By Jean-François Quénet in Plouay
When the UCI meets in three weeks time one thing on its agenda is to announce the location of the 2010 World Road Racing Championships, and Melbourne, Australia is shaping up as a likely candidate. The prestigious event is hosted in a non-European nation every seven years, with the last outside the European Union's borders held at Hamilton, Canada in 2003.
Two bids have been placed for 2010 but the interest from Arab state Bahrain has been in decline over recent months, leaving a Melbourne debut for the championships as a strong possibility.
This year's world championships will be held in Stuttgart, Germany in the coming weeks, next year it'll be in Varese, Italy with Mendrisio, Switzerland slated to host the event in 2009. The 2011 venue has also already been locked away, with Copenhagen, Denmark to hold the event as a part of its 'Bike City' agreement with the UCI, which will see it host a cycling world championship of a different discipline every year for five years. The last time the world championships went to Scandinavia was in 1993 when Oslo, Norway crowned Jan Ullrich in the amateur ranks and Lance Armstrong as a professional.
France is expected to place a bid for 2012 with the French federation to collect projects by different towns over the coming weeks for consideration. The most serious of the French proposals is already widely known - it comes from Plouay who successfully organised one of the most popular world championships of the whole history of cycling with 300,000 people watching Romans Vainsteins win in 2000.