Home race for 2020 UCI World Championships to include testing Swiss climbs

A 10 per cent ascent will enliven the finishing circuit - seven times for men and three times for women

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Organisers of the 2020 UCI Road World Championships unveiled the course for the Swiss edition, to be held in September next year, at a conference in Yorkshire on Wednesday.

>>> UCI Road World Championships in Yorkshire: all you need to know

Alexandre Debons and Grégory Devaud were joined by UCI president David Lappartient in Harrogate, where the current championships are in full swing, to share details of the routes on UCI home soil.

All finish lines will lie in Martigny. The road races will all start in Aigle and conclude with a 20 kilometre finishing circuit featuring the 4km Côte de la Petite Forclaz, which averages 10.2 per cent and maxes out at 14.5.

The climb adds 406m of elevation with each lap, topping out at 909m.

The elite men will complete seven loops, with under-23 men contesting five laps en route to the finish, elite women and junior men three, and junior women one.

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The organisers have also re-shuffled the order of performance, bookending the championships with elite men, who will be the first to race the time trial and the last on the road race circuit.

The men's elite road race will be 244km long, covering 4,384m of climbing.

The route loops out to Vouvry, then Villeneuve, which borders the Lake Geneva, on to St Maurice, then north to Sion before arriving at the Martigny circuit.

The women's event will be 123km on a circuit shared by the junior men which adds up to 2,303m.

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Under-23 men will race 162km whilst junior women get just 69km.

The time trial routes mostly begin in Aigle, excluding the junior events which will burst out of Saint-Maurice over 22km (women) and 27km (men).

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UCI Road World Championships, 2020 schedule:

  • September 20: Elite men time trial (46km)
  • September 21: Junior time trials, men (27km), women (22km)
  • September 22: Under-23 men (29km) and Elite women (34km)
  • September 23: Mixed Relay Team Time Trial
  • September 25: Junior women (69km), Under 23-men (162km) road races
  • September 26: Elite women and junior men (123km) road races
  • September 27: Elite men (244km) road race

The courses will make for a fourth consecutive hilly race, after this year's undulating Yorkshire roads, Innsbruck's 2018 climb fest with 5,000m in the 265km men's race, and Bergen's pivotal Salmon hill and summit finish time trial in 2017.

The previous year, 2016, saw a break from the climbing with flat desert roads in Doha.

Speaking at the unveiling, Lappartient said: "This event, on the UCI’s own turf, will leave a long-lasting mark on the present and future generations, of that I’m certain."

"It's going to be an extraordinary spectacle," he added.

Co-president with Debons, Devaud called the opportunity to host the race "a privilege," and co-chair of the steering committee of Swiss Cycling, Patrick Hunger commented:  "Aigle-Martigny 2020 is a fantastic opportunity to develop Swiss cycling."

The schedule does not yet include Paracycling races, as per the Yorkshire festival which began with the Paracycling International events.

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Michelle Arthurs-Brennan

Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is a traditional journalist by trade, having begun her career working for a local newspaper, where highlights included interviewing a very irate Freddie Star (and an even more irate theatre owner), as well as 'the one about the stolen chickens'.

Previous to joining the Cycling Weekly team, Michelle was Editor at Total Women's Cycling. She joined CW as an 'SEO Analyst', but couldn't keep her nose out of journalism and in the spreadsheets, eventually taking on the role of Tech Editor before her latest appointment as Digital Editor. 

Michelle is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 1904rt.

Michelle is on maternity leave from July 8 2022, until April 2023.