Number one world ranked cross country rider Jaroslav Kulhavy will return to the Cyprus Sunshine Cup in February. Kulhavy began his breakthrough 2010 season at the series, and is looking to get his 2011 season off to a similar start.
Last year, the Czech Kulhavy climbed up to the top of the world ranking, grabbed the European title and took the silver medal at the world championships at Mont Sainte Anne, Quebec, Canada.
"To be at the Sunshine Cup is very important for me. I can get up to speed and find out my fitness after winter," said Kulhavy. "Other important facts for me are the weather and how the race is run."
Under 23 world champion Alexandra Engen will be another top racer participating in the Cyprus Cup. Engen is a part of the Swedish National Team, which has attended for several years. Engen won the Sunshine Cup series in 2009 and finished third in 2010.
Finally, Team Bulls will return to Cyprus as its racers prepare for the Cape Epic mountain bike stage race. The past few years, Karl Platt and Stefan Sahm honed their fitness in Cyprus before going on to success at the Cape Epic. This year, Sahm will be without his teammate Platt, but teammates Tim Boehme and Thomas Dietsch will come with him for training and racing.
Course changes at Macheras
The three-day Afxentia stage race in the Macheras Mountains, which will be upgraded and run as a UCI category HC event for the first time this year. It has undergone some course changes.
Organizers have changed the cross country course in Macheras Mountains. It was cut down from 7.6 to 5.5km per lap with about 230 meters of climbing.
"It will be hard, but it's more fun to ride and the course is now very compact," said organizer Mike Hadjioannou.
In addition, the changes mean that the maximum distance from the start-finish area to any point on the course will be only 1.1km.
The cross country course is used for the first stage - a time trial - and for the final cross country race.
As previously announced, the distance of the point-to-point race course on the second day has been increased by 4km so the race can start in the village of Kapedes.
The 2011 Cyprus Sunshine Cup will begin on February 20 in Voroklini with a C1 race. Next up, the Afxentia Macheras Mountains, a SHC category stage race, will be run February 25-27. Finally, on March 6, the Sunshine Cup will conclude with the Amathous-Agios-Tychon (category C1) race.