Louisville’s hold on the 2013 Cyclocross World Championships may be in jeopardy, according to Belgian newspapers.
The race, which would be the first cyclocross world championship to be held in the US, is to take place in February of 2013 in Louisville, Kentucky, but according to Belgian newspaper Gazet van Antwerpen, the organizers are having trouble meeting the financial requirements of the race. The article continues on to say that organizers only have until the end of the week to formally ensure the finances of the race. According to the reports, if the Louisville Worlds promoters are unable to meet the financial guarantees, Luxembourg and France are at the top of the list of potential replacement hosts.
Here at Cyclocross Magazine, we hope that this is not the case: We want to see Worlds come to American soil, and we’re hopefull there’s still time for the promoters to meet the financial requirements. Perhaps the alarm will draw out some corporate sponsors to make it happen. Rick Bald was hired in June, 2011 to bring as Director of Sponsorships to secure the financial health of the event.
Our Euro correspondent Christine Vardaros did a brief translation of the original Belgian article, written by Simon Lamon. Snippets included:
“So far, the World Championships organizers have only secured institutional partners such as the city of Louisville, the state of Kentucky and the local sports committee. So, not one commercial company is signed on yet.”
“Can Louisville get it all in place on time? If not, they stand to lose the right to hold the event. In the meanwhile, speculations of a possible replacement are already underway. Luxembourg city, who has applied for the rights to hold a World Championship the last few years appears to the the front-running replacement at the moment – if that becomes necessary.”
Bart Wellens and Rob Peeters of the Telenet-Fidea team are rumored to have checked out the Louisville location during their US trip and reportedly were disappointed that nothing had been prepared yet for such a major event surrounded by so many guidelines for course and location preparation.
Last week, before the USGP in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, Wellens and Peeters stopped by Louisville for course reconnaissance, and according to Sporza.be, were impressed by the terrain but concerned about the event. “There is a beautiful park with a perfect start and finish area, a technical section in the woods, and a kind of pasture,” Wellens told Sporza. “All the ingredients for a World Championship coronation are there. But the organization must take some urgent action. They still have a lot of work to do, but they don’t seem to be aware of this. I recommend that the UCI come have a look so that this World Championships isn’t jeopardized.”
However, before readers get too panicked, Bruce Fina, the promoter for the Louisville World Championships, told Cyclocross Magazine:
This is news to Louisville 2013. I find it hard to imagine that the UCI would tell something like this to the press without informing us first.
As far as our financial status goes, I am not sure who is speaking here, but we have not been audited or reported our finances to the UCI or any other organization so I have no idea where they get it from.
We have many very good sponsors lined up, both endemic and non-endemic. Many of those sponsors are waiting to sign deals and cannot until the UCI has a television contract in place for the US market.
As far as the course goes, work is proceeding at Eva Bandman Park in Louisville. As many of you know the park was reworked last year by the Metro Parks and it has been a season to let the grass grow in and firm up. We will be organizing at least three big events on the course there before Worlds 2013 so I see no issue with the course at all. I think the Belgians might have been disappointed that there were no stakes in the ground when they visited town. But the park is meant to be multipurpose so there was really no need to set up a course for a visit between races. That said they were very pleased with the USGP course in Madison and feel comfortable that we can make a great ’cross course for Worlds with the features available in Louisville.
Cyclocross Magazine is the first US-based cycling media to bring you the news on Louisville. See the Cyclocross Magazine 2013 Louisville Cyclocross World Championships news timeline: