UCI praises Pietermaritzburg World Cup

Big tick for big South African event

In its final 15-page report, the UCI praised the recent World Cup held last month in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. Kind words about the organizers, the host city, the region of KwaZulu-Natal and the South African mountain biking community in association with the new event seem to bode well for future prospects of hosting another World Cup in the future.

Among the areas that received the highest praise from the UCI was the level of the support from the public. Approximately 17,000 enthusiasts streamed into the competition arena adjacent to the Cascades Shopping Centre on the northwest perimeter of the city over the three days.

The event generated at least a R19 million for the city and surrounding areas, with more than R15.5 million spent on accommodation, restaurants and in the retail sector. The organisers also spent more than R2.1 million with local suppliers who provided services and infrastructure. Almost 100 media were accredited for the event, which included 48 international journalists, 36 photographers and 19 TV- and film-crew members.

As expected, the UCI did identify some areas that could be improved upon, but the Event Director Alec Lenferna, was satisfied nonetheless. "We knew there were some areas that were not 100% and we had already identified these elements in our internal meetings, so the report held no surprises for us. It was the first time that a triple event (downhill, four cross and cross country) had ever been staged in Africa so we had no template to work off."

The UCI will perform a final evaluation of all UCI World Cup events this weekend at the UCI Management Board meeting.

"I've believe a recommendation has been made already that Pietermaritzburg be included in the 2010 worldwide programme. We'll know for certain when the UCI releases its 2010 racing schedule on June 19. We are very confident that we will be staging the event again in 2010 and the dates that have been set aside are April 9-11."

Lenferna also revealed that the UCI has asked him and his team to put in a bid for the 2013 UCI World Championships.

"The Mountain Bike World Championships is something that was always in our plans but we and the UCI officials had to see how we handled a World Cup event first. We have been asked to submit an expression of interest letter for the 2013 UCI MTB World Championships, which I did last week."

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