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Photo: Ryan Cleek | BMC

UCI to organize e-MTB world championships in 2019

UCI adds e-MTB race to 2019 world championships schedule, tightens prototype rules, and restructures pro women's peloton.

How big is the e-bike trend?

It is big enough that the UCI has decided to include an electric mountain bike event in the 2019 World Mountain Bike Championships, awarding a rainbow jersey to the world’s best e-MTB rider.

Given the proliferation of e-bikes in the market, it isn’t shocking that the UCI would get involved. Tradeshows like Eurobike and Interbike are teeming with e-bike companies. Races like the Sea Otter Classic offer cash prizes to e-MTB race winners. And in Europe, professional e-MTB racing is a viable alternative to “acoustic” racing.

The first world e-MTB championships will be held in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada, August 21-September 1, along with the traditional mountain bike disciplines.

UCI reins in prototype products

Also in Wednesday’s announcement, the UCI clarified rules surrounding the use of prototype equipment in pro racing.

Over the years, many teams have skirted the UCI’s rule that any equipment ridden in competition must be commercially available. For instance, Team GB’s 2012 track bikes were prototypes that were supposedly available for purchase, but the price and how to order one was vague.

In its statement following meetings in Innsbruck, Austria at world championships, the UCI outlined the requirements: “[Prototypes] will be available for purchase by the public within a reasonable timeline — clearly defined — and at a price that is comparable to that of other products of a similar category.”

It also tightened rules for equipment used in the Olympics, requiring all products to be commercialized by January 1 of the Olympic year.

Women’s WorldTeams to have minimum salary requirements

Finally, in its wide-ranging slate of changes, the UCI also split the women’s professional peloton into two categories of teams: WorldTeams and Continental Teams. This change will be implemented in 2020.

The Women’s WorldTeams will be guaranteed starts in Women’s WorldTour events and will be required to pay a minimum salary, which was not specified in this initial announcement. Rider contracts on the WorldTeams will also be audited by a financial consulting firm.

Also in 2020, the women’s calendar will be split into four classes of races: Women’s WorldTour, UCI ProSeries, Class 1 and Class 2.