By Jason Sumner, VeloNews Associate Editor
It’s still a long way from being resolved, but at least one scenario for the shaken-up 2002 mountain-bike World Cup schedule has emerged, and it might bring another North American venue into play.
Here’s how it would work. First the two Canadian Gestev-run events, Mont-Ste-Anne and Grouse Mountain, would each move forward one weekend on the World Cup calendar. This would place the Grouse Mountain “triple” on the weekend that had originally been occupied by the downhill in Arai, Japan, which was cancelled two weeks ago. Mont-Ste-Anne would then jump into Grouse’s spot, opening up the weekend of June 29-30 a possible replacement date. This move would alleviate a problem for Gestev, which is seeking a new date because of a schedule conflict with a convention that is being held on the same weekend as the Mont-Ste-Anne World Cup.
Next the Arai downhill event would be moved to Fort William, Scotland, and be held June 1-2, the weekend that was previously occupied by the “triple” in Leysin, Switzerland, which like Arai, was cancelled. This would negate the problem that would occur if Fort William took the original Arai dates, in which there would be events in British Columbia and Scotland on back-to-back weekends, not an ideal situation considering the distance between the two places, time lost to eastbound travel and the out-of-the-way location of Fort William. It would also give Fort William a downhill-only event, which is reportedly what the organizers there are seeking.
That would leave finding a replacement site for the Leysin “triple” as the final problem to be solved, and that’s where North America comes back into play.
Assuming the previously mentioned changes, there would be two weekends — June 29-30 and July 20-21 — that would be open and would not conflict with the NORBA national championship series schedule. And because all the riders would already be here, the natural choice if either of those dates were selected as the Leysin replacement would be a North American venue.
If the June 29-30 date were chosen the venue would have to be on the East Coast because the previous weekend’s race would be NORBA No. 3 at Snowshoe, West Virginia, and the weekend after racers would be headed to Mont-Ste-Anne for a World Cup. If the July 20-21 dates were chosen, the event would have to be on the West Coast because the Grouse Mountain event in British Columbia would have been held the previous weekend.
But either way, there would be another World Cup on North American soil, something many would welcome, considering the original schedule contained just two, neither in the United States.
As for where these events would take place, nothing concrete has been put out there yet, but places like Washington’s Snoqualmie Pass and Crystal Mountain on the West Coast, or New York’s Plattekill on the East Coast could be possibilities. Snoqualmie hosted a downhill World Cup in 1998. Crystal Mountain was the site of a NORBA in 2000. And Plattekill hosted this year’s collegiate nationals and has a strong mountain biking community.
As for who would take on this new event, Gestev’s Patrice Drouin, who brought the World Cup to Grouse Mountain last year after Whistler cancelled and concocted much of this current scenario, had this to offer.
“If UCI changes the dates and they want to do something in North America, I have ideas.”