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A look at the school, the races and the future of this unique 'sport'
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The start of the Big Final in the eliminator in La Bresse
Nove Mesto, La Bresse and Fort William take top honors
One month after the crowning of the 2012 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup winners, organizers from the best venues were recognized for their efforts. As is the tradition, racers, UCI Mountain Bike Teams, media, sponsors, and UCI officials voted for the top events for each of the three World Cup disciplines: cross country, downhill and eliminator.
Olympic cross country: Two in a row for Nove Mesto Na Morave
Nove Mesto Na Morave made it two for two. 2012 was the second time the Czech town hosted a World Cup cross country event and it was the second time it was voted best event.
Voters were seduced by the course and the start-finish area in a biathlon stadium which next year will host the 2013 Biathlon World Championships. The grandstands in the stadium allowed spectators to make the most of the event, while television spectators benefited from high quality production from Czech National Television.
La Bresse, France and Pietermaritzburg, South Africa were voted second and third best events respectively. In 2013, Pietermaritzburg will host the world championships while La Bresse will not be a part of the World Cup.
Cross country eliminator: La Bresse first winner
The eliminator discipline was introduced into the World Cup this year, and La Bresse, France immediately came up trumps. The course through the town provided lots of action that delighted the crowds that had turned out in mass to encourage the riders.
La Bresse added this latest trophy to those won in 2009 and 2011 for its downhill events. It headed off Nove Mesto Na Morave in second and Houffalize, Belgium in third.
Downhill: Fort William returns to the top
A long time venue on the World Cup circuit, Fort William hosted its 11th edition in 2012 (counting also the world championships in 2007). the Scottish town is well known for its excellent organisation and its large and enthusiastic public. Even the rain this year did not deter the fans from turning out in force.
Already voted best event on two occasions, Fort William was beaten last year by La Bresse. It is back on top this year, no doubt helped in part by the work and investment by the organisers on a new section of the course and the largest screen in Europe that relayed images to the spectators.
New to the World Cup calendar this year, Hafjel, Norway was voted the second best downhill event, followed by Val di Sole, Italy.