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Sunshine Cup to bring mountain-bike elite to Cyprus February 14, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Cycling.
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The 2008 Sunshine Cup, the premier mountain-bike race series on the island, will this year be made up of five races, beginning on February 23 in Tochni Village.

As the first Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) races of the calendar year, the Sunshine Cup traditionally attracts a smattering of the world’s top cross-country racers. This year, Cannondale-Vredestein pros Fredrik Kessiakoff and Roel Paulissen will use the races to prepare for the upcoming World Cup season.

World champion Sabine Spitz will also be taking part on the women’s side. Local interest will concentrate on Cyprus champion George Fattas. There will be participants from more than 17 countries taking part. All are members of their national Olympic teams.

Organiser Michalis Hadjioannou said: “We have been trying hard during the winter to bring some changes to the event to make it more interesting for participants. Some stages have been improved and parts changed. Now they are safer and more enjoyable for the riders. He also stated that the race will help promote sports tourism on the island. “In a recent Cyprus Tourism Organisation survey, it was found that cycling was the second most popular sport in Cyprus, and together with football attracts 77 per cent of athletes who come to Cyprus for training and participation in events. The island is becoming more and more popular as a cycling destination.”

Nakis Michaelides, President of the Cyprus Cycling Federation, said that the Sunshine Cup is one of the top European cycling competitions, with the Federation praised by cycling’s governing body, the UCI, for previous versions of the event.

On his part, Andreas Panayides, Vice-Chairman of the CTO said: “This is the fourth successive year that we are involved in this race, which is very beneficial to the image of the island abroad. Specifically, cycling is a very popular tourist activity in north and central Europe, which are both important markets for Cyprus.

“This is why cycling tourism constitutes a priority in our tourism development strategy. It is important because it is not affected by seasonality and contributes to repeat visitors, as well as to the enrichment of our tourist product.”

Schedule >
February 23 > Tochni Village
February 29 > Mantra-Kionia-Mantra
March 2 > Mantra tou Kampiou
March 9 > Voroklini
March 16 > Limassol-Yermasogia

Related Links > www.mtbcyprus.com

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