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New venue for 2020 World Championships confirmed 

Imola will now host the 2020 World Championships, after the Switzerland event was cancelled due to coronavirus. 

The UCI was forced to search for a new host for the Worlds at the last minute, after the Swiss government extended its quarantine restrictions in August.  

Initially scheduled to run in the Aigle and Martigny regions of Switzerland from September, 20, the Worlds will instead be held from Thursday, September 24 to Sunday, September 27 around the Italian city of Imola, famed for its motor racing circuit. 

But the UCI has also announced that the junior and under-23 Worlds will not be held this year and instead will be pushed back to 2021. The reigning champions in those categories will keep their rainbow jerseys for another year. 

The 2020 Worlds were due to open with the elite men’s time trial, which would have clashed with the final stage of the Tour de France in Paris.

In the new schedule, the men’s and women’s elite time trials will kick off the event on September 24, with the women’s road race then taking place on Saturday, September 26. 

Finally the elite men’s road race will be held the following day. 

All the events in this year’s Worlds will start and finish on the iconic Imola racing circuit, but the races will travel around the Emilia-Romagna region and will still feature plenty of climbing.

The men’s road race will run at 259.2km with almost 5,000 metres of climbing, while the women will race 144km with 2,650m of ascent.

Each race will follow laps of a 28.8km circuit – nine laps for the men, five laps for the women – and will feature two notable climbs, 3km in total with average gradients of 10 per cent, with maximum ramps of 14 per cent.

The time trial circuit will be a flat 32km with 200m of altitude gain, with both the men and the women covering one lap of the course.

UCI president David Lappartient said: “I am convinced that the 2020 UCI Road World Championships in Imola will allow us all, despite the difficult current situation, to witness a great sporting festival. I invite you all to follow this event in Italy, true cycling territory, on one of the most challenging circuits in the history of the UCI Road World Championships. I look forward to watching these races which promise to be magnificent.”

Other options for the 2020 Worlds included Peccioli, Alba Adriatica, both in Italy and Haute-Saône in France.

The road Worlds were initially given the go-ahead in June despite the pandemic, but doubts soon emerged because of the local health regulations in the Aigle-Martigny area.

On August 12 news emerged that the 2020 World Championships would be cancelled because authorities in Switzerland had extended the ban on sports gatherings of more than 1,000 people.  

As coronavirus cases in Switzerland began to rise in August, the Swiss government decided to extend the ban on large sporting events until October 1.  

>>> Why a women’s Tour de France next year is a no-go 

 Organisers said that with 1,200 riders expected to take part across 11 events, and with the number of fans who would attend, it would be impossible to hold the event safely within the guidelines set out by health authorities. 

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