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The routes of the 2013 UCI world road race championships in Tuscany have been officially unveiled with the elite men’s road race predicted to be the toughest since Bernhard Hinault won the rainbow jersey in Sallanches, France in 1980.
The road races start in Montecatini Terme and Lucca before heading to Florence for a testing and twisting 16.6km finishing circuit that includes a 4.6km climb to Fiesole. The elite men’s race is over 279.6km, and includes several other climbs and a loop through the centre of Renaissance Florence before 10 laps of the finishing circuit. Elite women will race for 134.7km and cover five laps of the finishing circuit.
Despite Tuscany being one of the historic strongholds of Italian cycling and the birthplace of Gino Bartali, Fiorenzo Magni, Mario Cipollini and Paolo Bettini, the central Italian region has never hosted the world championships. A stage of the 2013 Giro d’Italia is expected finish in Florence in 2013 and the city hopes to host the start of the Tour de France in 2014 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Gino Bartali.
“We hoping for a grand slam of events that no other city else has ever achieved,” Dario Nardella –the vice-mayor of Florence said during the official presentation of the race routes in Maastricht. “The world championships will be the biggest sporting event in our history. We’ll also be introducing a bike sharing scheme to further promote the use of bicycles.”
The racing will begin, like this year in Limburg, with the team time trial for professional teams, with the men’s and women’s races on Sunday September 22. The men’s race is over 50.3km, while the women face 36.6km. The elite men’s individual time trial is over a distance of 55.5km between Montecatini Terme and Florence. The road races events will be held on Friday September 27, Saturday September 28 and Sunday September 29.
The organisers expect over a million people will see the racing from the roadside, with half a million expected to travel to Florence to see the elite men’s road race.