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Joyride continues to grow

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As the days count down to Joyride 2002, a bikercross on July 3 featuring some of the top mountain bikers in the world, the list of registered competitors is continuing to grow.

The list currently includes several World Cup downhillers, including Cedric Gracia of France, Australia’s Mick Hannah, Will Longden and Scott Beaumont from Great Britain and Kirt Vories from the U.S.

This week the organizers received confirmation that Brian Lopes, the leader in the World Cup 4-cross, which is essentially a UCI-sanctioned bikercross, will compete, as will Steve Peat from Great Britain. Peat is currently fourth in World Cup standings.

"The field is just getting better and better," said Joyride organizer Chris Winter. "Some of the top riders in the world are on the way, the local riders are psyched, it’s all happening."

There will be both pro and amateur categories for men and women, as well as a junior category.

Joyride Productions originally extended invitations to the World Cup riders who were planning to be in Vancouver the weekend after Joyride to compete in the World Cup downhill and 4-cross at Grouse Mountain. With the downhill course still buried in snow, the UCI and event organizers decided to cancel both events. The cross-country race will go on as planned, with the women and juniors racing on Saturday and the men on Sunday.

The result was that a number of athletes who agreed to compete in Joyride won’t even be in this part of the world following the World Cup events at Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec, the week before.

"Some of them already had plane tickets and decided to come anyway, but we’re starting to get a good reputation for mountain biking and I guess some of them couldn’t stay away," said Winter.

The Whistler-Blackcomb hosted Air Downhill event on July 5, as well as the Whistler Gravity Series downhill on July 2, also sweetened the deal for the competitive riders said Winter.

Joyride registration is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on race day, although there are a limited number of spaces and competitors are urged to sign up in advance through the Web site, www.worldfreeride.com. The course will be open for practice runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and the qualifiers will run from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. there will be a bike stunt show over a gap jump. With 2,000 spectators at last year’s event, you might want to get there early to get a good spot with a view of the stunt jumping and the bikercross.

There is a competitor’s meeting from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., and the competition will run from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The after party at Garibaldi Lift Company starts at 10 p.m.

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