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The World Championships have been rescheduled and will be held in Italy

Joe Robinson
2 Sep 2020

Only four elite events set for Imola Worlds at the end of September

The 2020 road cycling World Championships have been saved and will now take place later this month in Imola, Italy after the original hosts, Aigle-Martigny in Switzerland, cancelled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Confirmed by the UCI on Wednesday, the championships will now be centred around the Imola race circuit, in the Emilia-Romagna region, and will consist of only four events: Elite Men's and Women's road races and time-trials.

In a statement, the UCI confirmed that due to travel restrictions, it would be unfair to race the junior and under-23 categories.

'The competition programme for the UCI Worlds has been adapted in view of the current world health situation due to the Covid-19 pandemic: only the races (road race and time-trial) in the Elite categories will be contested this year,' the statement read.

'Indeed, the majority of the top athletes in the Elite Men and Women categories are already in Europe, as opposed to their younger counterparts (Juniors and Under-23) 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.

'Limiting the programme to the Elite categories means a large majority of young athletes will not to be unfairly prevented from having the possibility to participate in the competitions.'

The championships will now take place from Thursday 24th to Sunday 27th September. This is the week after the end of the ongoing Tour de France and allows riders, such as Primoz Roglic and Julian Alaphilippe, to compete at both.

It offers some salvation for the championships after the original host venue, Aigle-Martigny in Switzerland, was forced to cancel due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Reports suggested that Imola sat on a long-list of potential alternative venues which also included the Vosges region of France and the La Planche des Belles Filles climb, the destination of the penultimate stage of the ongoing Tour de France.

It was believed UCI President David Lappartient was keen to choose a host venue that could replicate the mountainous terrain of Aigle-Martigny.

While Imola is unable to do so, it will still offer a tough test to riders as the UCI confirmed the 'men’s road race will be 259.2km with a total of nearly 5000m of climbing, while the length of the women’s race will be 144km with a cumulated 2750m of ascent'.

Additionally, both the men and women will race upon the same 32km time-trial course which contains just 200m of climbing. Further details of the route are set to be released closer to the event.

At what will be Italy's 14th World Championships, UCI President Lappartient called the decision to hold the races there significant considering its recent history.

'Although the award of the 2020 UCI Road World Championships to Imola is excellent news, my thoughts also go to the Aigle-Martigny organising committee whom I sincerely thank for its commitment and the quality of our collaboration over the last two years,' said Lappartient.

'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.'