Reports are starting to leak out of the UCI about the very likely chances of Louisville, Kentucky playing host to the 2013 Cyclocross World Championships. "The Kentucky [location], specificlly Louisville, is in the pole position," confirms Peter Van den Abeele, the UCI Cyclocross coordinator in 2003. "This would be a major step in the internationalization."
The idea of hosting a world class event in the US is nothing new. In 2007 it was announced that Providence, RI would host the opening round of the UCI World Cup. The dream seemed to be realized until financial constraints forced them to cancel at the last minute. The Worlds in Kentucky would be the first time the event has taken place outside of Europe.
With the presence of the World Championships in 2013 it seems only logical that there would be a large preview event held in the US in 2012, perhaps a second shot at that World Cup opener. Another side effect may be the elongation of the US calendar. As it stands today we finish our season mid December after our National Championships, more than a month before Europe hosts theirs and more that six weeks ahead of the World Championships. Could this mean Nationals will be moved to mid Jan? Will we see the USGP and UCI races happening throught the month of January? What about World Cup finals in the USA the weekend before Worlds?
To this point, the athletes who choose to compete in the World Championships have been forced to travel to Europe during this 6 week period or face the lonesome task of training with no racing here in the states. For these elite few it would make a huge difference having quality races here at home.
Jeremy Powers tweeted about the possibility earlier this afternoon, "Absolutely amazing. Thank you Louisville, KY.I never wanted time to go by so quickly!" If you watched part two and three of "J Pows: A Day In The Life," you know he is also in favor of a US season that runs through January.
It's understandable that a rider in Jeremy's position would like to see a longer season, but what about the average Joe? Would the amature categories be willing to train trough the holidays and fund another month of travel and entry fees? While 'cross has grown over the last decade the majority of the riders still have a Mountain Bike or Road season to focus on come spring.
"Cool. It would be good for US Cyclocross," admits Todd Wells, one of North America's best cyclocross racers. But don't expect to see him on the start line in January anytime soon. When asked if he would try his hand at Worlds if they came stateside, he responded simply, "nope." About a season that has us racing in January, Todd explains, "Personally I wouldn't want that. Things are good now. It's short and has good momentum. I'm worried if you drag it out it might dilute it." [Of course, a calendar that had him racing into January would also disrupt his annual trip to the beaches of Mexico.]
The UCI will meet next Thursday in Tabor, Czech Republic, and should have an official announcement soon after. The last World Championships on US soil were the Mountain Bike championships in Vail, Colorado, 2001.
USA Cycling on the possibility of Worlds in USA:
Check out Cyclingdirt's coverage from the USGP event held in Louisville in 2009.