January 11/01 3:24 am - Whistler World Cup Cancelled
Posted by Editor on 01/11/01
Whistler Triple Mountain Bike World Cup Cancelled
Whistler, B.C. (Canada)---Nearly a year after being notified that their bid to host a Triple Mountain Bike World Cup for 2001 had been selected by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), organizer TEAM Management Inc. has been advised that the event has been cancelled by the recently formed "W3" comprised of Whistler/Blackcomb, Tourism Whistler and the Resort Municipality of Whistler.
The Triple Mountain Bike World Cup in Whistler was scheduled for July 7 and 8, 2001 and included men's and women's competitions in cross-country, downhill and dual disciplines. The World Cup was to be the major component of the third annual Summer Session Sports and Entertainment Festival, June 29 - July 8, 2001, which had grown to become the largest annual summer event in the Resort.
In a letter to TEAM dated December 13, 2000, the W3 stated, "The financial risk is simply too high. . .This leaves us in the unfortunate position of having no alternative except to withdraw our intention to hold a World Cup Mountain Bike event in Whistler for the coming year."
In September of 1999, TEAM, as an independent company, prepared and submitted the bid to hold a Mountain Bike World Cup to the UCI, the international sport governing body for cycling based in Lausanne, Switzerland. TEAM's bid was backed by letters of support from the members of the W3 and was first endorsed by the Canadian Cycling Association and Cycling B.C. before submission to the UCI. In January 2000, TEAM was notified by the UCI that their bid had been successful.
The W3 became actively involved in the World Cup in April after the UCI instituted a new policy whereby first time Triple World Cup organizers were required to have their contract with the UCI signed by the venue for the first year only. As a result of the new policy, TEAM proposed a partnership with the W3, which was declined. TEAM then entered into negotiations with the W3 regarding the ownership of the event and to establish a working agreement, however such negotiations broke down when the W3 decided to cancel the event on December 13th.
Whistler would have been one of only twelve sites world wide to host a prestigious World Cup event and was only one of four sites to have been awarded a triple event. The event was awarded to Whistler for 2001 with an option for 2002 should the event be successful in 2001 and meet the requirements of the UCI.
TEAM Management was formed in 1998 after the principals - Whistler event organizer Marika Koenig and Claire Bonin, formerly of the Canadian Cycling Association -- had worked together on a number of Canada Cup, national and international mountain biking events as well as the Cactus Cup, last held on Blackcomb Mountain in 1996. TEAM took over the organization of the Whistler International Classic, which became the impetus for the development of Summer Session.
The 2000 Whistler International Classic was won by Canadian Olympic Team members Alison Sydor and Roland Green and attracted other notable athletes such as Canadian Cross Country Champion Chad Miles of Whistler, as well as national team members Trish Sinclair, Andreas Hestler, Chris Sheppard and Eric Tourville.
The Gravity Tour portion of Summer Session brought together former and current Canadian Downhill Champions Andrew Shandro, Daamiann Skelton and Chad Onyschuk, as well as "freeriders" such as Richie Schley and Dean Collingridge competing in the Bikercross. TEAM Management was the first to hold a Bikercross in Canada, an event considered to be a new direction for the sport of mountain biking.
In addition to developing a mountain bike themed festival of events and entertainment, it was TEAM's vision to position Whistler to secure a Mountain Bike World Cup. TEAM's successful bid came after a total of nine bids had been previously submitted by various individuals and organizations over the past decade, all of which were rejected.
Based on the results of Summer Session participation and research into World Cup events held in other North American resorts, the economic impact for Whistler Resort was projected to be in excess of seven million dollars. Between 15,000 and 20,000 spectators daily were anticipated to cheer on the more than 400 professional athletes from 40 countries. The world wide television audience was expected to reach in excess of 1.16 billion homes.
In addition to Summer Session, TEAM's recent event-based consulting and management projects have included The Canadian Cancer Society's Tour for a Friend and The Xterra America Tour.
With the cancellation of the World Cup and Summer Session, TEAM Management Inc. will cease operation. As TEAM had also been awarded the rights to organize the Canada Cup Finals (cross-country and downhill) scheduled for Whistler, August 11 - 12, 2001, the event will likely be relocated to another venue.
The outcome of the cancellation of the Whistler World Cup and the relocation of the Whistler date on the UCI calendar is presently being reviewed by the UCI at the annual Mountain Bike Commission meetings in Switzerland.
Editor Comment: We have been aware of this situation for a few months, but have held off on any comment as the principals involved tried to work out an agreement to hold this event. Unfortunately, due in part to politics and greed, nothing could be done. Therefore, Whistler, one of the prime locations in the world for mountain biking events, will again have no major mountain bike events.