Lochaber gears up for spectator boom for 2023 world cycling championships

Mikayla Parton and Reece Wilson display the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships 'Squiggly Bike' logo from a gondola at Nevis Range. Photograph: Phunkt NO F21 - cycling worlds
Mikayla Parton and Reece Wilson display the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships 'Squiggly Bike' logo from a gondola at Nevis Range. Photograph: Phunkt NO F21 - cycling worlds

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Lochaber Chamber of Commerce this week said it expects spectator numbers flooding into Fort William for the downhill mountain biking events as part of next year’s UCI Cycling World Championships to be 50 per cent higher than the 21,000 witnessed at the weekend’s world cup round at Nevis Range.

Nevis Range will host the world’s greatest downhill riders after it was announced as the official venue for the Mountain Bike Downhill events.

It is the eighth location to be announced as part of the first combined UCI Cycling World Championships, which will be the largest cycling event ever held and which is taking place in Glasgow and across Scotland from August 3-13 next year.

The event will create history by bringing 13 existing UCI World Championships together into one 11-day long festival of cycling for the first time, with one million spectators expected to attend events at the various venues, and all watched by a global TV audience of around one billion viewers.

Lochaber Chamber of Commerce told the Lochaber Times this week: ‘It’s superb that Fort William has been chosen to host this event and Lochaber is again the host to a world audience, flexing its top event destination attributes, as well as being on the calendar for this massive championship.

‘As a venue and atmosphere, we fully expect the 2023 event to be electric for visitors, supporters and locals alike.

‘With spectator numbers expected to be 50 per cent higher than this year’s UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Fort William round, our infrastructure and hospitality availability will be well tested.

‘Lochaber Chamber of Commerce, as the custodian of the destination organisation Outdoor Capital of the UK, will be working with key stakeholders and continuing our support of programmes looking to improve on main pinch points to ensure that Fort William, as well as neighbouring areas, are prepared for this event.’

Trudy Lindblade, CEO of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, commented: ‘This will be a truly pan-Scotland Championships, utilising the very best venues across the country and for Mountain Bike Downhill they don’t come any better than Nevis Range.

‘I know the local community will welcome the championships with open arms as we look to deliver something truly unique in 2023 that the whole of Scotland can be proud of.’

Executive chief officer for infrastructure, environment and economy at The Highland Council, Malcolm MacLeod, said the local authority was delighted Fort William had been chosen as a host venue.

He added: ‘Many thousands of people across the Highlands and indeed Scotland are cycling enthusiasts and the opportunity to host elite athletes and the positive social impact it offers Lochaber is welcomed.

‘Fort William – Nevis Range has an excellent track record for hosting events, coupled with the majestic backdrop of Ben Nevis it makes it a spectacular place for world class mountain biking.’

The 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships will welcome more than 8,000 amateur and elite cyclists from more than 120 countries with more than 190 UCI World Champions crowned.