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Riders, mechanics and marshalls are all gearing up for one of the biggest events in Lochaber.
Thousands of spectators are set to descend on Fort William this weekend to watch 250 of world’s best mountain bikers battle it out for victory on the renowned Nevis Range track, with riders from 25 different nations taking part in two days of action-packed racing.
As excitement builds ahead of the big weekend, Lochaber Times caught up with Nevis Range’s Chris O’Brien and Nikki Stafford today to see how preparations were going.
The event at Nevis Range, voted the best downhill mountain bike event in the world 10 times by teams, riders and cycling’s international governing body, will host the only UK leg of the eight-round World Cup series this weekend with the downhill finals taking place on Sunday.
Seven times Fort William winner, South Africa’s Greg Minnaar, has been ruled out of this year’s competition after he sustained a fractured arm in practice this morning (Thursday).
Nevertheless, there’s still plenty of elite rider on show, including the most successful ever women’s racer, Britain’s Rachel Atherton who is returning from injury, reigning men’s World Cup Champion Aaron Gwin (USA) and the current British national champion, and Highlander, Greg Williamson.
Mike Jardine from event organisers, Rare Management, said that this year’s event in Fort William will pay homage to the incredible influence Fort William has had on the world of downhill racing.
‘Reputations are created here and a win at Fort William means so much for every rider’ he said.
The theme of this year’s event – Forged in the Fort – is a nod to the incredible reputation Fort William has established at an international level.