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Team rider Scott Beaumont will be in Houffalize this weekend for the first stop of the 2012 4X ProTour looking to start his international campaign off with a bang

Here is the full press release from the team behind the event as 4X breaks away from the UCI for the first time.

4X ProTour Round 1 - Houffalize, Belgium

On Saturday 14th April, a little bit of history is going to be made in the Mountain Bike world. After the shock decision made by UCI to remove the discipline of 4X from the World Cup Series, yet allow it to remain in the World Championships in September 2011; the future of the sport was uncertain. Yet just a couple of weeks later, the 4X ProTour was announced as being the successor to the 4X World Cup. Chris Roberts and Scott Beaumont have worked relentlessly over the winter months and have created a five round series that will continue to put 4X Mountain Bike racing on the World stage. Interest in the 4X ProTour has been high from day one, but over the last few weeks it has gained even more momentum with magazine interviews, organiser promotion, Facebook interaction and frequent Twitter posts by fans. The 2012 4X ProTour looks like being a huge success, even before the gate has dropped on Saturday night. With over 100 pre entries so far, (and unlike former World Cups, registration will be available at the event) the first ever 4X ProTour event has a solid entry list.

Who to watch

In the men's race, Tomas Slavik and Joost Wichman will be the favourites. Slavik has already got his season off to a winning start last weekend at the first round of the Schwalbe British 4X Series. His reasons for racing in the UK early in the year - he wanted to be ready for round 1 of the 4X ProTour. Wichman has a new focus this year. As the team captain for the newly formed Rose Vaujany team, he will be looking to get his season started with a great result in Houffalize. In the women's race, World Champion Anneke Beerten will be racing in her rainbow jersey for the very first time since winning the World Championships in September last year. Her competition will surely come from Katy Curd, team mate to Joost Wichman. Katy has always shown promise with her racing, but 2012 looks like it could be her year.

Houffalize

Houffalize, Belgium is a small town in the east of Belgium. The 4X track at Houffalize is a classic. Huge, loose berm corners, a corkscrew bridge/tunnel, pro line and road drop at the finish make this a pretty unique track. Racing is always close with lots of passing and favourites for the event never have an advantage here.

Schedule

Friday:

Registration - 16.00 to 19.00

Practice - 20.00 to 21.15

Qualification - 21.30

Saturday:

Practice - 19.00 to 20.15

Race - 20.30

Information

If you require further information on the race, have a look at the Houffalize official website: www.houffalize-mtb.be If you require further information on the 4X ProTour, have a look at the official website: www.4xprotour.com

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