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Masters worlds to be held in Kentucky in 2012
The cyclocross world championships will be held in the United States for the first time in 2013, when Louisville, Kentucky, hosts the January event. As a trial run of sorts, the UCI will run the masters ’cross worlds in Louisville in 2012 and then again in 2013 in the days before the elite event.
The group behind the U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross is responsible for bringing worlds to the U.S.
“Louisville’s winning bid is a testament to the success of those efforts and to the extraordinary quality of ’cross racing in the U.S.,” USA Cycling CEO Steve Johnson said.
American ‘cross pros were pleased with the news.
“It’s great that worlds will finally be in the U.S.,” said six-time national cyclocross champion Katie Compton. “I’ll still be racing then and am already looking forward to having worlds in Kentucky. I’m sure the U.S. fans will be really excited, too. And it will be nice to not have to worry about jet-lag for the first time.”
Jeremy Powers (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) said the event will “change the culture of ’cross.”
“The world champs are an event that everyone will compete in,” Powers said. “Bart Wellens can’t say,’Oh, I’m not going to go.’ It’s going to pave the way for a lot of younger riders and going to give our country the depth and respect it deserves in ’cross. It’s also going to aid in the development of young riders and inspire them to want to race ’cross seriously and overall create something really special that I’m excited to be able to be part of. I’m looking forward to this with a lot of excitement.”
Typically a venue will host a World Cup before a world championships, but the logistics and financials for bringing European riders stateside for a World Cup proved prohibitive, said event director Joan Hanscom.
“We can’t charge 15 euros and get 50,000 spectators to cover prize money,” Hanscom said.
So, the UCI sprang the masters’ worlds idea after UCI cyclocross coordinator Peter van den Abelee came to watch a USGP weekend in Madison, Wisconsin.
“Peter came with us to Madison and saw the number of masters racing, and the level of event production,” Hanscom said. “He told us that we were doing something better here for masters than the UCI does for masters worlds currently.”
Hanscom and executive director Bruce Fina began working in conjunction with the Louisville Sports Commission a year ago on the worlds bid.
“Bruce and I have worked really hard, but it’s really testament to how much UCI wants it to come here,” Hanscom said. “Louisville is hard at work building us our new ‘cross venue for USGP and worlds.”
The venue, which will include a permanent flyover, is about half a mile closer to downtown Louisville than the old USGP venue.
UCI technical delegate Simon Burney said the venue is ideal. “The area, terrain and surroundings lend themselves perfectly to a major race venue, and with the city of Louisville firmly behind the project the opportunity for world class events certainly looks exciting,” Burney said.
The Louisville events will mark the first elite cycling world championship of any discipline held on U.S. soil since the Track World Championships took place in Los Angeles in 2005.
The 2011 ’cross worlds are in Saint-Wendel, Germany, and the 2012 event is in Koksijde, Belgium.