Gallery: Mountain Bike Worlds comes to Africa for the first time

The racing at the 2013 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa will begin on Wednesday with the team relay cross country, with four riders from each nation taking a turn on the cross country course. On Tuesday, the cross country courses opened for training for all categories while the junior gravity riders also got their first crack at the downhill course.

Cyclingnews took a walk around the venue checking out both courses and the venue as racers arrived from around the globe and started to find their lines.

"It's really a world championship [cross country] course. There is a little bit of everything for everybody. There are some flats, some steep uphills, some steep downhills. It's pretty good," said former cross country world champion Jose Hermida (Spain) to Cyclingnews.

The eliminator course will not be set up until later in the week since part of it is used in the cross country races held through Saturday; however, a walk-through of the intended course revealed that all of it will be on dirt through the main part of the venue; unlike last year's eliminator Worlds course, which was on pavement and concrete through a downtown area.

After successfully running UCI Mountain Bike World Cup events in recent years and the UCI Masters Mountain Bike World Championships last week, Pietermaritzburg is hosting the world championships for the first time.  It is also the first time the MTB Worlds has ever been run in Africa.

Click here to check out the gallery.

Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews.  She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.