The Cyprus Sunshine Cup will return for 2011 with three events from February 20 to March 6. The early season races traditionally attract international-level mountain bikers to Cyprus for training and competition.
Last year, the series drew racers from 25 nations, including Czech's Jaroslav Kulhavy who kicked off his very successful 2010 season in Cyprus. Kulhavy finished off his season with a win at the Windham World Cup and a silver medal at the world championships.
A race in Voroklini will open the season and the series. Then, five days later, the Afxentia stage race - including a time trial, marathon, and cross country - will happen in the Macheras Mountains. The picturesque area of Amathous will host the final round.
For the first time, the Afxentia stage race will be run as a UCI HC-category event, which means the winner will earn 160 points toward his world ranking. Only world championships, World Cup and continental championships offer more points. The Afxentia race joins the Cape Epic stage race in South Africa as the only HC-category stage races; however, it is the only HC-category stage race for solo riders because Cape Epic contenders compete on two-person teams.
"To get the HC category for the Afxentia stage race is a great honor for us, and it rewards the work we have done the years before," said organizer Mike Hadjioannou. "I hope we are able to make one more step in 2011 showing that we deserve it."
The Afxentia stage race got its name from Gregoriou Afxentiou, a Cypriot freedom fighter who died in Macheras Mountains not far from the race.
The first and last races in the series will be run as UCI category 1 events.
For more information on the Cyprus Sunshine Cup, visit www.mtbcyprus.com.
Cyprus Sunshine Cup 2011
February 20: Round 1 - Voroklini (UCI Cat. 1)
February 25-27: Round 2 - Afxentia Macheras Mountains (UCI Cat. HC)
March 6: Round 3 - Amathous-Agios-Tychon (UCI Cat. C1)