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Mont-Sainte-Anne will host 2023 UCI World Cup XCO/DH finals

Full calendar of downhill, cross country, enduro and marathon race series' but no Whistler

Photo by: Bartek Wolinski / Red Bull Content Pool

One week after making sweeping changes to the World Cup series, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and Warner Bros Discovery (WBD) released the full 2023 race calendar. There are significant changes from the provisional calendar that came out a few months ago, including the notable absence of any Whistler enduro (ERD) World Cup.

With two new disciplines – enduro and marathon cross country – joining the World Cup series, there is a lot to digest in the new calendar.

2023 UCI World Cup calendar

There are a few new notable events on the World Cup calendar for 2023. The first is-10 day run of World Cup races in Les Gets, France from September 7-17. Les Gets is the only where all disciplines will be together on the same weekend. The Haute-Savoie region will host the second combined UCI cycling world championships in 2027, so this summer’s big event looks like a dry-run for that event.

The first-ever combined UCI cycling world championships take place this summer in Glasgow, Scotland from Aug. 3-13.

RELATED: UCI makes sweeping changes to World Cup racing

It’s a mixed bag for Canadian race fans. Whistler is missing from the enduro calendar, possibly related to Crankworx shifting dates. But Mont-Sainte-Anne will be the grand finale of the 2023 World Cup for cross country and downhill racing, which will be a thrilling conclusion to the season.

JESSE Melamed and REmi Gauvin on the podium at the Whistler Enduro World Series
Jesse Melamed and Remi Gauvin (and many more Canadians) were on the podium when the EWS returned to Whistler in 2022.

Enduro skips Whistler

World Cup racing starts with two Enduro World Cup (formerly Enduro World Series) rounds in Australia. Maydena, Tas. starts the season off on March 25-26. Derby, Tas. continues ERD racing a week later on April 1-2. From there, EDR joins the new XC Marathon series in Finale Ligure, Italy. A few combined and enduro-only weekends follow before the big new event in Les Gets.

The big news for Canadian enduro fans is that Whistler is back off of the calendar. Whistler’s iconic EWS round was initially included on Discovery’s provisional calendar, but it is absent from the final version below. As are all U.S. enduro rounds. That is likely a huge disappointment for Canadian racers, who usually perform well at Whistler and have few (now zero) chances to race without travelling overseas. It’s also a huge downer for Canadians looking to catch reigning EWS/EDR champion Jesse Melamed race on home soil this year.

Finn Iles celebrates winning the 2022 Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup with a throng of Canadian fans
Finn Iles celebrating his first elite World Cup win at home in Canada at Mont-Sainte-Anne was a highlight of 2022. Photo: Bartek Wolinski / Red Bull Content Pool

Downhill: new venues and MSA finale

As mentioned, Mont-Sainte-Anne will host the final round of World Cup downhill racing in 2023. That requires a shift from the venue’s usual August spot to an early October date. Racers might have to bundle up when the series lands in Quebec Oct. 6-8.

The downhill starts June 9-11, when Lenzerheide, Switz. will debut the new three-race-run format that UCI/WBD are trying out in 2023. One new stop along the way to MSA will be a stop in Loudenvielle, France. Loudenvielle has hosted the Enuro World Series (now EDR) in the past and should prove an exciting new stop for the DH series.

U23 under-23 men's XCO 2019 UCI mountain bike world championships Mont-Sainte-Anne
Raphael Auclair passing on the inside down Mont-Sainte-Annes’s iconic La Beatrice in 2019. Photograph: Nick Iwanyshyn

Cross country expands with XCM

Cross country racers will be busier than ever in 2023. In addition to the classic Olympic (XCO) and Short Track (XCC) format, a new Marathon (XCM) series is now part of the World Cup calendar. It’s unclear yet how athletes will manage any extra races, and how many will take on the longer distances. While many XC racers do dabble in marathon and stage racing, some World Cup weekends, like the season opener in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic, feature all three XC formats. That’s a big ask for even the best trained legs and lungs.

Mont-Sainte-Anne will give Canadians a chance to shine as the iconic World Cup venue will be the final round of World Cup racing. There’s no XCM at MSA, though. That series will be decided one week earlier in Snowshoe, W.Va., another one of the weekends with a trio of XC events squeezed into just a few days.

While four XCM weekends are new for 2023, there are a few expected venues missing from the calendar. Albstadt, Germany is off the list. As is the planned season-opener in Valkenburg, which was supposed to be the World Cup’s long-awaited return to The Netherlands.

Full UCI press release:

The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) are pleased to announce the full calendar for the 2023 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup.

One of the highlights in this calendar is a round hosted in Haute-Savoie (France), bringing together all the major mountain bike formats for the first time in the history of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup. The cross-country Olympic (XCO), cross-country short track (XCC) and downhill (DHI) competitions will take place in Les Gets, while the cross-country marathon (XCM), enduro (EDR) and E-enduro (EDR-E) events will be held in Châtel and Morzine. Organised over 10 days, including two weekends (from 7 to 17 September), this unprecedented event will bring together the entire world mountain bike community in a festival atmosphere.

UCI President David Lappartient said: “We still have the incredible images and atmosphere of the 2022 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Les Gets fresh in our minds, and so look forward to returning to Haute-Savoie next year for the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup.

“This region has hosted the discipline’s UCI World Cup on several occasions, as well as two editions of the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships, which demonstrates its strong commitment to our sport. With the round in Les Gets, which will bring together all the major mountain bike formats, we will once again benefit from the fantastic organisation and enthusiastic welcome that characterise the Haute-Savoie region, that will also host the second edition of the UCI Cycling World Championships in 2027”.

President of the Haute-Savoie Departmental Council, Martial Saddier, said: “We thank once again the UCI and Warner Bros. Discovery for their confidence. Congratulations to the Portes du Soleil – Les Gets, Morzine and Châtel – for establishing themselves as the reference for mountain biking. We’ll meet in Haute-Savoie!”

Also included in today’s announcement is the calendar for the XCM and EDR-E rounds, two formats that will have UCI Mountain Bike World Cup status as of 2023. The XCM calendar will kick off in Nové Mĕsto Na Moravĕ, Czech Republic. Included in the schedule are Finale Ligure (Italy), Châtel/Morzine (France) and Snowshoe (USA). The EDR-E will join the XCM at the iconic enduro venue Finale Ligure to kick off its season, before moving on to Leogang, Austria. The athletes will then head to Italy for the third round, in the beautiful setting of Val di Fassa Trentino, before heading to France for the final rounds. Loudenvielle, in the Pyrenees, will host the fourth round, and the series will then conclude in Châtel/Morzine.

As part of the UCI and WBD’s commitment to mass participation events and creation of pathways to elite sport, amateur races will be offered for EDR and XCM next season. All four XCM rounds will be open to participation (no pre-qualification required). In EDR and/or EDR-E, six of the seven venues will offer amateur racing. These are Maydena and Derby in Tasmania (Australia), Finale Ligure, Val di Fassa Trentino, Loudenvielle and Châtel/Morzine. All EDR rounds will give UCI ranking points, rewarding the best placed riders with the possibility to enter the elite competition.

In June 2022, the UCI entrusted WBD with the mission of developing and promoting mountain bike within an eight-year agreement. WBD will deploy its resources and expertise, notably through Discovery Sports Events and ESO Sports, to elevate mountain bike to a new level and bring it to a global audience. This new vision will bring a stronger emphasis on the various formats within the mountain bike discipline.