World Mountain Bike Championships
Mountain bikers this month looked north to Fort William in Scotland, where the world top riders competed at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships.
The event, sponsored by Nissan Sports Adventure, attracted an estimated 8000 spectators to finals day, which saw France’s Julien Absalon retain his World Championship title in the Elite Cross Country race.
Home fans were left disappointed as British Number one rider Oli Beckingsale finished in 35th place. Liam Killeen, the Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist, who has not competed for most of the season due to ill health, rode a very strong race. With incredible determination and skill he fought his way 112th place at the start to finish in 44th place.
In the Women’s XC race, Russia’s Irina Kalentieva picked up, not just Russia’s first medal of the championships, but also her first senior world title in the Women’s Elite XC. British interest lay in Jenny Copnall, Ruth McGavigan, and Scalia, with Copnall coming 47th and McGavigan and Scalia finishing in 56th and 62nd respectively.
Elsewhere in the prestigious contest there were some breakthrough performances from British riders including a Gold medal for Scotland’s Ruaridh Cunningham in the Junior Men’s final.
More than 700 top riders from every corner of the globe were taking part in the event sponsored by car manufacturer Nissan.
It was the first time the championships have been held in the UK. The competition features four disciplines: cross country, downhill, 4-cross and trials and will be held at Leanachan Forest, Fort William.
Nissan is working with the UCI to develop mountain biking across all levels, particularly via the high profile World Championships which attract a global television audience.
ICU president Pat McQuaid underlined the importance of the agreement between the international federation and Nissan.
"Mountain biking is a modern and dynamic discipline with an attractive image and enormous potential," he said. "The interest shown by a company like Nissan confirms this."