UCI Mountain Bike World Cup - Lucky Numbers

Crunch the numbers as the RockyRoads UCI Mountain Bike World Cup comes to Pietermaritzburg
Lucky Numbers XC © Sven Martin
By Glen Ferris
With the opening event of the RockyRoads UCI Mountain Bike World Cup powering up in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, on March 16, what better time to strip the MTB tour down to its composite digits?
The 2012 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup series will be comprised of 10 events, in nine countries, over three continents. It all kicks off at the Cascades MTB Park, situated on the edge of Pietermaritzburg in South Africa, on March 16 and finishes at Hafjell in Norway on September 12.
There will be seven rounds for each of the traditional mountain bike disciplines of cross-country (XCO) and downhill (DHI). This year will also see the introduction of the new cross-country XCE ‘eliminator’ event at three of the rounds – Houffalize, Nove Mesto Na Morave and La Bresse, where four riders slug it out for glory over a shorter cross-country course, with results going towards World Cup rankings.
The first ever World Cup series – composed of just cross-country events – was held in 1989. The downhill event was inaugurated two years later, and in 1998 came the dual slalom discipline – which involved knock-out heats with two riders on the course in each heat and which later evolved into Four-cross (4X).
Double Olympic gold medallist Julien Absalon leads the field in terms of the most UCI cross-country world titles. The talented Frenchman has won the top award five times – four of which he won consecutively between 2004 and 2007.
Downhill racing is generally considered to be the most demanding of the UCI MTB World Cup disciplines, involving as it does a gravity-assisted, obstacle-filled time-trial which usually takes a minimum of two minutes to completed.
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