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Windham, New York, will host a UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Finals in 2010.

Windham Resort, a small ski area located 140 miles north of New York City, will host the final round of the 2010 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup on August 28-29. The race will include the big three of World Cup racing: cross-country, downhill and Four-cross. The event marks the first mountain bike World Cup to be held on American soil since 2005, when Angel Fire resort in New Mexico hosted a round of off-road racing’s premier series.

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Resort to host first American MTB World Cup since 2005

By Fred Dreier

Windham Resort, a small ski area located 140 miles north of New York City, will host the final round of the 2010 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup on August 28-29. The race will include the big three of World Cup racing: cross-country, downhill and Four-cross. The event marks the first mountain bike World Cup to be held on American soil since 2005, when Angel Fire resort in New Mexico hosted a round of off-road racing’s premier series.

“We are super excited. This is a step in the right direction for American mountain biking,” said Marc Gullickson, USA Cycling’s director of mountain bike development. “It’s about time.”

Windham’s World Cup falls one week before the 2010 UCI world championships, held in Mont-Ste-Anne, Quebec. The race’s close proximity to the worlds helped in its bid to nab a World Cup, said UCI Technical Delegate Simon Burney. Burney traveled to Windham in early June to evaluate the venue with Kelli Lusk, USA Cycling’s mountain bike events coordinator.

“The big benefit is it’s close proximity to (the world championships) because it will really encourage national federations and the trade teams to bring lots of riders over,” Burney said. “The (European) teams ideally want to do at least two races if they are going to spend the money to go to a different continent to race.”

Burney said the mountain’s infrastructure and layout also contributed to the successful bid. According to Burney, Windham will need to perform small tweaks to its downhill and cross-country course to better accommodate television cameras, and it will also need to construct a Four-cross course.

“(Windham) has a lot of potential for a big event,” Burney said. “Ski areas can generally cope with the crowds of a World Cup.”

Securing a World Cup at Windham was a joint effort between Lusk, Windham’s director Rick Hodge and Scott Tedro, the owner and director of the Sho Air-Specialized US Cup. Lusk and Hodge met with Peter Vanden Abeele, the UCI’s mountain bike coordinator, at the 2009 Interbike trade show to discuss the feasibility of the event. The two then worked to put a bid into the UCI before the cutoff date for 2010.

“The people at (Windham) seem really enthusiastic about the event and are willing to step up,” Lusk said. “It was a lot of work with (Hodge) to get the bid in.”

Tedro is financing the hefty UCI inscription fee for the cross-country events at Windham, which also hosts a round of the U.S. Cup and USA Cycling Pro Cross-country Tour.

American venues regularly hosted rounds of the World Cup throughout the mid and late 1990s. In 2001 Napa, California and Durango, Colorado both held rounds of off-road racing’s premier series. But budget woes, falling numbers and lack of coordination between USA Cycling and potential venues hurt the series in the early and mid 2000s.

Angel Fire’s 2005 World Cup saw only a handful of European teams and spectators show up. The venue balked at repeating its World Cup in 2006.

Better coordination between USA Cycling and potential venues, Burney believes, is why the World Cup has returned.

“The motivation has been there but the process has been missing in the past,” Burney said. “I think (Lusk) has changed all of that. At (Windham) we have a good venue, enthusiastic organizers, a budget in place and support from the federation.”