It’s official, the rainbow stripes will be awarded in Richmond in September 2015. That makes it the third UCI World Championships awarded to the United States, following the Cyclocross Masters World Championships to be held in Louisville, Kentucky on 2012, and the Cyclocross World Championships in 2013.
Earlier today, the UCI announced that the city of Muscat, Oman had withdrawn its official bid to host the 2015 Road World Championships, leaving only one candidate, Richmond, after Quebec City, Canada also withdrew its bid a few months ago.
Of note, the folks responsible for promoting the Tour of Ireland, Shadetree Sports were brought in to assist in organizing and promoting the race. One of the principals of the firm is Darach McQuaid, younger brother of UCI president Pat McQuaid.
“Bringing the Road World Championships back to the United States truly punctuates the outstanding state of cycling in America,” said Steve Johnson, President and CEO of USA Cycling in a press release. “From the success of American riders and U.S.-based professional teams in Europe to our ever-growing domestic membership to world-class stage races like the Amgen Tour of California and the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, the 2015 UCI Road World Championships is yet another milestone towards the continued growth and success of the sport. We appreciate the UCI’s trust in Richmond and we look forward to continuing to work closely with Mayor Jones, Tim Miller and Medalist Sports in making these Road Worlds one of the best.”
The 2015 UCI Road World Championships are scheduled to take place September 19 to 27 and will feature elite men and women, under 23 men, and junior men and women. Events will include the traditional road race, individual time trial and a new team time trial competition that will feature the world’s top professional teams. The eight-day event attracts 1,000 athletes from over 70 nations who compete to wear the coveted world champion’s rainbow jersey.
The last Road World Championships held in the United States were in Colorado Springs, Colorado in 1986.
“It’s rewarding to be able to not only bring the Road Worlds back to the U.S. but to bring them to Richmond,” said Mike Plant, a member of the UCI Management Committee who was instrumental in bringing the Worlds back to the U.S. “Richmond stepped up and proved they could support world class cycling when we brought the Tour de Trump and Tour DuPont to the city in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s.”
American men and women have won 14 World Championship titles in both the road race and time trial, including road race titles by Greg LeMond in 1983 and 1989 and Lance Armstrong in 1993. More recently, World Championship titles and medals in the individual time trial have been won by Kristin Armstrong, Amber Neben and Taylor Phinney.
“The road world championships have not been held on American soil in my lifetime,” said Phinney, multi-time road and track world champion. “It will certainly give me, and the entire new generation of American cycling something to aspire to.”
The World Championships are expected to attract nearly 500,000 onsite spectators and are viewed by a global television audience of more than 300 million people. According to an economic impact study conducted by Chmura Economics & Analytics the 2015 Road World Championships will generate more than $135 million for the Commonwealth of Virginia.
After Copenhagen, host-city of this year’s worlds, the next Road World Championships will be held in Limburg province, The Netherlands in 2012 and Florence, Italy in 2013 and Ponferrada, Spain in 2014.