Bangkok, Antwerp… Columbus, Georgia. This year, the crowd-pleasing format of mountain bike cross-country Eliminator (XCE) will return to the UCI World Cup circuit after being absent since 2015, and will visit eight cities in seven countries on three continents. Unlike recent events, the new XCE World Cup races will have a decidedly urban format.
XCE is a bit of a franken-event: a mash-up of cross-country mountain biking, four-cross, and a cyclocross criterium, which sends four racers sprinting through a technical urban course — there probably won’t be kegs as course markers like an Icelandic urban ’cross race, though. In previous years, riders had to qualify in a mountain bike time trial, which also influenced seeding order. The series will offer equal prize money for men and women.
The discipline, which featured on the programme of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup for three seasons (2012 – 2014), will now have a series in an enhanced format that the UCI describes as “conquering city centres throughout the six-month season.”
Several cyclocross legends have competed in urban Eliminators in years past before they were UCI World Cups. Katie Compton out-sprinted Olympic silver medalist and World XC champion Maja Wloszczowska at an urban Eliminator that went through a hotel in Poland in 2011, though Wloszczowska took the overall title.
“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. As with trials and BMX Freestyle Park, Eliminator requires minimum logistics, which fits in with the desire of cities to organise events that use temporary installations. The international character of this first edition proves that the format appeals to cities throughout the world and we are delighted by that,” said Brian Cookson, UCI President.
The series will finish with Urban Cycling World Championships in a partnership between the UCI and Wanda Sports in hopes of growing grassroots and professional cycling in China. This event will feature Cross-Country Eliminator, trials, and BMX freestyle events. Date and venue information is pending.
The 2017 UCI XCE World Cup calendar is:
- Volterra, Italy: May 5-6
- Columbus, GEORGIA (US): June 3-4
- Waregem, Belgium: June 24-25
- Bangkok, Thailand: July 29-30
- Winterberg, Germany: August 26-27
- Apeldoorn, Netherlands: September 2-3
- Antwerp, Belgium: September 23-24
- Beirut, Lebanon: October 15-16
Correction: Our original post misinterpreted Columbus (USA) to be Ohio, not Georgia. Our apologies.
Mark Legg back in 2011 said that the Eliminator format is “a really great racing format they need to adopt in the U.S.” With the Columbus, GEORGIA stop, it looks like his wish is coming true.
Want a shaky onboard GoPro view of what it’s like to race one of these short races? See the video below with Fabrice Mels, the 2014 UCI MTB Elite XCE World Champion: