All in all, what do you need to know?
· The FMB World Ranking (former 52-weeks-seeding-list) is the foundation for the rider selection to the Diamond Series as well as Gold and Silver events
· The Diamond Series standings will determine the FMB World Champion
· The FMB Amateur Cup will have regional rankings
Big changes are afoot. The FMBA is announcing structural advancements of this year's FMB World Tour and introduces the FMB Diamond Series. The FMB Diamond Series will unite the best events and best athletes this sport has to offer under its own series to determine the FMB World Champion.
Additionally the FMBA is committed to developing grassroots events and introduces FMB World Tour Factory Team Ranking for manufactures and their athletes.
In 2014 the FMB World Tour will be entering its fifth season. Since its establishment by the FMBA back in 2010, this world circuit has been developing rapidly, with new events entering the calendar from across the globe, more riders registering for licenses and the implementation of an amateur ranking to help upcoming riders progress into the pro circuit.
So far the structure of the FMB World Tour has helped the sport progress and given a tangible world series for professional athletes to compete in. Now however, the time has come to take it to the next level, while ensuring the continuous transparency and the smooth running of the FMB World Tour. The new structure will reinforce the best possible competitive conditions for the athletes and their supporters as well for the event hosts and last but not least, the excitement that unites hundreds of thousands of fans each season.
Here is a rundown of the new structure for 2014:
The Diamond Series. How does it work?
Let's tackle the 'how?' before we get to the 'why?' -- So, the Diamond Series will unite five of the biggest events into a single series, from which the FMB World Champion will triumph. These events are: Crankworx Les 2 Alpes (FRA), Red Bull Joyride at Crankworx Whistler (CAN), Bearclaw Invitational (CAN), Red Bull District Ride (GER), and Red Bull Rampage (USA). Just imagine: up to 24 of the best riders, on the gnarliest, biggest courses the sport has to offer at the craziest events of the season with the rowdiest crowds -- it's going to be electric!
That's the 'how', now let's find out 'why' -- FMBA President Todd Barber explains: "Creating the FMB Diamond Series is just the next step in establishing the FMB World Tour on the highest level of competitive action sports. 5 selected events that fulfill the standards of the Diamond events and the best athletes this sport has to offer will be united in their own series. Breathtaking action is guaranteed as well as a thrilling and absolutely transparent battle for the FMB World Championship title. At the same time it has great value for the fans out there as the FMB Diamond Series is easy to understand and to follow. All event results will count towards the athletes' FMB Diamond Series points standings, so everybody can keep track of their favorite riders throughout the season." You can learn more about the FMB Diamond Series here.
FMB World Ranking
FMB World Ranking, previously known as the 52 Week Seeding List comprises of the top 3 results from the past 52 weeks. Each athlete with a valid FMB World Tour license will be able to collect points from each event level, moreover this ranking will form the foundation of the FMB World Tour and rider selection for events.
Athletes never cease to push the boundaries of possibilities, however this progression can come at a high price. It is the belief of the FMBA that they should not be 'punished' for showing progression which is why an 'injury rule' will be introduced -- essentially this will freeze the riders standing until a certain point.
What about Gold, Silver and Bronze events?
Silver and Bronze events are the grassroots of the sport and of the FMB World Tour. They are the main competition ground for the FMB Amateur Cup -- from which great athletes emerge. As of 2014, AM licensed riders can also win points at Gold events, which is more evidence that the riding level is increasing not only amongst the PRO's but between the AM's as well.
For PRO licensed athletes Gold and Silver events can also secure them invitations to the Diamond Series -- where they can battle for the overall title. Essentially, this is where the journey begins for FMB World Tour athletes - no rider should simply assume they will be invited to compete at the highest level -- Gold and Silver events give them the opportunity to prove they deserve a place amongst the best riders in the world.
FMB Amateur Cup
The FMB Amateur Cup creates the ideal conditions for the young, dedicated and talented riders to breakthrough into the professional scene of Freeride Mountain Biking. Competing on a global circuit can be time consuming and expensive, young riders might not have the resources to travel from event to event and they can struggle with getting the exposure they deserve to help them turn professional. For this reason, the FMBA will be implementing regional amateur rankings for USA, Canada and Europe.
AM licensed riders from each region can compete at Gold, Silver and Bronze events in order to make their way up the ranking -- and become the FMB Amateur Cup Champion. The FMBA welcomes anyone to sign up and take part -- you never know, you could be the future FMB World Champion!
Last but not least -- the FMBA has initiated a FMB Factory Team ranking in order to give bike manufacturers a platform to compete and showcase their bikes. Up to four athletes from each team can be registered and their top 6 results will complete the point standings. More on this development to follow soon.
For all the eager beavers out there -- the FMBA is working hard on finalizing the FMB World Tour calendar for 2014. The information will be released soon.
2014 is the beginning of a new chapter for the FMB World Tour, the athletes and the events. The FMBA has taken action to adapt to the inevitable progression of the sport and is excited about the outcome. In order to make the changes as transparent as possible, the FMBA is cooperating with Pinkbike to iron out any questions. Leave your questions in the comment section below and the editors at Pinkbike will send them directly to the FMBA, to be answered next week.
The FMBA is looking forward to another successful, action packed season.