The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) have announced that the 2021 Track Cycling World Championships will take place in Roubaix, France between October 20-24. The championships were originally scheduled to be held in Turkmenistan between October 13-17 but were moved following public concerns about the authoritarian rule of President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov.
The UEC European Track Championships were also moved from Minsk, Belarus to Grenchen, Switzerland after widespread protests against repression in the country and an international incident in the spring.
The UCI announced the cancellation of the World Track Championships in Turkmenistan in early June "at the request of their organisers, as the health constraints and restrictions linked to the Covid-19 pandemic make it impossible to stage the event in the country."
The UCI said it was in contact with several potential alternative organisers, with Glasgow in Scotland mistakenly announced on the UCI’s social media. Now the UCI has confirmed that Roubaix will host the World Championships on the indoor Vélodrome Couvert Régional Jean-Stablinski next to the famous outdoor velodrome that hosts the finish of Paris-Roubaix.
In 2022, France will host the BMX World Championships, the Mountain Bike World Championships and the Track World Championships in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines near Paris. The French capital will also host the 2024 Olympic Games.
“France is a land of cycling like never before,” said FFC president Michel Callot.
This year’s cobbled Classic is scheduled for Sunday October 3, with the inaugural women’s race scheduled for Saturday October 2. The Track World Championships will be held three weeks later, with support from the French Cycling Federation (FFC), the city of Roubaix, Lille European Metropole, the department of Nord, and the region of Hauts-de-France.
Paris-Roubaix was moved from the spring to October due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The current fourth wave of the pandemic could still impact the end of season racing but France, like other European countries, has recently introduced a Sanitary Pass system to reduce the risk of contagion by limiting access to events, restaurants and other public places to those vaccinated, recovered from COVID-19 or having recently undergone a COVID-19 test.
The UCI said the flagship event will “boast a high-quality field featuring most of the gold medallists from the recent Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.”
This year’s Track World Championships will also play a role in deciding the qualification for the inaugural UCI Track Champions League, which will be held in the following months.
“I would like to congratulate the Roubaix organising committee, led by the FFC and its President, Michel Callot, and all the authorities involved, for the quality of their candidature file,” UCI President David Lappartient said.
“Roubaix has long been a fabled location on the international cycling scene thanks to the famous Paris-Roubaix Classic. Its name will now be associated with the history of the UCI Track Cycling World Championships. I am convinced that the magnificent Jean-Stablinski velodrome will showcase an exceptional event!”
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Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and Cycling Weekly, among other publications.