Discussions have begun over the future of Fort William as a World Cup venue, following an announcement by EventScotland it had gathered the funds required to secure the event's future through to 2012. The organisation begun talks with the British Cycling Federation and the UCI at the weekend and hopes those talks will lead to a long term deal to host a round of the Mountain Bike World Cup.
"Cycling is now one of our major sports with the growth in mountain biking, the success of people like Chris Hoy, the new velodrome which is due to be built in Glasgow and the Tour of Britain in Scotland this week," EventScotland chief operating officer Paul Bush said. "We have put together a funding package to see the event through until 2012."
The pitch for a long-term deal is hot on the heals of Fort William's hosting of the 2007 Mountain Bike World Championships on September 4-9. The World Championship event was hugely successful, with organisers reporting some 40,000 people attended the week-long event.
Event organiser Mike Jardine, of management company Rare Management, is confident of securing a four year deal with the international governing body and believes it will serve as the perfect lead into the 2012 Manchester Olympic Games. "The UCI are quite keen to get some classic events on the calendar," said Jardine. "It would be good to get a bit of consistency in the build-up to 2012 London Olympics and hopefully 2014 Commonwealth Games, of which Glasgow is a bid city."
Fort William, which is already confirmed as a World Cup host in 2008, has held rounds of the series on five occasions.