World Cycling Champs proved a big hit for Scotland, report shows - Angus Robertson
The Championships brought 13 UCI world events across various disciplines to one place over a span of 11 days. Over 7100 competitors from 131 countries participated, vying for one of the 220 UCI World Champion titles available.
This was not only a Scotland-based affair. The events were broadcast on 93 channels in 130 countries and 200 million hours viewed worldwide.
Following its huge success, the flagship global cycling event is now scheduled to occur every four years, one year prior to the summer Olympic and Paralympic Games. The next iteration of the UCI Cycling World Championships is set to take place in Haute-Savoie, France, in 2027.
The new EY report into the impact of the championships outlines how the tournament generated great social, economic and environmental benefits for Scotland and the UK and raised the profile of cycling globally.
In total 5285 jobs were created and supported for the tournament. To date, over £6 million has been invested across all 32 local authorities; £205 million has been added to the Scottish economy as a result. And 93 per cent of stakeholders said they intended to continue the initiatives developed as part of the UCI World Championships.
Sustainability was a central consideration of the tournament’s organisation and execution. We made a public commitment to environmental policies by signing the UN Sport for Climate Action Framework; measured the carbon footprint of the Championships, renewable energy sources were used wherever possible; sustainability standards were considered as part of the procurement process; and impacts on local environments and biodiversity were examined. These efforts paid off.
The report shows 97% of visitors rated the UCI World Championships as inclusive; 40% of visitors were women; 82% of visitors used active modes of transport; 79% of Scottish residents said they intended to cycle more; 95% of Scottish residents said they were proud to see their region host the event.
Paul Bush OBE, chair of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships said: “We set our ambitions high to create something truly spectacular for the athletes, the fans and for the wider community with the first-ever combined UCI Cycling World Championships. The study underlines that this event was about much more than eleven days of incredible performance, it delivered a variety of social, economic, and environmental benefits, setting a benchmark for future editions and paving the way for positive longer-term change.
“Scotland’s reputation as the perfect stage for events is recognised nationally and internationally, and its enviable global reputation as a major events powerhouse was further reinforced as a result of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships. Events of this scale not only provide the opportunity to create memorable experiences, but they have the power to connect, inspire and transcend boundaries.”
I was honoured to oversee this event from the Scottish Government side, working together with councils, stakeholders and the UCI World Cycling organisation to put on another of the world-class events for which Scotland is known. Sincere thanks and congratulations to all who made the championships possible.