UCI releases broadcast details for 2023 World Cup including live U23 and Junior DH racing
The good, the bad and the neutral for mountain bike coverage this yearPhoto by: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images
There are finally, just days after the first race of the year, substantial details of what the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and Warner Bros Discovery (WBD) have planned for World Cup race coverage this year.
Live coverage versus race highlights: what’s free and what’s paid
While many fans are approaching the new World Cup broadcasting partnership with a healthy dose of suspicion, there are actually several features of the new broadcast plan to be excited about. That includes live and free coverage of the junior downhill and under-23 cross country races and of the elite downhill semi-final. That’s exciting for Canadian fans hoping to catch a glimpse of our top young riders in action as neither junior or under-23 races had live coverage, or any coverage, under Red Bull’s tenure. The DH semi-final is, of course, new for 2023.
As was hinted at, WBD confirmed that anyone wanting to watch the elite World Cup races will have to pay for a subscription. That includes downhill, cross country (Olympic) and short track cross country World Cups. In Canada, those races will be broadcast on GCN+.
Less exciting is that World Cup enduro (EDR) is not getting any meaningful live coverage. Both EDR and the new cross country Marathon World Cup (XCM) events will only get highlights on the World Series YouTube channel and some race-day posts on Instagram. At the first Enduro World Cup in Maydena, the race-day coverage was minimal but that could improve as the year goes on.
(L-R) Cedric Gracia, Kate Mason, Hayley Edmonds and Ric McLaughlin. Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images
Kate Mason is the new anchor of World Cup coverage. Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images
Cedric Gracia ready to announce a whole bunch of French World Cup wins this year. Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images
Hayley Edmonds. Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images
Ric McLaughlin with a message for all the web trolls out there. Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images
New World Cup broadcast team
With the new broadcaster comes a mostly new mountain bike World Cup commentary team. With the unenviable job of replacing Rob Warner on the mic is downhill legend Cedric Gracia. The French former World Cup racer will be the expert commentator for downhill racing this year, where he’ll likely have the chance to announce several wins by his countrymen and women. Returning to commentate for the cross country racing is Bart Brentjens, 1996 Olympic mountain bike gold medallist.
“I am extremely excited, of course. We are going to add new technology into this beautiful sport, drones following races, incredible views,” Cedric Gracia said from WBD’s Cube studio in London. “If you are not familiar with mountain biking then it might be a good time to start. Put your seatbelt on because it’s going to be flat-out.
The mountain bike coverage will be anchored by experienced broadcaster Kate Mason. Ric McLaughlin, longtime voice of EWS and GCN coverage, will take on the roll of the lead commentator. The team will be rounded out by reporters Josh Carlson and Hayley Edmonds.
World Cup Enduro is already underway and continues this weekend in Tasmania. Cross country racers will be the first live broadcast for the new team, when that World Cup series starts in Nove Mesto on May 12-14. The whole 2023 season works towards a grand finale at Mont-Sainte-Anne in early October.