Pietermaritzburg – Having produced world class cross country courses at the Cascades MTB Park over the past couple of years UCI MTB Marathon World Championships course designer Nick Floros’ marathon course has been given the green light by the UCI ahead of the World Championships on Sunday.
“Nick has done another great job and produced something really unique,” UCI technical delegate Simon Burney said. “To be honest I think that the area is more suited to marathon riding than it is to cross country and we were confident in Nick’s ability and we were sure that he was going to put it together well.”
A cross country course and a marathon course are laid out differently and Burney explains that when setting a marathon course out there is less room for personal style.
“A marathon course takes shape according to the surroundings as opposed to a cross country course that is built. You can easily see Nick’s style in his cross country layout but he has done well in laying this marathon course out.”
Taking in the local scenery is something that Floros has done well, according to Burney, and he feels that it is an important aspect when designing a course. Being able to show riders elements of the local landscape and points of interest are positive aspects of Floros’ layout.
“Wherever you go you want to see bits of the region through the course and you can see bits of South Africa in this course.
“There are only a handful of riders that have come here to finish on the podium and the rest just want to have a good experience and I think this course will give them a great experience of what South Africa has to offer,” a confident Burney added.
Having worked closely with Floros in the past, Burney understands his processes but there are still unique aspects on a marathon course that he is slightly worried about.
“The technical zones are of most concern to us because with nine of them they have to be easily accessible for the management teams. It can be the difference between a great World Champs and a disappointment if they can’t get to the points easily.”
Cascades hosted a UCI MTB World Cup in April and that gave Burney and Floros a chance to plan for the upcoming event and the former believes that it was advantageous in preparing for the upcoming marathon world championships.
“Nick and I had an opportunity to discuss plans for this event at the World Cup and having that chance has made the job easier for both of us due to the fact that he knew what we wanted from the course,” explained Burney.
Floros is renowned for producing technical and challenging courses and Burney believes that the 95km of the MTB Marathon course is no different.
“It is going to be a challenge for the riders but that is what we have come to expect from Nick. He has never made it easy for the riders and that is something that is going to make the race interesting!
“At the World Champs last year we saw a lot of climbing on fire roads but there wasn’t much about the course that was interesting however Nick looks like he has produced something that will test the riders and give them the chance to take in some of the beauty of the area,” he commented.
The UCI MTB Marathon World Championships is preceded by the Rainbow Challenge that will take place on Saturday, 28 June. The Rainbow Challenge has given Masters riders the chance to ride on the same course that the Elite riders will race on.
Spectators eager to catch all the action live can access Cascades MTB Park for free on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 June while all the action will be streamed live via the event website, www.mtbworldchamps.co.za
Source: Gameplan Media