Scotland’s downhill mountain bike champion has his sights set on World Cup glory ahead of the competition’s return to Fort William in June.
Reece Wilson hopes to improve on his podium finish at last year’s UK World Cup stage and emerge victorious ahead of more than 250 other riders in front of his home crowd.
About 20,000 people are expected to attend the event in the Highlands to watch the 22-year-old compete.
Speaking at the event’s launch on Edinburgh’s Calton Hill on Friday, Wilson said: “Stepping out on to the podium last year was the highlight of my career and I can’t wait to get back to Fort William and challenge myself to reach the number one spot.
“Fort William is my home course so I know it inside out – it’s also home to the world’s greatest fans, you really can’t compete with the Scottish crowd.”
The Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup takes place at 10 locations across the globe and the UK stage returns to Fort William for the 18th time on the weekend of June 1-2.
The event is estimated to have brought more than £40 million to the Scottish economy and welcomed 330,000 avid mountain bike fans to Fort William.
Mike Jardine, from organisers Rare Management, said: “Having Reece on the winner’s podium last year was fantastic recognition of his talent and ambition – and a huge boost for Scottish mountain biking.
“Over the years we’ve had some incredible winners, including British riders Tracy Moseley, Steve Peat, Rachel Atherton, Gee Atherton and Tahnee Seagrave – it would take things to a new level if a Scottish rider could take the Fort William World Cup title.
“With lots of new, exciting riders, this year’s event is set to be even bigger, better and more exciting than ever. The world’s best riders and teams will come together with the best fans in the Scottish Highlands.
“There is no better location or atmosphere for another downhill mountain biking showdown.”
Paul Bush, VisitScotland’s director of events, said: “Scotland is the perfect stage for events and EventScotland is proud to be a long-term supporter of the Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup.
“Events play a key role in our visitor economy, as shown by the Mountain Bike World Cup.
“The event is hugely important for the Highlands and for Scotland, contributing over £40 million to the economy to date, which is testament to its title as a world-class event.”