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Pro Mountain Biking On A World Stage

MTB World Events

MTB racing has taken on a world stage where hundreds of MTB pros take part in them depending on their respective disciplines. The three most notable global MTB competitions include cross-country in the Summer Olympics, World Championship and the World Cup.

Olympics Cross-Country

Mountain biking in the form of cross-country discipline made its debut in the Atlanta Summer Olympic games of 1996. Divided into mens and womens events, all riders start from a single race point, and have to move through a predefined course that is further broken down into laps.

The total race distance is 4-6 kilometers or 2.5 – 3.8 miles where the slowest riders are eliminated at each round based on whether or not they fall in the 80% limit. In other words, if a rider’s time is 80-percent or more than that of the fastest rider’s time for that section, then he or she gets eliminated.

There are no eliminations in the final round where the rider with the fastest time emerges as the winner of the event. In fact, mountain biking as a sport has gained immensely from its introduction into the Olympics.

UCI World Championship

Organized by the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale),  Mountain Bike World Championships are held in the disciplines of cross country, four-cross and downhill. The top three finishers get gold, silver or bronze medals in their respective disciplines.

First held in 1990 in Colarado USA, MTB World Championship at the time only included downhill and cross-country events. Since then, it has been held each year, by a different host nation. A separate Trials event under the banner of Urban Cycling World Championships was actually held in conjunction with the World Championships between until 2016

There are many formats to each of the disciplines in World Championships held separately for men and women. They include the likes of cross-country; cross-country eliminator; downhill, dual; four-cross; 20-inch trials and 26-inch trials.  

MTB World Cup

Another UCI sanctioned event, the MTB World Cup is an annual series where competitions are held in different parts of the world. Riders are ranked based on points gathered from each race. Thus the winner is decided by taking into account the aggregate points scored from all races in that season.

While the first ever World Cup (1989) was a cross-country only competition, it now includes downhill, four-cross, and marathon as other disciplines. In fact, up until 2002, dual slalom – a knockout based race between a pair of riders existed which then evolved into a four-way, four-cross discipline.

All events are divided into mens and womens categories with the exception of downhill that has junior men as a third category. Similarly, cross-country has two formats – race and time-trial. La Bresse is one of the destinations that has hosted some part of the World Cup series on more occasions than the rest.   

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