Two of Scotland’s brightest cycling stars took to the biggest bike in Scotland today (Monday 15 April) to officially launch one of the best outdoor events in the UK this summer - the Fort William Mountain Bike World Cup.
Leading Scottish riders Greg Williamson and Ruaridh Cunningham grew up watching their heroes hurtling down the Fort William course from the sidelines. Now both are members of top international teams and they're set to take on the best riders at elite mountain bike events all over the world in 2013, starting with the most coveted of all – Fort William.
They headed to Clydebank near Glasgow to compare their state of the art bikes with the 11ft ‘Bankies Bike’ sculpture as they gear up for the only UK leg of the UCI World Cup series which attracts around 300 world class riders and 20,000 spectators to the scenic Scottish Highlands every year.
Inverness-born Williamson said: “For me Fort William is the best event of the season. The track is fantastic, with some real crowd pleasing jumps and obstacles. The spectators create an incredible atmosphere and the riders on the tour always look forward to heading to Scotland”.
As in previous years, the World Cup Village will have the customary Tech Area, biking’s answer to the Formula 1 pit lane, where fans can catch up with the riders for photographs and autographs as well as a behind the scenes view of the stars preparing to race.
The Expo area will be packed with an array of bike manufacturers, bike-wear brands and team sponsors alongside demonstrations and displays to keep everyone entertained. Mouth-watering action will also take place away from the track with a huge selection of food and drink to fuel the crowds.
Mike Jardine, Director of event organisers Rare Management, said: “The reputation Fort William has built amongst riders and fans alike is fantastic. The World Cup continues to highlight the very best of sporting action and entertainment in a stunning location with an incredible atmosphere created by many the thousands of people attending.
“There’ll be even more interest this year as all eyes will be on what will be the opening event of the 2013 Downhill World Cup season.”
Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer for EventScotland, said: “Scotland is the perfect stage for international sporting events and year on year the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup is one of the biggest events on Scotland’s sporting calendar.
“2013 is the Year of Natural Scotland and the Nevis Range provides a stunning backdrop to the action, with the passionate crowds guaranteed some breathtaking views.
“The UCI Mountain Bike World Cup helps us to demonstrate and reinforce Scotland’s reputation as a leading events destination, and each year we see the benefits for the Fort William area in terms of economic impact.”
Ticket prices start at just £15 for adults and £8 for children aged 6-17 years. Family packages are also available from £39. All can be purchased at www.fortwilliamworldcup.co.uk.