11/21/2015 Update: It’s official. Masters Worlds is coming to San Jose, California January 21-24, 2016, hosted and promoted by SuperPro Racing in conjunction with USA Cycling. This was announced at the Bay Area Super Prestige race at Candlestick Park. More details on this breaking story on the 2016/2017 UCI Masters Cyclocross World Championships here.
Since this summer, we’ve been corresponding with the UCI as to the status of this season’s Masters World Championships, as cyclocross racers ages 30 and over have been left in limbo wondering whether Worlds would be returning to Gossau, Switzerland, Mol, Belgium, or perhaps even cancelled for the 2015-2016 season.
The UCI has been quietly searching for a host city and promoter as Gossau will not be hosting the 2016 event. Perhaps the search has been going on too quietly, as racers and promoters have been in the dark and writing us for updates, with the typical event dates being just two months away.
We finally have an update on this season’s 2016 event. Cyclocross Magazine has learned that at least one West Coast race promoter is currently in last-minute discussions and negotiations with the UCI (and therefore USA Cycling) to host the 2016 UCI Cyclocross Masters World Championships this January, two weeks after Asheville’s Nationals. The promoter is choosing to remain anonymous until official contracts are signed, but remains optimistic the event will happen.
The Masters Worlds, given their amateur athlete focus and amateur athlete budget constraints, are typically an event dominated in attendance by the host continent. The event was held the last two years in Gossau, Switzerland, with few Americans making the long flight last season, and France-based Lillian Pfluke being the lone American to take home a title in 2015, a year after massive age-group confusion and arbitrary rules eliminated her category on race day.
In 2012 and 2013, Louisville, Kentucky hosted the event, with few Europeans attending the races, and many U.S. National Champions swapping their stars and stripes jersey for the blue rainbow-striped jersey.
If the event does become official, it would be a first chance for West Coast racers to attend Masters Worlds without a flight, and the third time in five years U.S. Masters racers could race for the jersey and title on home soil.
The event could also significantly impact the season plans for perennial contenders and former Worlds title winners like Don Myrah, who has yet to race this season, and Steve Tilford, the newly-crowned Kansas Cyclocross State Champion, who is set to race Oklahoma’s UCI races but would need to be careful to avoid earning UCI points (a pet peeve of the champion as he explains in this interview).
Stay tuned to Cyclocross Magazine as we bring you updates to this breaking story.