The 2016 road racing season is likely to be stretched into late October after Eddy Merckx has revealed that the UCI World road race world championships will probably be held between October- 9-16 -three weeks later than the usual dates in late September.
Merckx organises the Tour of Qatar and the Tour of Oman, with technical support from Tour de France ASO. He is involved the organisation of the 2016 world championships in Qatar and the risk of high temperatures and rain have apparently forced the change of date.
Weather data shows an average temperatures for the city of Doha remains close to 40 degrees Celsius, but fall to around a more bearable 35 degrees C in mid-October. September is also has the highest rainfall of the year, while October is traditionally dry.
Initially reports suggested that Qatar will try to create a course with some climbing, but Merckx told Gazzetta dello Sport that the wind on exposed roads outside the city should be enough to spark a selective and interesting race.
"The geographical aspect of the country is interesting even if it's flat, it won’t be a boring race," Merckx said.
"We won't make any artificial difficulties, the wind will be an important difficulty and I'm sure it'll be an hard race. The racing will start and finish on the Doha Corniche and the time trial will be 42km long, the team time trial will be 54km long. The road race could consist of several laps of the 42km circuit and then smaller laps."
"Regarding dates, they could be moved forward compared to recent years. One option on the table and actually the most probable date, is between October 9-16."
With two and a half years until the 2016 world championships, the final route and the final details have yet to designed. The constant development of the Doha skyline and road system means new roads are likely to be added before 2016.
The UCI traditionally announces the following year's cycling calendar at the world road race championships but has already hinted that the dates for 2016 will fall later in the year. There was no initial reaction from the UCI regarding Merckx's comments.