2023 UCI Cycling World Championships

This website tends to be about cycle touring and related matters, but quite often veers off in the direction of other cycling-themed areas, for example professional cycling. I can’t say that I follow professional cycling religiously. I have a reasonable passing interest in it and will take the time to follow if I can. I remember working in France in the 1990s and watching the Tour de France on the TV in the afternoons after work. It was – and remains – a brilliant way to get to know France! When Le Tour came to Yorkshire that was fun and last year on my Grand Tour of Europe I had the opportunity of visiting the world headquarters of the UCI in Aigle, Switzerland which was interesting (see video below).

This week the Cycling World Championships arrived in Scotland. Up until yesterday I imagined that they were similar to those that were held in Austria last year or in Yorkshire back in 2019. But they aren’t. What seems to have happened is that all the various world championship events that take place in different locations at different times of the year have all been grouped together in a kind of Cycling Olympics. I now wish I’d paid more attention to the press releases that I have been receiving via email from the Scottish organisers over recent months.

To give some idea of what is taking place, here’s the schedule from the UCI website:

A couple of these are new to me. Here they are, explained:

Gran Fondo

“Gran Fondo (which translates as Big Race) is a long-distance mass participation event that celebrates competitive cycling for everyone, not just the professionals.The top 25% of riders from 27 qualifying events held around the world have been invited to compete in Scotland.Yes, Gran Fondo is about inclusion and community. But make no mistake: between the start and finish line, it’s seriously competitive. The stakes will be high, the battles will be intense, and the times will be quick. “

UCI website
Indoor Cycling

“Prepare to be seriously wowed by Artistic Cycling where riders perform handstands on handlebars and ride their saddles like surfboards in spectacular feats of bravery, balletic balance and physical strength. The beautiful game on bikes, Cycle-Ball will be more familiar, but no less thrilling. Riders must use their wheels to control, pass and strike the ball – no feet allowed. Played at pace with tackles flying in fast and silky skills on show, the riders take bicycle kicks to a whole other level.Whether it’s goals galore or maximum points scored, the atmosphere will be electric in Glasgow’s Emirates Arena, so make sure you’re there to cheer on your side.”

UCI website

Alas I’m not off to Scotland this week. I head down to the Alps for a walking holiday next week but will try and catch some of the action, especially cycle-ball. Looks fun!

As promised, here is the video from last year’s Grand Tour when I stumbled upon the UCI headquarters in Aigle, Switzerland:

Header image credit: UCI


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