May 30/03 2:57 am - Report from Fort William MTB World Cup
Posted by Editoress on 05/30/03
Fort William World Cup
World Cup coverage sponsored byVélirium 2003
While the south of Scotland is getting flashfloods, it is sunny and drying up at Fort William. General concensus among the riders is that it is an excellent course, with a good mix of double track, single track and gravel road. "Officially" laps are 8.3 kilometres, but Thomas Frischknecht's coach measured a lap at 9.2 kilometres, and never argue with a Swiss about measurement... The laps are expected to be long, so the commissaires have announced that it will be 4 laps for the women and 5 for the men. The first lap will skip some singletrack to allow the riders to spread out first. The course was constructed by the Forestry Commission of Scotland, at a cost of (take a deep breath) $200,000 Canadian. Essentially, they have hauled tons of stone and gravel into the Highlands and built this track by hand. The Commission is also building two other similar tracks - Seven Staines in the Dumfries area, and Glentress on the borderlands. The goal is to promote tourism, and specifically mountain biking.
According to Trek-VW manager Eric Wallace, Roland (Green) is feeling much stronger than last week, and did a 130 km road ride yesterday. The Canadian contingent has changed considerably from last week - Seamus McGrath and Ryder Hesjedal have gone home and Kiara Bisaro, Trish Sinclair and Mat Toulouse have come to join Roland Green, Alison Sydor, Marie-Helene Premont and Chrissy Redden. Another Canadian, Drew MacKenzie, is also on the men's start list. There are 152 men and 83 women on the start list.
In the 4-X there was only one Canadian in qualifying - Jordie Lunn. (Results for the men are posted, women's will follow)
At a trade teams meeting with the UCI there was a petition circulated by the German T Mobile team suggesting some changes to the World Cup. Among the items discussed as a result of the petition:
: 75% of races to be held in Europe
: less emphasis on triples, so sites such as Madrid and Houffalize will not be left out.
: more events (8 rather than 6)
Other suggestions brought up by UCI representatives included increasing race lengths to 3-plus hours and increasing lap lengths, both of which the team managers shot down immediately.
Decisions have not been made on any of these items, but some of it came about because of the big hole left by the abrupt withdrawal of the Telluride triple, the only race in the U.S. T Mobile lost a reported $15,000 US in deposits for rooms and tickets, and Trek-VW confirmed a $10,000 hit. The teams are very angry with the U.S. organizer (Galeforce), who has reportedly been hit with a 20,000 Swiss Franc fine from the UCI. When I have jokingly suggested that maybe the World Cup should be 50% in Canada, 50% in Europe, team managers did not have a problem with that concept... So, possibly venues such as Bromont, Canmore, Whistler and others are not out of the question.