Last year on the Worst Day in Cycling Journalism (TM), we joked about a new competition that forces riders to compete in nine different disciplines at the same event.
Perhaps inspired by our wit, the UCI recently announced that in 2023 the Glasgow area in Scotland will be hosting the first-ever UCI Cycling World Championships. The name seems like a bit of an understatement, with 13 different disciplines hosting their World Championships in August 2023 over a period of two weeks.
We’re excited to announce that the inaugural 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships 🌈 will be held in Glasgow and across Scotland! 🏴
— UCI (@UCI_cycling) February 8, 2019
A release from the UCI suggests some of the reasoning behind the creation of the combined event. “Over several weeks, the host city and/or region will become the true cycling capital of the world. Images broadcast worldwide will showcase the region to all corners of the globe, while the tens of thousands of visitors will boost tourism.”
Mega-Worlds UCI Cycling World Championships is slated to become a regular thing, with the event held every four years in the year before the Summer Olympics. The 13 disciplines to be included are:
• UCI Road World Championships
• UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships
• UCI Track Cycling World Championships presented by Tissot
• UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships
• UCI Mountain Bike Cross-country World Championships presented by Mercedes-Benz
• UCI Mountain Bike Downhill World Championships presented by Mercedes-Benz
• UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championships
• UCI Mountain Bike Cross Country Eliminator World Championships
• UCI Trials World Championships
• UCI BMX Freestyle Park World Championships
• UCI BMX World Championships
• UCI Indoor Cycling World Championships
• UCI Gran Fondo World Championships
Notably missing from the list is Cyclocross Worlds. As of right now, the ’cross season will not be part of the massive World Championships event.
For some of the included disciplines, the move to August will hardly cause a blip in the schedule. This year both Road and Mountain Bike Worlds took place in September and the Trials and Indoor Cycling World Championships were in November.
Other events such as Track, which is holding its World Championships at the end of the month, will have to adjust quite a bit for the move to August.
That is all to say that moving Cyclocross Worlds to August would completely upend the schedule for that season. Not only would there be the chance for hot-weather cyclocross racing like we saw at Jingle Cross in 2016 and both U.S. World Cups in 2017, but it would also place the event before the season even starts. It would be as if the NFL held the Super Bowl and then played the regular season.
Cyclocross Worlds will remain in its usual time slot in late January / early February as a stand-alone event. In 2023, the event will be held in Hoogerheide.
As some commentators have pointed out, with full-time cyclocrossers such as Mathieu van der Poel targeting Worlds in other disciplines, the move of Mountain Bike and Road Worlds to August could mean that those athletes could get a break in and then start racing cyclocross at the start of the season. It could also allow road and mountain bike stars like Jolanda Neff and Lucinda Brand to start their cyclocross seasons earlier during those years.
Bummed ’Cross Worlds are not joining the event? Booking your tickets for Glasgow? As always, the comments are open.
Featured image: Vogtland Bike e.V.