UCI president David Lappartient says that the 2023 World Championships in Glasgow, which will bring together all cycling disciplines for the first time, represents “a massive yet exciting challenge” for the governing body.
Explaining the decision to introduce a multi-disciplinary event, Lappartient told Host City: “We want to bring all our best athletes together for a single event held at one venue every four years, in the year before the Olympics: the UCI Cycling World Championships, which will celebrate virtually all of our disciplines.
“In 2023, more than 2,600 cyclists in 13 disciplines and representing 120 countries will fight it out for the legendary rainbow jersey. It will be an amazing sporting event for the athletes and a memorable festival of cycling for the people of Glasgow and Scotland and for visitors.”
Speaking of the logistics involved in staging the event, he said: “There is no question that this mega event, which is without precedent in the history of our sport, presents us with a massive yet exciting challenge.
“The competitions will take place at venues both inside and outside the city, indoors and outdoors, including roads, which involves managing traffic.”
Lappartient stressed that co-ordination between stakeholders including the UCI, the organisers, the host broadcaster and national and local authorities, including the Scottish Government, were fundamental to the success of the championships.
He went on to say that he believed the event would boost participation in cycling in Scotland, and not just at the sporting level.
“Glasgow, which is a regular destination for the UCI Track World Cup, receives regular praise for actively promoting elite cycling and cycling for all,” he explained.
“In recognition of that and the work it does to encourage people of all ages to get out and ride, we awarded it the UCI Bike City Label in 2019.
“Our mega event will allow Glasgow and Scotland to move to the next level in the development of cycling as a means of transport, a health-enhancing activity, and a leisure pursuit.”
Lappartient also spoke about the UCI’s partnership with Zwift, under which an eRacing World Championships will be launched next year.
“Cycling Esports presents a wonderful opportunity to develop cycling,” he said. “It is a new way of practising our fast-growing sport that enables more athletes of all levels to train and take part in competitions, regardless of the weather outside and where they live.
“It is also an engaging way of improving people’s health by encouraging them to cycle indoors whatever their surroundings, such as urban environments or areas where people cannot cycle due to the terrain.
“In teaming up with Zwift, our Federation can reach out to a new and fast-growing community and increase the appeal of our sport by bringing this new discipline into the fold,” he added.
“In the meantime, it can also bring in the necessary safeguards to ensure that competitions are founded on integrity and credibility.”
The UCI president was speaking ahead of next week’s Host City 2019 conference in Glasgow, which has hosted a number of major events in recent years.
Those include the 2014 Commonwealth Games and last year’s European Championships, co-hosted with Berlin and marking the debut of the multisport format, with the Scottish city hosting all the cycling events as well as all other sports bar athletics.
Lappartient and Eurovision Sport’s Head of Cycling Frederic Sanz will be delivering a keynote address at next week’s conference entitled Co-creating the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.