Yorkshire will again find itself at the centre of the cycling world when it hosts the UCI Road World Championships in 2019, a gig that will complete a transformation for Britain’s largest county from home of the dedicated amateur and occasional pro to a region rising in the cycling firmament to compete with the Ardennes or Lombardy.
The fulfillment of Gary Verity’s subsequent promise to deliver “the grandest of Grand Departs” and two successful editions of the Tour de Yorkshire gave the UCI’s award of the 2019 worlds a sense of the inevitable.
His drive to cement Yorkshire’s place as cycling heartland is no new desire and can be seen in recent (but still unsuccessful) attempts to extend the Tour de Yorkshire from three days to four.
“One is 200 of the world’s finest male athletes competing in the world’s largest annual sporting event, but this is an event for 1,000 riders, male and female, racing for eight days in a mix of disciplines from time-trials to juniors to under-23 and, of course, elite riders.
Verity describes the bidding process for the worlds as “not dissimilar” to the process followed with ASO to win the Grand Depart but is quick to highlight one key difference, however: the worlds bid was supported by a host of agencies, from the UK government downwards.
Swift admits Yorkshire’s award of the World Championships didn’t come entirely as a surprise, given the success his home county has had as host to races as different in scale as the Tour de France and Tour de Yorkshire.
A comparative latecomer to cycle sport, despite a formidable pedigree (her grandfather is Brian Robinson, the first Briton to win a stage of the Tour de France, and she is the niece of Louise Robinson, a World Championship silver medallist in cyclo-cross), Womersley has just finished her first season of full-time racing with the Drops Cycling Team.
Exemplar sporting events have become the norm in Britain since 2012, and cycling has more than held its own, from Verity’s Tour de Yorkshire to the relentless growth of the Tour of Britain.
Add February’s successful track worlds in London to the mix, and even the superb round of the Cyclo-Cross World Cup held in Milton Keynes two years ago, and the pressure will be on Yorkshire to deliver a road worlds to remember.
Verity has indicated what he considers to be the true legacy of the 2019 World Championships: making Yorkshire a destination synonymous with cycling.
Read the Full Article at Road Cycling UK