The 2012 UCI World Cup kicks off next weekend in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, and the UCI has taken steps to breath new life into the series.
The news released yesterday of Red Bull Media House GmBH (RBMH) signing on as the new official media partner is a huge boost the series that has struggled to gain widespread media exposure. With new camera perspectives and special video equipment at all 10 rounds of the World Cup, RBMH will likely bring a dynamic and innovative look to the series. All final races will be broadcasted Live and free of charge on www.uci.ch and www.redbull.com/bike.
After the opening Pietermaritzburg round, the series will head to Houffalize, Belgium one month later, where the cross-country eliminator (XCE) format will make its entry onto the World Cup circuit. New to Europe, the XCE provides excitment as four competitors race each other over a lap of around 1km. The format was debuted at World Cup test events last season in Dalby Forest (GBR) and Nove Mesto na Morave (CZE). This year, the format will be held at three rounds: Houffalize, Nove Mesto na Morave and La Bresse (FRA). To add validity to the format, the UCI has also added XCE to the 2012 World Championships program.
Along with the improved coverage and new format, the 2012 RockyRoads UCI Mountain Bike World Cup presented by Shimano will also benefit from a new visual identity. With the arrival of the new title sponsor RockyRoads.net, the World Cup series boasts a new logo and look.
“Mountain bike is a young and exciting discipline,” said UCI’s Manager of Off-Road Disciplines, Peter Van den Abeele. “We have the interests of our athletes and their fans at heart, which is why we are continually monitoring what is going on, and adapting our activities to keep abreast of trends.”
The 2012 RockyRoads UCI Mountain Bike World Cup presented by Shimano will include 10 rounds in nine different countries, finishing on September 14th and 15th in Hafjell, Norway.