International Cycling Union (UCI) President Pat McQuaid has labeled the 2010 UCI Road World Championships in Geelong, Australia, a success after the event attracted 156,000 spectators for Sunday’s road race. With the event being staged so far from cycling’s traditional homeland in Europe many worried the event would be greeted with small crowd numbers, particularly once the Australian Football League’s grand final in Melbourne was carried over to the same weekend.
Despite a slow start to attendance during the elite women and Under 23 men’s time trials on Wednesday organisers said 293,000 attended the event over the five days.
“It has been a decision which was an absolutely correct decision,” said McQuaid. “I can tell you that the teams that are here and the team managers that are here and that have many, many years experience of cycling, world championships and major events, have said they’re absolutely happy with everything that has been laid on from here.
“They’re happy with the atmosphere, happy with the course, happy with the security, happy with everything,” he added. “I was talking to one of the directors of Slovenian Cycling and he said this was his 10th world championships and it was the best he’s ever been at.”
Former professional cyclist Phil Anderson, who was also an advisory committee member, said the committee was pleased with the attendance figures. “They’ve been very impressed, we’re getting better [crowd] numbers than what they had in Switzerland last year and that’s the home of cycling. A great result,” he said.
“The UCI, the owners of the world championships, are very happy. It’s a credit to the work that’s been done by all the stakeholders and the crowds that have come out,” he added.
The Australian event was just the seventh time the Worlds have been held outside of Europe. It has previously been held in Hamilton, Canada (2003), Duitama, Colombia (1995), Utsunomiya, Japan (1990), Colorado Springs, United States of America (1986), San Cristóbal, Venezuela (1977) and Montreal, Canada (1974).
McQuaid has previously expressed an interest in hosting the event outside of continental Europe every seven years. With the formation of two ProTour events in Canada this year the Irishman has earmarked the North American nation as a potential candidate for its next international host, which would make it Canada’s third time holding the world championships.