There’s a lot of negativity in the world of mountain biking right now and we really don’t want to add to that. But, uh, what on earth is happening with snow bike world championships? Why does this exist?
Yes, the first ever snow bike world championships are about to happen and, yes, you will be forgiven if you hadn’t heard. UCI didn’t even bother to put out an even list until a month before. This despite it being an “exciting new opportunity” it is supposed to be promoting.
What is snow bike world championships, you might still be asking? Well, there’s two events. Super G and Dual Slalom. And, unless UCI pulls something out of thin air, it’s not going to be nearly as cool or exciting to watch as Fabio Wibmer sending Kitzbühel for The Streif.
There’s also no live coverage. For Canadian fans, that, sadly, puts it on par with the World Cup this year. Other than the fact that barely anyone is showing up. In terms of athletes and fans, this will be a feint shadow of the World Cup carnival the Haute Savoie region hosts every summer. I mean, it’s in France and the biggest active racer names the UCI could attract are from the UK and Italy. Only 50 riders, across two events and men’s and women’s entries, are bothering to show up.
Why is this happening? Well, rumours are swirling that, like the Val di Sole snow cyclocross World Cup (which is increasingly poorly attended, for good reason), it is UCI’s attempt to open a back door for cycling into the Winter Olympics. IOC has made it clear that cycling’s athlete quota won’t be growing for summer Olympics, sure. But does that mean we need to find “growth” by squeezing into fabricated winter sports?
All of this is a shame, for two and a half reasons.
First, it further cheapens UCI’s standard of “world champion.” EMTB worlds are already a joke, frequently won by xc riders that are never otherwise riding an electric bike, just to please sponsors. Pumptrack was given world champ status before UCI had even figured out how to race the format (which has defaulted into a sort of mini-TT fastest lap event which is, uh, neat?). Making snow bike a world event before it’s first year is, to be blunt, an absolute joke
The second half of that point is that this all is also incredibly insulting to enduro athletes (and eEDR, I guess), who are actual professionals dedicated to their…