Celebrations are taking place across Yorkshire to mark 100 days to go until the 2019 UCI Road World Championships. Official Yorkshire 2019 flags have been presented to the nine local authorities who are hosting a race start or finish, and these will be flown from key locations between now and the Championships, which are taking place between 22-29 September – preceded by the Yorkshire Para-Cycling International on Saturday 21 September.
Harrogate High School also chose a novel way to mark the occasion with 300 pupils lining up to spell out a giant ‘100’ figure on their playing field.
The Championships are returning to Great Britain for the first time since 1982 and millions of fans are expected to line the county’s roads for what organisers Yorkshire 2019 are aiming to be ‘the most inclusive, innovative and inspiring championships ever’.
As part of that inclusivity drive, organisers Yorkshire 2019 have joined forces with UK Sport and British Cycling to make the opening weekend of the championships particularly family friendly with a number of activations targeted at younger spectators.
British Cycling will be running its Ready, Set, Ride and Go-Ride programmes in the official Fan Zone on The Stray in Harrogate, which will allow young people to sample the freedom of cycling under expert tuition. The Ready, Set, Ride programme teaches children how to pedal using quick and easy games, while Go-Ride helps develop those skills in a fun and safe way.
If that wasn’t enough, there are professional parkour, BMX and trials displays taking place in the action sports area, a pump track where kids can hone their cycling, and a fun fair filled with rides. A host of big screens will also be positioned around the Fan Zone where families can sit and watch the action unfurl.
On Saturday, spectators will be treated to the Yorkshire 2019 Para-Cycling International which is the first-ever UCI-sanctioned, one-day international para-cycling event to take place alongside the championships. It will act as a qualifier for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and welcomes entries from every Paralympic road racing classification.
Then, on Sunday, fans will be able to watch more history in the making as the first-ever Team Time Trial Mixed Relay takes place. Here, the riders will get going from a specially designed start ramp right in the heart of the Fan Zone.
Yorkshire 2019 CEO Andy Hindley said “It’s exciting to have reached this milestone and we’re on track to deliver a truly world-class event. Already, we’re starting to see rainbow-coloured flags and bunting lining the streets of Yorkshire; and in 100 days’ time the county is going to be at the centre of the cycling world.
“Over 1,000 of the world’s best riders from around 90 countries will be here by then, and images of Yorkshire will be being beamed to a global TV audience of 250 million. We’re breaking the mould with what we want to achieve at these championships and they will leave a true, lasting legacy to people of all ages.”
British Cycling Chief Executive Julie Harrington said “We want to ensure that this once in a generation event provides every child with the opportunity to ride a bike.
“During the first weekend of the UCI Road World Championships we are determined to get more children on bikes than ever before, not just in Yorkshire but across the whole of the UK. At British Cycling, we are great believers in the power of the major events to inspire the nation and we will be working with many of our Go Ride clubs across the country to open their doors to children of all ages and abilities to realise their potential and give cycling a go.”
Minister for Sport Mims Davies said “In 100 days’ time the best cyclists in the world will be in Yorkshire as the UCI Road World Championships get underway for the first time on our shores in over 35 years. I am certain the people of Yorkshire will give riders and fans from all over the world an incredible welcome for what promises to be a spectacular sporting event.
“The government is investing £24 million in the event, £15 million of which will leave a real participation legacy from the championships with improved cycling facilities across the country.
“The UK has an enviable track record of hosting the biggest events in sport and the UCI Road World Championships will build on this further, inspiring people to get on their bikes and benefitting the local economy.”