The Elite men in a long thin line in Louisville © David Crimson

The Elite men in a long thin line in Louisville USGP © David Crimson

by Jamie Mack

Jeremy Powers is obviously stoked, calling it, “Absolutely Amazing.”  Sven Nys has said that it will delay his retirement if it’s true. The excitement is building as the ‘cross community awaits the big announcement that is now less than a week away. Can it be? Will the World Championships be held in the ‘cross hotspot of Louisville, Kentucky?

While the official announcement is still almost a week away, the announcement today that the apparent front-runner to host the 2013 World Championships is Louisville has sparked a whirlwind of chatter throughout the cycling community. Cyclocross Magazine has been digging in, prodding sources and at times all but begging for more information.  And here’s what we know…

An article posted today on the website for Belgian newspaper Gazette Van Antrerpen boldly claims that Louisville is in fact the leading contender to be the venue for the 2013 World Championships. GVA quoted UCI cyclo-cross coordinator Peter van den Abelee as saying that Louisville was in fact leading the race to host the coveted event.

Cyclocross Magazine has been able to confirm additional details with Simon Burney, the UCI representative sent to inspect and report on the venue while putting on a skills clinic at this year’s Derby City Cup USGP event.  Burney confided that, based on his information, there may only be one other city that has submitted a bid, but he was not at liberty to identify the other potential host. During his exclusive contact with Cyclocross Magazine, he expressed his excitement at the prospect and the effect it could have on ‘cross in the US saying, “I think it will have a massive impact on US ‘Cross. Every US rider will want to be selected, those that do [get selected] will want to raise their game and be competitive, so the knock-on effect will be better US racing, plus it should encourage more US riders to race [World Cups] as that will be the level they have to aspire to to perform at Worlds. I think the industry should get excited, they should want to have a team or riders at a home Worlds on their product.”

There are lots of logistics to work out in order to hold such a marquee event in the US. Live coverage of the event to Europe will need to be provided and obviously some sort of coverage within the US will be a necessity as well. Contrary to what some have said, the venue would not be required to hold a World Cup event in the lead-up to the World Championships if selected, though it may be considered in order to ensure that the venue and the promoters are ready for the bigger challenge.

As many US riders know, the promoters and venue are well prepared to take on hosting the World Championships.  The city has hosted a weekend of the USGP Cyclocross Series for the last three years, has a permanent cyclocross park in the plans and has one of the biggest junior scenes in the nation. The promoters, Joan Hanscomb and Bruce Fina, the forces behind the USGP, along with Mike Hewitt and the rest of the crew responsible for promoting the USGP’s Derby City Cup in Louisville, have already proven that they can provide the support and logistics required to pull off the event. The USGP stops across the US are among the most popular and best attended races in the country, and the Derby City Cup is sitting right at the center of one of the fastest growing ‘cross scenes in the US, with a course that is world class.

Cyclocross Magazine spoke exclusively with Hewitt, Regional Director for the Derby City Cup, who is obviously playing this close to the vest, only confirming that, “Officially, We are very excited to have submitted a bid…We are encouraged by Peter and Sven’s remarks. The decision is next week and we can’t wait to hear the results.”

It’s safe to say that there are quite a few here in the US on tenterhooks to hear that announcement as well.

Stay tuned as we bring you more of this breaking story.