Huge roadside support a major factor in securing 2019 World Championships for Yorkshire

An expected high turnout of spectators on the roadside was one of the key factors of securing the Worlds for Yorkshire ahead of its rivals

(Image credit: Andy Jones)

Public support for cycling and anticipated high crowd turnout were the key factors in Yorkshire securing the right to host the 2019 UCI Road World Championships.

Speaking at the announcement of Yorkshire’s successful bid, UCI president Brian Cookson said that there was “a lot of enthusiasm in Yorkshire and rest of the UK” for cycling.

>>> Tony Martin ‘trained in the bathroom with the heater on’ to win Qatar time trial

He added that the county’s history of successfully hosting major cycling events including the Tour de France Grand Départ in 2014 and the Tour de Yorkshire was also decisive.

“I’m confident we are going to see great, great crowds,” he said.

If that is the case then it will be in stark contrast to the reception the Worlds have received in Doha this week with road side supporters being largely absent from many events.

Cookson said: “Obviously Doha is a new region for cycling; we will make an assessment and appraisal once we’ve had the whole week of events here. I think we are going to have crowds at the circuit finishes [of the men’s and women’s road races] at the weekend.”

Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, was also bullish in his predictions of public support for the Worlds in 2019. “There will be millions again for sure,” he said.

He added that he was not concerned that the controversies over Bradley Wiggins’s Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) to use banned substances before major races and the ongoing anti-doping investigation concerning British Cycling and Team Sky had dampened public interest for the sport.

“I don’t think it will [lessen interest] at all, I was out last week and the roads were lifting with cyclists,” he said.

Yorkshire was awarded the Worlds on Wednesday, seeing off competition from bidders understood to include Colombia, Germany, Italy and Canada.

The Worlds were last held in the UK in 1982 at Goodwood in West Sussex.

Earlier this year Yorkshire missed out on the chance to host the UEC Road European Championships, which were held in Plumelec, France.

Vern Pitt

Having trained as a journalist at Cardiff University I spent eight years working as a business journalist covering everything from social care, to construction to the legal profession and riding my bike at the weekends and evenings. When a friend told me Cycling Weekly was looking for a news editor, I didn't give myself much chance of landing the role, but I did and joined the publication in 2016. Since then I've covered Tours de France, world championships, hour records, spring classics and races in the middle east. On top of that, since becoming features editor in 2017 I've also been lucky enough to get myself sent to ride my bike for magazine pieces in Portugal and across the UK. They've all been fun but I have an enduring passion for covering the national track championships. It might not be the most glamorous but it's got a real community feeling to it.