UCI Road World Championships 2018: dates, route, where to watch and more

- Cycling Weekly
Cycling Weekly

If you like your World Championships courses with 5,000m of climbing rather than pan-flat Qatari deserts, then the 2018 course looks fantastic

The 2018 UCI Road World Championships will be held in Innsbruck-Tirol, Austria, beginning on September 23.

The Championships will see a host of new rainbow jersey wearers don the honour of the strips for a year and events consist of Junior, Under 23 and Elite men’s races as well as Junior and Elite women’s races.

The men’s and women’s team time rials (TTT) will mark the opening of the events. The two courses – 53.8km for women and 62.1km for men – will share the same opening 40km, taking riders via Haiming, Telfs and Zirl to the village of Kematen.

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Individual time trials (ITT) for Junior Men (20.2km), Junior Women (20.2km), Under 23 Men (28.5km) and Elite Women (28.5km) will start 20km east of Innsbruck.  The Elite Men’s ITT event (54km) will begin in Rattenberg – and will feature a demanding climb.

The Junior Women’s road race will feature a loop of the ‘Olympic Circuit’, a 24km lap which includes 460 metres of climbing and passes through the villages of Aldrans, Lans and Igls before crossing the Innsbruck finish line.

The Junior, Under 23 and Women’s Elite races will also loop the Olympic circuit, with the number of laps varying per event.

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The Elite Men’s road race will cover 265km, with just under 5,000 metres of climbing, with a final climb which boasts ramps of 25 per cent.

UCI Road World Championships 2018 route

The 2018 Road World Championships route looks set to be one of the toughest in history, with organisers of the race in the Austrian city of Innsbruck including ramps of up to 25 per cent in the elite men’s road race.

The official routes for all of the 2018 events, which take place from September 23-30, were revealed at the 2017 Worlds in Bergen with the elite men’s road race set to cover over 5,000m of climbing over a distance of 265km.

The men’s race will start in the town of Kufstein and begin with seven circuits of 24km of the ‘Olympic Circuit’ before heading northwards towards the Hungerburg settlement in the north where they’ll hit a climb featuring 25 per cent sections. The men’s peloton will then head back towards the centre of Innsbruck where the race will conclude.

Road races profile - Cycling Weekly
Road races profile Cycling Weekly

The elite women’s race, which begins in the same place, will begin with a 90km run towards the Olympic Circuit in Innsbruck which they will cover three times for a race distance of 162.5km.

Only the junior women’s race begins elsewhere, with the junior men and U23 men also beginning in Kufstein to the east of Innsbruck. Each race will take on 72.4km, 138.4km and 186.2km respectively.

The men’s individual time trial will also feature some demanding climbing, with the 54.2km course covering a 4.4km climb that hits a maximum pitch of 14 per cent. They begin in Rattenberg and head west towards Innsbruck where the race finishes.

Men's individual time trial profile - Cycling Weekly
Men's individual time trial profile Cycling Weekly

All the other time trials will start closer to Innsbruck in Hall-Wattens with the elite women covering 28.5km. Junior women ride a course of 20.2km, while the male juniors and U23s will ride the same 28.5km course.

Women's individual time trial profile - Cycling Weekly
Women's individual time trial profile Cycling Weekly

The team time trials once again feature some tough climbing for the riders, with the men taking on a climb that hits 10 per cent. The men’s and the women’s race will both begin in Ötztal and finish in Innsbruck, with the men covering 62.1km and women covering 53.8km.

“After Villach in 1987 and Salzburg in 2006, it is a real pleasure to return to Austria with our leading road cycling event of the year,” UCI president Brian Cookson said at the course unveiling.

“The Organising Committee for the 2018 UCI Road World Championships has pulled out all the stops to design magnificent and challenging courses. I have no doubt that these race courses will get the approval of both the riders and cycling fans worldwide.”

2018 UCI World Championships Schedule

Past results: UCI Road World Championships 2017, Bergen, Norway

Peter Sagan wins Road World Championships (Bergen, Norway) - Yuzuru Sunada
Peter Sagan wins Road World Championships (Bergen, Norway) Yuzuru Sunada

Peter Sagan (Slovakia) and Chantal Blaak (Netherlands) became the UCI World Champions of 2017 in Norway this September.

Sagan’s win took him to a total of three consecutive titles. Blaak’s win was a first, she was initially positioned in the race as a domestique working for time trial 1-2 duo Annemiek van Vleuten and Anna van der Breggen.

Chantal Blaak wins the elite women's road race at the 2017 World Championships - Yuzuru Sunada
Chantal Blaak wins the elite women's road race at the 2017 World Championships Yuzuru Sunada

The time trial titles went to Dutch Giro d’Italia winner, Tom Dumoulin and countrywoman Annemiek van Vleuten; with Team Sunweb dominating the TTT with wins in the women’s and men’s races.

Britain Tom Pidcock won the junior ITT, and Denmark’s Mikkel Bjerg won the under-23 time trial.

The junior road race went to Julius Johansen (Denmark), whilst Benoît Cosnefroy (France) won the under-23 men’s race. Italy’s Elena Pirrone took the junior women’s road and time trial crowns.

The championships took place in Bergen, over a lumpy course with a flat sprint finish – with several races resulting in breakaway wins.

The senior men’s race was the only road race which came down to a bunch sprint, with Sagan taking the win from Alexander Kristoff, on home turf, by just half a bike length.

What are the UCI Road World Championships?

UCI Road World Championship titles are contested for road race, individual time trial and team time trial events.

In the road race and individual TT, there are categories for elite men, elite women, junior men, under-23 men and junior women. The TTT is run using trade rather than national teams.

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Winners of the senior individual time trial and road race earn the right to wear the coveted rainbow jersey of world champion for the following 12 months in that discipline.

In 2018, the World Championships will move to Innsbruck (Austria) and the 2019 edition will take place in Yorkshire (Great Britain).

Previous World Championship locations