2020 World Championships awarded to Switzerland, 2021 event to take place in Flanders

The 2020 UCI Road World Championships will take place near the governing body’s headquarters in the Vaud and Valais cantons of Switzerland, while the 2021 Worlds have been assigned to the Flanders region, with the road races expected to finish in Leuven.

The UCI has also revealed that the road Worlds will return to Switzerland again in 2024, with the event due to be held at the same as the Para-Cycling Worlds in the German-speaking cantons.

Vicenza was long the front-runner to host the 2020 Worlds and had previously announced plans for the elite men’s road race to start from Piazza San Marco in Venice. The 2020 Worlds were provisionally assigned to Vicenza 12 months ago, but only pending the organising committee’s ability to secure government funding. Vicenza’s failure to secure the requisite backing has seen the UCI opt instead to hold the World Championships in Switzerland.

It will be the 11th time that the Worlds take place in Switzerland, and the first time that the event will be held in the French-speaking part of the country. The Worlds last took place in Switzerland in Mendrisio in 2009, when Cadel Evans and Tatiana Guderzo were the elite road race world champions.

The 2020 Worlds look set to take place on a demanding parcours. In a statement on Thursday, the UCI confirmed that the event be held "principally in the region of the Rhône valley, in the heart of the Alps, close to the UCI headquarters", adding that "the routes for some of the races will have a selective profile".

There was little surprise when Flanders was confirmed as the host of the 2021 World Championships. The bid has been managed by Flanders Classics and Golazo, and €13 million of the €18.7 million budget have reportedly been assured by the Flemish regional government, with a further €2.9 million to come from the host towns and the remainder provided by private partners.

It will be the 10th time that the Worlds take place in Belgium and the first since Mario Cipollini and Susanne Ljungskog sprinted to the elite titles on the pan flat circuit in Zolder in 2002. The UCI statement described the planned parcours as “a typical Flanders circuit".

The Belga news agency has reported that the road race will start in Antwerp and finish in the university city of Leuven. The time trials will start in Knokke-Heist on the North Sea coast and finish in Bruges.

A number of Flemish towns were vying to be the main site of the 2021 Worlds, including Geraardsbergen at the foot of the famous Muur. Geraardsbergen withdrew its bid in June, citing the cost of hosting the event.

The 2021 Worlds will be of particular significance given that it will mark the event’s centenary. The first road Worlds were held in Copenhagen in 1921, with Gunnar Skoeld of Sweden winning the amateur race. The first professional road Worlds were at Nürburgring in 1927, when Alfredo Binda won the first of his three titles.

The 2019 Worlds were assigned to Yorkshire two years ago, and the schedule and route details were presented in full in Innsbruck on Wednesday evening.

On Thursday afternoon, the UCI also confirmed the location of some forthcoming World Championships in other disciplines. The 2021 Track Worlds will take place in Achgabat in Turkmenistan at 6,000-capacity velodrome that was inaugurated in 2014.

The 2021 Mountain Bike World Championships will be held in the Val di Sole in Italy, while Les Gets in France will host the same event in 2022.

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