French Cycling Federation president David Lappartient has confirmed that France is no longer a candidate to host the 2017 world road race championships, stating that it would be financially impossible to do so.
Two years ago, Lappartient had expressed his wish for France to host world championships in all cycling disciplines before 2018, and Plouay was rumoured to be among the proposed sites for the 2017 road Worlds.
“We still have the desire but, today, given the cost of organising such an event, it’s impossible financially,” Lappartient told Ouest France. “Unless the cost lowers, the road world championships won’t be in France in 2017.”
The Worlds were last held in France in 2000, when Romans Vainsteins claimed the rainbow jersey in Plouay, but the costs of the event have escalated significantly in the intervening period.
That expense was reflected by the past two Worlds in Valkenburg and Florence, where some race starts – and related organisational costs – were shared with other local councils in the wider Limburg and Tuscany regions, respectively.
Ponferrada hosts this season’s world championships, although the Spanish town risked losing the event when it struggled to provide the initial $5.5 million guarantee requested by the UCI in 2012.
Lappartient confirmed that France’s candidacy to host world championships in other disciplines remains in place. “Be it on the track or in mountain biking, we want to organise a world championships in the relative short-term,” Lappartient said.
In particular, it is understood that the FFC wishes to showcase its new velodrome at Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, near Paris, by hosting the track world championships in the coming years. While the 2016 track Worlds have been awarded to London, no host has yet been selected for 2015. This year’s Worlds take place in Cali, Colombia from February 26 to March 2.
Lappartient noted, however, that the FFC's priority for the coming year is the establishment of a WorldTour-level team, the details of which were revealed in Paris last month. Aided by marketing agency SportFive, the FFC is looking for a sponsor to back its ambitious multi-disciplinary project, which could enter the peloton as soon as next season.
"The creation of our team, first of all [is the priority]," Lappartient said. "Beyond that, now that our transfer to Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines is complete, we need to draw benefits from it. The objective is the Rio 2016 Olympics."