The first combined UCI Cycling World Championships has begun to take shape with the release of the schedule for the 11-day event that will be staged in Scotland next August.
The event brings together 13 world championships in different disciplines normally staged independently but combined in a new format cycling’s world governing body intends to stage every four years ahead of an Olympic year.
Every major discipline bar cyclo-cross – which takes place during the winter – will be part of the new-look championships, which also brings in the less well known events like indoor cycling.
Two years in the making, the schedule released on Thursday offers a clear picture of how this inaugural edition will look – giving athletes, teams, and spectators alike an opportunity to make their plans.
“The schedule is something everyone has been waiting for,” chief executive officer Trudy Lindblade told the PA news agency.
“This has never been done before so how does this event look? How does it feel? How are people going to interact with it? The schedule provides that opportunity for us to show how we can combine 13 world championships into one event.”
Racing will begin on the track at the Sir Chris Hoy velodrome in Glasgow and with downhill mountain biking in Fort William on August 3, with at least three different events taking place every day across Scotland.
The elite men’s road race will take place on the first Sunday, August 6th, with the women’s race bringing the curtain down on the championships a week later.
That gap is down to the scheduling of the men’s and women’s Tours de France, but is also seen as an opportunity.
“We’re really excited to have the women’s road race be the finale for us,” Lindblade added. “Our ambitions for this event are to look at sustainable objectives, but also equality and diversity. This links really nicely in that regard. We want to showcase it in the best possible way.”
Those goals will also be seen in the velodrome, where the able-bodied and para-cycling world championships will be combined.
“This has very much been designed as a way of integrating the sport and bringing it together and showcasing what amazing athletes they all are,” added Phil Haselwood, director of sport for the championships.
The schedule has involved difficult compromises – a number of riders want to take part in different disciplines, and rely on team staff whose resources will be pulled in different directions across the country.
However, Haselwood believes they have found a solution that works for all parties.
“It’s a fine balance,” he said. “We’ve got 13 championships. It’s never been done before. There’s lots of different user groups we had to consider.
“There are the athletes, the teams, the spectators, the broadcasters and how people see it at home – and we had to try and bring them together…
“We had to make something attractive that works for everybody. It’s obviously been quite a challenge but I think for a first stab we’ve done a good job.”
With the schedule now set, organisers are hoping to move quickly towards announcing ticket sales for those events that will need them, while the next planned announcement will be the routes for the road races, which are due to finish in Glasgow.