This year’s UCI Road world championships was originally scheduled to take place from Sept. 20-27 in Aigle–Martigny, Switzerland. In August, the Swiss government put in measures aimed at fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic in special circumstances, which stipulated that major events with more than 1000 visitors or involving more than 1,000 people are not permitted until 2021. To further complicate circumstances, since Aug. 8, travellers from more than 45 countries would be subjected to quarantine when entering Switzerland. The Aigle–Martigny worlds were officially cancelled on Aug. 12, and the scramble to find a new host city began.
With less than a month to prepare, the UCI announced that the road world championships had been rescheduled for Sept. 24 to 27 in Imola, in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. The races would be for elite level only, no Junior or Under-23, as most of the elite riders are already in Europe. The last time Imola hosted a world championship was in 1968.
The men’s and women’s road races will both take place on one 28.8 km loop. The course features two short and sharp climbs, and loops around the Imola motor racing course and local vinyard. Though both climbs (the Mazzolano and the Cima Gallisterna) are under three kilometres long, they both ramp up to above 10 per cent gradient. The nine lap, 258km men’s race will have more than 5,00 metres of climbing and the women’s five lap, 143km race will hit 2,800 metres of elevation.
The Elite men and women will both race the same, mostly flat 31.7km time trial course.
Ten Canadians will compete at the 2020 worlds. Mike Woods will headline the men’s team. “The route is going to be slightly easier than what was originally scheduled but I have a good chance of doing well,” said Woods. “I think this course will play out a lot more like what we’d expect at the GP Quebec and Montreal and I think it’s going to be super challenging. Representing Canada is always a great source for pride for me, particularly in this crazy season wearing the maple leaf at the world championships is an honour.”
Woods will be joined by Hugo Houle who is fresh off the Tour de France with Astana Pro Team, as well as Alex Cataford and Guillaume Boivin, both on Israel Start-Up Nation. Cataford and Houle will also be competing in the time trial.
The women’s team will be led by national ITT champion Leah Kirchmann (Team Sunweb) and national road champion Karol-Ann Canuel (Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team), who will both compete in the road race and time trial. They will be racing the road race alongside Alison Jackson (Team Sunweb), Sara Poidevin (Rally UHC Cycling), Marie-Soleil Blais (Team Cogeas-Mettler-Look) and first-year Elite Magdeleine Vallières-Mills (WCC Team).
How to watch the 2020 UCI Road world championships
In Canada, FloBikes will be broadcasting all four days of the 2020 UCI Road world championships.
Thursday, Sept. 24: Women’s individual time trial – 2:40pm Local Time / 5:40am PT / 8:40am ET
Friday, Sept. 25: Men’s individual time trial – 2:25pm Local Time / 5:25am PT / 8:25am ET
Saturday, Sept. 26: Women’s road race – 12:45pm Local Time / 3:45am PT / 6:45am ET
Sunday, Sept. 27: Men’s road race – 10:00am Local Time / 1:00am PT / 4:00am ET