Vail Ready to Rock 2001 World Mountain Bike Championships|
Sunday, June 03, 2001
VAIL, Co. - The stage is set for the return of mountain biking's premier event to the United States as Vail and Beaver Creek gear up for the 2001 UCI Uncle Ben's Rice Mountain Bike World Championships September 6-16. The event will mark the second time that the Vail Valley has played host the Championships and the first time in history that one site has been selected to host two Mountain Bike World Championships.
"The fact that we are on the doorstep of hosting the Mountain Bike World Championships once again," explained Ceil Folz, president of the Vail Valley Foundation, "really speaks volumes about this valley and how it is viewed by the international mountain biking community. It is a real honor for the Vail Valley Foundation to again take the lead from an organizational standpoint and we are eagerly awaiting the world's return to the Vail Valley."
Revolving around the theme of "Experiencing America", the 2001 UCI Uncle Ben's Rice World Championships will feature a unique combination of world-class racecourses and competitors, along with a festive party atmosphere, highlighting the sights and sounds of the U.S.
"All the international competitors and officials that I've spoken with are very excited to be coming back to Vail and Beaver Creek," Folz continued. "When I asked them what sort of a theme they thought would be fun, they all said that we needed to celebrate what is special about our own country."
From a competition standpoint, the Championships will feature a fast-paced week of Junior and Elite men and women's competition in Cross Country, Downhill, Dual, Observed Trials, and Team Relay.
Vail's spectator-friendly "Route 66" Cross Country course has become a favorite with competitors from around the world. The now-famous cloverleaf configuration will be modified in order to bring the riders through Vail Village more often, with the Start/Finish located in the International Finish Stadium at the base of Vail Mountain.
In keeping with the American theme, organizers unveiled the new "American Flyer" Downhill course during last summer's World Cup event, garnering rave reviews from officials and competitors, while providing spectators with non-stop action. The American Flyer will be rerouted for the 2001 Championships to the International Finish Stadium, with racers literally dropping into the heart of Vail Village.
A new Dual course will be constructed in Golden Peak, while the Observed Trials and all citizens' races and events will be contested in and around Beaver Creek.
"Our racecourses are some of the best in the world," added Folz. "As with ski racing, Vail Mountain is a great venue for mountain bike racing. Being able to integrate Vail Village into the cross-country course creates an exciting up-close-and-personal experience for both the competitors and the spectators, while American Flyer downhill is one of the most technically demanding courses in the world."
For racers and non-racers alike, the streets of Vail and Beaver Creek will be alive with activity during the Championships. Once the competition has finished for the day, the International Finish Stadium and Large screen will be converted in to the traditional American drive-in movie theater, while Opening Ceremonies, parties and concerts will help to ensure that all the action isn't just confined to the racecourses.
"We have really adopted a similar philosophy to the 1999 World Alpine Ski Championships," Folz offered. "We want to create an overall celebration of cycling, where the races are only one element of the week-long festival."
The action will get underway September 7-9 in Beaver Creek with World Championships Observed Trials competition, along with a full slate of citizens' cross-country races, night rides and entertainment.
"No matter whether you just missed being name to the U.S. World Championships team or don't have a competitive bone in your body," concluded Folz, "there will be something for everyone at Beaver Creek during the first weekend of the Championships. You can be as competitive as you want to be, but don't miss this opportunity."
The World Championships will shift to Vail the following week, with competition and festivities slated to get underway September 12 with the Team Relay and Opening Ceremonies. Junior and Under 23 Cross-Country races will highlight September 12, while the Yahoo Downhill and Volkswagon/Trek Dual events are on tap for September 15. The 2001 World Championships will come to a close September 16 with Elite Cross-Country competition, the Closing Ceremonies and a Final Party at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater Vilar Pavilion.
For additional information on the 2001 UCI Uncle Ben's Rice Mountain Bike World Championships, visit the Championships web site at www.vail01.com or contact the Vail Valley Foundation at 970/949-1999. The 2001 UCI Uncle Ben's Rice Mountain Bike World Championships is a project of the Vail Valley Foundation.