UCI seeking new host for 2020 Road World Championships

Julien Bernard passes through flooded route during 2019 UCI Road World Championships in Yorkshire, England (by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

The International Cycling Union (UCI) is seeking out a new destination for its 2020 Road World Championships after the organising committee of the Aigle-Martigny event was forced to withdraw its hosting rights.

Aigle-Martigny 2020 took the decision after the Swiss Federal Council yesterday (Wednesday) elected to maintain, until September 30, the ban on events drawing more than 1,000 people amid Covid-19.

With the Championships having been due to take place from September 20-27, Aigle-Martigny 2020 and the political authorities of the cantons concerned have decided that the conditions could no longer be met to host the event in Aigle (Vaud) and Martigny (Valais).

The announcement puts an end to an event that was due to take place close to the UCI’s headquarters in Aigle. The UCI said that given the sporting importance of the Road World Championships for cycling, it will work towards finding an “alternative project” to ensure the 2020 edition can take place, with the priority being in Europe and on the dates initially scheduled.

The UCI added: “It could include all or some of the planned races. The UCI will look for a host city that would be able to provide a route as challenging as that in Aigle-Martigny and which would therefore suit the same type of riders who had initially planned to participate in Switzerland.

“Conscious that time is of the essence for the athletes, the national federations and all implicated parties, the UCI will communicate more information as soon as possible and will take a final decision by September 1 at the latest.”

Earlier this week, the UCI was forced to cancel this year’s WorldTour and Women’s WorldTour events in China due to the ongoing pandemic, while new dates were set for next year’s Para-cycling Road World Championships.

The WorldTour’s Gree-Tour of Guangxi, which had been due to run from November 5-10, has been called off at the request of the organiser, Wanda Sports. The Tour of Chongming Island and the Tour of Guangxi Women’s WorldTour events, which had been scheduled for October 23-25 and November 10, respectively, have also been cancelled.

As a result, the 2020 WorldTour season will finish with the Vuelta a España from October 20 to November 8, while the Women’s WorldTour campaign will conclude on November 8 with the Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta.

Meanwhile, the Para-cycling Road World Championships, which had been due to take place in Cascais, Portugal from August 25-29 next year, will now take place from June 9-13 to avoid a clash with the rescheduled Tokyo Paralympic Games, which will run from August 24 to September 5.

The UCI revealed the calendars for the 2021 and WorldTour and Women’s WorldTour seasons last month, with the Tour de France having been brought forward a week to avoid a clash with the rescheduled Olympic Games in Tokyo. The Tour of Guangxi will serve as the season-ending event on the WorldTour in 2021, with the Women’s WorldTour campaign to also end in China.

The UCI last month reported a net loss of CHF3.55m (€3.3m/$3.86m) in its 2019 financial report, but stated it is in a strong position to “weather the current storm” amid Covid-19. The loss for 2019 compares to 2018’s deficit of CHF7.34m. The UCI said, like almost all institutions and businesses, it is facing many challenges in 2020 but believes its strong balance sheet makes it well-equipped to face them and continue to develop the sport.