The UCI Road World Championships is coming to Imola Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: The International Cycling Union (UCI) has confirmed the Italian city of Imola as host for the UCI Road World Championships in the final week of this month.

A commune in the Metropolitan City of Bologna and located on the river Santerno, in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy, Imola is scheduled to host the World Championships from September 24 to 27.

The UCI was forced to search for a new host after initial plans to hold the event in Aigle-Martigny were cancelled due to the Swiss Government’s extension of a ban on events involving more than 1,000 people.

Competition was due to take place from September 20 to 27 near the UCI’s headquarters in Aigle, but the Swiss ban was extended last month until September 30.

The UCI confirmed the competition schedule has been adapted due to the pandemic, with only the elite road races and time trial events set to take place. The governing body said the majority of the top athletes in the elite men’s and women’s categories are already in Europe mostly competing in the 2020 Tour de France.

Although the start and finish of all the events will take place on the Imola racing circuit, the routes proposed by the organising committee stand out due to their extremely challenging character — the men’s road race will be 259.2km with a total of nearly 5,000m of climbing, while the length of the women’s race will be 144km with a cumulated 2,750m of ascent.

The circuit (28.8km) will be the same for the men (nine laps) and women (five laps) and will include two difficult climbs (3kms in total with an average gradient of 10 per cent and sections reaching 14 per cent). These characteristics will offer the riders a profile comparable to that of Aigle-Martigny which will suit the punchers and climbers and should produce exciting and lively races.

The time-trial circuit, to be covered once by both men and women, fairly flat, will measure 32km, suiting the strongest specialists of the race against the clock.

Imola hosted the UCI Road World Championships in 1968, the year that saw victories go to the Italian Vittorio Adorni and the Netherlands’ Keetie van Oosten-Hage. The organising committee of the Imola 2020 UCI Road World Championships can therefore benefit from extensive experience in the organisation of international events and world-class facilities.

Imola was selected from four bids with Peccioli and Alba Adriatica in Italy also submitting files to the UCI, along with Haute-Saône in France.

UCI Road World Championships Programme

September 24

Women Elite individual time trial
September 25

Men Elite individual time trial

September 26

Women Elite road race

September 27

Men Elite road race