The organizers of the 2015 Road World Championships to be held in the American city of Richmond have been unveiled. The road races shape up to be exciting affair, with a number of short, steep, cobbled climbs featuring on the circuit in the city centre.
The 2014 road world championships may not have taken place yet but the planning of next year's championships in Richmond are already at an advanced stage. Yesterday the organizers announced the courses that will be used for the road races, individual and team time trials.
Tim Miller, CEO for Richmond 2015, said that the courses will be used for the 2014 USA Cycling Collegiate Championships in early May where they will be tested for the main event which takes place September 19-27, 2015. In addition to the competitive aspects, he said that a number of factors weighed in on the design of the courses.
"If all we had to worry about was the competition, it would be easy," Miller said. "[we had to consider] the areas of city, county and state that they want to show off, and how local residents and businesses will be impacted. We've worked hard to find that balance and meet courses that meet those objectives."
The road races shape up to be very exciting as they feature a number of cobbled climbs late in the circuit. Riders start a challenging, technical and inner-city circuit at the Convention Center and head to Monument Avenue, ultimately turning around at the Jefferson Davis Monument and heading through Virginia Commonwealth University. At the circuit midpoint, racers will maneuver the cobblestone streets of Shockoe Slip and follow the canal to Great Shiplock Park, the start of the Virginia Capital Trail, a 50-mile pedestrian trail to Williamsburg to be completed by September 2015.
From Rocketts Landing, riders face a twisty, cobbled 250-meter climb up Libby Hill, a view that influenced William Byrd II to name the city Richmond based on similarities to Richmond upon Thames. Another 110-meter climb of 23rd Street awaits before the racers speed through Shockoe Bottom and finish with a climb of Governor Street and dash down Broad Street. The final three climbs all come in the last 3km of the road race and there will be no descent to the finish. The circuit is 16.5km long but the juniors and U23 will skip the 23rd street and use a shorter 15.5km circuit.
The race is not expected to be for sprinters or climbers but one for the true classics specialists like Peter Sagan, Fabian Cancellara, Tom Boonen, and Philippe Gilbert.
The elite men's individual time trial will be held on 53.1km point-to-point course. Racers begin their “Race of Truth” in Hanover County at Kings Dominion, Virginia’s premier amusement park, and move past Meadow Event Park, birthplace of thoroughbred racing legend Secretariat. Riders will pass the Hanover Courthouse, the third oldest courthouse still in use in the United States, en route to the City of Richmond via Chamberlayne Road and pass through Virginia Union University before finishing with the climb of Governor Street and dash down Broad Street. The race will be mostly flat, with Governor climb featuring late in the race as a leg breaker.
The team time trials will be held on a course that share many of the same characteristics. Teams depart Rocketts Landing in Henrico County, where Christopher Newport explored the James River in 1607, and head east on Route 5 before winding through Richmond National Battlefield Park, a historic Civil War site. The race enters the City of Richmond in Shockoe Bottom and finishes with a 350-meter-long climb of Governor Street next to the Virginia State Capital and dash down Broad Street to the Convention Center.
Finally, there's a circuit that will be used for the remaining individual time trials. Racers depart the Convention Center and head to Monument Avenue, a historic boulevard named one of the “10 great streets in the U.S.” by the American Planning Association. A 180-degree turn at the Jefferson Davis monument returns riders toward downtown, where they will speed through Virginia Commonwealth University and cross the James River before finishing with the climb of Governor Street and dash down Broad Street.
“I commend Richmond 2015 and the City of Richmond and surrounding counties for their commitment to what no doubt will be challenging, exciting and scenic courses for the world’s best cyclists,” said Brian Cookson, president of the UCI. “Richmond is on track and well-prepared for the 2015 Worlds. I am encouraged by the tremendous strides that have been made and the ongoing vision into making the UCI Road World Championships a very memorable event.”
The United States will serve as the host country for the first time since 1986, when Colorado Springs, Colo., staged the event.
“I can’t overstate the importance of this event to the future of American cycling,” said Steve Johnson, president and CEO of USA Cycling. “Cycling, both as a sport and recreation, has grown tremendously in the U.S. during the past decade. The hosting of this event in Richmond is validation of that growth. Our riders are excited for the opportunity to welcome the world’s best cyclists to the United States.”
The UCI road world championships last took place outside Europe in 2010 when the Australian city of Geelong hosted the event.
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