Scotland can write the blueprint for all future combined UCI Cycling World Championships over the next two weeks, according to event chief executive Trudy Lindblade.
From August 3-13, Glasgow will be the hub for the first edition of the UCI’s new-look event, which brings together the championships for 13 different disciplines, from track cycling to road racing to BMX, mountain biking and lesser-known events like indoor cycling.
While all disciplines have their own annual championships, the world governing body plans to use this format every four years – in pre-Olympic years – to create a festival of cycling.
Racing will take place across Scotland, from the downhill mountain biking in Fort William to the para-road cycling in Dumfries and Galloway, with Glasgow at the centre.
Lindblade and her team started with a blank sheet of paper when it came to figuring out how to combine so many events, with Scotland the guinea pig as the UCI makes its bold new idea a reality.
“We were prepared for that when we put our hands up for it in the initial discussion with the UCI,” Lindblade told the PA news agency. “Scotland likes to be innovative and likes to be part of something brand new.”
More than 200 rainbow jerseys will be handed out as more than 8,000 athletes – 2,700 of them elite level – from 120 nations compete in a multi-discipline event that has the feel of a multi-sports Games.
“We get people to think of the Commonwealth Games,” Lindblade said. “In terms of the number of athletes, the number of countries, we are bigger than a Commonwealth Games. The number of disciplines is less but it’s a good point of reference.”
The Commonwealth Games was also key to Scotland’s ability to host the event. Without the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, built for the 2014 Games, it would not have been possible.
Beyond putting a BMX freestyle park in place on Glasgow Green and modifying some of the mountain bike trails, there has been no need to build new facilities.
“We had the ingredients and we just needed to put it all together,” Lindblade said. “We’re really proud of what we’ve been able to do with something that hasn’t been done before. We’re creating the blueprint for future hosts.”
Along the way there have been considerable hurdles. When the schedule was announced last September there was grumbling from some riders who compete in multiple disciplines that they would be forced to choose because of clashes.
In May, it was reported that a number of smaller federations were concerned about the costs of bringing all their teams to the same event at the height of summer, a time when accommodation across central Scotland is at a premium during the Edinburgh Festival.
Lindblade said no such concerns had been raised with her team.
“We haven’t heard anyone say they can’t send a full team, and the entries demonstrate that,” she said. “Actually, across pretty much every single world championship, numbers are up, which is a real positive.
“We’ve worked really closely with each of the national federations, working closely with the UCI, their international relations team and my team, to make sure we are able to provide the support that we can.
“They may (raise cost concerns) with the UCI but certainly for us nothing has been raised directly.”
The UCI has announced the 2027 edition of the combined championships will take place in Haute-Savoire, and the French region will have representatives on the ground in Scotland.
“I would say start planning really early,” Lindblade said when asked which lessons she will pass on. “This event will catch people by surprise.
“People can visualise a road cycling world championships or a track world championships but they can’t yet visualise 13 world championships in one.
“It’s big and it’s complex.”