The new mountain bike World Cup venue at Dalby Forest in the United Kingdom drew over 11,000 visitors during the weekend of April 23-25, according to organizers.
The course was designed to facilitate spectator access. Fans had easy access to the course including hot spots like Medusa's Drop and Worry Gill, only a few minutes' walk from the event village and the hustle and bustle of the busy trade and tech areas.
"This inaugural (World Cup) event has been everything we could have hoped for. The response of the public, the teams, the UCI, and all our key partners has been overwhelmingly positive and even the Yorkshire weather was great over the weekend!" said Jonny Clay, Cycle Sport and Membership Director at British Cycling.
History was made as the thousands of spectators watched the World Cup series closest-ever finish bring down the curtain on three days of action in Yorkshire. Nino Schurter (Scott Swisspower) was the victor in a nail-biting sprint finish with Julien Absalon (Orbea) in the men's elite race. In a similarly exciting women's race, World Champion Irina Kalentieva (Topeak Ergon) won by just 11 seconds over American Willow Koerber (Subaru-Gary Fisher), who put in a career-best performance.
"Pickering on Friday was a fascinating spectacle, Saturday allowed the public to ride the World Cup course in Dalby Dare and we had Annie Last and Steve James collect bronze medals in their races, whilst the elite racing on Sunday captured everything great about cross country mountain biking," said Clay, highlighting the performances of Britain's up and coming riders.
"Dalby was the perfect setting to stage the return of the cross country World Cup to England for the first time in over a decade. It's the latest in a string of major cycling events in the United Kingdom that will help us to develop the sport of cycling here from grassroots through to the World's best."
The 2010 UCI Mountain Bike cross country World Cup at Dalby is one of several major events organised and promoted by British Cycling on the international calendar. "The successes of this World Cup extend way beyond what you saw here in the forest this weekend. The commercial benefits to the region, the legacy for the grassroots of the sport and the commercial success of the event as a whole are the building blocks of sustainable events in the future," said Clay.
"With the backing of the UCI we look forward to growing this event here in Yorkshire and establishing the venue as a must have for the World Cup circuit."
The fate of the Dably event seemed uncertain in the weeks leading up to the event when volcanic ash cancelled the flight plans of many top contenders. Fortunately, the spread of the ash diminished in time to enable competitors to complete their trips there eventually, albeit with some unusual travel intineraries.