The Nissan UCI Mountain Bike World Cup descended upon Fort William at the weekend. Lochaber welcomed almost 300 riders from 30 different countries and the thriving mountain bike village at The Nevis Range came alive with almost 20,000 spectators over the events. Support staff, organisers, sponsors and media all helped to make this year’s event a terrific success.
The showcase of mountain bike talent witnessed two major competitions; 4-Cross and Downhill which both attracted riders from all corners of the globe.
Fighting for glory, as thousands of spectators and fellow riders watched on in excitement, an ecstatic Australian, Jared Graves, battled home to secure his World Cup Title in the 4-Cross final. The top female riders rode it out against one another in a closely contested race, with US competitor, Jill Kintner, taking first place in the women’s 4-Cross final.
Throughout the weekend homegrown talent valiantly battled for medals with around 70 British riders participating across both events. Dropping valuable seconds meant Men’s Downhill GB champion, Gee Atherton - hotly tipped for first place after a spectacular performance in the qualifying stages – narrowly missed a top three spot. He still stormed in to a winner’s welcome from the home crowd, securing a commendable 4th place. South Africa’s Greg Minnaar valiantly rode home to defend his winner’s title, for a second year at what is known as the longest Downhill course on the circuit.
In a real battle of the Brits the home crowd prepared to cheer on the mountain biking legend, Steve Peat – who was looking to break the world record for the greatest number of wins of any World Cup rider. However, he had to settle for 6th place on the day. Upping the ante, Miami Bryce (aka Josh Bryceland) proved to be in full fighting form as he came in at an impressive 7th place, in what was his first run in the senior men category.
With Rachel Atherton out due to injury, pressure was on for Tracy Moseley (winner of the Women’s Downhill in 2008) who was disappointed not to retain gold after last year’s win. She took an admirable 7th place in Women's Downhill this year, missing out to France’s Sabrina Jonnier. Also flying the flag for women, British rider, Fionn Griffith, took a commendable 12th in the Women’s Downhill.