By Gabriella Ekstrom
Vårgårda Cycling club in south-western Sweden has been granted World Cup status for a women's road race next year. The UCI gave its answer yesterday to the club, which organized this year's Scandinavian Open, and the only thing that remains now is a final approval of the 2006 program by the UCI congress. That decision will be taken during the World Championships in Madrid.
"They normally don't have any objections to the suggestions made by the road racing committee, but we will of course be celebrating when the program is finalized in September," said Hans Jönsson, the race director of the Scandinavian Open.
The Scandinavian Open was run for the sixth time last weekend, and the men's 1.2 category race on Sunday was the crown of the four days of racing outside Gothenburg. Next year, the last weekend in July will be crowned by a women's race instead.
"We're somewhere in the clouds now," Jönsson said. "We have worked so hard for this, and to finally be told that we have succeeded is fantastic."
If there are no objections to the 2006 road racing programs during the worlds, Sweden will get its first world cup road race ever, and it would mean a great deal to the sport in Sweden. It would also be a terrific goal for highly capable Swedish riders like double world champion Susanne Ljungskog, and last year's European Champion Monica Holler.
"This would mean that they get to compete against the whole professional peloton, on home soil. We'll do our best to make it a very memorable event", Jönsson concludes.