The UCI has confirmed that Yorkshire will host the 2019 World Road Championships, meaning that the sport's most important championships will return to Britain for the first time since 1982.
The UCI announced Yorkshire as the host for 2019 after a vote by the UCI Management Committee in Qatar at this year's event. The UCI has already announced that the 2017 World Championships will be held in Bergen, Norway, with Innsbruck in Austria hosting the 2018 races. Hosting the 2019 World Championships is excellent news for British Cycling, that has been hit by a series of scandals in recent weeks and months.
The UCI also revealed a number of other host locations for future World Championships. Mont-Sainte-Anne in Canada was awarded the 2019 Mountain Bike (and Masters Mountain Bike) World Championships and Heusden-Zolder in Belgium and Houston in the USA will stage the 2019 and 2020 UCI BMX World Championships respectively. The 2020 UCI Track Cycling World Championships will be held in Berlin, Germany.
The UCI also announced that the Junior Track Cycling World Championships will be held at the UCI World Cycling Centre velodrome in Aigle, Switzerland every two years.
Yorkshire staged a memorable Tour de France Grand Depart two years ago and created the Tour de Yorkshire with ASO as a consequence. To celebrate a successful bid, several buildings in Yorkshire were lit up in the colours of the UCI rainbow stripes.
The Yorkshire bid was backed by British Cycling and UK Sport, while the United Kingdom government "guaranteed to underwrite the full cost of the event and back it with £24 million of investment." Some £15 million of that amount will be investment to create 27 cycle sport facilities across the UK, which will leave a lasting legacy at grassroots level. Yorkshire will likely pay the UCI a fee of around €5 million to host the World Championships plus the technical costs of organising the week long series of races.
The different time trial and road race events will be held across Yorkshire, with the full routes of the races announced over the coming months.
The World Championships were first held in the United Kingdom in 1922 with Liverpool hosting the races. They returned in 1970 with Leicester as host city and just 12 year's later Goodwood was selected, with Italy's Giuseppe Saronni winning the men's world tile with a famous late surge to the finish line. Although the road World Championships haven't returned to the United Kingdom since then, it has hosted several BMX, cyclo-cross, mountain bike and track World Championships in recent years.
Cookson hails Yorkshire bid
UCI President Brian Cookson hails from across the Pennines in rival Lancashire but said Yorkshire would be a fitting host for the 2019 World Championships.
"The UCI Management Committee is pleased to award the UCI Road World Championships to Yorkshire in 2019. Since hosting the Tour de France's Grand Depart in 2014 and subsequent Tours de Yorkshire, the county has proved it is a fitting host for road cycling’s leading annual event and we are sure there will be world class crowds to match," he said in an official statement announcing the news.
Welcome to Yorkshire Chief Executive Sir Gary Verity has pushed hard to secure the 2019 World Championships.
"Today marks a moment in history. Yorkshire has shown it can host world-class events with the Grand Depart and Tours de Yorkshire, and now the county has been chosen to host the nine-day UCI Road World Championships in 2019. We have got the scenery, the crowds, and the warm welcome, and we are sure the world's best riders will love the challenging roads we have to offer," he said.
Denise Burton-Cole – a World Championships bronze medallist in 1975 and daughter of two-time world champion Beryl Burton OBE -described the news of the World Championships as a momentous day for Yorkshire. The county currently has several world-class athletes who will likely compete on home roads, including Ben Swift and 2015 world champion Lizzie Deignan (nee Armitstead).
"The news that Yorkshire is set to host the UCI Road World Championships in 2019 is incredible. My mother would have been very proud, as I am proud, for Yorkshire to be hosting such an important event," Burton-Cole said.
"Mum and I travelled the globe representing Great Britain at the UCI Road World Championships. How marvellous it would have been for us to compete in it in Yorkshire, our home county. It would have been so special. Now the best riders in the world are going to have that opportunity. Am I envious? You bet I am!"