On the heels of their announcement that Australia will play host to a suite of UCI World Cup events and the 2017 UCI Mountain Bike World Championship over the next four years, Cycling Australia (CA) announced the Subaru Australian Mountain Bike Season for 2014.
The season will kick off in Adelaide as a prologue to the Tour Down Under, giving mountain bikers the opportunity to race their bikes amongst Australia's biggest cycling crowd and only WorldTour event. The roadshow then will visit a host of Australia's premier mountain bike venues, established and new. The focus is all about rider experience with friends and families all catered for. CA's newly appointed Technical Director of Mountain Biking, Tim Sheedy, is vocal about the future of the sport.
"The process CA implemented to select venues reflects the three pillars of CA's mountain bike program: community engagement, support of local mountain bike organisations and races that serve as destinations for riders and their families." he says.
The season will includes the much anticipated return of the Real Insurance XCM Series with riders able to choose between the full range of world championship formats: eliminator, Olympic cross country, downhill and marathon. This consolidates the strengths of Australian mountain biking at its best: televised races, Olympic prestige, prize money, incredible locations, adventure and the hustle and bustle of downhill and eliminator all culminating with the UCI MTB World Cup in Cairns.
"It's a potent combination when you throw into that mix some of Australia's most desirable holiday destinations." Sheedy said.
CA is excited to be bringing new destinations, new experiences and an opportunity for organisational development to mountain biking.
"This leaves a legacy for the whole mountain biking community that exists year round." Sheedy said. "As a peak body, Cycling Australia's remit is to run great events but also to grow each discipline that it administers. The best way to do this is to introduce Australian riders to new and exciting courses in their own backyards."
All this within the context of a suite of World Cups and a world championships that has energised the discipline of mountain biking and brought new focus on all the riders - from the weekend warrior in a flannelette shirt all the way through to the top flight of the sport.
"It feels good to announce the new era during the week of the [2013 UCI] Mountain Bike World Championships, on the eve of what we hope to be one of the most successful Australian campaigns for many years." Sheedy said, a sentiment echoed by Steve Peterson, the GM of Events at Cycling Australia.
"Big things are planned over the next four years with a continuing unification of the sport, more national level events, utilising more partnerships within the mountain biking community and stretching Australia wide. We have worked hard not only to build a bumper 2014 season but to also look beyond, ensuring that we are developing a lasting, sustainable model that sees mountain bike thrive." Peterson said.
2013-2014 Subaru National Mountain Bike Season calendar
October 18-20, 2013: Eliminator Invitational, Bike & Lifestyle Show, Sydney (NSW)
January 17-19, 2014: Cross country, Eliminator and Downhill Round 1, Eagle Park, Adelaide
February 7-8, 2014: Cross country, Eliminator and Downhill Round 2, Mt Buller, VIC
February 21-23, 2014: Cross country, Eliminator and Downhill Round 3 & Marathon Round 1, Venue TBD
March 6-9, 2014: Australian Cross Country, Eliminator and Downhill Mountain National Championships & Marathon Round 2, Venue TBD
March 30, 2014: Marathon Round 3, Venue TBD
April 6, 2014: Australian Marathon Mountain Bike National Championships & Marathon Round 4, Mount Joyce (QLD)
April 13, 2014: Marathon Round 5: Wombat 100, Castlemaine VIC
April 25-27, 2014: UCI Cross country, Eliminator & Downhill World Cup and Marathon Round 6, Cairns (QLD)