After a brief hiatus, the much-loved discipline of XCE or Sprint eliminator will be making its return to the international calendar for 2017! The 8 round series will visit three continents and seven different cities over a six month period and will bring mountain biking to the people.
A mixture of cross country olympic and four-cross racing, XCE is an extremely exciting format that sees four riders race head-to-head over a short course with jumps and obstacles in a heat race format. Australia has been very successful in the discipline with Paul Van Der Ploeg winning the World Championship in 2013.
City Mountainbike will be behind the scenes as organisers and with partnership with the UCI have organised a very interesting calendar that is sure to bring the sport of mountain biking to the masses. UCI President had this to say about the new series, “I am delighted by this partnership with City Mountainbike, which enables us to relaunch a discipline that is spectacular and popular with fans. With this new UCI Mountain Bike Eliminator World Cup, we confirm our desire to bring our sport to where the public is, in the heart of cities.”
2017 UCI Mountain Bike Eliminator World Cup calendar
Volterra (ITA) – 5-6.05.2017*
Columbus (USA) – 3-4.06.2017
Waregem (BEL) – 24-25.06.2017
Bangkok (THA) – 29-30.07.2017*
Winterberg (GER) – 26-27.08.2017
Apeldoorn (NED) – 2-3.09.2017*
Antwerp (BEL) – 23-24.09.2017
Beirut (LB) – 15-16.10.2017*
*Pending confirmation by National Federation
The series takes in many cities and countries that are not usually thought of when mountain biking is
mentioned and if there ever was a series that could be referred to as a ‘World Cup’ this would be it. The XCE series will conclude in China with the inaugural ‘UCI World Urban Cycling World Championships’, which will also include the Trials and BMX Freestyle disciplines. The UCI partnership with Wanda sport has been behind the World Championships and looks to increase cycling development in China.
It is great to see the XCE format return after some time away from the international scene but it will be interesting to see how many riders will commit to the entire series or ‘can’ commit to the entire series. With the series taking riders from Thailand, Germany, Lebanon and to the USA, it will be a big ask financially for athletes in a sport that hasn’t been at a world level for two years. Not to mention the fact that aside from a handful of specialists, the discipline was mostly filled with XCO riders that wanted a hit out before their World Cup XC races when the two were combined. And for the matter of specialists, after two years without world cup racing and only small races and championship events to attend, will there be any incentive? The equal prize money between men and women is great, as is bringing the racing to the people in new cities around the world, but there’s not much point if you don’t have anybody to race.