By Hernan Alvarez Macias
The world championships was formally opened in Madrid, Spain yesterday, but UCI president Hein Verbruggen and most of the UCI management missed the ceremony after flying to Geneva on Monday for a meeting.
Madrid's mayor Alberto Ruiz Gallardon was there to welcome the teams from 54 countries on behalf of the host city. "We want to do the greatest world championships in history," said Ruiz Gallardon.
"Cycling is in perfect health in Spain. We want to demonstrate the organisational capacity for this kind of event," said the mayor, adding that he wanted to thank the UCI for the trust it had put in the city of Madrid.
That sentiment may be an olive branch toward the UCI after the disputes of the last few days. Last week the Spanish cycling federation initiated legal action over the UCI presidential election which was due to be held during the world championships. The political and legal wrangling over the UCI presidential succession threatens to taint these world championships.
The president of the organising committee Ignacio Ayuso also thanked all the riders and authorities who have come to Spain for the championships. The ceremony featured the flags of all the 54 nations that will take part in these world's.