The UCI has confirmed that the 2018 Road World Championships have been awarded to the Austrian city of Innsbruck. The city beat out purported rivals in Yorkshire and Bogota, although the UCI do not officially reveal all applicants.
"I have no doubt that Innsbruck will provide a stunning and challenging route for riders to compete on, as well as a wonderful, unique backdrop that can only add to the spectator and viewer experience," UCI president Brian Cookson said in a statement.
It will be the third time that Austria has held the Road World Championships, which first came to the landlocked country in 1987 when Stephen Roche took a surprise victory ahead of Moreno Argentin. Paolo Bettini beat Erik Zabel in a bunch sprint when the event returned to Austria almost two decades later in 2006. Austria has had an average record at the World Championships and currently has no elite world champions. Christiane Soeder has scored their only medals with a bronze and a silver in the time trial. Felix Gall took their first ever rainbow jersey in 2015 when he won the junior men's road race.
The announcement may not come as much of a surprise to many after it was reported by French website DirectVelo in October of last year that Innsbruck had been given the news. The website also stated that the likely route would be one for the climbers with anywhere between 4,000 to 4,500 metres of climbing in the road race, with the time trial courses also likely to be climb-heavy. An official route is yet to be announced.
This year's World Championships are set to take place in Doha, Qatar at the later date of October due to the heat of the Middle East and is expected to be very much a sprinter's course. The 2017 event will be in Bergen, Norway, and, given the skillset of their biggest riders Alexander Kristoff and Edvald Boasson Hagen, it is also likely that this will favour the fast-men too.
In a press release issued on Monday, the UCI also confirmed that the 2018 Cyclo-cross World Championships will be held in Valkenburg, the Netherlands. The decision was made during a Management Committee meeting during this weekend's Cyclo-cross World Championships in Zolder.