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Another mountain-bike World Cup cancelled

It’s not going to be long before people start wondering if the 2002 mountain bike World Cup series is going to happen at all. First the stop in Arai, Japan was cancelled because of what the UCI called financial reasons. Now the loss of a key sponsor has tabled the event in Leysin, Switzerland. According to mountain bike World Cup coordinator Christophe Burri, the recent withdrawal of event sponsor Club Med was the primary reason behind Leysin's decision to pull out of the 2002 World Cup schedule. "With this sort of financial hit, the organizers in Leysin no longer saw themselves as

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By VeloNews Interactive

It’s not going to be long before people start wondering if the 2002 mountain bike World Cup series is going to happen at all. First the stop in Arai, Japan was cancelled because of what the UCI called financial reasons. Now the loss of a key sponsor has tabled the event in Leysin, Switzerland.

According to mountain bike World Cup coordinator Christophe Burri, the recent withdrawal of event sponsor Club Med was the primary reason behind Leysin’s decision to pull out of the 2002 World Cup schedule.

“With this sort of financial hit, the organizers in Leysin no longer saw themselves as being able to pull off a World Cup event,” Burri said, adding that he and other UCI officials are negotiating with organizers at an alternative venue, though he would no specify where.

“We are in discussions with organizers who are able to take on a triple World Cup event,” said Burri, about the event that was originally schedule for June 1-2, and was slated to include cross country, downhill and four-cross.

When the 2002 calendar was first released, Leysin’s inclusion was scorned by some in the mountain-bike community, but the UCI was adamant because the organization is scheduled to move its world headquarters to the nearby community of Aigle. Leysin became a World Cup venue for the first time in 2001, but the event was lightly attended and few thought a return engagement was merited.

Meanwhile, there is still no word on the fate of the event originally earmarked for Arai. There have been rumors that a venue at Fort William in Scotland has been chosen, but neither the UCI nor local promoters have been willing to confirm this.

This is the third time in two years a mountain bike World Cup has been cancelled after the schedule was released. Last December Whistler Mountain in British Columbia pulled out for financial reasons, and was replaced by Grouse Mountain near Vancouver.

VeloNews Technical Editor Charles Pelkey and freelance writer Erhard Goller contributed to this report.