A great success: The UCI Road World Championships 2018 in Innsbruck-Tirol summed up

Last updated on 04.10.2018

Top-class sport, nearly 600,000 fans from all over the world and stunning autumn weather. The Road World Championships in Innsbruck-Tirol will go down in history as one of the toughest of all time. Pictures of beautiful scenery have travelled around the world. The cycling World Championship was a complete success.

The UCI Road World Championships in Innsbruck-Tirol will be remembered for a long time, not least because of the grand finale on Sunday, 30.09.2018. In a road bike thriller, the Spanish veteran Alejandro Valverde was crowned World Champion in the road race. After 258.5 kilometres, the 38-year-old prevailed on the home stretch against a four-man lead group, ahead of Frenchman Romain Bardet and Canadian Michael Woods and Dutchman Tom Dumoulin. “So many years I’ve been waiting, now I’ve made it,” said Alejandro Valverde in tears. He had previously won two silver and four bronze medals (including in Salzburg in 2006). In Innsbruck-Tirol the Spaniard finally achieved the title of World Champion in the presence of the last Spanish road bike World Champion, Oscar Freire. He said that it could well be that Tirol is a special place for Spanish athletes. Either way, Tirol will have a special place in Alejandro’s heart for the rest of his life.

In particular, the final climb of the Elite Men’s race, called the “Höttinger Höll” (Hötting Hell), demanded everything from the professional cyclists. “I’ve never seen such a tough circuit before,” said Italian cycling star Vincenzo Nibali, who can claim overall victories in the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France, before the race. Thousands of fans from all over the world celebrated a nine-day long relaxed cycling festival in Tirol.

“Innsbruck will always have a place in my heart. Not only because I picked up the title here in the time trial and in the road race, but also because I will always remember the audience on the side of the race course. The fans were just great, “said the double Junior World Champion Remco Evenepoel from Belgium. Austrian cycling fans will remember the World Cup for the surprise victory of Laura Stigger in the Women Juniors Road Race. The racer’s tears of joy and their legendary sprint finishes, after a race where the tension hardly let up, thrilled the fans. “I cannot believe it. My legs were burning and even cramped after a while. I just gave it everything,” said Stiggler immediately after the race.

Enthusiasm among the fans

 The whole world was watching Tirol during the Road World Championships. The event was broadcasted in 150 countries, showing perfect weather, interesting routes, beautiful mountain panoramas and thousands of fans from all over the world. In addition to enthusiasts from traditional cycling nations like the Netherlands, Belgium, Great Britain, France and Italy, fans from Ireland, Germany, Slovakia, Poland, Argentina, Eritrea and more also cheered from the roadside. Misghina Haile’s, General Secretary of the Eritrea National Cycling Team, announcement was proven true. “In Eritrea, cycling is the number one sport,” he said, “there will be a large number of Eritreans who live in Austria or neighbouring Austria at the Elite Mens Race.”

A great supporting programme

 The Colombians Tatiana Uintaco and Edilma Sierra said: “We love the atmosphere at the World Cup, the fan zone in the finish area is particularly buzzing.” In addition to the sporting highlights, there was also a great supporting programme featuring international music stars, events for the whole Family and Tirolean folklore events. “At night we enjoyed the great party atmosphere and, thanks to the tram, we were able to do lots of day trips”, rejoiced Roberto Gaiger from Switzerland, who will come back to Innsbruck with his friends: “The Tiroler Gröstl (potato hash) is reason enough”

Bike Region Tirol

 Tirol has handed out its business card as the number one region for sport, and with this World Cup has proved itself to be cycling country, said the Tirolean sports council Josef Geisler. A large part of the Tirolean population has been infected by the positive World Cup atmosphere and the fever on the race course or in front of the TV. Countless fan initiatives are evidence of great creativity. One of the highlights was a vegetable field in Thaur which had 60,000 lettuce heads planted to spell out “Welcome from Hall-Wattens” for the helicopter’s camera. Meanwhile, numerous side events provided plenty of entertainment for guests and locals. “Unfortunately, I did not hear that much about the main event because I was working eleven hours a day in a café. But during the World Cup, there was a marked increase in tourists visiting us, “says Manfred Bloch, Managing Director of a restaurant on Innrain.

Some interesting facts about the event

Sporting facts

  • Duration: 9 sunny and exciting days from 22 to 30 September 2018
  • Race: 12 races through the beautiful mountain landscape of Tirol, each ending in Innsbruck. The start locations included Area47 / Ötztal, Kufstein, Rattenberg / Alpbachtal Alpbachtal Tiroler Seenland and Swarovski Crystal World / Hall – Wattens region
  • Total distance of all races: 15,500 km – the equivalent of the distance from Innsbruck, Tirol to Adelaide, Australia, the home of Rohan Dennis, who won  the individual time trial
  • Steepest incline: “Ride to Höll”, which featured a 28% incline in Innsbruck / Hötting
  • Participating Nations: 77
  • Participating athletes: 1,275
  • Nation ranking by participants: Italy and the Netherlands (70 athletes each), Germany (64 athletes), Denmark and Austria (49 athletes each), France (47 athletes)
  • Youngest athlete: Nadjaf Baghirov, 16, from Azerbaijan
  • Oldest athlete: Edwige Pitel, 51, from France
  • Most successful nations (66 medals total awarded): the Netherlands with 7 medals followed by Belgium with 6 medals
  • Number of Teams in the Team Time Trial: 25 men / 12 women

Athletic Achievements

  • Distance including training: 600km
  • Hours on the bike: 24 – 32 hours
  • Fluid / Race: 2-8 Litres
  • High speed downhill: 90-120 km / h
  • Calories burned per race: ~ 7,000 kcal

More numbers

  • Around 600,000 spectators during race days watching from the roadside, the finish area and the starting points
  • 764 journalists attended the 2018 UCI Road World Championships in Innsbruck-Tirol
  • The event was broadcasted to 150 countries
  • 50 TV and radio stations broadcasted the event live from Tirol

Facts about event organisation and logistics

  • Advertising banners: 15 km
  • Trellising: 40 km
  • All railings: 140 km
  • Barrier tape: 120 km
  • Whistles: 4,000 units
  • Skoda cars: 122 vehicles

People involved TOTAL: 3,000

  • LOC Management Staff (local organising committee): 50+
  • Race Operations / Sports Staff (inspectors, chauffeurs, motorcycle squad, etc.): 60+
  • Event Staff (Production, Site & Course Management, Branding, etc.): 50+
  • UCI Management Staff: 30+
  • Total Volunteers: 1,492
  • Volunteers: 442
  • Marshals: 1,050
  • Contractors (emergency services, private security, service providers): 1,100+

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