UCI Indoor Cycling World Championships kick off on Friday: all you need to know

Missing the summer racing? Well, there's lots of bicycle competition going on this weekend...

Kinga Szakaly and Nikolett Buzer of Hungary. Image AFP/Getty Images
(Image credit: AFP/Getty Images)

If you're missing the wealth of competitive cycling that dominates the summer months, then never fear. This weekend, the UCI Indoor Cycling World Championships take place in Liège

The Indoor Cycling World Championships include Cycle Ball, and Artistic Cycling - the latter makes for a particularly inspiring spectacle as riders perform incredible gymnastics aboard fixed gear bicycles.

Events begin on Friday November 23, and conclude on Sunday November 25, all within the Countryhall Liège.

If you've not got your ticket yet, the UCI will be live streaming the events via its YouTube channel, and there's a full programme to check out here.


Artistic cycling routines last around five minutes, during which riders will perform about 30 different figures, each of which has a 'value' in points. Mistakes see points docked.

The first championships was held in 1956 and riders compete in five different disciplines: single women, single men, pair women, mixed pair and Act4 open, where four riders take part.

Chemnitz, GERMANY: Krisztna Lengyel and Kinga Bezur of Slovakia. Image AFP/Getty Images
(Image credit: AFP/Getty Images)

"Artistic cycling is very difficult. Because you have to perform on a bike, you have to be graceful, but it needs power, coordination," says Marianne Kern, UCI Artistic Cycling Commissionaire.

The second sport included within the event is based on goals scored, a lot like other popular team sports.

Cycle Ball teams consist of two players - a goal keeper, and an outfield player, and games consist of two halves - each seven minutes long.

The playing field is two by two metres and the solid ball is filled with horsehair.

Japan and Hongkong compete. Image AFP/Getty Images
(Image credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Riders, or players, use their bodies or the wheels of the bike to manipulate the ball around the field, or prevent it from hitting the net in the goal keepers case.

The events begin with qualifiers, leading to a final.  Cycle Ball held its first championship in 1930, and there's no gender classification - but we can't find any ready evidence of women taking part, yet.

UCI Technical Delegate, Hubert Schneider commented: "You need quite a lot of power, it's speedy - and it's a fight, man against man."

Both Cycle Ball and Artistic Cycling athletes compete in World Cup events through the year, of which there were nine and four in each sport respectively for 2018.

UCI Indoor Cycling World Championships, 2017 winners

The events held in Dornbirn, Austria, were dominated by one nation:

Artistic Cycling, ACT4

Céline Burlet, Flavia Zuber, Jennifer Schmid, Melanie Schmid (Switzerland)

Artistic Cycling, pair women

Julia Thürmer and Nadja Thürmer (Germany)

Artistic Cycling, pair mixed

Max Hanselmann and Serafin Schefold (Germany)

Artistic Cycling, single men

Lukas Kohl (Germany)

Artistic Cycling, single women

Milena Slupina (Germany)

Cycle Ball

Bernd Mlady and Gerhard Mlady (Germany)

Michelle Arthurs-Brennan
Michelle Arthurs-Brennan

Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is Cycling Weekly's Tech Editor, and is responsible for managing the tech news and reviews both on the website and in Cycling Weekly magazine.

A traditional journalist by trade, Arthurs-Brennan began her career working for a local newspaper, before spending a few years at Evans Cycles, then combining writing and her love of bicycles first at Total Women's Cycling and then Cycling Weekly. 

When not typing up reviews, news, and interviews Arthurs-Brennan 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 190rt.

She rides bikes of all kinds, but favourites include a custom carbon Werking road bike as well as the Specialized Tarmac SL6. 

Height: 166cm

Weight: 56kg

Personal website

Michelle Arthurs-Brennan on Instagram

Michelle Arthurs-Brennan on Twitter

Michelle Arthurs-Brennan on LinkedIn