1 July 2013
World cycling’s governing body, the UCI, released the 2014 Mountain Bike World Cup calendar last week, with Pietermaritzburg, South Africa included as host of the opening round of the global cross-country and downhill season.
The event will take place at the Cascades Mountain Bike Park in KwaZulu-Natal’s capital city on 5 and 6 April.
Previously, the city hosted the World Cup in 2009, 2011 and 2012, and will this year host the World Championships, the biggest event on mountain biking’s world calendar.
Alec Lenferna, who has organised every one of the UCI events, told SAinfo on Monday that following the World Championships with the World Cup was an important step. “I think it is important to have continuity,” he said.
“It is part of the plan that we put in place in 2009, that we would continue to have World Cup events after the World Championships,” Lenferna said.
“I think it is also important relative to the Cascades MTB Park, which is a legacy project, which is linked to the international mountain bike programme, that it continues to be used for major international events.”
Next year’s World Cup stop in Pietermaritzburg will for the first time include the cross-country eliminator.
Contested on tracks shorter than classic cross-country race tracks, the event pits four riders against one another, with the two fastest riders progressing to the next round and the other two riders eliminated.
“The cross-country eliminator has been launched by the UCI and, for us, it replaces the four-cross, which was never hugely popular here in South Africa,” Lenferna commented.
“I think with the cross-country eliminator the people can identify with it more and will be able to understand the format a lot easier. It is also right in among the main viewing area, so it’s really exciting racing.
“We will be one of only five venues to do the triple,” he added. That means that Pietermaritzburg will host downhill, cross-country and cross-country eliminator racing.
The 2014 calendar comprises nine rounds in nine different countries, featuring two new World Cup destinations in Cairns in Australia, and Meribel in France.
In addition to to short course and gravity mountain bike racing, Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg will also welcome mountain bike marathon contenders for the 2014 UCI MTB Marathon World Championships, which will take place from 27 to 29 June.
2014 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Calendar
(XCO – cross country, XCE – cross country eliminator, DHI – downhill)
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