The 2020 Road World Championships will be held in Imola, Italy

by José Been


The UCI have awarded the 2020 World Championships to Imola in Italy. There will only be races for the elite categories with the women’s time trial scheduled for Thursday 24th of September and the men’s time trial the day after. The women’s road race is scheduled on Saturday 26th of September and the men’s road race on Sunday the 27th of September. There will be no World Championships for the U23-men and junior-women and junior-men this year.

Imola, a Formula 1 race circuit is host to the event that was originally scheduled for Martigny in Switzerland, next to the UCI Headquarters in Aigle. Due to the Swiss government’s rulings that events with over 1,000 visitors are not allowed, the UCI had to find a different venue. There were four candidates: the Haute-Saone in the east of France, a race course rumored to have included the Planche des Belles Filles and three Italian bids: Peccioli, Alba Adriatica and Imola.

The parcours needed to be comparable to the course designed for Martigny to create a climber’s race. The men race nine laps of the 28,8 circuit (total 259.2km) around Imola and will include two difficult climbs (3km in total with an average gradient of 10% and sections reaching 14%). The total amount of climbing is 5,000 altitude meters for the men’s race. The women race five laps amounting to 2,750 altitude meters over 144km. The time trials will be 32 kilometers long for both the elite men and women and will be mostly flat with 200 altitude meters only.

David Lappartient, the president of the UCI, said: “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.

“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. I invite you all to follow this event in Italy, true cycling territory, on one of the most challenging circuits in the history of the UCI Road World Championships. I look forward to watching these races which promise to be magnificent.”

The UCI won’t be holding an event for junior-men and women or the U23-men. The world champions of Yorkshire 2019 will keep their title and jersey. The reasoning behind this decision is that most of the elite men and women will already be in Europe. This doesn’t hold true for a significant number of national delegations who will not be able to travel to Italy due to travel restrictions imposed in numerous countries. Limiting the program to the elite categories means a large majority of young athletes will be prevented from having the possibility to participate in the competitions, the UCI press release stated.

It’s the second time the World Road Race championships are held in Imola. In 1968 Italian rider Vittorio Adorni beat Herman Van Springel from Belgium by almost ten minutes. Keetie van Oosten-Hage got her first of two road race rainbow jerseys in Imola by beating Russian Bayba Tsaune. The race was only 55 kilometres long for the women that year.

2020 UCI Road World Championships Programme:

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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