The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has released details for bringing back elite mountain-bike racing after the coronavirus shutdown, and the plan calls for a major shakeup to the World Cup and world championships calendar.
The 2020 cross-country world championships in Albstadt, Germany have been canceled and instead moved to Leogang, Austria, where they will be held alongside the downhill world championships in October.
The World Cup series, which has been on hold since the beginning of the year, will return in September 5-6 in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. The series will run through the end of October.
The news was announced alongside a series of other decisions concerning cyclocross, BMX racing, Paralympic cycling, and Olympic qualification details for the 2021 Tokyo games.
“The announcement of the 2020 UCI World Cup calendar and the holding of the 2020 UCI World Championships is excellent news for mountain bike, a discipline greatly affected by the consequences of the coronavirus,” said UCI President David Lappartient in a release. “The confirmation of the Olympic and Paralympic qualification systems will also make the future clearer for our athletes, who will be able to move forward with their training and competition schedule with a view to the Tokyo Games next year.”
Since racing has been halted since mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly half of the international racing calendar has been affected. 30 percent of all UCI postponements have been mountain; road events account for 40 percent of all cancellations.
The UCI World Championships for other mountain bike disciplines will continue as scheduled:
• Mountain Bike Eliminator World Championships: August 23, Leuven, Belgium
• Four-Cross World Championships: September 10-11, Val di Sole, Italy
• Mountain Bike Marathon World Championships: October 24-25, Sakarya, Turkey
World Cup calendar updates
The UCI has also updated dates and locations for the 2020 World Cup. Initially comprised of ten rounds (six for cross-country Olympic/cross-country short track, eight for downhill), the series has been shortened to six rounds. The new-look calendar picks up in September and extends into November.
5-6: Lenzerheide, Switzerland (cross-country and downhill)
12-13: Val di Sole, Italy (cross-country and downhill)
19-20: Les Gets, France (cross-country and downhill)
29-4 October: Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic (cross-country) – two rounds
15-18: Maribor, Slovenia (downhill) – two rounds
29-1st November: Lousa, Portugal (downhill) – two rounds
Tokyo Olympic Qualification
At the UCI’s recommendation, the International Olympic Committee has accepted that the Olympic quotas already allocated for road and track cycling be maintained.
For BMX freestyle, mountain bike, and BMX racing, the qualification period would have ended on May 11th, May 27th, and June 1st, respectively. However, with the COVID-19 racing-stop, the IOC has accepted the following recommendations from the UCI:
• Mountain bike: points will be awarded at two weekends of UCI World Cup racing during the 2021 season, and will be added to ranking as of March 3, 2020. The weekends are still to be determined and will be communicated at a later date.
• BMX Racing: points awarded at two weekends of UCI World Cup racing during the 2021 season, and will be added to the ranking as of March 3, 2020. The weekends of the UCI World Cup are still to be determined and will be communicated at a later date.
• BMX Freestyle: points awarded at two weekends of UCI World Cup racing during the 2021 season, and will be added to the ranking as of March 3, 2020. The weekends are still to be determined and will be communicated at a later date.
Test events for BMX Freestyle and track cycling which were postponed will take place in March – April 2021.
Cycling events at the Tokyo Paralympic Games
Given that the event has been postponed one year, The UCI Management Committee has approved a modified qualification system based on the principles applied for the Olympic qualification process previously outlined and is awaiting approval from the International Paralympic Committee.
The points gained in the UCI combined nations ranking up until March 3, 2020, will remain valid and will be added the points won in the first two rounds of the 2021 UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup. The UCI has indicated that the updated qualification system for Paracycling will be published ‘very soon’.