RICHMOND, Va. -- There is a big bicycle race coming to town, considered third in scale only to Olympic and Tour de France races. An estimated 450,000 spectators are expected to visit the River City, most visiting from abroad, to watch and compete in the races. And the event will be broadcast to an audience estimated at 300 million, which is more than double the Super Bowl's audience.
Richmond 2015, the organizer of the 2015 UCI Road World Championships, just announced the official schedule and course modifications for cycling’s preeminent competition that will be held in Richmond in September. The schedule is said to maximize European viewing, balance course modifications from community feedback and learnings from collegiate test event in 2014. The 12 world championship races will take place over nine days.
DATE EVENT Start Time/Finish Time (EDT)*
Sat., Sept. 19 Team Time Trial Training 9 a.m./12 p.m.
Sat., Sept. 19 Time Trial Circuit Training 1 p.m./2:30 p.m.
Sun., Sept. 20 Team Time Trial (Women) 11:30 a.m./12:55 p.m.
Sun. Sept. 20 Team Time Trial (Men) 1:30 p.m./3:35 p.m.
Mon., Sept. 21 Individual Time Trial (Jr. Women) 10 a.m./11:10 a.m.
Mon., Sept. 21 Individual Time Trial (U23 Men) 11:30 a.m./3:50 p.m.
Tues., Sept. 22 Individual Time Trial (Jr. Men) 9:30 a.m./1:05 p.m.
Tues., Sept. 22 Individual Time Trial (Elite Women) 1:30 p.m./4:45 p.m.
Wed., Sept. 23 Individual Time Trial (Elite Men) 1 p.m./3:35 p.m.
Thurs., Sept. 24 Road Race Training 10 a.m./12 p.m.
Fri., Sept. 25 Road Race (Jr. Women) 10 a.m./11:50 a.m.
Fri., Sept. 25 Road Race (U23 Men) 12:45 p.m./4:50 p.m.
Sat., Sept. 26 Road Race (Jr. Men) 9 a.m./12:15 p.m.
Sat. Sept. 26 Road Race (Elite Women) 1 p.m./4:25 p.m.
Sun., Sept. 27 Road Race (Elite Men) 9 a.m./3:40 p.m.
* Courses will close to traffic up to 1 hour before start time and re-open up to 1 hour after estimated finish time, all times listed in Eastern Daylight Time
Organizers have had to juggle many factors in planning the schedule -- including commuters, rush-hour traffic, and international time differences for broadcasting -- and had some rough trial experience when the city hosted a collegiate national championship in 2014.
In fact, a slight modification has been made to the Road Race course in downtown Richmond, with racers now turning left at Main and Belvidere streets to head to Broad Street before returning to Main Street at 2nd Street. The original course sent racers right on Belvidere and left on Byrd Street.
This change reduces the footprint of the race circuit in the downtown area, organizers said, which will ensure that most I-95, I-195/Powhite Parkway exits will remain open and commuter traffic can flow freely.
“We’ve been able to incorporate many of the things we learned from the official test event, the USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships, which was held last spring, in order to provide the best experience for racers, fans and Central Virginians alike," said Tim Miller, chief operating officer of Richmond 2015.
“In some cases, we’ve set the start times in order to address the concerns commuters have about getting to and from work each day – the schedule is designed so the races will have minimal impact on rush-hour traffic," Miller added, in a press release. "And for the Elite Men’s Road Race, the early start ensures the event and our region is showcased to hundreds of millions during prime time on international TV broadcasts."
The races have been forecast to bring a flood of money into the Richmond-metro area. The mayor, calling it a "golden opportunity", projected an anticipated economic impact of $158 million to the Commonwealth of Virginia.
“We’ve been preparing for our performance on the international stage, and we are excited that 2015 is finally here,” Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones said.
Noted Course Modifications
Team Time Trials – The start venue for the Team Time Trials on Sept. 19 and 20 has been changed from Rocketts Landing in Henrico County near Richmond’s downtown to Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Henrico County just north of Richmond. The shift showcases Lewis Ginter and Richmond’s North Side before heading to points of interest on the original course, including the Richmond National Battlefield Park in Henrico’s east end.