Rwanda and Morocco are the two African nations bidding for the 2025 Road World Championships, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. The Italian newspaper suggests that Rwanda is leading the charge thanks to the success of the Tour of Rwanda stage race.
In July, the UCI announced that president David Lappartient had sent a letter of invitation to all 50 national federations that form the African Cycling Confederation, inviting them to make a bid for the 2025 event. If the plan comes to fruition, it would be the first time that an African country has hosted the UCI World Road Race Championships.
"The staging of the UCI’s flagship event in Africa in 2025 will represent a significant step forward in growing the popularity of our sport. It is an occasion that will see the world’s top riders, hundreds of reporters and hundreds of thousands of spectators come together for the very first time in Africa, over the course of eight whole days," Lappartient said at the time.
Lappartient confirmed during this year's World Championships in Innsbruck that Africa would take precedence for 2025.
According to the report in La Gazzetta dello Sport, a decision will be made next year – much earlier than the norm – in order to give the successful bid a chance to get things ready for the occasion.
"Rwanda and Morocco have asked for the 2025 World Championships, and the decision will be taken by the UCI during the Yorkshire World Championships in September 2019: six years early, to give time to the chosen venue to organise itself," writes La Gazzetta dello Sport.
"In pole position there is Rwanda, which has been organising the national tour for years now, which at 2.1 level, is the highest ranked on the continent."
Both countries had one rider competing at Pro Continental level or above in 2018 with Morocco's Anass Ait El Abdia riding for UAE Team Emirates and Rwanda’s Joseph Areruya at Delko Marseille Provence KTM. Both nations also held 2.2 races on the UCI’s 2018 calendar, the Tour du Maroc and the Tour du Rwanda. While the Tour du Rwanda is set to be promoted to 2.1 next year, the Tour du Maroc is missing from the UCI calendar.
The Tour du Rwanda has become an increasingly popular event and a race known for the huge quantity of fans that line the side of the road.
Prior to the letter sent by the UCI in July, the Rwanda Cycling Federation (FERWACY) president Aimable Bayingana said that one of his major goals was to bring the World Championships to the country.
“The World Championships convenes over 20,000 people and at times the number can double or triple up. We are not ready to host the event this year or the next one but we will definitely soon be. We are considering to bid for the 2025 World Championships,” Bayingana told Rwandan publication The New Times.
The hosts of the World Championships have been awarded up to 2021 and for 2024. Yorkshire will host next year’s event, while the 2020 competition will be held in the Vaud and Valais cantons of Switzerland near the UCI headquarters in Aigle. Flanders is set to hold the 2021 championships. It will then return to the German-speaking region of Switzerland in 2024. The hosts for 2022 and 2023 are yet to be confirmed.