one event the forecast was pretty clear that it would be bad for the top 20-30 on race day, and some riders deliberately slowed down on qualifying in order to have better weather on the start? Unfortunately I do not remember the details but sure somebody else is Smile
  • + 1
 This new rule lessens the vibe of the race for the fans. Fastest qualifier should come down last, and protected riders that don't make the cut after the top 20 qualifiers. If a rider has a bad qualification and then sits in the hot seat for ages after a good race run thats sweet. World Champs was epic last year when Sam Hill came down at the start of racing due to his low UCI rank and then stayed in the hot seat for the majority of the race.
  • + 1
 That's what I read: "BULLSH#T, BULLSH#T, BULLSH#T, RedBull doesn't give a flyn' f@ck 'bout the sport and fairness regarding athletes, they just need to put up a show, BULLSH#T, BULLSH#T, BULLSH#T"

DHWC is not a sport event, it'a a SHOW, face it
  • + 1
 Give me a break haters. Do you really want to tune in to the live broadcast, already see Gwin in the hot seat, and Minnaar next to him, and have to wait through 25 riders that fail to beat them just because it began raining during qualifying? They will work out the disparity and this will be a good change.
  • + 1
 This is becoming almost just a business,it’s a shame ,I want to see who really deserves to be the last man going down ,the one that puts qualifying time meaning something ,cause if not why risk taking the best qualifying time if the best qualifier doesn’t create that feeling of hope ,just another stupid thing that sports are becoming
  • + 1
 Yea but we still get to see the sport we love and like the pros said about everyone slating the track before they had ridden it. What would we know just keyboard warriors. Saying that I don’t see anyone on here qualifying for world cups
  • + 1
 This was horse shit. I WANT to see the fastest qualifier go last especially when their a outsider. The fastest qualifier as earned the media coverage for his sponsors by being the fastest rider not because his sponsors are big enough to gang up with RBMH and blackmail the UCI This is no different to Ferrari asking the FIA to make sure smaller F1 teams don't get air time even if the Ferraris are in last place while force India are miles in front
  • + 3
 Pick your start times. #1 qualifier choses 1st and so on...
Just like a gate pick in moto. Why should fastest racers get worst track conditions?
But, the 'show' must go on.
  • + 1
 I like the new rule changes with the protected riders, but id prefer if also something like top 5 qualifiers in the current race can start in the final 5 positions on finals day regardless if they are protected or not. That wouldn't mess up seeing the protected riders in the live feed, which seems like the point of the rule changes, and it also doesn't penalize a top qualifier because they had a lower rank in the previous season. Hypothetically, if someone like Gee qualifies first at Fort William, he would have the same situation as Brook happen, because he is lower ranked from his injury plagued season last year.
  • + 1
 i like the idea that the top 20 rider, ride in the last hour of the race. but also some of the fastest qualifier. i think the idea of red bull tv is a start but need some modification like fastjohn1 is suggesting
  • + 1
 I honestly don't mind the rule. It sucks for the top qualifier that they don't get to ride last, but having the leaders of the series ride last will more times that not put the riders with the best chance winning at the end. And from a fan perspective I think that makes for the best and most exciting viewing. Its not really entertaining when a top rider has a fall or mechanical in qualifying and then and puts up a smoker of a time in finals and sits in the hot seat for 20 riders that everyone knows have no chance at touching the time.
  • + 1
 The justification that the teams requested it carries little water. This is just an example of teams or players becoming bigger than the sport itself. The times dictate the start order, and naught else.
  • + 2
 A group of clueless people spending hours delegating little changes that only confuse and turn away new viewers. Ultimately hurting the sport. Sounds about right.
  • + 2
 So basically they say " Bulldog you did good but there are the guys from the last year season , so here is spit in your face and there you go"
  • + 1
 If U quali first, U must start last. Is it not fair? Stop interfering in sports regulations for the sake of "entertainment". Give the athletes to race, and young talents and other boyz get into the airtime.
  • + 1
 what is the freaking point of having qualification then, how do new riders/bikes/teams show themselves, maybe in the future you can buy your running order, speed should be the game ....not money, or team name
  • + 1
 If U is first quali, U must start last? Is that not a fair? Stop interfering in sports regulations for the sake of "entertainment." Give the athletes to race, and young talents and other boyz get into the airtime.
  • + 4
 This is why crankworx is gaining ground!!!!!!
  • + 3
 And as it gets bigger they'll start running into their own weird rule issues causing confusion and outrage on the message boards. Enjoy the good times while they last! ...or just ride your bike...
  • + 3
 get these roadies out of mtb. and bmx for that matter. seriously holding the racing side of our sport down.
  • + 3
 I think they should skip qualifying all together and go for two runs (for top 30) with accumulated time like in alpine GS.
  • + 1
 50% of the time Bruni doesn't make the start line, so now we're talking about Greg & Aaron... Lets just let all the riders come down the hill in the order they qualified, with protected riders starting at 10th.
  • + 3
 So qualification times mean even less now. Way to go UCI. WTF are you doing.
  • + 2
 so we have been racing since we started horse back riding and all of a sudden we rewrite history. Did Mateschitz have lunch with Trump?
  • + 1
 What a gong show! just send the riders off in reverse qualification order and add any poorly qualifying protected riders at end of top 20. It makes for great racing and drama. complexity is the enemy...#KISS
  • + 2
 Why not keep the top 3-5 riders from qualies and then send the protected riders after that? wouldn't that be the best of both worlds?
  • + 2
 Riders should earn their tv time by qualifying well. Why bring last year into a fresh season?
  • + 3
 IF YOU AIN'T FIRST YOU'RE LAST
  • + 1
 "Well, I do love fig newtons"
  • + 1
 Such BS! What’s exciting for the fans, and I’m sure for most of the riders, is to watch the fastest man come down last! I mean c’mon! Just my opinion.
  • - 1
 This rule change is bad, each race should be based on how they qualify in that race. This is more UCI madness and will continue to denigrate the viewership of the sport. Since when do we change core rules for sponsors and media. How demoralizing to the guy who laid it on the line to start mid pack total BS. I am not going to watch any more this season till they fix this and I encourage everyone else out there to follow suit.
  • + 2
 I join you,,,,
  • + 1
 They need to run a separate protected race series for protected riders. Who can wear extra protection on a different protected track.. Load of garbage !
  • + 1
 In DH racing, the TQ always starts last. The UCI really screwed the pooch. Way to took the fun and suspense out of the game.
  • + 1
 i know the wc needs money but as soon as there is money the simplest thing -fastest rider is last man down -is no longer a given
  • + 3
 UCI - United to Confuse Idiots
  • + 2
 Got it,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
  • + 2
 I say the top qualifier should be allowed to pick his or her start position
  • + 3
 What a mess....
  • + 1
 Why not start the season with a clean slate? Qualifying run sets the start order for finals?
  • + 2
 I’m glad that’s all cleared up then....
  • + 3
 Brook got robbed!
  • + 2
 The question is do you think mcdonald was jinxed by not starting last?
  • + 2
 maybe,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
  • + 2
 @ kolya Absolutely! Had he gone 1st, he would of had another outcome, (1st?) as would have all the other riders. Don't fix what's not broken! The messed with the time-space continuum!
  • + 1
 Why is their a story on this, aren't there team videos explaining what the teams went through, seem like an over cooked ham.
  • + 2
 Just cause the 29er didn't win!
  • + 3
 All for money.
  • + 3
 #protectbrook
  • + 2
 It's all about the money, boys!
  • + 3
 What a joke.
  • + 1
 Lol they forgot to "protect" the fastest qualifiers when drafting this rule
  • + 2
 This is what happens when stubborn people try to make everyone happy...
  • + 1
 It wouldn't be a UCI event without some stupid decisions just for sake of it.
  • + 1
 No more quali needed, just let it all start at once like Mega avalance.A good show made them garbage. really anger.
  • + 2
 If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
  • + 1
 I don't like change, specially when is stupid
  • + 2
 Formula 1
  • + 1
 The more there are rules, the less just is society.
  • + 1
 So in effect not uci but teams & redbull requested this change?
  • + 1
 Red Bull gives you wings, not rocket scientists
  • + 1
 Nobody likes it. Fix it.

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