The UCI Cyclo-Cross World Championships will pedal into Louisville on February 2-3, 2013. For the first time in the international event's 63-year history, it will be held outside of Europe, at Eva Bandman Park on River Road near downtown Louisville.
The world championships will feature 300 top professional riders from approximately 25 countries and is expected to draw crowds of 5,000 to 6,000 per day, including fans, cyclists and officials from throughout the U.S., Europe and other parts of the world.
The event is estimated to generate more than $3 million in economic impact to the local economy and will result in extensive media coverage for Louisville both in the U.S. and across Europe, including a world television feed broadcast to millions in Europe during prime time. Approximately 120 domestic and international journalists will cover the event.
"We are hosting an internationally sanctioned, world championship of cycling, with elite athletes, officials and spectators converging on Louisville from across the U.S. and around the world," said Louisville Sports Commission Executive Director Karl Schmitt.
Cyclists will race at Eva Bandman Park, the only dedicated cyclo-cross course in the nation.
"This event provides an excellent opportunity to showcase our community and the Commonwealth of Kentucky, will validate Eva Bandman Park as a world class cyclo-cross course and will generated significant economic impact through inbound sports travel, especially welcome during the winter months," said Louisville Mayor Greg Fisher.
World's top 'cross' racers to put city's course to the test
Cyclo-cross racing is the fastest-growing cycling discipline in North America. Described by its loyal following as "an hour of pain," cyclo-cross takes place on pavement, over grass, through sand and mud and requires the rider to quickly dismount and carry the bike while navigating obstructions and man-made obstacles.
The World Championships will put the world's top cyclists on the course constructed at the nearly 60-acre Eva Bandman Park, situated between River Road and the Ohio River just east of downtown. Louisville Metro Parks began constructing the world-class course in 2009 and the following year the park hosted the 2010 USGP Derby City Cup. The World's Championships will be the highest profile event held at the course, which features sand mounds, numerous run- ups, flyovers and wooded areas.
There will be two races each day of the Elite World Championships. On Feb. 2, the men's junior race for ages 17-19 will take place at 11 a.m. and men's U23s (ages 19-22) will take place at 2:30 p.m. On Feb. 3, the women's elite race will be held at 11 a.m. and the men's elite race will be held at 2:30 p.m. The world cyclo-cross championships are owned by the Lucerne, Switzerland-based UCI, the international governing body of cycling, and will be operated by USA Cycling with support from the Louisville Sports Commission and Louisville Metro Parks.
"Louisville will be better-positioned to host additional national and international events after the world's best riders compete on this course. And most important, cyclo-cross is an amazing experience for fans - expect an eclectic mix of lively spectators with an international flavor and high-energy action on the course," said Schmitt.
"The improvements made to the Eva Bandman Park came from the vision of local cycling enthusiasts and the support of local leaders," said Fischer. "Through the hard work of Louisville Metro Parks and many others, we now have a legacy facility for our local, state-wide and regional cycling community and a premier course for year-round recreational and competitive use."
The 2013 Elite World Championship at Eva Bandman will be preceded by the Masters World Championships Jan. 28-31 at Champions Park, also located along River Road. Approximately 600 cyclists, ranging in age 30 to 75, will compete in Masters races.
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), which is the international governing body of cycling and the owner of the Masters and Elite World Championships, will hold its management committee meeting in Louisville during the Elite Championships. The UCI board is comprised of representatives of all cycling disciplines from numerous countries throughout the world.
Championship-level infrastructure being built
The Louisville Sports Commission will be coordinating with UCI officials, as well as city public works, parks and public safety officials to coordinate the infrastructure necessary for the World Championships, including:
- Approximately 30 office trailers to serve as headquarters for international cycling teams and offices for the UCI, USA Cycling and event management groups,
- The official start-finish lines and paved straightaway portion of the course, from the Beargrass Creek bridge to near the entrance to Eva Bandman Park,
- Presentation stands for race officials, timers and official medal ceremonies,
- Post-race media interview facilities,
- Announce positions for the world television feed and the on-course announcers, and
- Ticketing areas and entrances for the 5,000-6,000 fans expected to attend.
"We are building world championship-level infrastructure at Eva Bandman Park in less than a week," Schmitt said.
For the safety of spectators, athletes and crews constructing the course and infrastructure, a traffic detour will affect a portion of River Road. From Jan. 28 through Feb 5, through traffic will not be allowed west of Edith Avenue or east of Frankfort Avenue.
Motorists will be directed to a number alternate routes. Westbound traffic into downtown can use Zorn Avenue to I-71 or Mellwood Avenue; Edith Avenue to Mellwood Avenue; Brownsboro Road and Frankfort Avenue; and I-64. Alternative routes for eastbound traffic out of downtown include River Road to Frankfort Ave, Adams St., I-71, I-64 and Market Street. Businesses on both sides of Eva Bandman Park will have local access at all times.
"Louisville is accustomed to handling big-time sporting events, as well as the traffic management that often goes along with that," Schmitt said. "We will have officers directing traffic at key locations and will make adjustments as necessary to minimize inconvenience to motorists."
Ticket and other information is available online on the Louisville Championships 2013 website at www.louisville2013.com  and on the Louisville Sports Commission website at www.louisvillesports.org