Urban Downhill is kicking off these days. Events like Valparaiso and Lisbon bring racing to the masses, bang in the middle of cities. Quite literally Park and Ride. Good for shopping too.
Some bright spark has come up with the idea of joining all these races together to form a series, a bit like the FMB Tour I suppose.
The City Downhill World Cup will unite existing street races into one series, with plans to add more events in future years.
Here’s a quick word with CDWC organiser Jana Vasova.
So, first up who are you?
My name is Jana Vasova, I’m from Slovakia and live with World Cup racer Filip Polc. I travel to all his races, organise bike races and camps, distributing bike stuff and run www.polcstershop.sk. I’ve got seven years experience with organizing events, marketing and working with media.
What is the CDWC?
City Downhill Word Cup is our new project. As Filip has been racing the WC Downhills, Urban races and 4X for many years, his dream is to create this series to bring the sport to a new dimension. This is realistically possible in the city where we have more people and not just bike fans either. And this is what we like to work with.
What other cities are you looking at to host events?
This year we are starting with the pilot project in Bratislava, our capital city. Red Bull organized a similar race there in 2002 which was super successful. Then for 2014 we would like to add existing locations from South America where the races have an 11-year long tradition with fifteen to twenty thousand spectators. We’ve already started to create a deal with local organizers from Chile/Valparaiso, Brazil/Santos and Colombia/Bogota. We also plan to have races in Europe too with Bratislava/Slovakia and also to go back to the roots, to Portugal/Lisbon.
What sort of racer do you think an urban DH series appeal to?
These days we have a lot of WC riders entering Urban DH races. Steve Peat is the legend of Lisbon, Cedric Gracia has raced Lisbon and South America, Greg Minnaar, Steve Smith, Brendan Fairclough have also raced. Every year we can see more and more racers keen to come, more and more fans and more media. We like to bring more WC riders of course, offer them good hospitality and a better service than the standard races.
Will there be any conflict with the UCI?
I know the UCI was planning to include an Urban DH race into its WC series. Most of the urban races Filip is racing are under UCI rules, so it works fine. We’d just like to find the best way for this new Downhill discipline to work. Even for us as organisers and the WC teams and riders.
How about urban 4x?
It’s all possible, but the current situation with 4x is not so great. Filip grew up with BMX and raced Dual Slalom and 4X…so if we see it’s a good time to bring it to the city then why not? We have watched this kind of race in Italy, it was fun but the DH tracks are more spectacular I think.
CDWC should bring DH racing to a wider audience which is definitely a good thing?
As you said… this sport needs to get this. I think the races in the woods and mountains haven’t changed much in the last couple of years. But what I’ve seen in the city races in the last four years is impressive. The crowds, the crazy features, the stairs…it gives me goose bumps. In Bratislava for the pilot event we are co-operating with best TV companies, radio and print media. Bike racing is getting really popular in Slovakia now. Thanks to Filip and also the road racers such as Peter Sagan who is killing the Pro tour races.
So Bratislava will be the pilot race this year then?
Yes, the event will be on June 22nd, we plan to make full day of action. We’ll have a cool track that Filip Polc will design, the best hospitality for the top riders who we are inviting, a trials and dirt jump show, dancing groups, a concert and an after party. We’re going to have an exciting program we’re expecting around 15000 fans and we’ll have live broadcasting, big screens and DJs.