Geraardsbergen abandons bid to host 2021 Road World Championships over cost

The Flanders city couldn't afford to meet the UCI's monetary demands to host the event

Flemish city Geraardsbergen has abandoned it's bid to host the 2021 UCI Road World Championships, with organisers saying the governing body asked for too much money to host the event.

The city's spokesperson Véronique Fontaine told Flanders regional channel TV Oost on Wednesday that the UCI is asking for "an amount of 3 million euros, which we can not collect as a small city."

Fontaine also confirmed that a 17km course around the city had already been designed, passing through the Vesten climb (which leads towards the Muur van Geraardsbergen), before finishing on Edingseweg. It's unclear whether the course would have taken in the legendary Tour of Flanders climb of the Muur.

"It is very painful," Fontaine said. "We had presented a beautiful course and were already very far in the idea."

"We knew that the UCI would ask for a substantial sum, but we thought we would get there by working together with the other cities, Ronse, Oudenaarde, etc."

For comparison, the city pays just 50,000 Euros for the passage of the Tour of Flanders each year in April, according to Sporza, while it won't pay anything for the Tour de France to come through in 2019.

Despite Geraardsbergen pulling out, the Flanders region of Belgium is still in the lead to host the World Championships in 2021, with rival bids from Barcelona and Copenhagen abandoned.

The UCI is due to announce the host of the 2021 Worlds at this year's event in Innsbruck, Austria, with Flanders' larger cities of Antwerp and Bruges potential candidates to foot the bill.

The 2019 World Championships will be held in Yorkshire, while the yet to be announced 2020 races are rumoured to be held in Groningen and Drenthe in the Netherlands.

Recent host cities have struggled to meet the financial demands of the World Championships, with Bergen, Norway overspending to hold last year's events and the 2014 host Ponferrada, Spain struggling to make ends meet in the aftermath of the event.

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Richard Windsor

Follow on Twitter: @richwindy

Richard is digital editor of Cycling Weekly. Joining the team in 2013, Richard became editor of the website in 2014 and coordinates site content and strategy, leading the news team in coverage of the world's biggest races and working with the tech editor to deliver comprehensive buying guides, reviews, and the latest product news.

An occasional racer, Richard spends most of his time preparing for long-distance touring rides these days, or getting out to the Surrey Hills on the weekend on his Specialized Tarmac SL6 (with an obligatory pub stop of course).