UCI reject Essex's Olympic mountain bike venue
Essex, highest point 147m, is not a county noted for its mountains. It was therefore perhaps no surprise that inspectors from the UCI deemed the county’s Weald Country Park just too flat to host the 2012 Olympic mountain bike competition. Any proposed course would not challenge the riders sufficiently, they said.
The decision will have come as a blow to London Organising Committee (Locog) but it appears that all may not be lost for the county that has produced sporting champions of the calibre of Sally Gunnell, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Sir Alf Ramsey.
Speaking exclusively to BikeRadar, the UCI’s Mountain Bike Sports Co-ordinator, Peter van den Abeele, said: “You don’t necessarily need to have real mountains to stage this event, it all depends on the course. The most important thing is to find a suitable venue and we will find one: that could be one and a half or three hours’ drive from London, but who says we cannot find a venue in Essex?”
The options within the county are limited, however, with Epping Forest being seen as the only viable alternative to WealdPark. Mr van den Abeele said he would be returning to England in the next few weeks to look at other possible sites for the event, but remained tight-lipped on where they might be.
One option could be the Chilterns but maybe you’ve got your own suggestions – if so post them below.