Fort William in the Scottish highlands, has won its bid to host the Mountain Bike World Championships in September 2007, despite strong competition from Canada and Australia.
For the mountain bike disciplines of downhill, 4-cross and trials, the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships is the most important international competition on the calendar. For cross country racing it is second
only to the Olympics.
The World Championships at Fort William will be the last major mountain bike cross country competition before the Bejing Olympics in 2008.
Frank McAveety, MSP, Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport, said:
"This is terrific news for the Highlands and for Scotland. Fort William has been so successful at hosting Mountain Bike World Cups in the past that the UCI would like to take advantage of the Nevis Range facilities again and
host a full championship.
"The Mountain Bike World Championships, which has been supported by the Executive through EventScotland, will draw thousands of enthusiasts from all over the globe to Scotland. The economic and tourism benefits to the area
cannot be overestimated."
The Nevis Range ski area and Leanachan Forest, Fort William, has hosted rounds of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in 2002, 2003 and 2004
The scale and complexity of hosting the Mountain Bike World Championships is about four times that of a round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup series, said Mike Jardine from Rare Management, organisers of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup events at Fort William and the driving force behind the 2007 World Championships bid.
"This is fantastic recognition of Fort William’s success on the global stage and a real boost for everyone who has worked so hard to make mountain biking in Fort William such a special experience," said Jardine.
"Now we’ve got the ultimate target, the most important single event in mountain biking. This gives us a unique opportunity to work with the venues, the funding partners, sponsors and the local community to deliver progressively bigger and better festivals of mountain biking in the next three years.
"2007 will see the biggest ever celebration of mountain biking in the UK and the work starts now.’
It is anticipated that the World Championships will attract 40 000+ spectators on the key days of competition with a direct economic benefit to Fort William and the immediate Lochaber area in excess of £2m.