West Virginia will see two UCI downhill races in a week. What does that mean for riders?
After a wild weekend of racing in Les Gets, the UCI World Cup downhill riders and teams will take a mid-season break, until the second weekend of August.
When the teams regather, it will be in Slovenia, at Maribor – one of downhill racing’s most storied venues. Although the loss of Fort William was a disappointment earlier this season, it is heartening that events appear to be running relatively smoothly.
Going big in the States
An interesting aspect of the World Cup schedule is the American double-header round, at Snowshoe. This late change will see a mid-week race, followed by the conventional weekend scheduling.
There is little doubt that this Snowshoe double-header acts as a substitute of sorts, for the missing Fort William round? But what kind of challenges and opportunities, does a double-header bring?
For the teams, and especially privateer racers, it is cheaper. The economics of scale regarding accommodation and simpler travel logistics, reduce the financial burden of attending.
The injuries and parts issue
Challenges? There is no room for error at the mid-week race. If you crash and get injured, you are missing the weekend race.
In a more normal year, with events spaced evenly apart, riders can recover from niggles and smaller injuries. This is not a possibility at a double-header.
For service technicians, team mechanics and suppliers, it can be tricky too. The global bike component shortage, and high mechanical attrition rate for parts at World Cup downhill races, will require careful inventory management.
Beyond the pressure and excitement that this Snowshoe double-header creates for this season’s UCI World Cup overall, freeriding will see the return of Rampage.
Expect this year’s Rampage to be bigger and better than before, as it celebrates two decades of extreme mountain biking progression. Rampage is scheduled for mid-October, with an attendee list of 15 elite free ride mountain bikers.