Nice was due to host the races –including the first-ever elite races for professional riders but opted to withdraw after the terrorist attack on July 14 when a man claiming allegiance to the terrorist group IS drove a truck into crowds celebrating the French national day on the Promenade des Anglais, killing 85 and injuring hundreds more.
The UEC backed the decision by the Nice mayor to cancel the event and quickly began to find an alternative location. Several other European locations offered to host the championships, including Yorkshire, Trentino and Le Marche in central Italy. However the UEC opted for Brittany during their Management Board meeting in Lausanne.
The town of Plumelec is used to hosting major cycling events having already welcomed the Tour de France five times, the last in 2015, and has also hosted three French professional championships. The area also organizes several prestigious road races and the European Championships will follow the route of the GP Plumelec-Morbihan, with the finish at the summit of the Côte de Cadoudal (1.8 km at an average of 7.8%). Full technical details will be revealed in the next few days.
Philippe Gilbert, Fabio Aru and Alberto Contador have previously been named as possible team leaders for their national squads. The European championships will be held a week after the finish of the Vuelta a Espana and a month before this year's road world championships in Qatar.
Former winners of the under-23 road race include Stefan Kung and Sean de Bie in the men's race, and Marianne Vos and Kasia Niewiadoma in the women's. Niewiadoma won last year's race ahead of Ilaria Sanguineti in Tartu, Estonia, while Erik Baska beat Mamyr Stash to the men's title.
"We would like to convey our sincere thanks to the town of Plumelec in the department of Morbihan, in East Brittany and the government who have stepped in to organise these Road European Cycling Championships following the withdrawal of the city of Nice," UEC President David Lappartient said in a statement confirming the news.
"The Breton venue in Plumelec is a very good solution enabling us to fulfill the UEC's technical and sporting requirements. Brittany has loyal and passionate cycling fans and we are delighted to offer a quality venue to host the 1st European Professional Championships. In these special circumstances the UEC and its partners will do everything in its power to deliver a great event to the 50 European Federations, to the 800 riders and to all cycling fans.
"I also like to thank our friends from Yorkshire, Trentino and Marche for their bids. All these bids demonstrate the attractiveness of Road Cycling European Championships."
Programme for 2016 European Championships
Wednesday, September 14: ITT Junior women / ITT Junior Men + ITT U23 men
Thursday, September 15: ITT Elite and Espoir women / ITT Elite Men
Friday, September 16: Road race Junior women / Road race Espoir men
Saturday, September 17: Road race elite and Espoir women / road race Junior men
Sunday, September 18: Road race elite men.