Fort William welcomes the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup from 8-9 June with the world’s best four cross and downhill riders heading to Scotland.
The world cup weekend will climax with the downhill events on the Sunday, on the slopes of Aonach Mor (pronounced Anach More). The downhill qualification will take place on the Saturday afternoon, where all the competitors race to qualify for the finals (top 80 men and top 20 women) and determine their start position – the fastest qualifier goes last in the actual race.
New for 2013 will be a separate men’s junior (under 23) world cup race with its own qualification and final. The women’s junior category will continue to take place within single qualification and Final sessions. Actual training times will be split into A and B sessions. Group A is reserved for men’s elite riders in the top 150 of the latest UCI ranking list, whilst Group B is for all other riders. This is designed to allow higher training speeds for the elite riders.
The roll call of winners at Fort William represents the greats in downhill mountain biking for the past 11 years and the World Cup in the Scottish Highlands is one of the absolute classics that everyone wants to win.
Britain is one of the top ranked nations in both men’s and women’s downhill, with three world championship medallists, Gee Atherton (men, silver), Tahnee Seagrave (women junior , silver) and Manon Carpenter (women, bronze). Gee and sister Rachel ended the season ranked third and first respectively in the overall World Cup standings with Tahnee taking second in the Women’s Junior and Katy Curd third in the 4X Pro Tour World rankings.
But the start list is likely to include a total of eight British world champions from the past six years.
Some 250 riders from 25 nations, representing the world’s best downhillers, will all descend on Fort William in search of glory.
The competition will be as fierce as ever and in the tough world of downhill, absolutely no-one can predict who will deliver that faultless run on the day – but having so many top ranked UK riders will ensure some super loud cheering on Sunday.
Before the downhill action, the world cup weekend kicks off in style with the ever-popular four cross on the Saturday evening, setting the scene for another big weekend of gravity action. The 4X Pro Tour returns to Fort William (venue for the first ever four cross world cup event back in 2002) with the second of five events in the 2013 series of hard-charging, head-to-head contests.
All four cross riders have the explosive energy needed to move ahead in sprints, fearless commitment in the jumps and a natural ability to choose a line that puts them in front of their competitors.
There have been some similarities with BMX racing in the past, but courses are becoming rougher and more technically challenging to retain the mountain bike element. A particular favourite for the fans is the Rock Garden – a bedrock drop-off that has seen some spectacular overtakes (and crashes) in previous years.
The British 4X challenge is led Katy Curd, ranked third in the 2012 Pro Tour series (including a win in the Polish round) and Scott Beaumont ranked fifth overall.
For details of the 2013 4X pro Tour visit their website.
Watch live with Red Bull
UCI Mountain Bike Downhill
Men and women elite
9 June 2013
1:45pm – 4pm (GMT)
For further details of the Fort William UCI World Cup including schedules, accommodation and travel visit the official event website.