Stirling could host the Cycling World Championships in 2023 – described as the sport’s biggest ever worldwide.
At a recent meeting of Stirling Council councillors heard the event would bring together for ten days, in Scotland, 13 world championships for different cycling disciplines in one event for the first time ever – with thousands of the world’s best cyclists from 120 countries vying to win the prestigious rainbow jersey.
The event is coming to Scotland following a successful bid by Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Government but around 12,000 visitors could be expected in Stirling for the three-day time trialling events, with an estimated global audience of around 125 million people.
Stirling Council officers have been in talks with the organisers of the UCI Cycling World Championships 2023 for around 12 months about the possibility of staging a competitive event as part of the championships’ programme in Stirling.
Stirling has been approached to host the cycling time trial event which would run over three days – Wednesday, August 9 2023 until Friday, August 11.
Councillors approved an allocation of up to £350,000 from the council’s General Fund Reserves to secure the opportunity for Stirling and to develop a programme that ensures the wider economic, health and wellbeing benefits will be delivered.
External funding will be pursued along with commercial sponsorship for some elements.
Road closures will be needed in and around Stirling – particularly west Stirlingshire and a stretch of the A811 – and council officers say extensive community engagement around the programme will be required to minimise disruption to residents and businesses.
The final route will be discussed and agreed with Stirling Council and relevant agencies but will take place on up to 48km of closed roads in and around Stirling City and out to rural west Stirling. Several hours of full road closures would be required.
Senior manager for economic development and communities Stuart Oliver told the meeting: “The event does not require a hosting fee per se but the location agreement would require Stirling Council to cover costs related to the traffic management, security and marshalling of the event route and the start and finish locations along with waste management and first aid provision.
“Costs would also be incurred in undertaking communication with residents and businesses and a provision will also be required to support satellite events to maximise the impact of the event. The costs of hosting this event are therefore currently estimated at £250,000 to £350,000.”
The organisers have identified a potential route for the event, with all sections of the route requiring upgrade. These, however, are said to already be in the council’s long-term capital programme for roads.
Forth and Endrick Tory councillor Jane Hutchison hailed the event as “a really exciting opportunity” but stressed the importance of getting the logistics right.
“This event has huge potential but with 48km of road closures potentially being required, planning and communication will be essential. Helping people to live alongside the event, especially in my ward in West Stirlingshire which is likely to play a major role, is key. I am pleased that officers have pledged to make this a priority in the planning of the event and, while I’m sure it will not be without some level of disruption, we must get the balance right between a successful event and the needs of those living and travelling in the area involved.”
Callander and the Trossachs was not expected to be part of the route at this point, however, officers said maximising the opportunities of the championships for the wider Stirling Council area was a priority regardless of whether communities were part of the route.