XCO Cross-country Olympic
Because it is the most accessible, Cross-Country (with the acronym XCO, X for Cross, C for Country, O for Olympic) is the most practised and common mountain bike discipline around the world, both for amateurs and competitors.
Cross-Country became an Olympic sport in 1996 in Atlanta. It is raced on a closed track where riders do several laps. The elite events (men and women) last about 1.5 hours compared to 1.15 hours for the under 23s. The goal is to race on the course which rises and falls and alternates technically challenging sections and steep climbs. XCO performance requires endurance, strength and agility.
Unlike downhill, where individuals start alone and the best time is required, XCO events are organised as mass starts.
XCR Cross-country Relay
The team relay is an event in which several categories of men and women compete in the same race. Each team enters one rider per category who must complete one lap of the cross-country course, before handing over to a team mate in a designated area. Strategy plays an important role, as each team decides the order in which its riders start.
XCC Cross-country Short Track
Since 2018, the UCI has integrated a new race format into all Cross-Country World Cup stages, the XCC “Short Track”. This is a placement round and the results will be used to determine the starting grid for the XCO events. The aim is to re-deal the cards because in the past it was exclusively the overall World Cup ranking that determined the starting order.
At the World Championships, the XCC changes in scope, not being a placement round for the upcoming XCO, but becoming a discipline in its own right during which the World Short Track Champion is named!
This very short (7 loops of 1.2 km) and fast (20 minutes) race format has few technical difficulties but many challenges, requiring a great deal of physical effort and dedication to succeed. There are two schools of thought: either you observe and try to second guess each other and give it your all in the last few laps in the hope of keeping up the pace, or you give it your all from the start and try to open up the gaps quickly and race to the finish… Everyone has their own tactics in this relentless format, where suspense and emotions are felt all at once. In addition to this little game, the encouragement and excitement of the public, fired up to boost their favourite athletes, give the runners an energy spur that often makes the difference when they cross the finish line!