Dear Mr Cookson,
Of course I know that the decision is made, and of course I know that my question is a long shot, but I'll give it a try.
XCE. It's gone. After 4 years or so... A new discipline was created back then and many XCO riders gave it a try.. The top of the XCO came ( of course) to the conclusion that it was a too big risk to go flat out at the XCE with the XCO coming up. The risk of injuries was too big for them. On the other hand some other XCO riders saw a big opportunity to become a big star! Federspiel for example was 16th or so in XCE Nove Mesto in 2011, look what he achieved after that. Riders have to get used to this element of racing and they need more races. You really think that Robin van Persie would be this great if he only played 6-8 matches a year ?
What I want to say, sometimes you need to reconsider a decision. It ( XCE ) needs time to become a big player in the mountainbike scene. It's fast, easy to cover for TV or RedBull and for the specators it is easy to follow. Quick heats, nice battles and still the scene of mountaibiking. For sure that the spectators want to see more and quick action then a race for 2 hours which is 7 out of 10 times already decided after 1 hour... I Don't get me wrong, I love to watch XCO, but to get new specators to the mountainbiking it needs action! ) Why do you think the ISU cancelled some of the 10k speedskating races ? Excactly! Looking at paint drying was more exciting... ;)
And yes, there is the biggest problem of it all.. money, money and money. Of course it costs more to host an XCE event at a World Cup. An extra day of volunteers, an extra day of closing roads in a city, an extra day of RedBull TV, and many more extra's.. On the other hand, an extra day of tourists in the city that hosts the World Cup. I came to Albstadt this year 1 day earlier just to see the XCE race.. Of course that won't do the trick in solving money problems, but seriously, I hardly can't believe that there is no other option then cancel the XCE at the World Cups. And still it will will remain an important part of the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships. But how ? If riders don't get the chance to compete at a high level, they will stop riding XCE.. and the World Championships will have 4-5 riders...
There can't be a World Championship without a solid competition. Maybe the UCI is already making plans to start a competition outside of the World Cups. I really hope so because I am pretty sure that many riders and spectators dislike the cancelling of the XCE...
Just my 2 cents.....