Even though the races for 2017 have barely begun, the plans have been finalised for the 2018 UCI World Cup already! Next year will see seven rounds in the XCO series with a healthy dose of old favourites as well as a curious inclusion at the beginning of the year. Immediately preceding the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic will be the first round of the World Cup in Stellenbosch, South Africa, in March!
This early start to the World Cup season is quite different to the usual April/May start. No doubt the move has been geared towards bringing even more exposure to the Western Cape region of South Africa and driving cycling-based tourism. Having elite races in South Africa may also entice even more to take up the gauntlet and try their hand at the taming of one of the largest and toughest MTB stage races in the world.
What this means for the Australian calendar will remain to be seen as the beginning of March is typically when the XCO Oceanias and National Championships are held. Maybe an earlier start to the season or a later National Champs in late March or early April will be seen. Either way it is an exciting change and while the Cape Epic has rarely lacked a deep field, the opening round of the World Cup could make it one of the deepest and most exciting yet!
Have a read of the Cape Epic’s hopes for the World Cup opener HERE
2018 World Cup
7–10 March – Stellenbosch
19–20 May – Nove Mesto
26–27 May – Albstadt
7–8 July – Val Di Sole
14–15 July – Vallnord
11–12 August – Mont-Sainte-Anne
25–26 August – La Bresse
2018 World Championships
4–9 September – Lenzerheide