Ruaridh Cunningham and Ben Cathro descended on Edinburgh’s rugged Calton Hill today to mark the launch of ticket sales for the award-winning fixture, which returns to the scenic slopes and gruelling terrain around Fort William for an eighth year on the 6th and 7th June 2009.

Ruaridh and Ben will be among more than 400 international biking stars competing in World Cup’s ‘Global Gravity Gathering’, a showcase of world-class Downhill and 4Cross biking competition.

UK contenders include Gee Atherton from Shrewsbury (Downhill World Champion) and Steve Peat from Sheffield (Downhill World Championships Silver Medallist). Rachel Atherton, Shrewsbury (Downhill World Champion) and Tracy Moseley, Malvern (3rd Overall World Cup Ranking) are set to fly the flag for the women.

Young hopefuls include Josh Bryceland from Manchester (Junior Downhill World Champions) and rising Scottish stars Ben Cathro from Oban and former Junior World Champion Ruaridh Cunningham from Stow, in the Scottish Borders.

Ruaridh, who has been racing for seven years, said: “I can’t wait for the Fort William World Cup – the best thing about it is the atmosphere. It’s a massive event and you can always count on it having the biggest crowds and the best pits on the circuit.”

18-year-old Ben from Oban, who is known for the distinctive biking style his 6’7’’ frame affords him, added: “There’s always such a buzz at Fort William. We’ll be up against the world’s best riders and we really want to make sure Britain’s well represented. The more home support the better!”

This year’s event features two brand new elements set to wow the crowds and give them a taste of the action. The Cross Country Sprint is a new, crowd-pleasing race set on a fast and exciting short course that will showcase the cream of British biking talent to spectators. Also new for 2009 is the World Cup Bike Test, where fans and enthusiasts can put the latest bikes through their paces on the World Championship XC course in the Leanachan Forest.

Mike Jardine from event organisers Rare Management, said: “There’s a real buzz around mountain biking in the UK at the moment – we’ve got fantastic home-grown talent and Fort William’s developed a reputation as the spiritual home of the sport, offering some of the best and most gruelling courses in the world.

“The Nissan UCI Fort William World Cup is much more than a top sporting event – it’s also a great weekend away for anyone who wants to get a piece of the action and enjoy the thrill and buzz of the sport in a spectacular location. With plenty of global stars, incredible biking action and lots more to see and do, it promises to be to be an unmissable event.”

Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer at EventScotland, added: “Scotland is one of the world’s leading destinations for mountain biking which is itself one of the world’s fastest growing sports. The Mountain Bike World Cup at Fort William forms an integral part of Scotland’s mountain biking portfolio and showcases the nation’s exemplary credentials in hosting major world class events in areas of outstanding natural beauty. Each year this event evolves and grows with its audience and this year is no exception with the addition of the XC Sprint event and the World Cup Bike Test. We look forward to yet another fantastic world class event.”

Buy tickets at or by calling 01397 705 825 between 9am-5pm.

A weekend adult pass is £32.00, 6-17 year olds pay £16.00 and children aged under six go free. Single day passes and family tickets are also available. Please visit www.fortwilliamworldcup for full details.

All photos courtesy of Jayne Emsley at

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