What a week in Yorkshire. A once in a lifetime experience for the British riders! Unless they compete in the 2023 World Championships in Glasgow.
For those riders, well, a home Worlds might be a twice in a lifetime experience. Am I explicitly speaking to Scottish rider John Archibald who was gushing in interviews about his “once in a lifetime” opportunity? It’s very possible. Twice in a lifetime is still pretty rare, though, so I give a respectful nod to the sentiment.
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What the two events will have in common, besides taking place in Britain, is their inclusion of para-cycling. The Glasgow Worlds will be a slightly different beast (in 2023, the World Championships of 13 different cycling disciplines will be held in one city over two and a half weeks) but Yorkshire also championed diversity by hosting a para-cycling Class 1 event alongside the major champs.
The para-cycling World Championships had taken place two weeks beforehand in Emmen, the Netherlands, but I gather that for many riders the Class 1 event offered grandeur of a different kind: massive crowds.
My T2 (trike racing) friend Hannah Dines, known to this magazine for her work de-stigmatising conversations about the battering of our intimate parts take on a saddle, told me it was the largest crowd she’s ever raced in front of. Dame Sarah Storey described it as the biggest crowd since London 2012.
The event, to my eyes, has made a case for the integration of para and able-bodied championships. The UCI plans to hold a multi-disciplinary champs every four years, and it’s going to open up areas of our sport that might otherwise pass the casual fan by.
Fans that, like me, didn’t know how hard it is to keep a trike on the ground round corners until they see a rider fly past, one wheel lifting, veins in their neck throbbing from the effort as they burst themselves towards the finish line. I can’t wait.
This Katie Archibald column originally appeared in the print edition of Cycling Weekly, on sale in newsagents and supermarkets, priced £3.25.