The Australian state of Victoria will host the 2010 UCI Road World Championships, cycling's international governing body announced overnight following a meeting of the UCI Management Committee in Stuttgart, Germany. Victoria's Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Tim Holding, said the Time Trial element of the 2010 UCI Road World Championships will take place in Melbourne, with the road race to be staged in the Geelong area.
"I'd like to thank the Victorian Major Events Company who have secured this event and been negotiating for the 2010 UCI Road World Cycling Championships as part of our long term events strategy," Holding said.
The Time Trial event will be held over two laps of a course starting and finishing at Melbourne's Formula One Grand Prix circuit in Albert Park, before heading down for an out and back run along the spectacular Port Phillip Bay. The road component will be held an hour away, also on the shores of Port Phillip Bay, in the suburb of Geelong, which currently plays host to the Women's World Cup's opening round.
Australia's Tour de France runner up Cadel Evans (Predictor-Lotto), who calls Barwon Heads home when he is in Australia, says he's excited the Championships will be in his home state of Victoria. "I look forward to competing at home with all my friends and family there to support me," Evans said. "It's always an honour and a pleasure to compete for my country and even more so with the world's best riders in my country for this truly international event."
Cycling Australia's President, Mike Victor OAM, was present in Stuttgart for the announcement by UCI President Pat McQuaid and said the decision acknowledges the sport's growth in the Pacific nation. "This recognises the extraordinary growth of the sport in Australia and is a fitting reward for our cyclists whose international performances have moved Australia into the top three ranked nations in the world," Victor said. "Cycling Australia is extremely grateful for the support of the Victorian Government in backing the bid and we look forward to working with them to deliver a great event."
The likelihood of a successful bid by Melbourne grew in recent weeks with speculation over the government support behind Bahrain's bid culminating in its withdrawal last Friday.
"This further cements Victoria's reputation around the world as the leading destination for staging major events and is a tribute to how important cycling is in Australia," Victorian Premier John Brumby said. "It is a huge vote of confidence to hold the Road Worlds in Victoria, which have never been held in the Southern Hemisphere."
Over 48 countries will attend the event with some 720 competitors expected to participate, with the winner of each category winning the right to the world champion's rainbow jersey for a year. The 2010 UCI Road World Championships are expected to take place in October 2010 with course details and routes to be announced at a later date.
The announcement is another major victory for Australian cycling, with the UCI having already granted the Australian Capital Territory a round of the Mountain Bike World Cup in 2008, with the discipline's World Championships to be held at the same venue the following year. The UCI Management Committee is also expected to announce over coming days whether South Australia's Tour Down Under road cycling event will be granted ProTour status as a part of suggested plans to expand the series outside the European Union.