The schedule that we've discovered might only be provisional, but there are some interesting things to be learnt from it...
Provisional MTB calendar 2013
- 13-14 April: XCO/DH
- 20-21 April: XCO/DH
- 18-19 May: XCO/XCE
- 25-26 May: XCO/XCE
- 08-09 June: DH
- 15-16 June: XCO/DH
- 15-16 June: XCO European Championships Bern (Sui)
- 29-30 June: Marathon World Championships Kirchberg (Aut)
- 20-21 July: National Championships
- 27-28 July: XCO/DH
- 03-04 Aug: XCO/DH
- 10-11 Aug: DH
- 13-18 Aug: Masters World Championships Pietermaritzburg (RSA)
- 21-25 Aug: Cross Country World Championships Pietermaritzburg (RSA)
- 28 Aug-01 Sept: Downhill World Championships Pietermaritzburg (RSA)
- 14-15 Sept: XCO/DH
- 21-22 Sept: DH
- 21-22 Sept: Marathon National Championships
Easily the biggest news is that there are currently nine DH World Cup races on the schedule, plus the World Champs. That sounds amazing to us, and we'd love it if it happened, but by the sounds of it things may not stay like this.
According to UCI Event Coordinator Melanie Leveau the goal is to have only seven races for each discipline, and this includes DH. Apparently it all comes down to the cost of organising such a large series, both in terms of staff needed to oversee the events, and the costs involved in filming each one etc. There's a chance that we may get eight rounds, but nothing is certain yet.
We've got to say we reckon it's a bit gutting if the series isn't as big as it potentially could be. Previously we thought that the number of races was largely dictated by how many venues put in an application to hold a World Cup, but we've since heard that the UCI actually receive far more applications then they could ever have.
On the one hand it's annoying that these places don't get to hold a round, but on the other hand it's very promising that so many places are seriously interested in holding a race, it shows that there is plenty of potential for the sport to grow. Maybe with Red Bull's involvement this year we will see some serious growth in future. All we need is for some other big sponsors to come on board and then the UCI might well have more money to extend the series.
Finally, you might have also spotted that South Africa is going to be a massive three week affair next year. Masters World Champs the first weekend, then XC, and finally the DH. Oh, and just two rounds of the new XC Eliminator format doesn't really strike us as a serious move to develop the discipline.
What are your thoughts? to us, and we'd love it if it happened,