A mountain bike race in Albstadt, Germany, which was previously part of the German Bundesliga, will step up and become part of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in 2013. Last week, the UCI announced that it had awarded the bid to organizers for a World Cup round on the weekend of May 17-19.
Albstadt is located in the southwestern part of Germany, in an uplands region called the Swabian Jura (Schwäbische Alb). Knowing that there will be a lot of work to be done during the coming seven months, the Skyder Sportpromotion organizing team said it is eagerly looking forward to its debut in the World Cup series.
The short-term bid and the quick confirmation came as a surprise. Six weeks ago, when the Albstadt MTB Classic, a well-established UCI Category HC race, took place, the thought of playing host to a World Cup event in Albstadt was not more than a distant goal for some indefinite time in the future. Now, the event will host the opening round of the 2013 World Cup.
"We were dreaming of this, and yes, it was a defined goal, but we would never have thought, that this dream now will come true in 2013 already. When all of a sudden the door was wide open for it, we didn't need any time to make our decision," said Stephan Salscheider, CEO of Skyder Sportpromotion.
The municipal administration of Albstadt, led by mayor Dr. Jürgen Gneveckow, immediately sent a positive signal to support the bid. "We are happy that the UCI and BDR confirmed the Albstadt bid. The people in our town are very enthusiastic about sports, and I think they will welcome the athletes from all around the world and cheer them strongly," said Dr. Jürgen Gneveckow.
With seven months to go until its first World Cup, Albstadt is asking a lot from its sponsors and supporters.
Acquiring additional sponsorship is one of the most important tasks, improving the cross country course is another one. Regarding the course, the UCI has already send Technical Delegate Beat Wabel. He checked the venue and recommended changes to be made on the course.
"With the support of the city authorities and the help of the club RSG Zollernalb, we can follow the ideas of Beat. We are eager to account for the confidence shown to us by the UCI in this time-pressed situation," said Salscheider with regard to the terrain, the walkways for the spectators, and the suitability for an excellent TV production. Therefore a also TV producer joined the on-site visit.
"I like what we are going to have in Albstadt. It's very compact," Florian Heller said.
The chance to bring the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup to Albstadt opened after the withdrawal of Willingen, which originally was announced as the German World Cup venue for downhill, cross country and eliminator in 2013. The UCI World Cup was last held in Germany in 2011 when Offenburg hosted a cross country round and an associated eliminator race.
Since the regional geographic conditions do not allow for the staging of a downhill World Cup in Albstadt, the town will host a cross country as well as an eliminator event. The community with its population of 45,000 was recommended to the UCI by Udo Sprenger, vice president of the German National Federation BDR.
"For us it is important to host again a big international mountain bike event in Germany. So we were happy to find an organizer who can do it so short term. Luckily the UCI agreed in an uncomplicated manner," said Sprenger.
Albstadt and its hilly surroundings are already well-known in the cycling world in general and especially in mountain biking. This year the LBS Albstadt Bike Marathon took place for the 18th time. Every year, this long distance event counts some 3000 participants - and thus is sold out.
In 2005, the Albstadt MTB Classic had its premiere edition, organised by Skyder Sportpromotion. Since then, the event hosted the German national cross country championships three times (2005, 2006 and 2011), Bundesliga races (German premier league) four times, and was three times registered as HC race. In 2008, the European marathon championships took place under this label.
Skyder event agency also organizes the Rothaus Singen Bike-Marathon and has twice hosted the German Marathon Championships. In 2013, the European Marathon Championships will be staged by them.
A couple of weeks ago, the third edition of Sparkasse Trans Zollernalb took place in the area around Albstadt. This three-day stage race is also organized by Skyder.