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Staffordshire welcomes thousands to Cannock Chase mountain biking event

Staffordshire has welcomed thousands of spectators to Cannock Chase today (August 3), to enjoy the Commonwealth Games 2022 mountainbiking event.

The event took place on the forest’s nationally-acclaimed mountain biking trails at Birches Valley.

An estimated 2,500 spectators watched the start and finish of the event, which saw New Zealand’s Sam Gaze win gold for the men, while England’s Evie Richards emerged triumphant for the women.

Thousands more spectators accessed the non-ticketed viewing points along the mountain bike route to cheer on their sporting heroes, ring their cow bells and soak up the atmosphere of the race in glorious sunshine.

Cannock Chase is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, including 26 square miles of woodlands and forest, river valleys, farmland and heathland. Parts of the Chase are so environmentally important that they are designated as a Special Area of Conservation and as Sites of Special Scientific Interest, particularly the area’s fragile heaths and ancient woods.

Victoria Wilson, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture said: “It has been a fantastic day, and what a spectacle to have some of the best in the world competing here.

“It’s been great to see Cannock Chase showcased on an international stage, and we hope the spectators have had a taste of what the Chase has to offer.

“We hope the games will inspire more people to get outdoors, especially as we have so many beautiful places right on our doorstep in Staffordshire.”

Kevin Ball from Rugeley, a keen runner and cyclist who saw the action from one of the many spectator points along the route said: “I’m here to watch elite mountain biking right on my doorstep. I’m part of Rugeley Runners so we’re frequently all over the Chase, and it’s great that this is being done here.

“I guarantee that after this there will be more mountain bikers wanting to run the course, so local B & Bs, shops and everything else will benefit. The Chase also benefits from the money brought in by tourism, like having better paths, trails and more facilities. This is a great thing to happen to our local area.”


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