Scottish mountain biking fans have further cause to celebrate after Nevis Range was announced as the venue for the mountain bike downhill section of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships.
The venue, which is hosting the World Cup for the first time in three years this weekend, is the eighth location to be announced as part of the first ever combined UCI Cycling World Championships.
It will be the largest cycling event ever held, taking place in Glasgow and across Scotland from 3-13 August next year.
The event will create history by bringing 13 existing UCI World Championships together into one 11-day long festival of cycling for the first time, with thousands of athletes battling for the rainbow jerseys reserved for UCI World Champions.
With over a million spectators and a global television audience of around one billion expected across the 11 days, it is predicted the event will become one of the world’s top 10 sporting events.
Fort William has a proud history of welcoming elite level cycling competition, having hosted the 2007 UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships.
It has also welcomed the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup annually since 2002 and is regarded as a pligrimage for the global mountain bike community to visit one of the best locations on the planet for the sport.
Scottish athlete and 2020 UCI Downhill Mountan Bike World Champion Reece Wilson said: “I’m incredibly excited that Fort William will host Mountain Bike Downhill as part of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships and for the chance to compete for a rainbow jersey in front of my home crowd.
“Nevis Range is one of the best and most challenging trails that we compete on anywhere in the world and will provide an amazing backdrop in 2023.
“Obviously I wasn’t competing when the UCI World Championships were held here in 2007 but for it to come back as part of the first ever combined UCI Cycling World Championships is really special.”
Local rider Mikayla Parton, who is an ambassador for Nevis Range and finished 5th in the 2020 UCI Mountain Bike Downhill World Championships said: “The crowd is a huge part of what makes it so special here.
“I’ve never heard anything so loud and it’s a feeling I just can’t explain. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, the Fort William crowd will cheer for you and that’s why this will be an amazing venue for the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships and I can’t wait to see it here.”
Trudy Lindblade, CEO of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, said: “I’m delighted that we are able to announce that Fort William will host the Mountain Bike Downhill as part of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships.
“This will be a truly pan-Scotland Championships, utilising the very best venues across the country and for Mountain Bike Downhill they don’t come any better than Nevis Range.
“I know the local community will welcome the Championships with open arms as we look to deliver something truly unique in 2023 that the whole of Scotland can be proud of.”
The 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships will welcome more than 8,000 amateur and elite cyclists from more than 120 countries with more than 190 UCI World Champions crowned.
More than one million spectators are expected to attend the Championships, with a global TV audience of around one billion making it one of the Top 10 watched sporting events on the planet.
The 13 UCI World Championships included in the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships are: BMX Freestyle Flatland; BMX Freestyle Park; BMX Racing; Gran Fondo; Indoor Cycling; Mountain Bike Cross-country; Mountain Bike Downhill; Mountain Bike Cross-country Marathon; Para-cycling Road; Para-cycling Track; Road; Track; Trials.
To date, five venues have been announced in Glasgow, with Dumfries & Galloway (Para-cyling Road), Stirling (Time Trial) and now Fort William (Mountain Bike Downhill) also hosting events across Scotland. Additional venues and locations elsewhere in the country will be confirmed in the coming weeks and months to ensure a pan-Scotland delivery and to capture the imagination of the entire country.
The UCI, cycling’s world governing body, currently stages annual World Championships in each of its disciplines across the year in different host cities around the world. The UCI Cycling World Championships will bring these championships together every four years, the year prior to the Olympics, starting with the inaugural event in 2023.