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US picked to host 2015 cycling world championships

Updated: September 21, 2011, 12:34

The road cycling world championships are returning to the United States for first time in nearly 30 years.

The UCI, cycling's international governing body, selected a bid from Richmond, Va., to host the event in 2015 on Wednesday in Copenhagen, Denmark. Oman had been in the running for the event before removing its candidacy earlier in the day.

The U.S. last hosted the worlds in 1986 in Colorado Springs, Colo.

"The road world championships haven't been held on American soil in my lifetime,'' said 21-year-old Taylor Phinney, a former individual pursuit and under-23 world time trial champion. "It will certainly give me and the entire new generation of American cycling something to aspire to.''

The 2015 championships are scheduled for Sept. 19-27 and will feature elite men and women, under-23 men, and junior men and women. Events include road races, individual time trials and a new team time trial that will feature the world's top professional teams.

More than 1,000 athletes representing more than 70 nations will compete on the historic cobblestone streets and wide boulevards that make up the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia, riding for the right to wear the rainbow jersey awarded to the world champion. USA Cycling expects more than half a million people to watch in person over the course of eight days, with a global TV audience of 300 million.

"Richmond is thrilled to be selected to host the 2015 road world cycling championships, joining a list of great cities like Madrid, Florence and Copenhagen,'' Mayor Dwight C. Jones said in a statement Wednesday. "Hosting the world championships will help bring Richmond one step closer to being one of the world's great bicycling cities.''

Richmond has a long history of hosting elite cycling events.

In the late 1980s and early `90s, the city hosted the Tours de Trump and Tours DuPont that featured American stars such as Greg LeMond, Lance Armstrong and Taylor Phinney's father, Davis Phinney, taking on the best in professional cycling.

Armstrong won the last two Tours DuPont, in 1995 and '96.

"It's rewarding to be able to not only bring the road worlds back to the U.S., but to bring them to Richmond,'' said Mike Plant, a member of the UCI management committee. "Richmond stepped up and proved they could support world-class cycling when we brought the Tour de Trump and Tour DuPont to the city in the late `80s and early `90s.''

Like this year's edition of the world championships, which are serving as a key benchmark for American cyclists preparing for the 2012 London Olympics, the 2015 worlds will serve as preparation for those aiming for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.

"Securing the 2015 world championships is the result of tremendous collaboration between civic and business leaders and strategic partners,'' said Tim Miller, the leader of Richmond 2015, the nonprofit corporation that will be responsible for organizing, promoting and managing the event.

"As we now enter the next phase, we look forward to expanding these partnerships to ensure that the 2015 World Championships set a new standard of excellence,'' he said.

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