Baku 2015 European Games will this weekend host a Mountain Bike test event, the latest in a series of preparations for next summer’s inaugural event.
The Baku Prepares competition at the Mountain Bike Velopark will begin after competitors have two days of training sessions on the brand new course.
In total, nine teams from eight nations have been invited to compete in the thrilling competition on Saturday 18 October.
Mr Pierce O’Callaghan, Director of Sport at Baku 2015, said: “The Mountain Bike test event is an ideal opportunity to ensure we are on the right track ahead of the first European Games.
“The course has been designed to be first of all safe, but also fast and testing for the athletes, so we are expecting plenty of thrills and spills over the two days of practice and one day of competition.
“We are very much looking forward to welcoming all of the teams to Baku for what should be a wonderful test event.
“We are confident the riders will enjoy the Mountain Bike Velopark and that our team will learn a lot of lessons from the test event that will benefit our preparations for the European Games.”
Riders from Azerbaijan, Georgia, Greece, Lebanon, Russia, Switzerland, Turkey and Ukraine will all compete.
The race is registered on the Union Cycliste Internationale calendar as class C3, and is being organised by the Baku 2015 European Games Operations Committee (BEGOC) in cooperation with the Azerbaijan Cycling Federation.
The track is 4.1 kilometres long with several technical features, such as jumps, bridges, single-track, steep downhill and uphill sections. In total, 29 athletes will be representing their nations.
Mr Simon Clegg, Chief Operating Officer at Baku 2015, said: “Our Mountain Bike course promises to be one of the highlights of the inaugural European Games so this weekend’s test event is a great opportunity for both the riders and our organisation to test itself in readiness for next year.
“Building on this year’s European Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships and the European Youth Olympic Trials in athletics, this test event will further test our systems and structures to enable us to be better prepared to host the continent’s best athletes in June 2015.”
At Baku 2015, ranking points will be available in all four Cycling disciplines for qualification towards the Rio 2016 Olympics Games.