The UCI Mountain Bike World Cup at Fort William won the Area Tourism Initiative at the annual Scottish Thistle Awards, Scotland's Tourism industry 'Oscars', run by VisitScotland.

Fort Bill wins Oscar

The award was presented to Mike Jardine of Rare Management, the event organisers, at an Awards Dinner in Edinburgh.

Jardine said: "Winning this award is recognition for everyone who’s been involved in and supported the World Cup. It came about because a lot of people had confidence in the project and were prepared to back it and put

a lot of time and effort into making it a success.

"It also flags up the fact that we have great resources in Fort William and we can put on world class events in the Highlands. We worked hard to make sure it wasn’t just a sporting event happening near Fort William. We brought a whole festival of mountain biking action into the town and tried to involve the local community as much as possible."

The award was open to projects designed to increase the visitor’s understanding, knowledge and enjoyment of an area, be it through a product, service or the area itself. Entries were judged on their ability to encourage the visitor to spend more, stay longer and return.

The World Cup attracted more than 15,000 spectators with 45 percent travelling from England to watch 434 competitors from 32 countries. 89 percent of visitors spent at least one night in the Fort William area.

The UCI Mountain Bike World Cup at Fort William was recently voted Best UK Cycling Event of 2003 in the Cycle2003 Singletrack Reader Awards.

The UCI World Cup is returning to Fort William on 5-6th June 2004.…/thistle.htm

2004 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup:,/b>

22-23 May Madrid (SPA) XC

29-30 May Houffalize (BEL) XC

5-6 June Fort William (GBR) XC DH 4X

12-13 June Sestriere (ITA) DH 4X

19-20 June Schladming (AUT) XC DH 4X

26-27 June Mont Ste Anne (CAN) XC DH 4X

3-4 July Calgary (CAN) XC DH 4X

18-19 September Livigno (ITA) XC DH 4X

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