Glentress Forest will welcome the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships as a host venue

Published: 30th May 2022

Mountain bikers Charlie Aldridge and Elena McGorum race through Glentress Forest

Glentress in the Tweed Valley is the official venue for the Mountain Bike Cross-country and Cross-country Marathon events in August 2023 – the first time it has hosted an event of this scale.

One of Scotland’s most renowned mountain bike locations is to welcome the world’s biggest ever cycling event, after being named one of nine current host venues for the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships.

Glentress Forest, which sits in the Tweed Valley in the Scottish Borders, will see some of the world’s best mountain bike riders tackle its famous terrain when it hosts the Mountain Bike Cross-country and Mountain Bike Cross-country Marathon as part of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships which is being held in Glasgow and across Scotland in August 2023.

Legendary Glentress to host world's best

The Championships will be the first time Glentress Forest will have staged an event of such international magnitude despite having legendary status among mountain bike enthusiasts as one of the famed 7Stanes trail centres and having a reputation as a breeding ground for world-class riders.

Glentress Forest, which is owned and managed by Foresty and Land Scotland, is the ninth location across Scotland to be confirmed as part of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, which will see 13 existing UCI World Championships combined for the first time to create one mega event.

TV audience of around 1 billion

Taking place across 11 days from 3-13 August 2023, more than a million spectators are anticipated as well as a global television audience of around one billion, making it one of the world’s top 10 sporting events.

The athletes in Glentress will take part in some of the most technically and physically demanding disciplines during the 2023 UCI Cycling Worlds, with riders taking on an off-road course that will feature steep climbs and technical descents. Their endurance, strength and agility will be tested to the limit as they compete in the iconic location with amateur riders also given the opportunity to compete as part of a mass participation event during the Championships.

Glentress in the Tweed Valley, Scottish Borders has a proud history of producing some of the country’s best mountain bike riders. Having the honour of being part of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, the event will showcase the venue to the world, raising its profile as a must-visit destination among the international cycling and active traveler community.

The Championships at Glentress Forest will be supported by ourselves, Forestry and Land Scotland and South of Scotland Enterprise. The announcement follows the news released last week that Fort William in the Highlands will host Mountain Bike Downhill as part of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships.

Councillor Euan Jardine, Leader of Scottish Borders Council 

“I am incredibly proud that by working with a number of partners, including South of Scotland Enterprise and Forestry and Land Scotland, we have been able to bring these UCI World Championship events to the Scottish Borders.

“This will not only cement the reputation of the Tweed Valley as one of the world’s best mountain biking locations, but also the Scottish Borders generally as Scotland’s leading cycling destination.

“Glentress has been a catalyst for change and growth over a number of years, bringing cyclists to the area, boosting tourism, investment and jobs, and inspiring more people to ride. The communities of the Tweed Valley and their support and enthusiasm has also been vital in making this such a special and unique place for cycling.

“Both the short and long term benefits of hosting the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championship will be significant for our local economy and that is why we are so determined to bring more events of this magnitude to the area.”

Elena McGorum, who is from nearby Peebles in the Scottish Borders and has cycled at Glentress Forest from a young age, is classed as one of the best up and coming Mountain Bike Cross-country riders in the UK.

Elena McGorum

“I’m really excited by the Mountain Bike Cross-Country and Mountain Bike Cross-country Marathon coming to Glentress Forest, so close to where I grew up, as part of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships. I have so many great memories of riding here so to think there is an opportunity to compete in a World Championships at Glentress is special. To have the three Mountain Bike World Championships in Scotland with the Downhill also at Fort William will be incredible and it will be fantastic to see mountain bike alongside all of the other cycling disciplines. It’s not something we ever get the chance to do to compete alongside all the other cycling disciplines.”

Scottish rider Charlie Aldridge, 2019 Men’s Junior UCI Mountain Bike Cross-country Olympic World Champion

“In mountain biking the UCI World Championships are seen as the pinnacle of the sport so I’m thrilled that the Mountain Bike Cross-country and Mountain Bike Cross-country Marathon are both coming to Glentress Forest. Having the opportunity to compete in a World Championships in front of a home crowd would be an incredible experience and it would be a dream come true to pull on a rainbow jersey. Glentress Forest is known as being a brilliant destination for mountain biking and I think the riders and fans will be in for a real treat next year.”

Trudy Lindblade, CEO of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships

“Glentress Forest is known around the world for the quality of its trails and its challenging terrain so it is a fitting venue for both the Mountain Bike Cross-country and Mountain Bike Cross-country Marathon as part of the first-ever combined UCI Cycling World Championships. We look forward to showcasing some spectacular world-class cycling in Glasgow and across Scotland and I’m delighted that Glentress Forest has come on board as our latest venue. Our thanks go to our partners at Scottish Borders Council, Forestry and Land Scotland and South of Scotland Enterprise for their commitment and support in ensuring this area can be part of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships.”

John Dougan, Regional Manager with Forestry and Land Scotland

“Welcoming these two UCI World Championship events will be a terrific inauguration for the new updated Glentress layout that is currently in development.  Our refreshed offer will include a new skills area, new trails and trail features, all being taken forward as part of our Glentress Masterplan. These works will bring the venue and its 45 miles of mountain bike trails up to national and international race specifications. We’re really looking forward to the 2023 events and we’re sure it will be a huge success and mark the beginning of a new exciting chapter for Glentress, hopefully with it hosting many more top flight events in the future.”

Over 8,000 cyclist to compete across the World Championships

The 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships will welcome more than 8,000 amateur and Elite cyclists from more than 120 countries with more than 190 UCI World Champions crowned.

The 13 UCI World Championships included in the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships are: BMX Freestyle Flatland; BMX Freestyle Park; BMX Racing; Gran Fondo; Indoor Cycling; Mountain Bike Cross-country; Mountain Bike Downhill; Mountain Bike Cross-country Marathon; Para-cycling Road; Para-cycling Track; Road; Track; Trials.

To date, five venues have been announced in Glasgow, with Dumfries & Galloway (Para-cyling Road), Stirling (Time Trial), Fort William (Mountain Bike Downhill) and Glentress (Mountain Bike Cross-country & Mountain Bike Cross-country Marathon) also hosting events across Scotland. Additional venues and locations elsewhere in the country will be confirmed in the coming weeks and months to ensure a pan-Scotland delivery and to capture the imagination of the entire country.

The 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships were confirmed for Glasgow and across Scotland as a result of significant previous experience hosting high-profile sporting events. Glasgow and Scotland have become a sporting hotspot by welcoming unforgettable competitions such as UEFA EURO 2020 matches, the 2014 Commonwealth Games, the multi-sport Glasgow 2018 European Championships as well as cultural events including the world-renowned Edinburgh Festivals.

Inspiring future generations

Since the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, participation sessions at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome have experienced positive uptake and cycling numbers have risen across Scotland. It is hoped the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships can continue to increase pedal power in Scotland, inspiring the next generation of riders across a variety of cycling disciplines.

The 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships are being delivered in collaboration between the UCI, Scottish Government, Glasgow City Council, UK Sport, British Cycling, Glasgow Life and VisitScotland. The partnership aims to create a blueprint for future editions by ensuring the inaugural event is authentic, innovative and distinctive.

The UCI, cycling’s world governing body, currently stages annual World Championships in each of its disciplines across the year in different host cities around the world. The UCI Cycling World Championships will bring these championships together every four years, the year prior to the Olympics, starting with the inaugural event in 2023.