The International Cycling Union (UCI) will announce the 2012 World Championships host city next Wednesday in Mendrisio, Switzerland. Dutch city Maastricht and Italy's Genova have the upper hand, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.
The UCI has three cities to choose from: Maastricht, Genova and Hoogleide, Belgium.
The main obstacle for Genova is that Italy has hosted four Worlds in the last 15 years (Agrigento 1994, Verona 1999 and 2004, Varese 2008). The Netherlands has hosted one, in Valkenburg, where Oscar Camenzind was crowned the 1998 World Champion. Valkenburg, on Maastricht's outskirts, is the proposed site of the 2012 Worlds and site of the annual one-day Classic, Amstel Gold.
Genova have proposed a demanding city course, according to La Gazzetta. In addition to its bid for the 2012 World Championships, the Italian port city has already requested to host stages of the 2011 Giro d'Italia and Tour de France.
If Genova fails to win Worlds host city rights, it will request again for 2013. Italy's Firenze (Florence) has already announced last December, its candidature for 2013.
The format of the Worlds will change in 2012, with races from Sunday to Sunday, according to La Gazzetta. It will start with team time trials open to the best 15 to 20 amateur clubs and it will welcome back junior level races.
The juniors raced for their track and road titles last month in Moscow. The last time they raced at the same venue as the elite riders was in 2004.
The next two seasons present World Championships suited to sprinters: Melbourne, Australia, in 2010 and Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2011.
This year's Worlds starts Wednesday and runs through Sunday in Mendrisio. It last hosted the Worlds in 1971, when Belgium's Eddy Merckx beat Italy's Felice Gimondi.
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