PMB clinches MTB 2013 tour

2011-06-21 00:00

IT’S official: Pietermaritzburg will host the 2013 MTB World Championships, bringing yet another big sporting event to the city, which successfully hosted the UCI MTB World Cup at Cascades in April.

The city was awarded the rights to the 2013 event by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) at the weekend at a meeting that consolidated the city’s status as a major international hub for cycling events.

Pietermaritzburg will also host the 2012 MTB World Cup, as well as a leg of the BMX Supercross World Cup series next year.

Event director Alec Lenferna, who has championed the series of top international cycling events that have been staged in the city in recent years, told The Witness, “We are ecstatic at the news. This will be the biggest cycling event ever to hit South Africa, and the first time Africa has hosted the MTB Worlds.

“It is the second biggest cycling event on the global cycling calendar after the road cycling world champs. It is gratifying to see the faith shown in us by the UCI, and it greatly strengthens our position on the cycling world stage.”

Lenferna said this confirms that Pietermaritzburg is a vibrant hub for cycling, and reminds its residents that they do not need to stand back for anyone when it comes to staging world-class events.

The announcement has been warmly received by the city and KwaZulu-Natal for the economic benefits that will result from the influx of thousands of riders.

The tournaments will bring a marketing edge to Pietermaritzburg, which will be the focus of world media.

Lenferna, who declared himself committed to further improvements to the Cascades MTB Park where the World Cup was successfully staged earlier this year, said that while the organisers had received overwhelmingly positive reports from the visitors and UCI for the MTB World Cup, they would not rest on their laurels.

The Cascades MTB Park is one of only three venues worldwide that can play host to all three MTB disciplines at world cup and world championship level.

“It is a unique course in many respects,” said Lenferna.

The course is described as a “pedally course” due to the flattish mid-section, which makes it challenging and not just a high-speed downhill course.

He said he already knows the course and that he can prepare accordingly.

“It is a good time for MTB racing in South Africa, and the news that the World Champs will be coming here will further stimulate interest in the sport,” said Lenferna.

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