It is looking highly likely that the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Championships in 2020 will be held in the Northern Netherlands.
According to Dagblad van het Noorden, Groningen and Drenthe were interested in hosting the cycling world championships in 2023, but the UCI international cycling organisation has inquired about hosting the event here three years sooner.
The World Championships are held in a different region each year, and the 2020 event was supposed to happen in the Italian cities of Vicenza and Venice, but the cities quietly rescinded their hosting duties. The international cycling competition looks likely to kick off on the TT Circuit in Assen rather than the Piazza San Marco.
Overwhelmed by tourists
There was an apparent lack of enthusiasm about the event among the general population and Italian politicians. Officials in Venice were concerned that the event would draw even more tourists to the already overwhelmed city.
When it became clear that Italy was no longer interested, the UCI approached the Stichting Cycling Championships Northern Netherlands (Sccnn) to see if they could move their plans up a couple of years. A feasibility study looking into the timing and financing is currently underway, the results of which are expected in April.
25 million euros
The World Championships typically cost around 16 million euros and the provinces must be able to guarantee a 10-million-euro contribution. The Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport would need to pay 2.5 million euros, and 3 million euros is expected from the organisers from the business world. An expected 350,000 attendees could translate into a 25-million-euro contribution to the local economy.
Drenthe was the first region in the world to achieve the UCI Bike Region Label back in 2016. The province has made it a priority to promote cycling in the broadest sense, and the World Championship would give the region a chance to show that effort to a wider audience.
The UCI committee was reportedly impressed by the options available for the event in Groningen and Drenthe. Assen, particularly the TT Circuit, would play a central role in the championships.