The UCI Cross Country World Cup will feature a couple of major changes for the 2023 season. With the disciplines XC Olympic, XC Marathon and XC Short Track all part of the MTB World Series, it promises to be exciting as ever for both fans and competitors. Whether you’re new to the sport or have been following it for years, this guide will provide you with all the information you need to understand the ins and outs of the XC World Cup racing.

Key Takeaways for the 2023 Cross Country World Cup season:

  • 20 races total held in Europe and North America (8x XCO, 8x XCC, 4x XCM).
  • Cross Country Marathon (XCM) is lifted to World Cup status.
  • All Elite and U23 races are broadcast on discovery+, GCN+ and Eurosport.
  • Only U23 races are free on Youtube.
  • The top 60 men and top 30 women from Qualifying will race in the semi-final, the top 30 and 15 from semis race the final.
It’s racing season again! Elite Women competitors on the start line at a UCI XCO. // Bartek Wolinski / Red Bull Content Pool

Let’s start off with the schedule for each of the three Cross Country disciplines before we go into more detail.

Race Calendar

There are 19 UCI World Cup XC races scheduled in 2023 in 8 venues with XC Olympic and XC Short Track races in each one, XC Marathon only in four. The season starts on May 12th in Nové Mesto, Czech, and ends on October 8th in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada. The XC World Championships are held in Fort William, Scottland, on August 13.

2023 UCI Cross Country World Cup Schedule

2023 UCI XC MTB World Cup Schedule

DateVenueCountryCross Country DisciplineDiscipline CodeRegion
May 12 - 14 2023Nové Mesto na MoraveCzech RepublicOlympic, Short Track, MarathonXCO, XCC, XCMEurope
June 3 - 4 2023Finale LigureItalyMarathonXCMEurope
June 9 - 11 2023LenzerheideSwitzerlandOlympic, Short TrackXCO, XCCEurope
June 15 - 18 2023LeogangAustriaOlympic, Short TrackXCO, XCCEurope
June 30 - July 2 2023Val di Sole, TrentinoItalyOlympic, Short TrackXCO, XCCEurope
August 23 - 27 2023Pal ArinsalAndorraOlympic, Short TrackXCO, XCCEurope
September 7 - 17 2023Les Gets, Chatel, MorzineFranceOlympic, Short Track, MarathonXCO, XCC, XCMEurope
September 28 - October 1 2023SnowshoeUSAOlympic, Short Track, MarathonXCO, XCC, XCMNorth America
October 6 - 8 2023Mont-Saint-AnneCanadaOlympic, Short TrackXCO, XCCNorth America

All XCO and XCC races will take place in the same locations at the same weekends. XCM is only raced on three of the 8 XC weekends and one next to EDR, making the Cross Country Marathon World Cup a four-race series.

In addition, there are two official pre-season test events for DHI and XC, the dates for which have yet to be announced.

Head-to-head nailbiters are guaranteed with 19 XC World Cup races this year! // Bartek Wolinski / Red Bull Content Pool

Livestream & Broadcasting

How to watch the UCI XC World Cup 2023

UCI World Cup Cross Country is broadcast live and on-demand as pay-per-view on discovery+, the Eurosport App and globally on GCN+. Discovery+ streaming is only available in Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, UK and Ireland. (Source: UCI Press Release)

While there is a lot of coverage of the UCI MTB World Cup on the UCI World Series Youtube channel, only the Cross Country Junior races get a free live broadcast. All of the Elite XCO and XCC races are pay-per-view.

Discovery Plus has two pricing options: a $5 monthly plan that includes ads, and a $7 monthly plan that is ad-free. GCN+ is $7 per month or §40 per year. Eurosport Pass has a monthly fee of $7 as well. Amazon Prime Video users can also add discovery+ at $5 or $7 to watch via Amazon Video, but cannot use the apps.

That’s a cost of $25 to watch the entire 5-month Cross Country season using the cheapest plan or $35 for the ad-free subscription.

Fans from countries not listed above may still get a Livestream by setting up a virtual private network (VPN) like ExpressVPN to route their traffic through a server in one of those countries. The region-specific streaming my caused by Warner Bros. Discovery Europe managing the distribution.

SI202208080007 1
This XC season will bring some big (hopefully positive) changes to how we watch the racing. // Bartek Wolinski / Red Bull Content Pool

How to watch the UCI XC World Championships 2023

As of publishing, there is no additional information concerning free highlight shows or broadcasting details of the World Championships in Fort William, which have had a different broadcasting format and channel than the World Cups in the past.

Sign up for the Newsletter to be the first to get notified as soon as World Cup news becomes available!

What happened to Red Bull Cross Country?

Red Bull wasn’t willing to pay the sum for the rights to the UCI World Series that Warner Bros. Discovery was willing to invest. So, Discovery Sports took over broadcasting and sister company ESO managing the Mountain Bike World Cup Series starting 2023.

JBartek Wolinski / Red Bull Content Pool

Cross Country Disciplines Explained (XCO, XCC, XCM)

With how much has changed with the new organizer, there have only been mostly administrative changes to Cross Country The most noteworthy rule changes have been to the XCC U23 points scale and Marathon now being a World Cup series. But Cross Country didn’t see nearly as many rule changes as Downhill did.

What is Cross Country Olympic (XCO)?

Cross Country Olympic (XCO) is a form of endurance mountain bike racing on a technical, looped course. Riders start all at once and the objective is to complete multiple laps of the course in the shortest time possible which takes about one and a half hours. XCO is also part of the Olympic Games.

It is one of the legacy mountain bike disciplines of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) which governs the sport of mountain biking worldwide. It’s so popular because spectating and broadcasting is very easy on a circuit course and riders are involved in head-to-head battles on-track.

The 3.5k to 6km long Cross Country race courses typically feature a mix of technical terrains such as climbs, descents, and natural or man-made obstacles. Even sizeable jumps have been part of XCO for years. Naturally, the first rider to cross the finish line after completing the required number of laps is declared the winner. Tight photo finishes are not unique here and part of why it’s so exciting watching XC!

Intense, tough and action-packed – this is XCC. // Bartek Wolinski / Red Bull Content Pool

What is Cross Country Short Track (XCC)?

Cross Country Short Track (XCC) is raced on shorter, more technical courses than traditional XCO. With laps of under 2km and at a higher pace, the race duration is usually between 20 to 30 minutes. This high-intensity form of XC is very spectator-friendly with wider tracks and more overtaking.

For World Cup Short Track races, it’s often a shorter but wider portion of the XCO race track with all the technical and spectacular sections included. Unlike the traditional XCO, XCC races are not only held on a shorter course but also with a smaller number of riders.

What is Cross Country Marathon (XCM)?

Cross Country Marathon (XCM) is a type of mountain bike racing focused on endurance and covers longer distances than traditional cross-country races. Races are between 60km and 160km in distance over a single lap or over a maximum of three laps and can take several hours to complete.

The courses typically include not only a mix of technical terrain, such as steep climbs and rocky descents, but also feature long stretches of pavement or gravel roads. Like XCO and XCC, riders start simultaneously in a single group providing direct racing.

These races are considered more challenging and they are often held on more remote and scenic locations, through forests, and over mountains. Since XC Marathon is very similar to a point-to-point stage race, it’s difficult to broadcast live. It’ll only receive coverage in form of highlight shows after each race by Discovery Sports.

XC Marathon is only for competitors who eat nails for breakfast. // Bartek Wolinski / Red Bull Content Pool

Points System

These are the awarded points by finishing position for individual riders from first to twenty-fifth. XCM points system is not yet included in the rulebook.

2023 UCI XC World Cup Points System

Points System for Cross Country World Cup 2023
PositionXCO & XCC EliteXCO & XCC U23XCM EliteXCM U23
Show More Show Less

(Source: Article 4.10.010 UCI MTB Regulations 2023)

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