|Posted by VoncooperLLC on September 27, 2012 at 11:10 AM|
French site, www.velovert.com are reporting that the 2012 UCI World Enduro Series won't be going ahead. Here is what they are saying (courtesy of the ever-reliable Google Translate):
According to our informants, well placed, discussions on a World Cup Enduro are currently stalled. The project has not been approved by the UCI, it will not be before 2014 ... And yet nothing is certain! The format used was the following: individual race, and several special connections. At least three special two different minimum time of ten minutes. An official statement is expected to arrive by the end of the month, it is urgent because the current blur is not good for the MTB world!
UCI Gravity Endurance Coordinator Chris Ball meeting with the French and Italian enduro series organisers last October
We contacted the UCI for a statement, but they declined to comment at this stage. Their press officer stated that "nothing has been cancelled as nothing had been decided." However in their 30/09/2011 press release, they stated:
Another flourishing mountain bike format is that of gravity endurance, which UCI Gravity Endurance Coordinator Chris Ball is looking to develop within the UCI by working with existing "enduro" events and riders. His aim is to develop a discipline that will attract an increasing number of mountain bikers as it combines the physical endurance of cross-country riding with the technical difficulty and excitement of downhill racing. The UCI invites organisers of current gravity enduro events to contact the UCI with a view to establishing a UCI Enduro Calendar from 2013. Enduro events can be in the form of multi-stage races, day races or mass start races.
You can read the full release on the UCI website
In the year following that release Chris Ball has been working with enduro racers and race organisers towards UCI involvement in enduro and our understanding is that the goal of that work was set to be a world series for 2013. Speaking in an interview for Singletrack magazine earlier this year, he clarified that they were working towards a world series not a world cup, "if you get involved at World Cup-level you it gets very restrictive with TV and marketing rights, you get this top-down structure. You can learn a lot from 4X, which was very top-down from the start - there were no national events, regional events and it inevitably fell over. The thing with enduro I felt like I needed to build up a linked world ranking, so the riders in these events could start to build a world ranking through a series of recognised events, but not given the rigidity of a world cup. You never know, five, ten years down the road, it might evolve into a World Cup, but I don’t think it is the best place to start if you want to develop the discipline and work out what it is exactly and how it it's going to evolve. It is based very much on the Marathon model, the World Cup was abolished and a World Series was put in place, which qualified riders directly for the World Champs. I think enduro is going to pretty much follow that model, so it is nice and flexible, nice and loose, it won't have to be managed by the UCI with that top-down, some might say oppressive, some might say professional approach."
A central part of the project was to coedify enduro - at the moment there are a variety of different interpretations as to what enduro is or isn't. In the same interview Chris outlined why he felt this definition was so important, "I think it needs a structure, because it's becoming serious anyway, but it could become serious without the foundations to help it grow healthily. In certain federations there are a lot of enduro events happening and people are not really sure what it is. There are a lot of different formats, enduro in the UK has been long-distance stuff which is slightly different, Super-D is slightly different, the mass-start stuff is slightly different. As loosely as possible to make it nice and fun, but as confined as possible to make it a discipline in itself we put together some basic definitions, so that it can grow and the federations can recognise it, which will help race organisers, insurance, membership, all that kind of stuff. The way it has been written is that the stages themselves have to be biased towards downhill and have a physical, technical and fun element. A focus on rider enjoyment is the exact words. That’s what it is, that's the important thing."
Speaking to enduro race organisers from across Europe through the summer, it was clear that they were, on the whole, happy with the UCI approach and expected the series to happen.
Our source, who did not want to be identified, told us that he understands that current situation is that Velovert report is accurate and the series will not go ahead. The UCI mountain bike committee meets in two weeks time, so we expect a full, official release then. The big question now is what would this mean for international enduro racing next year? A lot of people and companies have been investing time and money into preparing for the world series, so what next?