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World Championships: Bergen experiences record crowds

Joe Robinson
29 Sep 2017

Bergen set to prosper from successful World Championships that produced record crowds

This year's UCI World Championships in Bergen certainly produced plenty of exciting racing, and the event turned out to be a big hit with the Norwegian public too, with record crowds reported for not only the elite races but also for the junior men's and women's events too.

The finale of the elite men's time-trial on Mount Fløyen proved a particularly popular spot for supporters, with vast crowds lining the roadside to watch the pros empty themselves on the brutally hard 3km climb to the finish.

With the dust settling after Peter Sagan's road race triumph brought the event to a close on Sunday, Bergen 2017 marketing and communications director Erik Halvorsen praised not only the size of the crowds but also their behaviour.

'We saw a tremendous celebration of cycling. There was a record crowd for the junior women and the elite men's time-trial finishing on Mount Fløyen,' Halvorsen said.

'The sheer size of the crowds and also the lack of problems and the respect shown both to the racers and police created a great and unique atmosphere,' he added.

Some reports have suggested that the event ran heavily over budget, however Halvorsen preferred to emphasise the impact that the success of the championships would have on local tourism – and cycling tourism in particular. 

'Bergen is Norway in a nutshell. We have the best of the fjords, coast and cities. It was a great promotion of Norway and we have already had lots of tour operators and tourists coming to us.

'We have only seen this attention given to Norway once and that was the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer in 1994,' he said, before adding that it will not be until next year that the true financial implications of hosting the event will be known.

Part of the reason for the event's overall success, Halvorsen believes, is the attention that Bergen paid to promoting not only the elite races but the junior and under-23 races too.

The popularity of the event with everyday Norwegians was in stark contrast to last year's Worlds in Doha, but Halvorsen preferred to look forward, saying he expected Bergen wouldn't hold on to its record for too long.  

'I hope – in fact, I know – we will see the same atmosphere as Bergen when the Worlds go to Yorkshire in 2019.'