The UCI has axed four cross from the Mountain Bike World Cup calendar, effective immediately. In a Management Committee meeting held at the Road World Championships in Copenhagen, they also made several significant changes affecting the highest level of cross-country and gravity mountain bike competition in 2012 and confirmed the World Cup will return to Windham, New York next year.
The most sweeping change, however, was the elimination of the four cross discipline from all gravity World Cups. Four cross was still included as of the preliminary 2012 calendar released by the UCI in June; however, it was removed from the version published on the UCI site today.
Four cross is still part of the 2012 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Austria. "Following the publication of the 2012 Mountain Bike calendar, the UCI confirms that four cross events will form part of the programme of the 2012 UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships to be held in Leogang, Austria," read a statement from the UCI issued on Thursday after Cyclingnews asked the UCI to confirm the status of the four cross Worlds.
The four cross World Cup decision comes in time for the 2012 Olympic year, when many four crossers were likely to switch their focus to BMX racing which, unlike four cross, is an Olympic discipline. Four cross courses are also notoriously expensive to build and the discipline consistently draws fewer competitors than downhill.
"Due to the high costs of constructing tracks and their impact on the environment, the UCI has decided to withdraw this speciality from the programme of events at UCI Mountain Bike World Cups from next season," read a statement from the UCI explaining the decision.
On the cross country side of racing, the UCI confirmed that the 2012 World Cup will return to Windham, New York. The venue has twice previously hosted the World Cup. In its first year in 2010, it was a triple, featuring four cross, downhill and cross country. In 2011, it hosted downhill and cross country, but not four cross. 2012 will feature the same two events. The area was recently devastated by rains and flooding from Hurricane Irene and efforts are underway to rebuild.
Finally, the UCI confirmed that the cross country eliminator, mountain biking's newest World Cup discipline, will be held in conjunction with three cross country World Cup rounds: in Houffalize, Belgium, Nove Mesto Na Morave and La Bresse, France. Cyclingnewsis in process of finding out whether those three eliminator events will count toward a World Cup series of any sort. As previously reported, the cross country eliminator will be run as a world championship event for the first time in 2012.
2012 UCI Mountain Bike Calendar
- March 17-18: Cross country #1, Downhill #1 - Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
- April 14-15: Cross country #2, Eliminator #1 - Houffalize, Belgium
- May 12-13: Cross country #3, Eliminator #2, Nove Mesto Na Morave, Czech
- May 19-20: Cross country #4, Eliminator #3, La Bresse, France
- June 2-3: Downhill #2, Val di Sole, Italy
- June 9-10: Downhill #3, Fort William, Great Britain
- June 23-24: Cross country #5, Downhill #4, Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec Canada
- June 30-July 1: Cross country #6, Downhill #5, Windham, New York, United States
- July 28-29: Cross country #7, Downhill #6, Val d'Isere, France
- September 15-16: Downhill #7, Hafjell, Norway
August 11-12: London, Great Britain
- August 31 - September 2: Downhill & Four cross, Leogang, Austria
- September 5 - September 9: Cross country & eliminator, Saalfelden, Austria
- September 22-23: Marathon, Ornans, France
Designated National championships weekends
- July 21-22: Cross country, Downhill & Four cross, worldwide
- September 22-23: Marathon, worldwide
This article originated on Cyclingnews.com.