Earlier today, Louisville, Kentucky was awarded the 2013 Elite Cyclocross World Championships and the 2012 and 2013 Masters Cyclocross World Championships.
For the first time ever, the UCI Cyclocross World Championships will be held outside of Europe in the 50 plus year history of the championships. These events will mark the first Elite Cycling World Championship of any discipline held on U.S. soil since the Track World Championships took place in Los Angeles in 2005.
After more than a decade of working closely with American promoters and the UCI to grow our international calendar of cross events, Louisville’s winning bid is a testament to the success of those efforts and to the extraordinary quality of ‘cross racing in the U.S.,” USA Cycling CEO Steve Johnson said.
US Gran Prix of Cyclocross (USGP) promoters, Bruce Fina and Joan Hanscom, will produce the races in partnership with the Louisville Sports Commission and USA Cycling.
“This is thrilling news,” said Fina. “We have worked for six years with the USA Cycling National Team and six years on the USGP to further develop the sport in the U.S. to the point where our riders can be competitive on the global stage. Hosting the Worlds in the U.S. is the next logical step. We hope to see a continued increase in the number of professional cross racers in the states and hope this venue will enhance that goal.”
Louisville has hosted a stop on the USGP since 2007, as well as multiple USA Cycling Masters National Road Championships demonstrating a vibrant cycling community and tremendous local support of the championships.
“I was impressed with the vision and detail of the plans to develop the area into a cyclo-cross race venue,” said UCI technical delegate Simon Burney. “The area, terrain and surroundings lend themselves perfectly to a major race venue, and with the city of Louisville firmly behind the project the opportunity for world class events certainly looks exciting.”
When we talked about the possibility of Worlds being held in Louisville, Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com’s Jeremy Powers was “psyched”. He added “I could go on for days about it but definitely something I would be excited and a really really motivating thing for me”.
For Belgium Sven Nys, “it would be a beautiful farewell”. Sport.be reported earlier that the former Cross World Champion and overall superstar is thinking of ending his career after the London Olympic Games in 2012 but might consider extending to say farewell in the US.
The 2011 World Championships will be held in St Wendel, Germany and in Koksijde, Belgium in 2012.
L’ville is getting ready. Under the leadership of Mayor Jerry Abramson, Louisville is building America’s first permanent, major-city cross facility at Eva Bandman Park, near downtown. Working with local cross enthusiasts, Louisville Metro Government is developing a venue that can support local races and youth riding programs, while also hosting national and international races. The course at Eva Bandman also will serve as the home to the USGP and as a year round cycling park.
“I’m so proud that Louisville is the first city outside Europe to be awarded the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships,” said Mayor Jerry Abramson. “We’re turning Louisville into one of our nation’s most bike-friendly cities by investing in bicycle infrastructure, listening to the needs of local cyclists, and hosting events that draw more attention to cycling. Our local cyclo-cross teams are among the nation’s best, and we’re developing a venue that will help them keep their competitive edge.”