Tickets for the Nissan UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2008 have just gone on sale. The action will take place on June 6, 7 and 8 with Fort William once again playing host to a gathering recognised as the Best Mountain Bike Event in the World for three consecutive years, as well as Scottish Sporting Event of the Year 2006.
With only nine weeks to go until the battle commences, Britain's top talent is gearing up for the Mountain Bike World Cup circuit, making sure they are fighting fit to take on the rugged terrain and gruelling slopes of Lochaber.
The scenic slopes of Aonach Mor and the Forestry Commission Scotland's Leanachan Forest, will challenge the 500 world-class riders from more than 35 countries. The riders will compete in three of the most demanding, high-speed events in extreme freesports - Downhill, 4 Cross and the Olympic discipline of Cross Country. Tickets to see all of the action can now be purchased at www.fortwilliamworldcup.co.uk or by calling 01397 705 825 from 9am-5pm.
One of Scotland's top mountain biking stars, Ruaridh Cunningham from the Borders, impressed last year when he won Britain's first ever men's gold Downhill medal, as a junior. His win was a great boost for the British team and at only 18, he is tipped for even greater things.
"Winning last year's World Championship means the pressure is really on for me but I am determined to do well again this year. The atmosphere at Fort William is always electric and the tracks really are awesome," said Ruaridh.
Hopes are high for homegrown talent this year, with many British riders in with a real chance of podium places, especially in the Downhill event. Building on their success, many of last year's World Championship medalists will be returning to the Fort William circuit including Rachel Atherton (Silver, Women's Elite DH), Katy Curd (Silver, Women's Junior DH), Gee Atherton (Bronze, Men's Elite DH) and Dave Fletcher (Bronze, Men's XC).
They will also be joined by a host of other British contenders including multi-World Cup winners Steve Peat (DH) and Tracy Moseley (DH), Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist Liam Killeen (XC) and rising stars Ross and Hamish Creber (XC).
Mike Jardine from event organisers Rare Management, is hoping to build on the success of previous years; "The mountain biking world is looking forward to the mix of adrenalin, fun and entertainment that is synonymous with the World Cup. We're hoping this year will be even more successful. Riders and their bikes are really put to the test but were confident our British contenders are up for the challenge."
With universal appeal for males and females, young and old, families or businesses looking for unique corporate hospitality, the event attracted more than 40,000 visitors to Fort William in 2007. It has brought more than £10 million to the local area since 2002, and is seen as one of the major events in the Scottish sporting calendar.