The UCI awarded the 2014 mountain bike marathon world championships to Pietermartizburg, South Africa at the second meeting of its Management Committee in Salzburg, Austria.
It will be the fourth world championship to be held in South Africa in a three-year period. This year, the nation will host the singlespeed world championships (not sanctioned by the UCI). In 2013, it will also host the UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships - both the Masters version and the elite/junior version.
Pietermartizburg, South Africa, has hosted several rounds of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup - most recently in March of this year.
The popular mountain biking venue of Karkloof was evaluated and considered the selected marathon venue by Simon Burney, UCI's technical delegate, with the area and its abundance of forestry roads, dual track and singletrack lending more to what the endurance race would need for the championship course design.
Event director Alec Lenferna has been instrumental in securing prestigious UCI events to the Pietermaritzburg area since 2009, when the city first hosted the 2009 UCI MTB World Cup, offering the cross country and downhill races to take place at the same venue.
"It is most encouraging to get very positive feedback from the UCI every time we stage an event," said Lenferna, according to the South Africa Cycling website. "Each time we successfully host an event at world championship or World Cup level we deepen the pool of officials and administrators with the experience and ability to stage competitions to the very highest standards."
Cycling SA MTB Director Brett Coates was elated with the news. "It is wonderful to see South Africa regularly included amongst the world's destinations when it comes to elite mountain bike racing," said Coates. "There will be participation from a large international contingent for the marathon champs in 2014."
Dates are yet to be confirmed but Lenferna said that the marathon world champs would more than likely take place around September or October in 2014.