Shortened cycling worlds moved to Italy days after Tour finish


Paris (AFP)

This year's World Cycling Championships have been moved from Switzerland to Imola in Italy on the weekend of September 24-27 with a reduced format due to the coronavirus pandemic, the International Cycling Union (UCI) announced on Wednesday.

Originally scheduled to take place in the Swiss towns of Aigle and Martigny In August, the championships were cancelled because of local Covid-19 restrictions.

Because of the virus, the number of competitors has been reduced to just the senior time trial and road races which will take place days after the Tour de France ends on September 20.

"The majority of the top athletes in the Elite Men and Women categories are already in Europe, as opposed to their younger counterparts (Juniors and Under 23) whose national delegations, in a significant number of cases, will not be able to travel to Italy due to travel restrictions imposed in numerous countries," the UCI said in a statement.

UCI president David Lappartient said the Italian town beat three other locations to host the 93rd edition of the event.

"I would also like to thank the three other candidates Peccioli (Italy), Alba Adriatica (Italy) and the Haute-Saone (France) who also sent solid files to the UCI," he said.

"It was not an easy choice, but it goes to show that even in this difficult period that we are going through, the UCI World Championships are still very attractive for cities and their regions," he added.

All the events will start and end on the motor racing circuit to the south of Bologna, which will host Formula One's Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix in November.

Imola hosted the cycling worlds in 1968 and has had numerous stages on the Giro d'Italia.

Denmark's Mads Pedersen is set to have a week between finishing this year's rescheduled Tour de France and defending his road title from last year with the Grand Tour finishing on September 20.

The Netherlands' Annemiek van Vleuten, who won gold in the womens' race last year in Yorkshire, is expected to line up on September 24 for a shot at a second straight title.