There was a lot to digest from yesterday’s course route announcement for the 2015 UCI World Cycling Championships to be held here in Richmond. One thing that jumped out at me that wasn’t mentioned in any of the news coverage had to do with the elite men’s road race, the event’s marquee race.
In previous conversations, Lee Kallman, marketing director for Richmond 2015, said there was a possibility of a remote start for the men’s road race before it enters Richmond for a handful of laps on the 10-mile, downtown circuit. There was no mention of a remote start yesterday. Some previous world championships (like last year’s in Florence, Italy) had remote starts. Others did not.
British cyclist Mark Cavendish celebrates his 2011 world championship road race win.
“It hasn’t been ruled out at this point,” Kallman said, when I gave him a call to ask about the remote start. “It’s certainly something that could be added to the circuit. We’re still exploring some possibilities.”
Kallman said it’s not something they’ll do, “just for the sake of it. But if there’s an opportunity to engage another partner around the state or a corporate partner by doing a remote start somewhere…It’s kind of driven by some of those things.”
In other words, if some business (a Charlottesville winery, say) or a locality (maybe the City of Fredericksburg) wants to pony up, and reap the benefits of the TV coverage, there’s a possibility the men’s road race could start somewhere outside of Richmond.
Kallman added that while there is no requirement on whether or not to have a remote start, if they choose to go ahead with one, there are rules about that section of the course. Most significantly, he said, is that it has to be under 100 kilometers.
And, of course, any miles contested outside outside the downtown circuit would take away from miles fans along the circuit could watch.
“Part of the beauty of the road championships is the racing on the circuit,” Kallman said. “It’s extremely fan friendly.”
Kallman said that a number of UCI officials will be in town this May for the Collegiate Cycling Championships to be held here on the same courses as the 2015 races. “If we were going down the route of having a remote site, that would be a great opportunity to take them out and show them those roads.”