By Mike Rowbottom at the Mountain Bike Velopark in Baku

Baku 2014 chief operating officer Simon Clegg claims 14 sports who wanted to be involved in the European Games had to be turned away ©Baku 2015Next year's inaugural European Games, originally scheduled to host 12 sports, has now closed its programme with 20 sports involved - and Simon Clegg, chief operating officer of the evented, claimed here today that 14 other sports had failed to gain entry.

"The original concept of the European Olympic Committees was to have 12 sports, but we now have 20 on our programme," Clegg said.

"We have also turned away 14 sports that wanted to be on our programme.

"There was a massive level of interest. Olympic and non-Olympic sports were desperate to get onto the programme."

Clegg, a former chief executive of the British Olympic Association, was speaking on the eve of the mountain bike test event being held here tomorrow.

It the third test event to have been held ahead of the Opening Ceremony which is due to get underway on June 12.

The Baku Prepares competition at the Mountain Bike Velopark will begin after competitors have had two days' of training sessions on the brand new course.

In total, nine teams from eight nations have been invited to compete in tomorrow's competition.

Pierce O'Callaghan, director of sport at Baku 2015, said: "The mountain bike test event is an ideal opportunity to ensure we are on the right track ahead of the first European Games.

"The course has been designed to be first of all safe, but also fast and testing for the athletes, so we are expecting plenty of thrills and spills over the two days of practice and one day of competition.

"We are very much looking forward to welcoming all of the teams to Baku for what should be a wonderful test event.

"We are confident the riders will enjoy the Mountain Bike Velopark and that our team will learn a lot of lessons from the test event that will benefit our preparations for the European Games."

Ukraine’s Sergji Rysenko who will compete be among the riders competing in the European Games mountain bike test event in Baku ©Baku 2015Ukraine’s Sergji Rysenko who will compete be among the riders competing in the European Games mountain bike test event in Baku ©Baku 2015

Riders from Azerbaijan, Georgia, Greece, Lebanon, Russia, Switzerland, Turkey and Ukraine will all compete.

The race is registered on the Union Cycliste Internationale calendar as class C3, and is being organised by Baku 2015 in association with the Azerbaijan Cycling Federation.

The track is 4.1 kilometres long with several technical features, such as jumps, bridges, single-track, steep downhill and uphill sections.

In total, 29 athletes will be representing their nations.

Clegg added: "Our mountain bike course promises to be one of the highlights of the inaugural European Games so this weekend's test event is a great opportunity for both the riders and our organisation to test itself in readiness for next year.

"Building on this year's European Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships and the European Youth Olympic Trials in athletics, this test event will further test our systems and structures to enable us to be better prepared to host the continent's best athletes in June 2015."

At Baku 2015, ranking points will be available in all four cycling disciplines – BMX, mountain biking, the road race and time trial  - for qualification towards the Rio 2016 Olympics Games.

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