Richmond 2015 organisers unveil 16.5km road race circuit and time trial courses

Organisers of next year’s UCI Road World Championships in Richmond, Virginia, have unveiled details of the circuits where the rainbow jersey will be won – with punchy hills and sections of cobbles, including one on a twisting climb 250 metres in length, featuring in both the men’s and women’s elite road races.

The week-long event will be held from September next year the United States for only the second time – Colorado Springs hosted it in 1986 – and which take place being held outside Europe for only the eighth time.

All events will finish at the Greater Richmond Convention Center on Broad Street in the downtown area of the city, which served as the capital of the Confederate States during the American Civil War.

The men’s event will cover 16 laps of the 16.5km circuit for a total distance of 264 kilometres.

Details of the women’s race have yet to be confirmed, but with UCI rules stipulating a maximum distance of between 120 and 140km for the race, eight laps looks highly likely.

The elevation of the circuit barely exceeds 50 metres above sea level and the total height gain on each lap is just 238 metres.

But the attrition of the cobbled sections, some of them uphill, together with some tight corners and punchy climbs – one hitting a 20 per cent gradient – means the circuit should be much more testing than those bare figures suggest.

A map and profile are available on the Richmond 2015 website. Here’s what the organisers have to say about it:

All road races will take place on a challenging, technical and inner-city road circuit.

The peloton heads west from Downtown Richmond, working their way onto Monument Avenue, a paver-lined, historic boulevard that’s been named one of the “10 Great Streets in America.” Racers will take a 180-degree turn at the Jefferson Davis monument and then manoeuvre through the Uptown district and Virginia Commonwealth University.

Halfway through the circuit, the race heads down the cobblestones of Shockoe Slip before following the canal and passing Great Shiplock Park, the start of the Virginia Capital Trail. A sharp, off-camber turn at Rocketts Landing brings the riders to the narrow, twisty, cobbled 250-metre climb up to Libby Hill Park in the historic Church Hill neighbourhood.

A quick descent, followed by three hard turns leads to a 110-metre-long climb up 23rd Street. Once atop this steep (20% max grade), partially cobbled hill, riders descend into Shockoe Bottom. This leads them to the final 350-metre-long climb up Governor Street. At the top, riders face a 680-metre false flat to the finish.

The U23 Men and Juniors will race a slightly modified circuit that doesn’t include the 23rd Street climb.

Also confirmed are the time trial routes formen’s and women’s trade teams, elite women, under 23 men and junior men and women, and elite men. Organisers say of the latter:

The Elite Men will begin their “race of truth” 20 miles north of Richmond at Kings Dominion, Virginia’s premier amusement park in Hanover County. Racers will then speed past Meadow Event Park, home to the State Fair of Virginia and birthplace of thoroughbred racing legend Secretariat.

Racers will head south on long, open straights past the Hanover Courthouse, the third oldest courthouse still in use in the U.S. and dating back to about 1740.

Long hills on Chamberlayne and Wilkinson roads bring the racers back into the city through Virginia Union University before turning into downtown.

Nearly half the turns of the entire route fall within the closing kilometres, the second to last of which is onto the 350-metre-long climb up Governor Street. At the top, riders turn left and finally face a false flat 680 metres to the finish.

The routes for both the road and time trial events will be tested at this year's USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships.

Speaking of that event and the road worlds the city’s mayor, Dwight C Jones said: “These two great cycling events will showcase many of great attributes that make Richmond a tremendous place to live, work, play and visit.

“These events have been, and will continue to be, a catalyst for making the region more bike-friendly.

“It’s going to take the cooperation of the entire community to help realise the full potential these events present and we are ready to showcase the Richmond region to the world.”

UCI president Brian Cookson added: “I commend Richmond 2015 and the City of Richmond and surrounding counties for their commitment to what no doubt will be challenging, exciting and scenic courses for the world’s best cyclists.

“Richmond is on track and well-prepared for the 2015 Worlds. I am encouraged by the tremendous strides that have been made and the ongoing vision into making the UCI Road World Championships a very memorable event.”

This year’s UCI Road World Championships will take place in Ponferrada, Spain in September.

Richmond 2015 UCI Road World Championships programme

Sun 20/09  TTT: Elite Men & Women
Mon 21/09  ITT: Junior Men & U23 Men
Tue 22/09  ITT: Junior Women & Elite Women
Wed 23/09  ITT: Elite Men
Fri 25/09  Road: Junior Women & U23 Men
Sat 26/09  Road: Junior Men & Elite Women
Sun 27/09  Road: Elite Men

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.