The 2015 UCI Road World Championships Begin Here in One Year
On September 19, 2015 one of cycling’s premier events starts rolling in Richmond. For those of you who only become vaguely aware of the sport when le Tour de France starts its treacherous climbs littered with colorful accidents, the Road World Championships is just like the world championships of other Olympic sports. As the official world championship of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the world governing body for the sport of cycling, this event is a career pinnacle for the participants who are chosen to represent their countries and a significant coup for the host city.
This year six men and seven women are representing the USA in Ponferrada, Spain. In addition to the more familiar Road Race and Time Trials that you hear about on le Tour de France, the UCI World Championships also feature a Team Trials competition that give fans the opportunity to wave their national flags. With the World Championships taking place over nine days, spectators have a lot of elite cycling to cheer.
Richmond Is Preparing to Take Its Place on the World Cycling Stage
For years the Richmond Region has quietly become a cycling hotbed, often to the consternation of motorists who have to share narrow roads with lycra-shod enthusiasts. I remember the excitement of the Tour du Pont back in the 1990’s when the cobblestoned streets of downtown would be taken over by time-trialists and a festive party atmosphere.
Though that event disappeared, local cycling enthusiasts continued working behind the scenes to improve the quality of cycling life in our fair city. The lack of cycling infrastructure has not thwarted the dreams of the pedalists who, despite governmental bureaucracies, lobbied and have waited patiently to see their dream of the 55-mile Virginia Capital Trail fully realized. Over twenty years in the planning and development, this unique trail, which Ellen was inspired to bike this summer with the Biking Belles, is scheduled to be finished right before the World Championships come to town.
Turns out the timing is perfect. With over 450,000 spectators anticipated for this event, many coming from out-of-town will want to get in some cycling of their own. Passing through lands where Pocahontas, John Smith and other explorers from the Jamestown Colony roamed over 400 years ago, the Virginia Capital Trail is a fitting welcome for visitors from all over the world. No doubt the local enthusiasm and historic ties helped Richmond win the hosting bid, which has not been given to a US city since 1986.
Like the most successful things in RVA, bringing the UCI World Championships here has been an organic effort made possible by individual, corporate and non-profit efforts. Corporate generosity in Richmond makes things happen, and the World Championships are no exception. This past spring Richmond hosted a trial run of the Worlds with the 2014 USA Cycling Collegiate Road Nationals. With lead sponsor, CapTech, the races, which covered the same courses that the World Championships will use, went off smoothly, and the buzz began in earnest for #Richmond2015.
Join the Fun
Ready to get in the spirit of #Richmond2015?
- Why not follow Ellen’s lead and head out to the Virginia Capital Trail? Dig out that old bike and get it blinged out with some of the latest accessories that Ellen featured in Ready to Go Biking? Here’s the Gear You’ll Need.
- Check out this year’s World Championship on Universal Sports Network starting September 21st.
- Visit the courses that these athletes will be racing on next September to get a sense of the difficulty of their rides, especially climbing up Libbie Hill.
- If you are a small business that wants to keep up with the race planning, join The Gracious Posse and become a member of Société 2015.
If ever there was a time to don lycra togs and climb on a skinny seat, this year is it. I’m ready to get in the spirit of the Road World Championships and get pedaling. Won’t you join us as we begin the countdown to #Richmond2015?
September 19, 2014