Scotland was chosen to deliver the inaugural ‘super worlds’ and what a job it has done.
With some 8,000 athletes from over 150 countries competing over 11 days across 13 World Championships, there were over 200 rainbow jerseys up for grabs, with Scottish riders winning no fewer than 11 of them, as our riders amassed 21 medals, helping Great Britain to top the medal table.
From Jenny Holl and Sophie Unwin’s tandem triumph on the opening night of medal action, to Anna Shackley winning the very last medal of the championships, a bronze in the Women’s U23 Road Race, there have been many special moments that will live long in the memory.
Holl and Unwin would win three track world titles, adding a silver and bronze on the roads of Dumfries and Galloway, with Fin Graham going one better with a six medal haul across Para-Track and Para-Road. Another of the nations para sweethearts, Neil Fachie OBE, also notched up three world titles on the track, the 39-year-old sprinter now just one gold shy of 20 world titles across a glistening career.
Sticking with the track, Katie Archibald and Neah Evans both took extremely popular world titles in the Team Pursuit and Madison respectively, whilst sprinters Jack Carlin and Lauren Bell would also win medals, as would Mark Stewart in the Men’s Madison.
Down at Glentress it was a second World title for Charlie Aldridge, our mountain bike star adding the U23 XCO crown to the Junior equivalent he won in 2019. Meanwhile up in Fort William there were near misses for Aimi Kenyon and Lousie-Anna Ferguson, who took fourth place finishes in the Junior and Elite MTB Downhill events, but like Aldridge, they have bright futures ahead of them.
The championships were always going to be about inspiring the next generation, and Fort William played host to the first of four Race The Worlds finals, a series of events that gave youth riders the chance to compete at the World Championship venues at the same time as their idols. From the Mini Downhill at the Nevis Range, to a Road Crit on the streets of Glasgow, we gave over 300 children the opportunity of a lifetime. Like the elite winners, they got to stand on UCI podiums to collect their medals (and coos!), the winners also receiving a special Santini ‘Race The Worlds’ jersey.
Race The Worlds was part of a wider initiative that aimed to connect people with the World Championships in the build-up, engaging with around 3,000 people, which will rise to 4,000 by the time the last Experience The Worlds events are delivered in October, helping people to take the first pedal strokes on their cycling journey.
We also put on a plethora of Led Rides across the country, multiple almost every day, from Glasgow to Dumfries & Galloway, Peebles to Perth, allowing people to connect with the event by riding with likeminded people. Following the Elite Women’s Time Trial in Stirling we also hosted a joint event with the Scottish Government titled ‘Celebrating Women in Cycling’. Sports Minister Maree Todd was on both of our panels, which contained seven truly inspirational women, and provoked some excellent conversation around how we can get more women and girls on bikes.
The World Champs, taking place across Glasgow and Scotland, wouldn’t have happened without the input from so many volunteers and clubs. From track commissaires, to road race marshalls, mechanics and coaches for the small nations and drivers in the transport teams – a big thank you to every single individual who played a role, big or small.
The Championships have and will act as a catalyst for positive change across all areas that cycling effects. The most tangible for Scottish Cycling the £8 million Cycling Facilities Fund, that has already delivered showcase facilities such as West Lothian Cycle Circuit and Tarland Trails amongst many others.
Our Rock Up & Ride programme, which provides free bikes and coaching to children who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity, has also been a huge success, as we use the power of the bike to change people’s lives.
Commenting on the success of the event, Scottish Cycling Chief Executive, Nick Rennie, said:
“It’s been phenomenal! From the performances of the Scottish riders, winning 21 medals, to capturing the imagination of the Scottish public, who’ve really got behind this event – hopefully it’s inspired a lot of people to get back on their bikes, or get on a bike for the first time, whether it’s commuting to school or work, going out with their family, or maybe getting involved with racing.
“There are so many initiatives that have come about as a result of these Championships, one of the most tangible being a facilities fund, which will see 60-70 brand new cycling facilities opening, some of them already open and they have been really busy. These are across a range of disciplines, from BMX to Mountain Bike and everything in between, right across the country, so it should make it easier for people to get involved in the sport.
“It would be remiss of me not to say a special thank you to the thousands of people from the Scottish Cycling community who have played a role in making the World Championships happen. Whether it’s giving a friendly Scottish welcome at a registration desk, or marshalling in the rain at Fort William, this has been a huge team effort and it once again showcases how amazing our cycling community is.”
An amazing 11 days of cycling may have drawn to a close, but this is just the start, as we capture the enthusiasm the Cycling World Championships has created, inspiring the next generation of stars, and encouraging others to get (back) on a bike.
If you don’t know where to start, or know someone who is nervous about giving it a go, please direct them to our activity finder at scottishcycling.org.uk. From our friendly clubs, to mountain bike trails, to free guided rides, we truly believe there is something for everyone on there and a way for them to connect with cycling.
The championships may be over, but now it’s your time to ride.