The UCI World Cup is an annual series with separate competitions for Downhill (DHI), Cross -Country (XCO) and more recently Cross-Country Elimination (XCE) disciplines.

2018 UCI MTB World Cup calendar

Events take place all over the world – with different competitions at each heat:

  • March 7-10: Stellenbosch, South Africa, XC
  • April 21-22: Lošinj, Croatia, DH
  • May 19-20: Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic, XC
  • May 26-27: Albstadt, Germany, XC
  • June 2-3: Fort William, Scotland, DH
  • June 9-10: Leogang, Austria, DH
  • July 7-8: Val di Sole, Italy XC & DH
  • July 14-15: Vallnord, Andorra, XC & DH
  • August 11-12: Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada, XC & DH
  • August 25.26: La Bresse, France, XC & DH

The 2018 UCI MTB World Championships will take place from September 4 to 9, in Lenzerheide, Switzerland and will feature all three disciplines.

Crowds gathered for the UCI MTB World Cup in Lourdes, France

Crowds gathered for the UCI MTB World Cup in Lourdes, France

The events are run under the UCI – Union Cycliste Internationale – and winning the World Cup is a prestigious honour, bested only – perhaps – by winning the World Championships.

Events are spread out across the globe, with riders gaining points for their placing to reveal an eventual winner at the end of the season.

History of the UCI MTB World Cup events

The first ever UCI Mountain Bike World Cup was a Cross-Country only affair – which took place in 1989, with the Downhill World Cup arriving in 1991. In 1998, the ‘Dual Slalom World Cup’ was introduced – this saw riders competing on parallel course and was replaced by ‘four cross’ in 2002 but abandoned in 2011.

Cross-Country Marathon was on the schedule from 2005 to 2008, and the Cross-Country Time Trial also made a guest appearance in 2001.

In 2012, ‘Cross-Country Eliminator’ (XCE) was introduced to the World Cup. Similar to four cross, four riders compete against each other in each heat – but in this case the courses are small XC tracks of 500m – 1000m. The format was dropped in 2014, only to be re-added in 2017.

For the 2017 season, the UCI made some major changes to the rules of the UCI Mountain Bike Downhill World Cup.

The changes were designed to reduce the number of riders competing – in order to o “better protect the integrity of the course and therefore improve the quality of competition.”

Firstly, rider were required to have more points to participate, and the number of women and juniors competing was reduced to 15 and 20 respectively. However, they did also introduce a new DHI Women Junior category, giving young hopefuls a better chance and improving the development experience.

Where to watch the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup rounds?

You can buy tickets to watch individual rounds – these need to be purchased from the individual event organisers.

If travelling to the other side of the globe is too big an ask, you can also watch from the comfort of your sofa – the events are broadcast globally on Red Bull TV.

Viewers have increased year on year – in 2015 the numbers hit 1 million for the first time. 

Recent cross-country and downhill UCI Mountain Bike World Champs Winners

Great Britain’s biggest success is in the women’s downhill mountain bike category – with British wins over six consecutive years, and an all GBR podium in 2015.

UCI World Championships, Downhill, Women:

  • 2006: Tracy Mosely (GBr)
  • 2007: Sabrina Jonnier
  • 2008: Rachel Atherton (GBr)
  • 2009: Sabrina Jonnier
  • 2010: Sabrina Jonnier
  • 2011: Tracey Moseley (GBr)
  • 2012: Rachel Atherton (GBr)
  • 2013: Rachel Atherton (GBr)
  • 2014: Rachel Atherton (GBr)
  • 2015: Rachel Atherton (GBr)
  • 2016: Rachel Atherton (GBr)
  • 2017: Miranda Miller

UCI World Championships, Downhill, Men:

  • 2006: Steve Peat (GBr)
  • 2007: Sam Hill
  • 2008: Greg Minnaar
  • 2009: Sam Hill
  • 2010: Gee Atherton (GBr)
  • 2011: Aaron Gwin
  • 2012: Aaron Gwin
  • 2013: Steve Smith
  • 2014: Josh Bryceland (GBr)
  • 2015: Aaron Gwin
  • 2016: Aaron Gwin
  • 2017: Loic Bruni

UCI World Championships, Cross-Country, Women:

  • 2006: Gunn-Rita Dahle
  • 2007:  Irina Kalentieva
  • 2008: Marie-Hélène Prémont
  • 2009: Elisabeth Osl
  • 2010:  Catharine Pendrel
  • 2011: Julie Bresset
  • 2012:  Catharine Pendrel
  • 2013: Tanja Žakelj
  • 2014: Jolanda Neff
  • 2015: Jolanda Neff
  • 2016: Catharine Pendrel
  • 2017: Jolanda Neff

UCI World Championships, Cross-Country, Men:

  • 2006: Julien Absalon
  • 2007:  Julien Absalon
  • 2008:  Julien Absalon
  • 2009:  Julien Absalon
  • 2010:  Nino Schurter
  • 2011: Jaroslav Kulhavy
  • 2012: Nino Schurter
  • 2013:  Nino Schurter
  • 2014: Julien Absalon
  • 2015:  Nino Schurter
  • 2016: Julien Absalon
  • 2017: Nino Schurter

Three disadvantages: lack of rough stuff on the track, slower on the super fast sections, and less drive on landing slopes. And Gwin is amazing.