On Saturday 14th April, a little bit of history is going to be made in the Mountain Bike world. After the shock decision made by UCI to remove the discipline of 4X from the World Cup Series, yet allow it to remain in the World Championships in September 2011; the future of the sport was uncertain. Yet just a couple of weeks later, the 4X ProTour was announced as being the successor to the 4X World Cup.
Chris Roberts and Scott Beaumont have worked relentlessly over the winter months and have created a five round series that will continue to put 4X Mountain Bike racing on the World stage.
Interest in the 4X ProTour has been high from day one, but over the last few weeks it has gained even more momentum with magazine interviews, organiser promotion, Facebook interaction and frequent Twitter posts by fans. The 2012 4X ProTour looks like being a huge success, even before the gate has dropped on Saturday night. With over 100 pre entries so far, (and unlike former World Cups, registration will be available at the event) the first ever 4X ProTour event has a solid entry list.Who to watch
In the men’s race, Tomas Slavik and Joost Wichman will be the favourites. Slavik has already got his season off to a winning start last weekend at the first round of the Schwalbe British 4X Series. His reasons for racing in the UK early in the year – he wanted to be ready for round 1 of the 4X ProTour. Wichman has a new focus this year. As the team captain for the newly formed Rose Vaujany team, he will be looking to get his season started with a great result in Houffalize.
In the women’s race, World Champion Anneke Beerten will be racing in her rainbow jersey for the very first time since winning the World Championships in September last year. Her competition will surely come from Katy Curd, team mate to Joost Wichman. Katy has always shown promise with her racing, but 2012 looks like it could be her year.
Houffalize, Belgium is a small town in the east of Belgium. The 4X track at Houffalize is a classic. Huge, loose berm corners, a corkscrew bridge/tunnel, pro line and road drop at the finish make this a pretty unique track. Racing is always close with lots of passing and favourites for the event never have an advantage here.Schedule
Registration – 16.00 to 19.00
Practice – 20.00 to 21.15
Qualification – 21.30
Practice – 19.00 to 20.15
Race – 20.30Directions to Houffalize
Houffalize is situated at:
-155 km from Brussels international airport
-90km from Luxembourg international airport
-70km from Liège Airport
-65km from Liège station (Guillemins)
-160km from Brussels Central station
-45km from Libramont station
-18km from Gouvy station
-65km from Arlon station
Houffalize is situated along the E25 Liège-Luxembourg motorway.
Coming from the south (heading to Liège), take exit 50.
Coming from the north (heading to Arlon-Luxembourg), take exit 51.
Parking lots are situated in the city entries, bus shuttles will ensure the transport of spectators into the city center during the whole week-end (14th and 15th of April).
If you require further information on the race, have a look at the Houffalize official website: www.houffalize-mtb.be
If you require further information on the 4X ProTour, have a look at the official website: www.4xprotour.com
Feel free to join the Facebook group: www.facebook.com/4xprotour
Daily updates: www.twitter.com/4xprotour