A record 200 foreign riders from 28 countries will compete in this year’s Sunshine Cup mountain bike race, which starts on Thursday and ends on March 8.
Olympic medal winners and World Champions such as Manuel Fumic have made the trip to the island for the event. “I’m a great fan of your island,” said Fumic, a two times World Champion and seventh in the recent London Olympic Games, during a media event to launch the Cyprus race.
The Sunshine Cup has been running since 1997 under a different name but was renamed in 2006.
This year the first race is the Afxentia Stage race and it has been organised for the past 16 years as a UCI Race, which makes it one of the oldest, if not the oldest existing stage race in Europe, organisers said. This race will run until March 1.
The second race is taking place at Amathous Archaelogocal Site, in Amathounta, Limassol and is of Class 1 in the UCI Calendar. It will be staged on March 8.
The Cyprus Sunshine Cup has been a standard fixture in the early season racing schedule for many riders including 2011 World Champion and 2012 Olympic Champion Jaroslav Kulhavy, 2008 Olympic Champion Sabine Spitz, the Ghost Factory Racing team with its riders Lisi Osl, Alexandra Engen and Katrin Leumann, the Giant Pro XC team with its riders Fabian Giger, Emil Lindgren, Henk Jaap Moorlag, Michiel van der Heijden and the Liv Pro XC Team with its riders Jolanda Neff and Maja Włoszczowska and many more.
According to the organisers, tourism would also benefit.
Christodoulos Papachristodoulou, of the Cyprus Tourism Organisation, said: “Besides the immediate return which is the visits and hotel accommodations, there is also an indirect benefit for Cyprus from the event, which comes from the media promotion abroad in countries like Germany, where cycling is popular.”
The organisers said Cyprus was a perfect setting for mountain biking due to its impressive routes, excellent road network and fine weather, all of which play an important role when foreign athletes and teams choose their destination.
More info at www.cyclingcy.com and www.facebook.com/CyprusSunshineCup.