International Cycling Union (UCI) President Pat McQuaid has stated that the UCI Road World Championships could be held outside of Europe in 2015, and pointed to the upcoming location of the ProTour event held in Quebec City, Canada, as a potential host. McQuaid is currently attending North America’s inaugural ProTour events at the Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec City on Friday, September 10, and the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal on Sunday, September 12.
“The interest is there in terms of globalizing cycling,” McQuaid said. “In 2015, there is a possibility that we will lead with two candidates that are not European and bring the World Championships outside of Europe that year. From that point of view, it is not a decision we can take quickly. For candidature in 2015, the UCI would need to start working with potential candidates starting next year and onwards. But certainly we would welcome a candidature from an established cycling region which has support from the cycling region as well.”
The UCI has taken the world championships outside of Europe twice in the past seven years. It was last held in Canada in Hamilton, Ontario in 2003, won by Spain’s Igor Astarloa and Sweden’s Susanne Ljungskog. This year’s event will be held in Melbourne, Australia.
The UCI Road Commission will discuss the possibility of hosting the event outside of Europe every five years, instead of every seven, according to McQuaid. The event was previously held in Montreal, on the same course as Sunday’s race, in 1974 when Belgium’s Eddie Merckx claimed victory.
“We have had an unwritten rule to move outside of Europe every seven years,” McQuaid said. “Because of globalization, because of demand and requests in what we feel is a big interest, we will be discussing with my management company when we meet in Melbourne in two or three weeks time of the possibility of bringing that seven years down to five years.”
Canada was recently granted the first two ProTour level events held in North America. The UCI granted the organisation a five-year ProTour license, with the possibility of expanding to 2018 upon further review of the events. The pair of single-day events aligns with the UCI’s recent effort to globalize professional cycling.
Event organiser Serge Arsenault is no stranger to hosting world-class cycling events, having promoted the former men's Montreal World Cup, which was also held on the course for Sunday’s race, and the Tour Trans-Canada.
“The race on Friday as well as that on Sunday will cement Quebec’s relationships with cycling,” McQuaid said. “I am convinced that the UCI ProTour double header will be the start of a long love affair between the province and cycling. The Mayor of Quebec City is very interested in sports and in order to be on the sport city map you have to host high-level international events.
“The fact that they are hosting these ProTour races here and they have a license to host them for the next five years means that, within that scope, cycling will develop and interest of cycling will be strong within the city and province of Quebec,” he added. “Based on those facts, it would be a natural consideration to bid for the cycling world championships.”