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UCI confirms Imola, Italy as new venue for 2020 road cycling world championships

Junior and U-23 events canceled due to logistical issues and travel concerns for younger athletes.

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This year’s world road championships are now set to take place in Imola, Italy.

The UCI confirmed Wednesday the venue for the event, set for September 24 to 27, 2020.

The news comes after original Swiss hosts were forced to shutter their event due to restrictions around COVID. With the news of Aigle-Martigny’s cancelation coming just three weeks ago, the UCI was forced into a speedy search for an alternative, and also received bids from Peccioli (Italy), Alba Adriatica (Italy), and the Haute-Saône (France).

Continuing fears around a resurgence in coronavirus through Europe means that this year’s worlds will be reduced in scale, with only male and female elite racing taking place and no under-23 or junior competitions.

“The majority of the top athletes in the elite men and women categories are already in Europe, as opposed to their younger counterparts whose national delegations, in a significant number of cases, will not be able to travel to Italy due to travel restrictions imposed in numerous countries,” explained the UCI’s statement. “Limiting the program to the elite categories means a large majority of young athletes will not be unfairly prevented from having the possibility to participate in the competitions.”

The UCI did not confirm whether current junior and U-23 champions – including American junior world champion Quinn Simmons – would retain their titles.

The road races will start and finish on the iconic Imola race circuit in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy. The men’s race will pack over 5,000m climbing into 259km of racing, while the women will race over 2,750m of ascent and 144km of road. The same circuit will be used for both men and women, with each loop including two steep climbs including gradients of over 10 percent.

“These characteristics will offer the riders a profile comparable to that of Aigle-Martigny which will suit the puncheurs and climbers and should produce exciting and lively races,” stated the UCI.

The men’s and women’s 32km individual time trial will be relatively flat.

“The award of the UCI road world championships in Italy this year is of great symbolic value for the UCI: In a country that suffered enormously from the COVID-19 pandemic but was able to confront it effectively and with courage, the staging of our leading annual event will, in its own way, be a sign of a return to normal in a region where the health situation is now under control,” UCI president David Lappartient said.

“I am convinced that the 2020 UCI Road World Championships in Imola will allow us all, despite the difficult current situation, to witness a great sporting festival.”


2020 UCI Road World Championships Program:

  • Thursday 24 September: Women elite individual time trial
  • Friday 25 September: Men elite individual time trial
  • Saturday 26 September: Women elite road race
  • Sunday 27 September: Men elite road race.

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