The European Downhill Cup, sponsored by sportswear brand iXS, has its origins in the iXS Swiss Downhill Cup, a series of seven races in Switzerland, first staged in 2003. Since then, the Swiss competition has expanded to four series with 21 races in eight different countries – in addition to the original series, the iXS German Downhill Cup, the iXS European Downhill Cup and the iXS Rookies Cup have been launched.
The European Downhill Cup was first staged in 2008, and, over recent years, has cemented its reputation as the most important international downhill series after the World Cup. One of the most exciting years of competition was in 2012, when seven different countries were visited – both men’s and women’s series were undecided until the last stop on the schedule in Todtnau, where French star Emmeline Ragot and Swede Robin Wallner finally took overall honours.
The 2013 edition was a tough, six-stop tour which tested even the hardest of mountain bikers. In the men’s division, Slovenian Miran Vauh finished on top, with a narrow lead over Ziga Pandur and Joseph Connell. For the women, overall winner was Zarja Cernilogar from Slovenia, with Jana Bártová and Carina Cappellari making up the rest of the top three.
Entering its seventh season in 2014, the iXS European Downhill Cup will visit eight venues in seven countries. The competition kicks off in May in Maribor, and then visits Schladming, Val di Sole, Les 2 Alpes (Crankworx), Spicak, Pila and Wiriehorn, before climaxing at Leogang in September.