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Julien Absalon (FRA), five-time XCO UCI World Champion and double XCO Olympic Champion ©Vélo Vert / Jean-Luc Armand

For the first time ever, the UCI will crown an E-MTB World Champion at the 2019 UCI World Championships in Mont-Saint-Anne, Canada.

The E-MTB races will start after the Cross-Country Team Relay, which opens the event on August 28. Last year the UCI announced that E-MTB would integrate into UCI regulations and the XCO (cross-country) and DHI (downhill) formats.

There will be two separate races — an elite men’s and elite women’s — open to athletes aged 19 and above who are registered with, and selected by their national federation. The course will be about 7.3km in length and the duration of the race will be from one-and-a-half to two hours. There are additional E-MTB World Cup rounds prior to the World Championships.

According to the UCI, an E-MTB is operated by both an electric engine and human power. The engine must only provide assistance when the rider pedals, except for startup assistance where a speed that doesn’t exceed 6km/h is permitted.

An electric mountain bike engine cannot produce more than 250 watts in competition and no additional batteries can be carried. Riders can still receive mechanical and feed assistance, just like a cross-country race, however bike and battery changes aren’t allowed.

Men and women are set to receive equal prize money for the event. The UCI will later reveal a World Championship jersey unique to the E-MTB category. After the E-MTB competition and other opening events on August 28, racing will continue with XCO and DHI races. A total of 13 world titles will be awarded over five days.

What do you think about the addition of electric mountain biking to the UCI World Championships?

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# Comments

  • Jeff Barber

    Surprised to see the inaugural eMTB competition is taking place in North America and not Europe.

    • Matt Miller

      Something to note also is that this is just the World Championships, but there will be … at least one other UCI Emtb race before this, although it’s not easy to find. Albstadt is the only one that shows up with an E-bike round.

    • Brian Gerow

      In Europe, almost every MTB race, be it XC or enduro, has an electric category. Sometimes several categories. The coolest part is that you see 70-80 year old athletes outside enjoying the forest.

    • Rick Bullotta

      Actually, there’s a fairly substantial eMTB series being run as part of the GNCC offroad motorcycle racing series.

      https://gnccracing.com/pages/emtb-racing-information

      Also, a number of MTB enduro series are permitting eMTBs, since the race is won or lost on the descents/timed segments, not the transfers.

  • Robert Dobbs

    E-bike race, really? ….no really?
    I’d actually prefer a race featuring athletes using performance-enhancing drugs….at least it would still be a human-powered event.
    –sigh

    • Rick Bullotta

      You obviously have never ridden an eMTB. Those racing this will be working as hard as those on regular MTBs – maybe even a little harder muscling 45-55 lbs of bike around. They will be pedaling balls out, just going a bit faster. Adds 250 watts to whatever effort you put in.

    • Robert Dobbs

      Bullotta sez: “You obviously have never ridden an eMTB.”

      Wow! You completely missed the point… by light years.
      Guess I could say you’ve obviously never taken androstenedione. Those racing will expend even more power than those who have not. It adds 122.4watts of power to whatever effort you put in.
      …. And they’re not using batteries to do so! ;- )

      — I would still much prefer to watch athletes on ‘roids and HGH race than folks on ebikes.

    • Rick Bullotta

      I was just responding to “at least it would still be a human powered event”…but point taken. It would be fun as sh*t to have a “PED open” category in the UCI – where they could use whatever combination of doping magic and genetic mutations they wanted…I’d probably watch that too! Cheers.

  • Legbacon

    This sounds like a headline from The Onion. Surely a sign that the end is near.

    • Rick Bullotta

      Comparing apples and bricks. My eMTB has 250 watts of power. My KTM 300 has 35,000 watts of power.

  • lancelikesbikes

    I think it’ll be interesting to watch these races. But curious on how they will enforce the regulations, as well as the punishments for not following regulations!?

  • gtmccallum

    I guess they gotta make a race for these things to keep the sponsors happy. That doesn’t mean anyone has to watch the mopeds and fools who ride them go around the course. I would go grab some beers and check out the pits instead.

  • Rick Bullotta

    The comments are both hilarious and ignorant at the same time.

    Almost everyone who bitches and complains about them has never ridden one out on the trails. I have one, I also have a Santa Cruz Hightower, a Pivot gravel bike, a fatbike, and a KTM 300. All completely different experiences. I ride 5 days a week, usually 3-4 of them on human power. On a good week I’ll get one day on the dirt bike, one on the eMTB, and three on the SC or the gravel bike.

    There’s no “throttle” on an eMTB, and NO ONE will win these races because of the motor. Everyone has basically the same level of electric boost. You’ll win it will by pedaling, better handling & technical skills and raw effort. No different than a regular MTB race in that regard. Physical effort will be MAX if you want to win. If I hammer on my eMTB, my heart rate is in the same range as on any of the other bikes. I just cover more ground.

    In fact, they’ll be able to design more technical courses since you’ll be able to climb stuff that would be hike-a-bike on a regular MTB.

    I *guarantee* that 99% of the haters would absolutely want one if they spent a couple hours on the trails.

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