For the third year in a row, the world's top professional mountain bikers will converge on Windham Mountain as the town hosts the eighth round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup. Cross country and downhill events will take place from June 30 through July 1.
This year, a much more serious story underscores race preparations. Windham, both the town and the mountain, suffered devastating losses after Tropical Storm Irene and Hurricane Lee swept through late last summer. The damage was monumental, businesses were ravaged and houses swept downstream.
"The people of Windham are tenacious and the community rallied around amazing support from near and far to work to get the mountain and town ready for ski season and, eventually, the World Cup," said Race Director Nick Bove.
The sidewalks on Main Street have been replaced. Basements that were buried in six feet of mud and debris are clean.
"We are all fighting hard to come back, working to create challenging race courses and looking forward to welcoming back the international racing community this summer," Bove said.
With the Summer Olympics a few short weeks after the races in New York, Windham will be the last place in the US to see members of the various national Olympic mountain bike teams prior to the Games.
Windham World Cup organizers are planning many community events again this year, including cross country and downhill racing for all levels of ability, a block party and a concert.
"So many people - riders and spectators alike - told us that they had a terrific time in Windham last year and we promise that we will live up to their high expectations for 2012," said Bove.
Windham is the eighth stop on the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup which also visits Pietermaritzburg, South Africa; Houffalize, Belgium; Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic; La Bresse, France; Val di Sole, Italy; Fort William, Great Britain; Mt. Sainte-Anne, Canada; Val d'Isere, France; and Hafjell, Norway.
Julie Bresset and Jaroslav Kulhavy won the cross country races in 2011 while Rachel Atherton and Aaron Gwin took top honors in the downhill.
For more information on the Windham World Cup, visit www.racewindham.com.
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