As the dust finally settles on yet another thrilling UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Fort William, event organizers Rare Management is proud to announce that the award-winning event is set to stay in Lochaber for another two years.
Mountain Biking’s governing body, the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale), confirmed the agreement, which will guarantee the event stays in Fort William until at least 2013.
This welcome news comes as around 20,000 fans descended on the Nevis Range over the weekend to witness what was one of the best mountain biking competitions in the event’s ten-year history.
Two World Cup events for both men and women featured 300 riders from more than 25 countries. On Saturday the 4-Cross, head-to-head knockout competition was won by Netherland’s Anneke Beerten in the women’s and Switzerland’s Roger Rinderknecht in the men’s. This was reckoned to be one of the most exciting events in 4-Cross history.
The climax of the weekend came on Sunday as the world’s best Downhill riders competed for glory, with Britain’s reigning World Champion Tracy Moseley taking the women’s crown while South African legend Greg Minnaar won the men’s, as well as securing his 50th downhill world cup podium place, ahead of Briton Danny Hart (aged 19) who achieved his best ever result at senior level in front of an ecstatic home crowd.
Both the 4-Cross and Downhill riders were faced with new challenges this year following a £100K course upgrade which was recently completed with input from SportScotland, HIE and Nevis Range. Riders and fans reacted well to the latest additions, which created extremely competitive 4-Cross races and a number or dramatic jumps in the Downhill.
This latest agreement is further recognition for the event, which has won numerous awards, including the best mountain bike event in the world by the International Mountain Bike Trade Team Organization (IMTTO), four times, and the UCI teams have voted it the best Downhill World Cup a record-breaking six times.
The profile of the event was raised further last year as the Fort William World Cup took award for “Best Event of 2010″ at the Sunday Mail Sports Awards as well as being voted as one of the 20 top trips of 2011, hand-picked by National Geographic Traveler editors.
A firm favorite with riders and fans alike, the local community can also look forward to the event returning. It is estimated that more than £2.5 million is generated for the local economy over the weekend, with thousands of fans, teams and media packing out local hospitality over the weekend.
Mike Jardine from event organizers Rare Management, comments: “The UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Fort William has undergone some amazing changes in the past ten years and is now firmly established as one of the premier events on the international circuit as well as being one of the biggest sporting events in the Highlands. We’re delighted that the UCI has continued to recognize the classic status of Fort William by awarding a round of the World Cup for the next two years.
“Hosting the World Cup is only possible thanks to the support of all our partners and sponsors, particularly EventScotland. They have been the key partner in ensuring the future of the event and helping us to make Fort William such an amazing event for all the fans and competitors who travel from all four corners of the world every year.”
The dates for the 2012 round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Fort William are June 9 -10, 2012.
Sport Minister Shona Robison said: “The Fort William Mountain Bike World Cup is an increasingly popular event on the cycling calendar, and news of a deal to secure the event’s future for the next two years is fantastic news. Hosting the event each year not only sees some of the world’s best cyclists in action here in Scotland but attracts people in large numbers to the Fort William area – recognized as the outdoor capital of Britain – which has undoubted benefits for the local economy and in raising the sport’s profile.”