The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) last week officially introduced a regulation adding the Cross-country Short Track race (XCC) format to every round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup.
The UCI regulatory amendments were first announced in September last year, but only officially integrated into the race calendar last week.
The new XCC format will first come into effect in the second World Cup event of 2018 – in Albstadt, Germany, from May 18 to 20. This is the one after the first World Cup leg in Stellenbosch next month.
The new format will precede the main Cross-country Olympic (XCO) world cup format at every event and it will be “compulsory for all riders taking part”, said UCI Comissair Deon Steyn.
“The XCC will be a maximum two kilometres and will determine the race line-up for the XCO race,” he said.
The event will be a 20-minute race, with the top 16 riders qualifying for the XCO showpiece.
Times or performance will not be “carried over” from the XCC to the XCO, Steyn added.
“The XCC will just determine the seeding and starting order of the XCO,” he said. “The shorter format will be the qualification for the final.”
The UCI have also put in rulings for bicycle specifications. “For XCC, the tyre width cannot be narrower than 45 millimetres. That is the first ever tyre regulation for UCI mountain-biking.
“There is also the requirement that the bike frame must be the same in both races.”
The format adjustments would only apply to UCI world cups and international series, Steyn added.
“The organisers would have to prepare two courses instead of one. Depending on the design and layout of the XCO course, the shorter format could be worked into the longer course.”
The addition of the XCC format should add commercial value to the event, Steyn explained.
“It is quite an exciting gesture from the UCI in the sense that it should excite people and spectators.
“The XCC event will be a proper race and will not play the role of a time-trial. That is a separate event all together. Both races should also take place on the same day,” Steyn added.