After months of suspense, Richmond was selected to host the World Road Cycling Championships in 2015.
The announcement came at approximately 11 a.m. Wednesday, when Union Cycliste Internationale, cycling’s governing body, decided the international bike races needed some exposure in America.
The event is expected to lure 500,000 racing enthusiasts from around the world to Richmond, and generate $135 million in economic impact, according to Chmura Economics & Analytics.
Richmond will need to cough up about $12 million or so to make way for the races, and expect city leaders and civic boosters to push the cycling championships as the second coming of the Queen.
Here’s the city’s press release, with quotes from Mayor Dwight Jones, who needed some good news:
(September 21, 2011 – Copenhagen) – Richmond, Virginia has been selected to host the 2015 Road World Championships. The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), competitive cycling’s governing body, selected Richmond after a competitive bid process that included the country of Oman.
“Richmond is thrilled to be selected to host the 2015 Road World Cycling Championships, joining a list of great cities like Madrid, Florence and Copenhagen,” said Richmond Mayor, Dwight C. Jones. “Bicycling, for transport and fitness, has been an important focus of my administration. Hosting the World Championships will help bring Richmond one step closer to being one of the world’s great bicycling cities.”
Cycling’s pinnacle event, the annual Road World Cycling Championships provide a rare opportunity for athletes to compete for their countries in both the traditional road race and individual time trial. Fans will also be treated to a team time trial competition between the world’s top professional teams. The 2015 Road World Championships will take place between September 19-27 and will feature 12 races for Elite Men and Women, Under 23 Men and Junior Men and Women.
“Securing the 2015 World Championships is the result of tremendous collaboration between civic and business leaders and strategic partners,” said Tim Miller, Executive Director of Richmond 2015, Inc., the non-profit corporation responsible for the organization, management and promotion of the 2015 Championships. “As we now enter the next phase, we look forward to expanding these partnerships to ensure that the 2015 World Championships set a new standard of excellence.”
The World Road Championships were last held in America in 1986 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. American men and women have won 13 World Championship titles in both the road race and time trial, including road race titles by Greg LeMond in 1983 and 1989 and Lance Armstrong in 1993.
Despite the fact that the 2015 World Championships are four years away, extensive planning already has begun. In addition to the 2015 World Championship events, other events and activities aimed at establishing a long-lasting legacy of bicycling in central Virginia for individuals of all ages and abilities is an important goal for the city, Richmond 2015, sponsors and strategic partners.
“Bringing the World Championships to the United States truly punctuates the outstanding state of cycling in America,” said Steve Johnson, President and CEO of USA Cycling. “From the success of American-based professional teams in Europe to our ever-growing domestic membership to world-class stage races like the Amgen Tour of California and the USA Pro Cycling Challenge; the 2015 Road World Championships is yet another milestone towards the continued growth of our sport.”
An economic impact study conducted by Chmura Economics & Analytics found that the 2015 World Championships would generate more than $135 million for the Commonwealth of Virginia and would attract nearly 500,000 onsite spectators.