Québec withdraws bid for the 2015 cycling world road championships
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Friday, March 25, 2011

Québec withdraws bid for the 2015 cycling world road championships

by Shane Stokes at 7:10 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, World Championships
 
Deems event is too expensive to host

The list of candidates for the 2015 world road race championships has dropped to two following the news that Québec has withdrawn its bid. The city was seen to have a strong candidacy due to the success of the GP Cycliste de Québec ProTour race held there last year, plus positive feedback from the riders who competed there, but high costs have led to a rethink.

“It would have cost 20 million dollars,” project chief Serge Arsenault told Radio Canada. “It’s a huge amount.”

The UCI was reportedly told last week of the decision. It means that there remains two candidates for the championships, which the UCI has said must be held outside Europe. One is a recently-launched application by Oman, which has hosted the Tour of Oman for the past two years. The race has links with Tour de France organisers ASO and with Eddy Merckx. The second is from Richmond, Virginia, which hopes to be the first American host since Colorado Springs in 1986. UCI president Pat McQuaid’s brother Darach is part of that bid.

Arsenault is involved with the two WorldTour events in Canada and sees the value in these reoccurring events. Raising and spending so much on a one-off contest is too much. “To me the world championships in any sport are not worth it,” he said. “It lasts one week and then we do not talk about it any more. It is the repetition that counts.”

Next year’s worlds will be held in Limburg in the Netherlands. Florence, Italy, is the venue for 2013. Those vying to host the championships in 2014 include Hooglede-Gits in Belgium, Chihuahua in Mexico and the Vendée region in France. A decision on that is expected to arrive during this year’s worlds.

In the meantime, Richmond and Oman will continue pushing their own bids. The former is basing part of its candidature on the fact that the race hasn’t been held there in over two decades.

“It is time to bring the sport back to America,” said USA Cycling CEO Steve Johnson when the bid was launched in December.

Speaking last month, Eddy Merckx was equally convinced that Oman was the correct location for the championships. “Professional cycling is gaining ground fast in the Middle East countries thanks to the strong will of local authorities, and the successes of the Tour of Oman and the Tour of Qatar,” the Belgian explained.

Whichever one is chosen, it seems likely that world championship editions outside the traditional heartland will occur more often in the future.

“For our sport and for us in cycling we’re trying very hard to globalise the sport,” said Pat McQuaid at last year’s contest. “The images that have gone [out from Geelong] and the memories that will go back with the Europeans to Europe means it’s much easier for us in the UCI to suggest going outside of Europe in the future for world championships.”

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