The first dedicated Test event for the 2015 European Games - the men's and women's mountain bike cross country - took place in high winds here today but proved "a huge success" according to Pierce O'Callaghan, Baku 2015's director of sport.
After Iana Belomoina of Ukraine and Martin Fanger of Switzerland had earned top honours at the purpose-built facility just south of the Baku Shooting Centre in hills on the outskirts of the city, O'Callaghan told insidethegames. "We have spoken to the athletes and team managers, and to the delegates who are here to observe from the European Cycling Union (UEC).
"It has been a huge success.
"The delegates have been blown away by the expertise of the event staff here.
"They were coming into an unknown market in Azerbaijan.
"This is the first international mountain bike event ever staged here, and only the second mountain bike event.
"The course is very spectacular in TV terms, and it's good for spectators because you can see so much of it from a central vantage point.
"Some of the delegates were saying it was better than the London 2012 mountain bike course from that point of view."
While the European Youth Olympic athletics trials and the Rhythmic Gymnastic European Championships being staged in Baku this year, two sports have already had effective test events.
But those were events which had already been organised ahead of the European Games project, and today marked the first dedicated test event of the "Baku Prepares" programme under the full control of Baku 2015
"We have had no negative feedback from anyone," O'Callaghan said.
"So it has been a great start to the Baku Prepares programme."
Riders had spent two days training on the course, but because of high winds, a particularly exposed part of what was, in places, a vertiginous course was not used on the day.
"We may make some minor changes to the field of play, but overall the course was very well received," O'Callaghan added.
"Today was all about testing our systems and personnel.
"But this is an unusual venue in that it is so close to a city centre, which means we will be expecting a lot of spectators here when the Games are on."
Belomoina, a 21-year-old currently ranked 22nd in the world, commented: "The course and organisation was very high level, but it was very windy today and caused some problems for us.
"But I feel good today and think this test event will be a stimulus for me to get prepared for the European Games.
"Now I know how to prepare for those Games.
"The course was very flat.
"That caused fast speed and there were not so many uphills...in my opinion it would be better to make the track more difficult, extend uphills and make it less flat."
Kathrin Stirnemann of Switzerland, who finished second behind Belomoina, commented: "There were some jumps on the downhill section where I had to be really careful that I didn't get blow away.
"For us riders it was organised very well and I think Baku is definitely ready for the European Games next year."
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