Portland readying bid for future UCI Road World Championships
Plans are being formulated for Portland in Oregon, USA to bid to host cycling's UCI Road World Championships in 2026, or even 2025 if a preferred African candidate does not come to fruition.
Axel Merckx, the manager of the USA-based Hagens Berman Axeon development team, has revealed he is working on the proposal, which has yet to get the necessary financial and government support.
Merckx, the son of five-time Tour de France champion Eddie and himself a bronze medallist at the 2004 Olympics, told Flemish newspaper Het Nieuwsblad: "The plans look good, but are in their infancy. The organisers have yet to gather the funds, and we're also counting on the support of the local authorities.
"We're hoping to organise the Worlds for 2025 at the earliest, but it could be 2026. So there's still some time. We are working hard on it, and would have liked to have had our file ready by the end of the year, but it may be a little later due to the coronavirus crisis."
The US last hosted the annual championships in Richmond, Virginia in 2015.
In 2018, the UCI, the sport's governing body, indicated its interest in taking the event to the African continent for the first time in 2025, with Rwanda and Morocco both said to be interested.
This year's Road World Championships are due to take place in the French-speaking Swiss towns of Aigle and Martigny in late September, but reports have emerged in recent weeks that the Middle East could step in an a host should the coronavirus pandemic still be prevalent in Europe.
Other future Road World Championships are slated for the Flanders region of Belgium in 2021, Wollongong in New South Wales, Australia in 2022 and Zurich and the German-speaking region of Switzerland in 2024.
New for 2023 will be the inaugural UCI World Cycling Championships in Glasgow, Scotland, which will bring together 13 existing UCI World Championships into one mega event to be held every four years.