The UWCT (UCI World Cycling Tour) Final took place in Trento, Italy, from September 19th to 22nd. The finalists had earned the right to compete for the World title in their respective age groups by finishing in the top 25% of one of the 11 qualifying events held throughout the world.
In its third year, the UWCT has grown in importance and popularity. The Final (which replaces the former Masters World Championships) in Trento drew record participation and was broadcast by Rai Sport Television. Part of the racing was live on television and a mobile studio at the Piazzo Duomo in Trento brought a live show with interviews and race images.
“The interest from television just shows the importance that this event is taking on,” observes UCI Project Coordinator Andrea Marcellini. “We had around 1600 athletes representing countries from five continents. The largest contingent, of 220 athletes, came all the way from Australia! The level of racing and the atmosphere were quite amazing.”
A total of 23 countries claimed at least one of the 113 medals awarded across the different age groups for the men’s and women’s time trials and road races. With a total of 16 medals (10 gold, 3 silver and 3 bronze) the USA topped the medals table, followed by hosts Italy (13 medals) and Slovenia (10 medals). For the record, it is Slovenia who will host the 2014 UWCT Final, in Ljubljana.
Proceedings in Trento got off to a stylish start with a celebrity team relay bringing together some of the former great names of cycling including Felice Gimondi, Francesco and Aldo Moser, Marino Basso and Gilberto Simoni. This was followed by a “test event” team relay for the UWCT participants, with mixed teams of four men and women. The tone was set for the nations’ parade through Trento to the packed-out Piazza Duomo for the Opening Ceremony.
The individual time trials were raced throughout the day on Friday over a challenging 24.6km course that finished with a 2.5km climb.
Without the traditional neutralised start as in the two previous years, the road racing on Sunday was very fast from the outset. However, there was plenty of time for breakaways and regrouping throughout the arduous journey to the final 20km climb and the finish line atop the mythical Monte Bondone!
Italy, second in the overall medal standings, was the strongest nation in the road races, winning 11 of their 13 medals in this discipline.
The 2013-2014 season of the UWCT is already underway: Amy’s Gran Fondo in Lorne, Australia, on September 15th saw the first riders earn their tickets for next year’s final in Slovenia.