Map from worldatlas.com
The UCI’s Mountain Bike World Cup and Championships calendar is perilously close to finalised, and with six rounds of XC, DH and 4X competition, two Marathon rounds and World Championships in everything, it’s a fairly packed one – 12 event weekends in all.
A glance at the map shows that it’s a fairly Euro-centric affair – no trips to South America or Asia this year. The opening event will be the first round of the Marathon World Cup on an 83km course on Gran Canaria (17/18 March 2007). Competitors tackling both Marathon and “traditional” XC events will then get a few weeks to prepare for the first round of the XC World Cup at the well-known venue of Houffalize, Belgium (21/22 April 2007).
The gravity set has to wait until the middle of May before the DH and 4X World Cups get off the start ramps at Vigo, Spain (12/13 May 2007). The XCers get a round at Offenburg, Germany at the end of the month (26/27 May) before everyone gets together for the first of four triple-header rounds at Champéry, Switzerland (9/10 June 2007).
Then it’s over the Atlantic for two rounds in quick succession in North America. Mont Sainte Anne in Canada will host the the fourth round of the XC and the third rounds of DH and 4X on 23/24 June, while an as-yet unconfirmed US venue will handle the next rounds just a week later (30 June/1 July).
The travelling World Cup circus returns to Europe for a DH/4X-only round at Schladming, Austria and then don’t have any UCI races for a couple of months. In the meantime the Marathon riders get their second round in the heart of the Dolomites at Villabassa, Italy before travelling north to Verviers in Belgium for the Marathon World Championships.
Early September sees the big one – the XC/DH/4X World Championships at our very own Fort William (3-9 September). If you thought that the Fort Bill World Cup events were big, you ain’t seen nothing yet – the World Champs are going to be huger than the hugest thing ever, and then some.
All of which excitement is in danger of leaving the final XC/DH/4X World Cup round at Maribor, Slovenia (15/16 September) as something of an anti-climax. But there’s every chance that the World Cup titles will go to the wire and just a week after the World Champs, anything could happen.
It makes us exhausted just writing about it – it should be a great year of racing. Find out more at www.uci.ch.