For the first time ever the UCI MTB & Trials World Championships, to be held in Pietermaritzburg from 26 August to 1 September, will be preceded by the UCI Masters MTB World Championships, presenting local masters age-group riders with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to try and win the coveted UCI rainbow stripes in their own backyard.
While much of the focus will be on these star studded elite line-ups, hundreds of MTB enthusiasts from dozens of countries around the world will descend upon the same host venue, the Cascades MTB Park, a week before the elite competition commences, to battle it out for top honours in their respective age group categories in the UCI Masters MTB World Championships from 21-25 August.
Having been staged in Brazil for the past five years, 2013 will see the age group event make its debut on the African continent and provides South African mountain bikers a golden opportunity to stake their claim for the highly sought-after rainbow striped jersey awarded to the winners of each age category in cross country and downhill events.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for South Africans to race at an international level on home soil,” said Brett Coates, Cycling South Africa Director – MTB. “It gives a chance to all those riders over 30 years old to line up and race against their peers from all over the world!
“The title of World Champion is fought for in one race but the prestige lasts a lifetime. Even though you may not be the fittest rider at the start of the day, some good luck and tactics could see you pulling on that coveted jersey at the end of it.”
With champions to be crowned in all of the 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69 & 70+ age categories one can be assured there will be some hard-fought battles out en route and the host nation’s national federation looks forward to seeing many local faces giving it their all and enjoying being a part of the spectacle throughout the prestigious event.
“It’s like being a soccer player and having the great Pele invite you over for a ‘kick about’, it’s just something you simply cannot afford to miss! We urge everyone to come and support the event and grab this opportunity with both hands.
“Riders will get the chance to take part in a truly international event. The 30+ age bracket is primarily made up by the modern day ‘weekend warrior’, of which we know we have thousands of here in South Africa, and is a great opportunity for our guys to compete against living legends of the sport.”
Despite not competing on exactly the same courses as their elite compatriots, those who take part in the masters’ event will have a rare chance to be a part of a worldwide cycling phenomenon, just as their fellow local road racers had in 2012 when Pietermaritzburg played host the prestigious UCI World Cycling Tour Final, which saw no fewer than seven South Africa competitors claim gold in their age group.
The UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships takes place at The Cascades MTB park in Pietermaritzburg from 26 August to 1 September 2013, and will be preceded by the UCI MTB Masters World Championships from 21 to 25 August.
More information can be found at www.mtbworldchamps.co.za