After a miserable and ridiculously long winter we really really need this. Fort William World Cup is here at last! There has also been a massive gap between this upcoming round and the last in Croatia so it more or less feels like we are starting again. Fort William is one of the big highlights on the World Cup course and separates the men and women from the boys and girls. It’s as tough as it gets on body and bike. What truly separates Fort William from the rest of the World Cup circus though, is the unbelievable and spine tingling atmosphere. If you have never been to a World Cup then put any other plans you have this weekend to one side and head to the Highlands. Thank us later.
The Course 2018
Who’s going to win?
With just one round in the bag it’s hard to really judge who could be standing atop the podium come the end of play on Sunday evening but for the Elite men we think that Gwin probably wants this one more than any other. It’s been six long years since he took a victory at Fort William so he will be hungry for it, not to mention the fact he is on top form right now. that said you can never count out the Anoch Mor master Greg Minnaar and if anyone could steal it off Gwin, it will be the gangly South African.
As for the women, it will probably depend more on how Rachel is feeling on the day and how determined she is. If she has the bit between her teeth we can’t see anyone else having a chance but Myriam Nicole will undoubtedly have confidence coming into this round and mental strength can be the determining factor in this game.
So where do we stand so far with one round down?
1st // Aaron GWIN // USA // 230
2nd // Luca SHAW // USA // 180 // -50
3rd // Dean LUCAS // AUS // 180 // -50
4th // Samuel BLENKINSOP // NZL // 147 // -83
5th // Dakotah NORTON // USA // 120 // -110
6th // Jack MOIR // AUS // 110 // -120
7th // Laurie GREENLAND // GBR // 106 // -124
8th // Troy BROSNAN // AUS // 105 // -125
9th // Danny HART // GBR // 86 // -144
10th // Loris VERGIER // FRA // 85 // -145
1st // Myriam NICOLE // FRA // 230
2nd // Rachel ATHERTON // GBR // 210 // -20
3rd // Tahnée SEAGRAVE // GBR // 156 // -74
4th // Marine CABIROU // FRA // 150 // -80
5th // Cécile RAVANEL // FRA // 130 // -100
6th // Monika HRASTNIK // SLO // 107 // -134
7th // Tracey HANNAH // AUS // 95 // -135
8th // Emilie SIEGENTHALER // SUI // 94 // -136
9th // Katy CURD // GBR // 80 // -150
10th // Mariana SALAZAR // ESA // 65 // -165
Wednesday 30 May
• 15:00-16:00 Downhill Course Walk by Broadcaster
Thursday 31 May
• 08:30-11:00 // Downhill Course Inspection by UCI
• 11:00-12:00 // Downhill On Board Course Preview
• 13:00-14:00 // On Foot Downhill Course Inspection – Elite Teams
• 14:00-16:00 // On Foot Downhill Course Inspection – All Riders
Friday 01 June
• 08:00-11:30 // Official Downhill Training – Group B
• 11:45-15:15 // Official Downhill Training – Group A
• 15:30-17:00 // Downhill Timed Training Session
• 17:00-17:45 // On Foot Downhill Course Inspection – Riders and Teams
Saturday 02 June
• 08:00-09:45 // Official Downhill Training – Group B
• 10:00-11:45 // Official Downhill Training – Group A
• 12:15 // Seeding Run – Junior Women
• 12:30 // Qualifying Round – Junior Men
• 13:30 // Qualifying Round – Elite Women
• 14:00 // Qualifying Round – Elite Men
• Followed by // 30 minutes On Foot Downhill Course Inspection – Riders and Teams
Sunday 03 June
• 08:00-09:00 // Official Downhill Training – Junior Women, Junior Men, Elite Women
• 09:45 // Final – Junior Women
• 10:15 // Final – Junior Men
• 11:00-12:00 // Official Downhill Training – Elite Men
• 12:30 // Final – Elite Women
• 13:30 // Final – Elite Men
Advance tickets are now off sale but you can still just rock up and buy your ticket on the gate. Prices –
One of the reasons that Fort William has won so many awards is down to you, the Fans. The riders love an enthusiastic, noisy, appreciative crowd and the Fort William fans always deliver the perfect atmosphere.
Your job is pretty simple. Turn up on your own, with family or some mates and do your best to encourage every rider from every country to go higher and faster. Noise is good – shouting, airhorns, rattles, drums, bagpipes, trumpets etc – and there’s plenty of space on the courses for impromptu bands to perform. The neighbours don’t normally complain.
Get out on the course and see what your heroes are capable of doing. The DH is pretty easy to study as the gondola passes over the entire length of the course and the 4X is really accessible, although it will be absolutely jammed for the evening Finals. Have a look at the Downhill and 4X spectator maps for more information.
Most of all, have fun during the day and at night in Fort William.
Do’s and Don’ts
Some serious stuff, which is really important.
1. We are looking forward to some of glorious Highland weather – but it’s best to come prepared! The Downhill takes place on one of the highest mountains in Britain and the weather can change very suddenly. Even if the forecast is good, bring an extra layer of clothes as well as waterproofs. All courses are on a rugged mountainside so sturdy, waterproof footwear (such as hiking boots) is essential.
2. Remember to take water and food with you if you plan to spend time away from the World Cup Village on the courses. A small rucksack may be very useful. It is not permitted to bring alcohol or glass bottles into the event. There will be random bag checks at the entrance.
1. It is very important for the future of mountain biking in the Highlands that you carry any litter or rubbish to the bottom of the course and dispose of it responsibly in the bins provided.
2. There will be some recycling of rubbish in the World Cup Village. Please help by separating cans and plastic into the appropriate bins.
3. Do not bring any glass onto the site.
1. As a mountain bike enthusiast you’ll know what to expect in terms of the action on the courses.
2. Help us make that action as safe and accessible to spectators as possible by always obeying signs and marshal directions – especially if crossing the course – and keeping outside taped areas.
1. If you’ve bought tickets in advance, you must remember to bring them! Lost or forgotten tickets cannot be replaced. As well as allowing you up the gondola (if appropriate), they allow you into the World Cup Village area and provide access to the course.
1. Please be aware that because of the large number of riders using the Gondola, the seats may be muddy at times.
2. Spectators will not be able to take bikes up the gondola. Bikes can be left at the bike park outside the event entrance. Remember to bring your own lock.
Shuttle buses and Park & Ride
The shuttle bus system works well to move people from Fort William and the Park & Ride – but at the end of the day there will be some queuing, due to the volume of people leaving at the same time. Please be tolerant, patient and always check you are in the right queue. There are signs for the different bus routes.
This is where it all happens, where there is always something to see and do. In fact there is so much going on it’s difficult to keep up with the full programme of events.
We’ve got 2 very full days of competition, reaching a climax on Sunday with the traditional Fort William closing event, the Downhill.
As well as the Finish arena for all events, there is the Tech area, and the Expo area with trade stands offering all the latest mountain bike goodies, demonstrations, competitions, food and drink, support competitions and some unusual entertainment.
DJ’s and our commentators will keep everyone up to date and entertained.
The Village. A great place to spot stars and soak up the whole World Cup atmosphere.
The place where all of the DH and 4X winners are decided. The DH and 4X share the same finish arena, with good views of the exciting final pitch of the Downhill and most of the 4X.
In the DH the Hot Seat is where the current leader sits – until he/she is ejected by a faster rider. In 4X, first across the line takes all.
The mountain bike equivalent of the Formula One pits with some pretty impressive trailers and workshops. Here is where you will find all the stars getting ready or chilling out waiting for the action to start. Their mechanics and support teams will be working flat out to keep all the bikes in race condition. It’s also your chance to see the latest kit and some components that are still in development, not yet available in your local bike shop.
This is where you’ll find lots of bike goodies for sale, partners and sponsors stands as well as World Cup merchandise for sale. Remember to bring cash for all purchases as there are limited credit card facilities and no cash machines on the World Cup Village.
Food and Drink
It’s thirsty, hungry work watching ultimate mountain bike action, especially if you are walking the courses. If you are out on the courses, remember to stock up with some water and snacks beforehand.
Gondola Top Station – hot meals and snacks plus bar with magnificent views over Lochaber and perfect for catching the new DH start. Top up before walking the length of the Downhill course back to the World Cup Village.
Pinemartin Café at the bottom station – light meals, snacks and drinks.
World Cup Village – Food and Drink Tent – Several different choices of food including snacks and sandwiches, hot takeaway food, including some tasty and healthy Scottish specialities. Payment by cash only.
DH Race Day – a snack van will be located at the Wall Ride
We will be hosting some surreal and noisy entertainment during the week – be prepared to be surprised!
Nevis Range Gondola
The 6 person Gondola makes Nevis Range the ideal Downhill venue, easily and rapidly transporting riders 525m up on to Aonach Mor. The chance of getting into a Gondola with a top star is high. Please be aware that the seats may be a bit muddy during the World Cup weekend.
Make sure you buy Gondola access when you purchase your ticket as there will only be limited availability to spectators, especially on the Sunday. Tickets with Gondola Access will allow multiple trips on all days except Sunday when the queues may limit you to one trip (subject to availability).
Most of the DH course is directly below the gondola, so you get a bird’s eye view as you travel up and down the gondola.
Dogs are allowed in the gondola (on the floor) but must be kept on a lead at all times during the World Cup weekend.
Catch all the action from the live TV coverage on the biggest Big Screen in the UK. 100m2 of high resolution HD image. Between events there will be a constant flow of extreme sports action. The big screen will be situated next to the finish arena.
Also situated in the finish arena will the grandstand with over 700 seats. More than 500 seats are available on a first-come basis and are free to use. Seats cannot be reserved. A section of the grandstand is for VIP access only.
Watermarked photos courtesy of Brett ‘Treeman’ Shelfer