Port of Tallinn has signed an agreement for supporting Port of Tallinn GP, a mountain bike race on the race calendar of International Cycling Union (UCI). The high-level mountain bike race that will take place in Tallinn at Nõmme Sports Centre on July 9 is also the only XCO, or Olympic cross-country competition on UCI’s calendar in Estonia in 2011.
In the second weekend of July, the 2nd category mountain bike race of UCI will bring in Estonia the elite of mountain biking from more than ten countries. Last year, the winner of Port of Tallinn GP was multiple-time world champion and world cup winner Christoph Sauser (Switzerland).
According to Chair of the Management Board of Port of Tallinn Ain Kaljurand who signed the sponsorship agreement with President of Estonian Cyclists Union Jaan Toots and main organiser of the race Allar Tõnissaar, Port of Tallinn places a high value on the uniqueness of this race and its importance to Estonian cycling sport. “Port of Tallinn GP is the only international mountain bike competition of this kind in Estonia that will bring top cyclists from across Europe in our capital,” said Kaljurand when signing the support agreement.
President of Estonian Cyclists Union Jaan Toots said that with support from Port of Tallinn, a sports project important to Estonia would once again be carried out, helping raise the level of Estonian mountain biking and increase the attractiveness and supporting surface of the sport. “It is also important for the Olympic cross-country competition on UCI’s calendar with high-level participants to get the attention of European sports media to thereby offer Estonia international media coverage and input,” added Toots.
Main organiser of Port of Tallinn GP Allar Tõnissaar said that the XCO format in the world of cycling is comparable to the position of Formula 1 in motorsports. “The Olympic cross, or XCO, is the most high-level, complicated and spectacular race format requiring the greatest technical preparation,” drew Tõnissaar a parallel. According to him, the UCI ranking competition to be held in Tallinn is important also because Estonian cyclists can gain valuable ranking points necessary for qualifying for the Olympic Games and title races right here in Tallinn. “In cooperation with Estonian Cyclists Union and UCI, we intend to raise the category of the race year by year, aiming to one day organise European Championships in mountain biking in Tallinn based on Port of Tallinn GP,” said Tõnissaar.
Port of Tallinn GP mountain bike race is part of the official program of Tallinn 2011 Capital of Culture. Along with Tallinn Cycling Marathon, the fourth race of 2011 under the Elion Estonian Cup cycling marathon series on the next day (July 10), both the Port of Tallinn GP mountain bike race and the mountain bike marathon in Kõrvemaa in Estonia with a couple of thousand participants are part of the international mountain bike weekend MTB Estonian Weekend.